Evernote: Your New Office Suite

Evernote’s a great notebook app. It makes it simple to write notes down, record audio or drag in images to remember everything, and then find it all again quickly with a click.

But then, what makes Evernote so nice — something so many people rely on — is far more than just being a notes app. There’s plenty of places you can jot down notes, from the built-in Notes app to services like Simplenote. Evernote, though, ends up being far more than just that since there’s so many ways to add info to it. You can clip web pages with the brilliant new Evernote Web Clipper, snap pictures and add notes on the go with the new iPhone app, or use IFTTT to save stuff to Evernote on the go. If only you could do something with all that info.

Well, now you can. That’s where Evernote’s new Presentation Mode comes in.

A Notes App Taking on PowerPoint

Evernote: Your New Presentation Tool

Evernote: Your New Presentation Tool

Evernote’s Presentation Mode is the latest addition to the notes app that does it all. Added with the v5.3 update for Macs this week, Presentation Mode is a new premium feature that automatically turns your notes into something that looks good enough to present on the big screen. Everyone will be able to try out the new feature for free for the first 30 days, but after that, you’ll need an Evernote Premium subscription to take advantage of the tool. And if you give on-the-fly presentations very often, you’ll have a very good reason to subscribe just for this.

PowerPoints are mostly about you data, and Evernote’s got plenty of that. All it needed to do was make that data look good, and put it on the big screen. So, with a light and dark mode you can choose between, Evernote will turn a notebook of notes, snippets, files, and anything else you’ve thrown in Evernote into a presentation. You’ll have a faint fade transition between each slide, and an on-screen laser pointer of sorts to highlight what you’re talking about. It’s basic, but just might be all you need for basic presentations.

A fake laser pointer that acts more like a disappearing marker.

A fake laser pointer that acts more like a disappearing marker.

Now, everything we’ve all learned about “good” presentations in recent years would tell you that Evernote notes are absolutely not ideal for presentations. There’s too much information density, more words in an average note than anyone would reasonably read in a PowerPoint slide. But an Evernote presentation doesn’t have to be bad. Instead, just treat each note as an individual slide, and throw them all in one notebook — or tag them with the same tag — to it’s easy to pull them up in Evernote together. It’s just about your data and perhaps images you want to show off — and for once, you don’t need to worry about how anything looks. Just tap the present button, and tap through your notes, and everything should work fine.

You’re not going to win an award for the world’s most stunning presentation ever, but you’ll likely spend far less time making your presentation than you would in any other app. And really, for absolutely zero effort, I can’t think of a nicer looking presentation tool. It just made making decent looking presentations an absolute no-brainer.

It’s All About Data

Evernote 5 makes it easy to find the data you want

Evernote 5 makes it easy to find the data you want

See, the important thing is just your data. That’s what Evernote’s good with: data. It’s the place to throw all of your info instead of putting it in countless Word documents and random PDF stored who knows where. It’s taught us to not worry about formatting, and just slap our info in the app to easily retrieve it. It’s got great search — and a smart tool to link related notes if you’re a premium user — so you’ll always be able to find anything, ugly or not.

And now, Evernote’s going back to the drawing board to help us do more with the mountains of data we’ve saved in it. It’s added annotation tools through Skitch to help you make the most out of your screenshots and PDFs, and recently added a reminders tool to let Evernote help you remember what you need to do. And if formatting is still important, there’s the basic rich text formatting options you need, enough even to make a half-decent document for print if you’re living without Word. Or just share a digital copy of your notes through Evernote, since your coworkers likely don’t want another piece of paper laying around.

Evernote’s not a one-app replacement for Office, but bit by bit it’s making itself the irreplaceable Office tool that Microsoft Office is ceasing to be. It’s the data tool for the data centric world we’re living in. I would have never, ever thought of adding a presentation tool to the app, but they’ve done a brilliant job of taking your raw notes and turning them into a half-decent looking presentation. It makes you wander what they’ll add next: perhaps throw some form of spreadsheet and charting options to take on Excel at the most basic level, or built-in data analysis tools that manage to do the heavy lifting for you from your notes?

What more could they help you do with your mountains of data? The answer to that question will spell the future the notes giant.