Evernote is great at capturing all kinds of information from photos, to audio clips, to web clippings and beyond. However often we want to capture similar information, such as the minutes of a meeting, or a sales phone call. In such a situation it’s also useful to have some “prompts” to make sure that you ask the right questions and record everything that you need to follow up effectively.
What we need is a template. The question is how to create one, given that Evernote doesn’t have a simple way of creating and managing templates? Here are three ways to do just that finishing with, what is in my opinion the most powerful method –
1. KustomNote is a web app that links to Evernote letting you create templates/forms, fill them in and save the data into your Evernote account.
- Integrates well with Evernote
- Creates interesting looking templates using in-built themes
- Integration (at a price) with Evernote Business
- Costs up to $4/month depending on the features you require
- The default themes are a bit “cutesy”. They look nice, but take up a lot of room and some people (myself included) would prefer a clean, text-only template.
2. Export a Note from Evernote and use this as a template. Create your template note in Evernote. Select “File” –> “Export Note” and save it to somewhere handy (e.g. your desktop) under a suitable name. This will create a file in .enex (Evernote export) format. When you want to create a note using the template, just drag & drop the .enex file back into Evernote and a new note will be created with the template contents and even the same tags as the template.
- Works fine
- Slightly clunky way to do things
- Could get messy with multiple templates
3. Use a Text Expander. Text expanders are apps that let you enter a preset keystroke sequence, preceeded or followed by a “hotkey” combination which will then insert a string of text. More powerful text expanders when triggered can produce a pick-list, open an app or even a web page. Good examples are TextExpander on the Mac (from $34) and PhraseExpander on the PC (from $56).
So, for instance, on my Mac I can open a new note in Evernote, type “phc” (for phone call) followed by a space and Text Expander will expand that to…
Name : _
– Who? :
– What? :
– When? :
You can also tell it where to put the cursor when it generates the text. Here it’s in the top field (next to Name:)
I prefer this approach because it’s a really fast and easy way to generate templates in Evernote, but also for that matter any other tool. For instance I use it in prospecting emails where there are chunks of text that I often use, but I want to customise the email and don’t want a complete “boilerplate” email. I also use it for email sigs because I work for myself as well as a number of clients, so have different email sigs depending on which client I’m representing that day!
If you want to learn more on how to use Text Expander I suggest Take Control of TextExpander