When you sync your Livescribe Sky WiFi pen to the Internet, magic happens. Each page of your Livescribe scribblings gets transformed into a single Evernote note. The note is Evernote’s basic structure, and your Livescribe note is a special kind of Evernote note. The Evernote note is very similar to an email message that you might send to a friend. Like an email message, each note has a subject (the title), a body (the content), and optional attachments (files such as images, audio clips, Microsoft Office files, and pdfs). In order to discover how best to leverage Evernote’s power with your Livescribe pen, lets look at the the components of the Evernote note.
The Evernote note title is free form, searchable text up to 255 characters long. If you create a note in Evernote, you can give it any title you want.
When your Livescribe notes are synced into Evernote, the titles are created automatically. The title will list the Livescribe notebook page number, style, and sequence number, like this: Page 40 – A5 Grid Notebook 4. Once your note is imported into Evernote, you can change the title if you like. There are a couple of good reason not to:
- If you edit the notebook page in Livescribe and sync later on, the title of the corresponding note in Evernote will revert to the automatic one created in the sync process.
- Sometimes you may want to group several Livescribe pages from a particular meeting together in Evernote and print them to a pdf or paper. Livescribe notes in Evernote are notorious for getting out of sequence when displayed in a list by the default Create Date attribute. If you retain the automatic title, you can sort a notebook by title and each page will be in the proper sequence. Then it’s a snap to select the desired pages and print them.
The Evernote note content is text similar to what you’d find in a Microsoft Word file. You can style the content text by changing the font, adding bullets or numbering, and adding tables. You can also add hyperlinked text to your note allowing you to link to a web page or another note in Evernote. Like the title, the content is completely searchable. The content portion of a Livescribe note differs from a standard Evernote note in that you cannot edit the body of the note except by making changes to the corresponding page in your Livescribe notebook. In fact the body of your Livescribe note is technically a different part of the note structure. It is an attachment.
Each note can have attachments embedded in the content. These are stand-alone files such as Microsoft Office files, pdfs, images, and audio clips. If you create a note in Evernote, you can add whatever files you want into the note. Some of the files, like images and pdfs, will display inline. Others will show as an icon that needs to be launched in order to view. In the case of a Livescribe note, a graphical image of your Livescribe page is embedded in the content section. If you recorded audio on the Livescribe page, the text of the page will be green. When you click green audio text in Evernote, a Livescribe player webpage opens and you will be able to play the audio and follow along in the handwritten notes. As mentioned earlier, the only way to edit the Livescribe note content is with your original paper notebook using your Livescribe pen. One comment on the audio pages – they will not work if you are not connected to the Internet.
Tags are searchable keywords attached to the note. You can think of Evernote tags like those little, colored Post-it flags that bristled from the pages of your textbooks and notebooks in school. Only these taqs are much cooler. Each note can have from 0 to 250 tags, and that’s what gives Evernote it’s awesome organizational power. Livescribe notes can be tagged just like any other Evernote note. This is one of the ways that Evernote enhances the Livescribe experience. Throw three or four tags on a Livescribe note and now it’s not just a copy of a page from your Livescribe notebook, it’s part of your data: you can link to it, share it, and find it when searching or filtering.
Each note has standard attributes: Created Date, Updated Date, Read Only, Origin, etc. These attributes are very helpful in filtering and searching. In Evernote, the default display for notes is by notebook in descending order by Updated Date. You can change your default display by choosing which attribute will be the sort key and setting the direction of the sort (ascending or descending).
Each note can have a reminder attached to it. A reminder is a little widget that you use to have Evernote notify you about the note sometime in the future. You attach the reminder, set the notification date and Evernote will send you an email the day a reminder comes due.
The Evernote notebook is technically not part of a note, but each note has one. Notes exist only in notebooks. In contrast to my desk at work, Evernote doesn’t have notes lying around loose. A note belongs to one and only one notebook. Your Livescribe notes will be together in a notebook which corresponds to the paper notebook used to create the note. When the first notes from a new notebook are synced to Evernote, the program will create a separate notebook with the same formal name as the paper version. You can change your notebook’s name in Evernote and the notes will still find their way home. Unfortunately, changing the notebook name does not change the way your Livescribe notes are imported. Your Livescribe notes will still have titles based on the original notebook name as described in the Titles section above.
As mentioned in the section entitled Why Evernote, Livescribe’s functionality is definitely enhanced now that the notes are housed in Evernote. The notes can be tagged so they are searchable and you can add reminders for action items. What’s more your Livescribe notes are in good company with the rest of your information. This is really powerful. You can link to selected Livescribe notes from within other notes in other notebooks. These features make it possible to live the Evernote motto: Remember Everything.