How to: Writing with Evernote on mobile devices

Summary:Evernote is much more than a note app, it can be used in different ways for writing projects. Here's how I use it.

Evernote iOS OS X
Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

Mobile devices of all kinds can be used by writers, it's a great part of what we do. I regularly use laptops and tablets for my writing projects, and they cross all platforms. Being platform agnostic makes it important to have writing tools that work on all OSes, and Evernote is great for that reason, among others.

Evernote is a note-taking app on steroids, and in addition to having a web interface it also has apps on iOS, Android, and Windows 8. These apps are free, as is the basic level of service that backs them up.

Notes taken in any of the Evernote interfaces are instantly synced to the cloud, thus making notes accessible no matter the platform or device being used. This makes Evernote a perfect fit for the way I work.

To call Evernote a note-taking app as I did doesn't really do it justice. At its core, Evernote has a rich text editor which on its own can be used as a writing platform. It's so full of features it is overkill for my needs as I use it as a simple editor for my writing projects.

Typical writing projects consist of four stages: idea capture, research, writing, and publication. Evernote plays a big role in the first three, and most of my writing projects are done in Evernote.

Idea Capture

A significant part of writing is coming up with topics to write about. Evernote is great for this process as ideas can occur to me at any time. I have an Evernote notebook for story ideas, and no matter where I am when inspiration for a potential article occurs to me I tap a button in Evernote and enter the thought.

The beauty of Evernote is this idea capture isn't restricted to just text entry. Sometimes ideas are the result of something I see, and at those times I grab my Android phone and snap a photo right into Evernote. An image is worth a thousand words and sometimes images I capture do indeed become that many words thanks to Evernote on my phone.

Text and visual ideas aren't the only way to grab ideas on the go, I often record audio notes using my phone that go into Evernote. A quick thought can be spoken in seconds that turns into a lot of text in the writing stage. 

I also get inspiration by reading about a topic on the web and at those times I paste the hyperlink right in a note. I may add a little description to go with the link, but sometimes just the link is enough.

I may never write an article about a particular idea but it's present on all devices just in case. From time to time when I have a few moments I look at the idea cards and when further inspiration hits an article is born.


Good articles require research and like most writers I do a lot of it. This happens outside of Evernote but it's captured in a note I open for that purpose. The capture can be links, images, or snippets of text that will add value to the writing at hand.

There's nothing fancy about the research stage, and Evernote brings it all together.

Next: Writing, Publication, Awesome Editors

Topics: Mobility, iPad, Laptops, Tablets, Windows


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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