Learn why Evernote is still the best tool for going paperless today, allowing you to ditch your paper clutter and gain easy access to your most important documents!
For more than a decade now, Abby and I have used an app called Evernote to create a “digital filing cabinet” where we store any documents or information we want to be able to reference at any time.
This means that we haven’t owned a physical filing cabinet for more than 10 years. We don’t have stacks of paper cluttering up our house. But we do have access to all of our most important documents at our fingertips on our smartphones, tablets, and computers whenever we need them.
Evernote is the tool that allows us to make this happen.
If I’m being honest, I’m actually kind of shocked that we’re still using the same app after all these years. You see, I am a bit of a technology junkie. I love to try new tools and apps and am always looking for a reason to switch things up.
Any time a new app comes out claiming to be an Evernote alternative, I eagerly test it out to see how it measures up. And in more than 10 years, I haven’t found anything that even comes close.
In fact, I’m more excited about Evernote today than I have been in a long time.
Why Evernote Is Still the Best Tool for Creating a Digital Filing Cabinet in 2023
There are many reasons that I love Evernote, but there are three main features that cause it to be unmatched by any other app as a digital filing cabinet…
1. Evernote is the perfect combination of a notes app and a digital filing cabinet app.
I have seen many, many articles and videos where someone decides to make the switch from Evernote to some new app. In nearly every case, the person was using Evernote simply as a notes app, rather than taking advantage of its more robust features and utilizing it as a digital filing cabinet as well.
The features needed for a digital filing cabinet go way above and beyond what a standard notes app (Apple Notes, Microsoft OneNote, Notion, etc.) offer. If you’re just looking for a pretty and organized way to take notes, any of those apps will do the trick. I’ve actually used Notion extensively in the past for taking notes, and it really is great for that function.
But I always keep coming back to Evernote because it is so helpful to have one tool that perfectly handles note taking and serves as my digital filing cabinet.
The bottom line is this: Don’t confuse a notes app with a digital filing cabinet. They are not one and the same. Evernote serves as a notes app and a digital filing cabinet. Most of the other Evernote “alternatives” only serve as a notes app.
2. Evernote allows you to organize documents horizontally, making it quicker and easier to find what you’re looking for.
Going paperless is much more than scanning documents and turning them into PDF files. Some people stop there and just end up placing their documents in a vertical structure– a hierarchy with various folders and nested folders.
The problem with a “folder within a folder (within another folder)” organization structure is that documents and files can only “live” in one place. A statement from our son Caleb’s allergy doctor, for example, could only be filed under “allergist” OR “Caleb” OR “insurance” OR “medical.” Then when we need to find that document, we have to go through a bunch of different folders to find what we need.
Evernote is different. It has a more flexible and customizable organization structure that makes document storage and retrieval much faster without having to wonder where we put something.
In the case of the statement from the allergist, in Evernote I can tag that one statement with “allergist” AND “Caleb” AND “insurance” AND “medical,” and searching any one of those terms will bring me the document within seconds.
Evernote has a few vertical organization components like notebooks and notebook stacks, but those primarily serve a visual purpose. The real power is tagging (horizontal organization), OCR searching, note title searching, and advanced search filters that can be saved as shortcuts. These shortcuts save so much time, energy, and frustration when retrieving documents.
If you’ve ever stood in front of your filing cabinet (or nested folders on your computer) and wondered, “Where should I put this document?” or “Where did I put that document?”, Evernote is the solution to that. It will never happen again when you have Evernote’s powerful organization structure working for you.
No other alternative digital filing cabinet has the same level of organization features that Evernote has.
3. Evernote is constantly innovating and improving its technology.
In January 2023, Evernote was purchased by an Italian company called Bending Spoons. You may not have heard of the company itself, but if you work in some type of creative field, you most likely have heard of some of the photo and video editing apps and software they’ve created.
Even without Evernote, Bending Spoons has over 100 million customers who use their apps every month. They’re a big deal, and they’re really good at what they do. Bending Spoons’ expertise has become apparent as they’ve continually worked to improve and innovate with Evernote.
They’ve significantly increased the speed and responsiveness of the app. They’ve also been adding features at a rapid pace. So far this year they’ve already added…
- Backlinks– This implementation is awesome! You can see the big picture of how notes are linked together. I love the visual nature of this. It helps me build a web of interconnected ideas within Evernote and helps me link together documents and files I’ve uploaded with notes and strategies I’ve created.
- Tasks added to the web clipper– Evernote Tasks was a great rollout last year. Now they’ve extended it to the Evernote web clipper so you can turn articles and resources you’ve saved on the web into action.
- AI Note Cleanup– If you are a messy note taker, then this feature is a dream. It’s still in beta, but it has been rolled out to all users. You can clean up the formatting of messy notes or “brain dumps” with a single click. AI Search is coming later this year.
- Real-time collaborative editing– Previously with Evernote, two people could share a note, but they couldn’t work in and edit the same note at the same time. Now two people can edit the same note on multiple devices simultaneously and collaborate in real time.
All of these features continue to improve the functionality and effectiveness of Evernote as a digital filing cabinet and note taking app, and new improvements continue to be made all the time.
A word on Evernote’s price increase…
This year Evernote increased their prices. The personal edition (which is what we recommend for going paperless) now costs $129.99/year. This ends up being $10.83 per month.
They still have the very full featured free version, which is a great way to test out the app and get used to its features. Certainly feel free to use the free version until you start running into limits and need to upgrade.
Though no one loves seeing prices go up, the payoff in extra features and increased functionality is well worth it with Evernote.
Evernote hadn’t increased their prices in nearly seven years, and before Evernote was purchased this year, it seemed like the old owners were primarily maintaining and not innovating. The new price reflects the new owners’ commitment to innovation and growth for Evernote, working to serve their customers better through more robust and helpful features.
And to be honest, I get 10x or more out of Evernote (time saving, money saving, sanity saving) than I pay, even at the new price.
I firmly believe that Evernote is still the best digital filing cabinet for going paperless and organizing your life. It has stood the test of time and proves over and over again that it will continue to meet the needs of its customers.
Learn More with Paperless Made Simple
Evernote has been a total game changer for our family because it has allowed us to completely ditch our physical filing cabinet, eliminate paper clutter, and gain easy access to all of our most important documents with just a few clicks on our smart phones.
Our course, Paperless Made Simple, has helped thousands of students ditch their paper clutter and create their digital filing cabinet with Evernote, walking them through the entire process step by step.
We only open up enrollment a few times per year, so if you’d like to be notified the next time Paperless Made Simple becomes available, be sure to join the waitlist by clicking on the button below.
In the meantime, you can learn more about our process for going paperless in these posts:
Are you an Evernote user? I’d love to hear about your favorite features in the comments below!
Thank you so much for following along! Have a wonderful day!