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(Archived) Feature Request: Quick Note

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I would love to be able to take notes (in a side bar or perhaps some kind of popup - but this typing is getting saved to a note while I'm doing it) while reading within a browser (I use Firefox). It would be best if I could do this in a way that allows me to continue reading with minimal interruption. Flipping back and forth between Evernote and the browser causes too much interruption to the flow of reading (especially something more than a few hundred words).

I've come up with a so-so way to do this already, which I mentioned in reply to a different forum note.

I installed the Firefox extension QuickNote. The way I'm using it is to have the widest possible Quicknote sidebar on my Firefox Window. I take notes while I'm reading something long that I feel like taking notes about (I also may jot down ideas to further research, so that I don't get distracted from finishing a long article by the ever present temptation to look up a stray thought).

When done, there's a few ways you can choose to get things into evernote.

If all you want is your notes, then select the note text and clip it into Evernote.

If you want these notes plus the link, then paste the link first into the quicknote sidebar, then clip to Evernote.

If you want your notes along side the thing you were reading, then use the printscreen key to capture the entire browser area (this obviously works best if what you're reading fits completely onto the screen).

I'm guessing it would not be technically difficult to incorporate some of this functionality into Evernote's Firefox extension, which means users of any platform running Firefox would benefit.

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Glad you're working on it! In case you haven't done it yet, you should check out the Firefox Quicknote extension to get ideas.

Thanks for the quick reply, and thanks for developing the fantastic Evernote system. No more scraps of paper or difficult to file notes - it has substantially improved the way I work.

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Another thing I figured out about Quicknote today: You can use control-F7 to toggle back and forth between what you're reading and the note - which minimizes interruption. So - you're reading along, hit control-F7, type your thought, hit control-F7 and focus is returned to what you're reading (so page-up and page-down keys still work).

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Thanks! It took me a while to figure out how to set it up(Firefox extension doesn't do it alone - also need bookmarklet), and it turns out to be buggy (Using firefox 3.0.5 on XP, I could only get it to consistently work on the evernote website). But if you can iron out the bugs, and add that following two things, it would be sufficient for my needs:

1) A keystroke that toggles it on and off

2) A way to position the pop-up it so it doesn't obscure what I'm reading - which is after all what I'm taking notes on.

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Well, this is a new development. I'm not sure if I like the new functionality or not - I quite liked the ability to very quickly add an entire page in the old version. Also, the blog entry about this gives the impression this applies to all versions of the webclipper, rather than just the bookmarklet, but the Firefox extension seems to be working exactly the same way it used to - is that correct? I think you need to be slightly clearer in the distinction between the bookmarklet & the extension, since I've noticed it's caused confusion for people on many other occasions!

Anyway, I actually returned to this thread to say that I'd figured out my own way to add quicknotes to Evernote, although it might be slightly redundant now (or maybe not, since it's quite a different implementation of quicknotes - to start with you can edit the quicknotes in the sidebar if you do it my way).

It uses the Firefox QuickNote add-on combined with Evernote's "File Import" option (in "Account Properties" in the desktop client). I'd previously set up a folder on my computer as a kind of "dropbox" for Evernote, which is simply a folder on my desktop which I've added to Evernote's "File Import". To get the QuickNotes into Evernote, all you do is move the QuickNote text files to this Evernote dropbox, making sure you remember to change the location of these files in QuickNote's settings (under "User Files"), and they will be automatically (and almost instantaneously) added to Evernote every time they are saved. The major flaw with this method is that you end up with lots of fragments of notes if you've got "autosave on Xth character" turned on in QuickNote, so you need to set the autosave to a higher character or just "autosave on close". I'd recommend having the "dropbox" set to import to a separate notebook (I have one called "imported files" for this purpose) which acts as a kind of inbox; this saves cluttering your main notebook with lots of random notes.

Hope that is of use to somebody!

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missdipsy - That works! A bit cumbersome to set up, particularly because the settings part of the QuickNote extension has strange behaviors and interface - but eventually I got it working and it does what I initially wanted. The effect of it all:

This makes Firefox's sidebar a way to get quick notes into Evernote effortlessly, AND a drop box (where first line is the note name).


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Glad to be able to help! :D

I'm surprised Evernote don't make more of the File Import function, it's an incredibly useful way to get things into Evernote. Just set up a folder on your desktop, add it in as a source folder in "File Import", and hey presto, you've got an Evernote dropbox on your desktop! Or, if you've got an application or a mobile device which saves things to a folder on your computer, the contents of that folder can be automatically uploaded to Evernote vis the File Import function (which is what my version of quicknotes does, and I do something similar with the folder my PDA syncs with).

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I forgot to say, the other thing I like about my version of quicknotes is that it isn't reliant on Evernote, and, if you like, you can actually do something very similar without actually using the QuickNote Firefox add-on. It's all done with text files, which are just about the simplest kind of file you can get, and which can be used with all kinds of other applications. Using my method, you can access your most recent QuickNotes without even opening Evernote or Firefox.

I've just set up another kind of "quicknote", using a text file which launches whenever I start my computer via a shortcut to it in my startup folder (actually, having this text file load at startup is something I've been doing for a while, as a way to have an unobtrusive "virtual notepad" permanently open on my computer, but I only just thought about having it automatically import to Evernote). Now anything I type in this text file is imported to Evernote automatically when I save it, and since it isn't tied to Firefox I can access it, whatever I'm doing on my computer, without having to open Firefox or Evernote. And if I'm out and about, I can log into Evernote Web and my notes are all there.

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After using the quicknote/evernote combo for a week, I've decided it's easier to NOT have autosave enabled in quicknote. Afterall, quicknote always saves what I'm doing in the firefox cache anyway so when I'm ready to have it duplicated on evernote and everywhere else, then I hit the save button.

All this tinkering is the price you pay when you try to mash together two apps that weren't designed to work together. But I'm pretty satisfied with the end result.

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But when you do that, don't you find that you've got multiple copies of the note, one for every time you've saved the file? (I just tried this out with a test notebook).

Yes, you do, which isn't ideal, but isn't a massive problem if you have them sync to a dedicated notebook where they can't clutter up your main notebooks. It is just a workaround rather than a perfect solution, but if you're only using this as a kind of virtual "scrap of paper" to jot things on and get them quickly into Evernote, it's a pretty good workaround. As elan19 said, it probably works better if you turn off autosave so you don't end up with a new note for every tiny addition to the QuickNote, but even if you do end up with several copies of the note it's not a major hassle to delete the least recent ones (as long as they've been imported to a dedicated folder rather than being mixed up with your other notes).

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