Springpad vs Evernote — Why It Might Be Better…

Springpad vs Evernote -- It Might Be Better | 40Tech A few weeks back, while researching for my comparison review of Shelfster and Evernote, I stumbled upon another alternative to collect information and organize your life: Springpad. I had the pleasure of speaking with the CEO and co-founder of Springpad, Jeff Janer (formerly of Third Screen Media and Britemoon) — and I have to say, Evernote user or not, Springpad may have a place in your life.

To test this theory against my normal giddy excitement for new tech, I got my wife to try it — and, let me tell you, if my wife can find a new piece of tech both useful and exciting, then it may just be one of the best bits software to appear in a long, long time.

“The beauty of Springpad is that it functions less like a junk drawer where important items can get lost, but more like a personal assistant that keeps you organized and productive. Never forget anything of interest to you, like gift ideas for Mother’s Day or things to do on a trip to Florida; just save it into Springpad and it will be there for any event, for any use, from any location.” – Jeff Janer, Co-Founder and CEO

UPDATES: In the past year, Springpad has undergone some impressive rebuilds and equally impressive growth! They are now at over 1 million users, have completely reworked their interface, and added some great new features. You can get some details on the updates in our posts Springpad: Easier Than Ever to Save and Organize Everything and Springpad Gets Even Better — Again.

UPDATE #2: Springpad adds autosave, backup, and export features! You can also add Types, Notebooks, and Tags directly to subject lines when sending in items via email. Oh, and viewing Springpad via RSS readers and full API access are also available. Check out the Springpad Blog for details!

GTD in SPRINGPAD: Learn how to implement David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology (GTD) in Springpad in this post.

ANDROID USERS, check out our posts on Springpad for Android: Springpad Beats Evernote — At Least On Android, and Springpad Android Update Adds New Widgets, Save From Apps Feature, & More.


What is Springpad and How is it Different?

Anyone who has ever read this blog knows that we are fans and users of Evernote to an extent that borders on the religious. Naturally, then, the first question I had was “How does it compare, and why would I switch?” The answer is simple: Springpad and Evernote may overlap in some of their functionality, but Springpad is a vastly different approach that may even be complimentary to some Evernote users. Evernote is a brain dump, pure and simple — and it’s a brain dump that you have to create your own organization for, after the fact. Springpad, on the other hand, offers a both pretty and easy to use organization that is already implemented for you, and that you can easily fit yourself into. And it’s free. Completely free.

Springpad also offers a few features that Evernote users have been crying for. Namely: The ability to share single notes via favourite services, Google Calendar integration and event and task reminders. There are many other differences in the approach of Springpad vs Evernote as well, such as the customized views and functionality for different categories such as Notes, Tasks, Recipes, Bookmarks, Movies, Music and more; and the integration of about 75 apps that add more specific and configurable functionality to Springpad.

And once again… it’s free.


Custom Layouts for Different Categories in Springpad | 40Tech


How it Works (jump to: The Good and Bad of Springpad)

You can quickly capture, organize, and even share everything that interests you from wherever you are, using the webclipper, mobile interface, or iPhone app (iPad and Android are on the the way in May). Springpad doesn’t stop there, though — on anything that you choose to post as public and shareable, Springpad will provide you with enhanced information and functionality, as well as offers from their partners. This is a great feature for three reasons:

  1. You have access to possible ways to save money on things you are actively interested in.
  2. You can automatically integrate your notes with other aspects of your life (such as adding a movie you noted in your Movies category to your Netflix queue, or seeing showtimes and buying theatre tickets via Fandango).
  3. This model keeps Springpad free — in fact, the more you add to Springpad, the more offers they can serve you and the better those offers will work for you. This means that Springpad will never cap you or charge you for storage — something you can’t get away from in Evernote.


Springpad Enhanced Data | 40Tech


Here’s a Usage Scenario:

  • You’re surfing and come across a movie that you’re interested in.
  • You don’t have too much time to research it, so you use the Springpad webclipper and capture the information for later — you can capture it as a bookmark or, as the clipper is intelligent, you can pick the movie category and do a quick search within Springpad’s userbase and partners — like Netflix for example — for more information to connect to your note.
  • You add comments or tags if you like, or even additional media, and save the selected movie for later.
  • When you have a moment, you pop open Springpad and open up the note for that movie.
  • You are presented with a link to wherever you clipped it from and whatever information you added — as well as the ability (depending on what stage of release the movie is in) to see where and when the movie is playing nearby, links to more information, a link to add the movie to your Netflix queue, buy the movie via Amazon (possibly at a discount), or buy tickets to the movie via Fandango.
  • You can also rate how much you want to see the movie, rate how much you liked the movie and even write a review.
  • Finally, you can share the post via Twitter, Facebook, Email, or any of your favourite services via AddThis.

And all that is just one aspect. Springpad can also help you with Project Management, Task Management, Trip Planning, and numerous other things, including finding, organizing and sharing over 100,000 recipes that you can easily integrate into interactive shopping lists. Fun, huh? That was the thing that sold my wife on it…


Springpad Webclipper in action | 40Tech

The Good and Bad of Springpad (jump to: Will I Switch?)


The Good:

  • Easy to use right out of the box. You can use it just as it is, or customize your notebooks, integrations and tabs (much like OneNote) to the extent that you are very nearly creating your own custom app.
  • Crazy amounts of integrated features and services with more on the way. Currently you can login by and link your Springpad account to Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, and Yahoo/Flickr — there are plans for Last.fm, Pandora and more.
  • Google Calendar integration! That’s right Evernote users, there is finally a note-taking service that has Gcal Sync built in — and it has its own built in task reminder system as well.
  • Apps! There are about 75 apps already available for Springpad that offer you enhanced features for task management, GTD (Getting Things Done), more robust shopping lists, meal planners, and more. They plan to release their API soon, as well, which will likely mean some very cool third party integrations in the near future.
  • The clipping tool is powerful and intelligent, almost as functional as working directly out of the main software. It can even grab just the recipe ingredients off of a page on a site like Epicurious, for example, or you can share what you are clipping on Twitter, Facebook or email right from the clipper. You can also set up events and task reminders from the clipper, which is a handy feature.
  • Add by Email — Springpad provides you with an email address to add content to the service via email, much like Evernote or Posterous.
  • Their iPhone App is simple and highly functional, providing you with the ability to add by text, by type, by photo, by a location-based search of what’s nearby, or by barcode. As mentioned, there is also an Android app on the way (mid-May), and other smartphone users can access the mobile version of the Springpad website.
  • Offline sync! Just like the Evernote app, you can sync your entire Springpad with your iPhone for offline viewing.
  • iPad app coming in about a month or so, also with offline sync! This should be a great help when you want to take a recipe into the kitchen…
  • You can share notes and information with people quickly and easily. The inability to share notes and information easily is one of the major flaws of Evernote – not so, Springpad.
  • Just start typing in Springpad and Live search the web and other users’ public Springpad posts. Share and “Spring” what you find into your own account.
  • Follow Springpad users you respect, like Twitter, but with access to more than just 140 characters and a link.
  • Bloggers can add a Save button directly to their blog. The button works just like the webclipper and is another great way to get your work shared about the web, especially as Springpad grows.

Springpad iPhone App, Ways to Capture while Mobile | 40Tech

The Bad:

  • No Desktop App yet. It’s in the works, but it will be later in the year (a Mac client may be available in June).
  • There are times when the Clipper seems to miss things, at least when grabbing a recipe. When trying it out, my wife pointed out that one or two of the ingredients in the list were missing. Thankfully, it is extremely easy to copy and paste them back in.
  • Since the Springpad service is so robust, there is still a slight learning curve as you figure out how to best make it work for you — however, I say again: if my darling and tech-resistant wife can get into it easily, then so can you. Apparently Springpad is actually very popular with moms, in general. It’s like a personal assistant that’s easy to get along with.


What’s on the horizon

Aside from the impending releases of of the API and iPad, Android, and Desktop apps, Springpad is integrating more and more services to provide users with even more enhancements. They are also adding an Alerts Dashboard feature that will allow you to opt in to offers from their partners — so you could be adding a note about a product that you really like and find yourself looking at (for example) a 50% Off coupon for that product or something related.

Will I Switch?

Switch? No. At least not right away, anyway. I have adopted Evernote as much too much of a major part of my general and offline workflow to just jump about all willy nilly. However, I may well refine my usage of Evernote and adopt Springpad as a more organized and visual approach to the information I collect, as well as my GTD process. Much of my decision here will come from watching how my wife adopts and handles the software over the next few weeks — which I plan to do a follow up post on.

Springpad has some of the features that I’ve always wished for in Evernote and, quite honestly, does a better job of presenting and allowing you to manipulate the information. Evernote does what it is meant for extremely well, but if you find it lacking or frustrating at times, Springpad may be what you need (especially with a desktop app on the way).

Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

Bobby Travis

Bobby isn't 40-something, but is a strong supporter of the Grown-up Geek kind. He's a loving husband and father first, but is also a freelance writer, productivity nut, operatically trained singer, and (not-so) closet geek. Check out his random thoughts, wackiness, and Instagram pics on Tumblr, Twitter, or Google+-- or just head over to bobby-travis.com.


  1. I liked Springpad – I used it a while ago – but it was just so BUSY. It always seemed like there was too much going on. I also didn’t like how hard it was to get mobile information in and synced, but it sounds like a lot of that has changed.

    I’m definitely going to go have another look – don’t tell Evernote :)

    • LOL! I won’t tell…

      There is still a lot going on that might not suit the minimalist, but once you find your workflow in it, I think it could be a winner. I am really interested to see what they do with the desktop app — though I will have to wait till they do the PC version *sigh*.

    • Hi David,

      Hope you get the chance to check us out at Springpad again. Would love your feedback on what you like and what you don’t like: jgrossman AT springpartners.com

      (by the way, I sprung your recommendation for the Roku player: http://sprng.me/nh6f )



    • I’m so confused and I hope you will help me. I installed Evernote today and then uninstalled it without making a single note because I realized that the free version doesn’t allow me to work offline. I also could not figure out how to create a local only notebook. Yes, I want to be able to capture stuff on the web, but the big reason I need something is for notes that I take at workshops. I want to be able to search across them much better than in a word processer.

      Can Springpad be used offline? Do I HAVE to be on the web to use it?

      Thank you for any advice.

      • Hi Beth — are you talking Evernote mobile or desktop? With Evernote desktop you can still work offline with the free version. In iPhone, iPad and Android apps, you need to be online, but unless you are noting a lot of pictures and audio, Evernote will barely scratch your mobile bandwidth. If you are doing a lot of images and such, you would likely need to spend the $5/mo anyway.

        Springpad, to my knowledge, is online only at this time.

        Hope that helps!

    • How about http://www.callij.com ? callij is very simplistic chat and free form text oriented personal information management system

  2. Springpad sounds interesting. I went in and created an account, and now have to figure out what I’ll use it for. I suspect I’ll probably try to use it to clip stuff from around the web, and see if it grows on me from there.

    One thing I do use Evernote for, among many other uses, is as sort of a document repository. For example, if I get a bill, I scan it, and it goes right into my Evernote account so that I can pay that bill wherever I have Internet access. As best I can tell, you can’t import documents and files into Springpad. Am I right?

  3. Hi Evan,

    Josh from Springpad here. You can upload your files into Springpad. Just click on My Stuff at the top navigation bar of the site. Then on the right hand column where it lists categories under the heading of “My Stuff” click “more.” One of the choices is “File” and you can then upload whatever file you wish.

    • Thanks for weighing in Josh!

      I also noticed you can add files and images to notes directly. No viewers though (for files anyway), so it just downloads as an attachment.

      If you want to stay in the browser without opening another app, Evan, you can always add the file to Google Docs and then add the link to a note, with a description. And I suspect adding a scan that is an image to a note will allow you to view it directly from Springpad.

      You can also add reminders to your bill payment notes, and sync them to your Google Calendar (though I admit I haven’t quite figured how to get the sync to happen yet).

      It has a handy blog post planner app too, Evan, complete with Scheduler. ;)

      • Hey Bobby,

        You are correct. You can add a file to a note, or anything else you save. If that file is an image, you can view it directly in the note.

        For example, here’s a recipe with an image in the notes section underneath the ingredients (and you can click the image to view it):


      • I’ll have to play with it a bit more. I tried to figure out how to share a task with another user, so, for example, the task would show up for both of us and nobody else could see it. Couldn’t figure it out.

      • I don’t believe that functionality is live yet — looks like they may be going that way late this year, maybe sooner if there is a high user demand — maybe Josh could speak to that?

    • Hi Josh – for the life of me I cannot see how to upload a file. When I click on “All My Stuff” I dont see a R/H column with categories!

      Lost of icons – why not make one of these “File Upload”.

      I am at work now & have spent almost 15 minutes trying to upload a file. In the end I used Dropbox – took 2 secs!

      What am I doing wrong?


      • Hi Paul, when in the MyStuff area, just click the more button in the right sidebar and select the file icon (looks like a document and paperclip) and upload.

        Hope that helps!

  4. So I figured out how to add something to Google Calendar: After you set it up as a connected service, you simply add something as an Event. Not a task, an event. Pretty simple. I noticed that reminders and descriptions are not added to Gcal though, they remain handled by Springpad.

    On a completely different note: If you sign up originally via Twitter or Facebook or another service, make sure you go into your account settings and add a password — otherwise you won’t be able to log in to the iPhone app.

  5. Evan,

    Nearly everything you save (including tasks) has the option of being made public or private. Unfortunately, there is no way to only make it public for one other person. This may not work for your purposes, but you can make it public just for a moment to share it with another person, and after the other person saves it to their account, you can both make it private again.

    We do plan on offering more collaborative options down the road, but I can’t give you a timetable just yet. I’d encourage you to check out our Get Satisfaction page to leave your input! Keep it coming!



  6. I admit it, I’ve been an Evernote groupie for sometime (a premium one at that). Although I LOVE EN, there are things missing. For me, I need a way to organize my notes (clips, files, links, etc) into projects that I can visually see together. The tag thing just doesn’t cut it. I have tried Zoho notebook but feel that it ends up looking more like a messy scrapbook. I tried Nozbe but it is so slow. But this Springpad may be my answer. I love the organizational structure. I love how nice it looks. For me, I see how this could compliment my use of EN. Evernote is my digital filing cabinet and I don’t see functioning without it. However, Springpad might just work as my digital binder. Ironically, I looked at this 2 weeks ago before reading your blog & passed by. Honestly, the save ‘anything’ promo on the front page (and video) made my categorize it as just another web capture tool. Given the Apps & Google calendar integration I can see it is way more and has major possibilities as a project management tool. I think highlighting these features upfront might grab the attention of folks who have already moved beyond ‘bookmarking’ as a way of capturing content. Of course I look forward to a desktop app. Also any idea if they are planning an android app? Can’t wait to play around with it some more. Thanks for the info & making me stop and take another look!

    • Hi Kathleen!

      Glad I could help you take another look! I’ve been playing with Springpad more and more since I wrote the post, and I am liking it more and more. They still have some things to iron out, for sure, but as they develop I can see it only getting more awesome.

      The Android App is due out in May, I believe.

      And very good points on the intro and marketing presentation — when I first stumbled upon them, I skimmed right by too, until they offered up an interview with the CEO. His walkthrough made me take a real look at it. Hopefully they will see your comment, and perhaps alter their strategy to suit!

  7. Jonathan Bardi

    I like it, but it still is not up to par with Evernote… until you have the ability to view files other than images, it is pretty useless. I store EVERYTHING in evernote, and 90% are PDF files clipped from Safari on my mac (i mean who wants the windows version where everything is clipped without structure and layout, blah), so you really need to focus on the ability to view PDF files with springpad, both in the browser and the iphone app if you want to be able to convince people to leave Evernote… that is a MUST, otherwise I might as well just use an ftp site to store my files because I can’t view them there without downloading either.

    So, in closing, no viewing of PDF files, no using of your app :)

  8. Pingback: Why Mom's Will Love iPads, Practical Use | 40Tech | 40Tech

  9. As far as I can tell, I can not add my scanned-in documents to Springpad. That’s a deal-breaker for me. :(

    • Hi Matt, almost missed you here!

      You can add any file to Springpad when in the MyStuff area. Just click the more button in the right sidebar and select file and upload.

      Hope that helps you!

  10. Springpad sounds awesome, and of course I’m eager to start playing with it! :) One of the things I found very cool about Evernote was the fact that it would search for text even within images. Will Springpad do that too?

  11. Pingback: Evernote Trunk: Less Than Hoped For, But A Nice Addition | 40Tech

  12. Will springboard bring in OCR for documents/images, etc like evernote has?

    • Hi Ankit,

      Funny enough, the las commentor asked the same thing! As I told her, I believe it is on their roadmap, but I have no idea for when. As people are asking, I hope it will be soon!

  13. I’d like to know if Springpad offers to save websites … as in, not only a link, but the site, either as an html file or a pdf or anything. Because I was just recently thinking about that, that there are just quite some interesting sites/articles and some of them vanish so quickly and a simple link is useless in this case. Or does Evernote offer this? Or any other service?

  14. Pingback: Springpad on Android - Better than Evernote | 40Tech

  15. My husband found Springpad from an advertisement on a different app. We both use our ipod touches as a PDA already. I love Springpad! I’ve never heard of Evernote but will be checking it out. Springpad has been great for me as a self-employed business owner. I am always looking for ways to increase organization. I do love that Springpad will pull information and recommendations from the web and can be accessed online as well. Many ipod apps can’t be accessed online. I am also a huge fan of Google Calendar and the CalenGoo app, both of which sync with my website’s internal Google calendar. It seems to work much better than Windows calendar or Microsoft Outlook calendar.

    • Thanks for the comment, Heidi! If you love the recommendations engine of Springpad, you should definitely stick with it. Evernote is awesome, but you won’t get that from it. I had never heard of CalenGoo before your comment — I checked it out, and it is pretty full featured, despite the unfortunate name. Definitely better than the stock iPhone calendar — I may review it, down the line. Thanks for the tip!

  16. Glad to see springpad is improving. Here’s my beef: Once you leverage the power of social networking into your items, your repository of things ends up looking a heck of a lot like everyone else’s. But that’s not my only problem with Springpad. There are redundancies which I have to scratch my head over to guess at how they would be useful: new apps, new notebooks, new keywords. To have all my information reshape into a different function-it’s sort of a GTD’s (getting things done) brain explosion. I just couldn’t comprehend how my ideas, concepts, leads, read it laters, reference information, could be retrievable after seeing the interface mutate in so many ways. Sure, I’d love to have a picture of a bottle of wine magically populate my entry with all the other things I would like to know about it (what to pair with it, where to buy it, vintage, best price, map of closest wine shop), but doing so is depended on pre-existing databases. What about all the non-conventional things that the individual might be keeping track of?

    I wish it was easier to retrieve and repurpose information in evernote (EN), but EN still works better for me. I’d really like Springpad to work for me, really, but I just don’t think that way. Also, springpads checkboxes seem to be easier to create, thus checklists are great, but then how do you organize them in terms of “what do I need to do today?” or “what do I need to pack for this weekend’s ski trip?”

    Evernote on the other hand, is the individual’s attempt at creating a database of stuff one can’t jam into his/her own brain. It’s easier for me to keep organized. It’s local drive versus working from the cloud. Trust me, I think there are a lot of activities that are better for being networked rather than local, but Springpad makes me feel like you need a hive mind (“resistance is futile, you will be assimilated!”)

    If evernote made “subscriptions tags.” Not notebooks, they might be able to compete. The social network component of springpad is bound to take off. I just don’t understand it.

    • Good points, all, James. Springpad definitely isn’t for everyone. Personally, I would love some social options in Evernote — but I would also love for Springpad to connect all of their different tools so that they draw the same information, but display it in different ways. If you enter something in one of the apps, it doesn’t necessarily display in another one that could use the same info.

      • Now I’m starting to sniff around again. These new announcements: the board, a revamped iphone app, tagging (which is really the backbone of how I get around in Evernote). I can foresee a personal assistant really wowing the boss, reminding oneself or the kids of the chores, or keeping in sync with the spouse for the day, just by publishing a cork board view of the shared agenda. I also like that the checkboxes are designed both for tasks and for checklists (typical packing lists, closing duties for the counter staff at the bakery, etc.) which is an under supplied element to the power GTD user. Also, stuff can be created with alerts, making for a more functional tickler folder. Heck, half the time I bookmark something is because I think it will be relevant some other time, which leaves me to at least entertain changing my bookmarking habits to work with this service. And they simply wised up on the springpadit.com with more exemplary videos and a flow chart of where stuff goes. I’m almost convinced.

      • Oh and the bulk editing is a good direction. For one, projects that are no longer can be easily archived by dragging them all at once into another notebook, if that’s your style, or removing the tag that you assigned to it that catches it as an active project. They have yet to implement a bulk list of tagging, so you still have to begin typing or drag/drop in order to associate an item with a tag. But even here is an improvement over evernote: I find it more intuiting to grab the desired tag and plop it on the item. Evernote has it the other way around, where you drag the item on the tiny little tag, which if your list of tags is long could additionally require some scrolling. I never think to do it this way. With springpad, either method will work.

      • Yeah, I’m liking some of the new options in Springpad as well, James. I’m still hoping for a solid desktop app that syncs, but I’m loving the new UI! You seem to have spent a fair amount of time checking it out — if you want to write a guest post with your take on the app, I’d love to read it!

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  18. Pingback: Why Springpad Will Never Replace Evernote « dan gold, esq.

  19. Hi Bobby,

    I’m wondering how it’s going with your wife’s use of Springpad?

    I could see using the same tagging setup you have in Evernote to accomplish GTD in Springpad or is there a way that I’m missing?

    To James Levine, it worries me too not to have complete access to my files stored in Evernote, how are you feeling with Springpad’s capabilities now after some use?

    • Heh — my wife just can’t get into tech. Until she finally gets a smartphone, that probably won’t change. She barely checks Facebook or email.

      Springpad is far more complex than Evernote, and can be somewhat overwhelming as a result. THat said, they have improved in their tutorials and such immensely, and have made several changes to their interface to make things easier. In theory, you could approach the GTD method I laid out for Evernote, but you would have alter it to fit. There is a GTD app for Springpad, I believe. That may have changed recently.

      I’m doing a follow up interview with the Springpad CEO to talk about their changes next week and will have an updated article, likely the week following. They apparently have some cool new features on the way as well, so I may have a better answer for you then.

    • Hi Chase,
      For those joining us: Chase asks above what my experiences have been thus far regarding storing files in Springpad vs Evernote.

      Here’s my dirty little secret: I don’t use Evernote Pro, and here is my main reason why:

      Don’t know about PC’s, but the Home Folder structure is there for much of the apple media experience to play nicely with each-other. Rather than personalize my file and naming system, I tend to conform for the sake of having this work the way they’re supposed to. This is a long winded way of saying that I’m leery of any client or database system that organizes or indexes files in its own way.

      There are some exceptions to my caring too much about this, and the market to store odds and ends, like that stuff drawer most of us have in the kitchen, is a great use for these two competitors. (I happen to have recently left an academic career, and even using the Zotero plug-in for firefox, I associate the original files in my own folder system to my citations.)

      That means I don’t use Evernote or Springpad for spreadsheets or original photo files, or for email forwarding, even if there are some need scripts and add-ons for Gmail to tag things for projects and associate them to boxes. I don’t save pdfs to evernote either (not sure if I even have the option with the free version.)

      Let’s face it, there are other ways, like Dropbox or the mobileme paid service (iDisk), to mirror formal working files in the cloud. I don’t use google docs because the original URL for documents is then missing, which makes more mark-up and citing on-line material more difficult.

      As for Springpad, Bobby, I’d be honored to offer a guest report. Might even share some screenshots or a notebook with your audience here. As for my impressions, Chase, I’m not quite as stary-eyed about Springpad as when I updated these last couple comments. It still has a way to go. As you sensed, Bobby, the GTD app is gone, and IMO thankfully so. As a side note, most of the APPs or alternate views in Springpad have yet to be supported in the basic Notebook view that will replace them, so if you did save lots of things in different apps, you might be additionally frustrated right now.

      The conclusion of any story I wrote today would probably be that SpringPad is best for Wishlists and Checklists. These are overlooked boxes in digital implementation of GTD. If that’s all the stuff you have in mind, then dive right in. (I’ve been high-handed in the past regarding Springpad, reminding myself that we are not simply just consumers in life, but for those of us who just want to keep there relation to the material world organized, Springpad is almost ready to cover you.) Example: I love how an item such as a book, first of all, is already correctly identified as a book, and furthermore can be toggled between “want to read” and “I have read.” Not that I’m on them (yet) but there’re are social networks, book clubs, dating sites, and the lot, that are interested just in this one simple bit of information, and this basic toggle helps you to organize whether something is archived (or sent to facebook or whatever) or in some tickler status.

      • Hiya, James.

        You’re not alone! I, too, do not use Evernote Pro. As it turns out, I am too cheap to pay 5 bucks per month unless I really need something. I would love to see a post from you regarding your Springpad experience. I’ll be doing an update on Springpad myself soon-ish, but it sounds like you’ve been much more invested in it than I have. We should chat, after I do the interview.

        I’m also interested in a write up on your preferred workflow/tech tools — I might just set up a category for it on 40Tech and get a bunch of posts put together on our users’ workflows. I’m betting there’s some good stuff in there that would help out a lot of people.

  20. Bobby, thanks for the quick response (and on a Holiday weekend no less -Happy Thanksgiving btw).

    It doesn’t look like you can create nested Notebooks OR nested Tags, correct? Or do I just not see how to do it?

    I don’t see Springpad replacing Evernote for me, but I can see using it in the following context as a consultant & designer:

    Step #1 Sort Gmail-email with ActiveInbox, forwarding actionable items to Evernote Notebook @Inbox;

    Step #2 Sort Evernote Notebook @Inbox and assign Next Action tags, Ticklers, Lists, Somedays, References;

    Step #3 All Projects get a Springpad Notebook created for them where I can create the project’s mood-board, add tags, add tasks, share files & ideas with clients and vice/versa;

    Step #4 When Actions & Projects are finished, remove unnecessary tags and put into Evernote Notebook @Archives

    If I could integrate the two apps I would be in utter HEAVEN.

    Does that workflow help anyone else?


    • Happy Thanksgiving to you, as well — I’m actually Canadian, but I just had my second TG this year with my sister’s family. She married an American — we had smoked turkey. It was insane…

      As for the workflow, some great ideas! Looks like you are using Evernote for your personal GTD and Springpad for collaborative project management?

      Let me know how it works out for you.

    • Chase,

      That sounds like the best merger of the two, I agree though it would be amazing if one of them could bring together all of the pieces or if there were a way to automate the integration more. Here’s to hoping. Thanks for posting your system.

  21. I’m an Evernote user. After reading the posts here, I decided to try Springpad. It has been disastrous. After several registration attempts, I was finally able to get an account set up. Other than entering my zip code, I haven’t been able to do much else. I don’t know if something is wrong with their servers or what, but I’m not too comfortable with Springpad now. After entering my zipcode I received a message that the change was being saved. The process took all of 5 minutes. It took me several attempts to even log in. I kept getting a wrong user name or wrong password message. Now I can’t log in at all. I thought that maybe it was my brand new desktop so I tried on 2 different laptops. I got the same results. I’m giving up now.

    • Thanks for your comment, Debra. Sorry to hear you’re having difficulties — odd one’s too. Nothing like that happened to me. I’ll be chatting with the folks from Springpad next week, and I’ll mention your issue. Maybe there’s something weird with your account that they can fix.

      • Bobby – I thought I’d chime in my two cents here. I’m incredibly impressed with what Springpad has done in its most recent enhancements.

        I wrote a full review on my blog – I believe Evan passed the link on to you. http://j.mp/ht9H1h.

        In sum, here are the 3 reasons why I think Springpad has truly differentiated itself in the centralized virtual repository for remembering everything:
        (1) leveraging key technologies in HTML5, iOS and Android platforms;
        (2) listening … truly listening to user feedback, and
        (3) applying lessons learned across multiple platforms to provide a seamless user experience no matter where you are in your daily life!

        You can read the full review here: http://j.mp/ht9H1h.


      • Very good points, Daniel.

        Nice post, as well. :)

      • Hi Bobby,
        If I managed to catch you before that interview, I’d be curious to know if the hoped-upon Springpad client is going to use adobe air?

      • Hi James,

        Just missed the interview, I’m afraid. It was Friday — good stuff, too! Ought to make for a good post for the Springpad loving and curious, both. We talked about the desktop app possibilities a bit, but no mention was made of Adobe AIR. That would certainly help make it an easy cross-platform implementation, though!

  22. I can’t figure out how to add a file. I click the “+” button, then “Add by Type” link but “File” is not on the list. What am I missing?

    • Hi Dave,

      To add a file to Springpad, you first need to create your reference note — it could be just a title, then you click save. Below the note, you will see a News & Notes heading with a link in brackets that says (add a note). Click that. You will then be presented with a little window with five tabs: note, link, photo, video, and file. Select file, upload, add a description and you’re good to go! I’ve uploaded everything from PDFs, to word docs, to HTML files, and even AI (Illustrator) files with no problems.

      Hope this helps! :D

  23. Pingback: Springpad: Easier Than Ever to Save and Organize Everything | 40Tech

  24. No image recognition, means no go.

  25. Based upon reading this post I went and tried Springpad. I got all excited over it’s prettiness and thought, “Wow, finally a tool that will help me remember things and it looks cool to boot!” But then I started playing around and all of a sudden it just lost all of its appeal. Their “all or nothing” sharing methodology is quite simply a show stopper. And their suggestion of sharing an account in order for notebooks to be editable by more than one person is just ludicrous. With the number of tools that allow collaboration, you would think this feature was one of the first implemented. Oh well, at least it looks good.

    • It’s definitely not for everybody, Serge. I’m pretty impressed with the new version, myself, but there are still a few things I need before it becomes a focal point in my workflow. Some of those things are coming up in the near future, and more may be on the horizon as well. Keep an eye on them.

  26. As a world traveler with several mobile devices, I was excited about Springpad’s offering to store my information in the cloud for free. However, even when I saved items, it dropped my last several edits, even when several minutes had elapsed after I tried to save it. Since it didn’t save my edits in a timely fashion, I deleted it after the first week. :(. It seems to me that the programmers could take a cue from Google Docs’ refresh and save every minute feature.

    • I’ve never had occasion to experience that problem, myself, Lisa. Not with Springpad, anyway. I wonder if it might be a mobile platform issue, as it has happened to me with Evernote mobile before. I’ve lost a few lengthy notes to incoming phone calls and such. Anyway you look at it, a choice of an always on server connection for autosaves is a nice feature with any note taking app.

  27. Interesting comparison!

    Most interesting for Evernote power use is the Evernote Essentials eBook. Have a look here: http://goo.gl/AUb8b (affiliate link)

  28. I’m wondering if there is a way to sync my Evernote notes and notebooks with springpad to make the switch easier? Thanking you in advance

    • Hi Reema,

      Unfortunately, there is nothing yet. That doesn’t mean there won’t be, mind you. What you can do currently is email your Evernote notes directly from Evernote into Springpad. This will be a slow process if you have a ton of notes, but it could help you sift through what’s important and allow you to get a better handle on how you want to organize your Springpad right off the top. The catch (unless things have changed recently) is that the email needs to come from the email that is registered in Springpad — so your registered email in Evernote will have to be the same. It is easy to change the registered email in both services.

      More details here: http://blog.springpadit.com/2010/03/save-notes-to-springpad-using-email/

  29. I’m wondering if there is a way to sync my Evernote notes and notebooks with springpad to make the switch easier? Thanking you in advance

  30. Pingback: Springpad Gets Even Better — Again | 40Tech

  31. No saved searches anymore and missing localization support for non-US users makes the “Will I Switch” decision a no-brainer for me: I Will Stay With Evernote!

    • Hi Andreas,

      I hear you on the localization. Springpad would be much more powerful if it could tap deals and updates that relate to locations outside the US. I hear that’s on the way, though, which is good. So many great apps that draw local data don’t work outside of the US, which is a source of frustration for me, as a Canadian. I’m sure it will come, though.

      As for saved searches, the custom filters option works well for that. Check our latest post on Springpad (from last week): http://www.40tech.com/2011/02/03/springpad-gets-even-better-again/

      • Found the saved filters now, but they are not as complex and flexible as Evernote’s saved searches.

        Besides that i will stay with Evernote because:

        – there seem to be performance issues when using Springpad that i do not have using Evernote
        – Springpad has no https support
        – Springpad focuses too much on eye candy
        – the board is a nice idea, but too small if you want to put many items on it
        – most of the things i can do in Springpad i can also do in Evernote

  32. On your last point Andreas, where Springpad could really try to find its niche is in the Output of one’s things and ideas collection. In other words, by incorporating social network services, consumer sites, and such, Springpad can bring to the forefront the information that you store when it’s applicable, so you’re not just saving a picture of a wine label or the cover of a book, you’re also getting alerted to when you’re near a shop that carries that bottle or when there’s a price drop on amazon for that title.
    And if Springpad creates these partnerships before evernote and really fleshes out these services, evernote could effectively get squeezed out of the market. How these alerts would apply to the plethora of events, objects, actions that people could want to be involved is a perplexing organizational challenge.

    I’d like one of these players to invite me to a brainstorming session. I’m giving away all my best ideas, and lately they both seem to be bobbing in the water.

    • Excellent points, James. From what I can gather, Springpad seems to be heading in that direction, for the most part. They also seem to be pretty receptive to input. You should contact them and share your ideas. :)

      Andreas, keep an eye on Springpad. I suspect that at least some of your concerns will be addressed soon-ish. If you are a minimalist in your approach to note taking and organization, however, and have no need for product deals and info to be served against what you are interested in, then Springpad will likely never suit your needs, and you should definitely stick with Evernote for the long haul.

      At the moment, I use both services for separate things. Evernote is my filing cabinet for all things. Springpad is more used for (sometimes) planning things visually via the board, and for keeping track of and gathering info on things I may be interested in purchasing, especially books. If I take a snapshot of a book in Evernote, and want more info on it, I have to do a separate search. With Springpad, I can take a snapshot of the book’s UPC, look up more info right away or later, right from the application, sometimes compare it with what others have said or general interest, share it with people, and be notified of price changes and deals that are related to it. For me, note taking is a secondary function of Springpad now, though it serves well enough for people who would want a single app that does most everything they could want.

  33. I love springpad far more than evernote. I am also excited about the API and how it might relate to Intranets, especially something like Open Atrium or other Drupal distributions.

    Right now I would like to get it down as a personal GTD system. I’m looking for the easiest way to get task inputted. Dump tasks strait from email (turn or import an email into a task or project) and to add contexts to tasks. The ones I am using now are, and to filter those by context within the last day, and week by open tasks and completed ones as a review.

    • Hi Mike,

      I haven’t spent a lot of time delving into using Springpad for GTD, but I do know that there used to be an Springpad app that was specifically for that. It still exists, I believe, but has been removed from the main application for the moment. I mentioned this in one of the more recent Springpad posts (http://www.40tech.com/2010/12/08/springpad-easier-than-ever-to-save-and-organize-everything/), but didn’t actually give the link as it the old apps section may end up getting completely phased out. If you want to take a look, check out http://apps.springpadit.com/.

      Also, you can send information directly to Springpad via email. Using the email address you signed up with (which can be changed in the Springpad backend), just send an email to the Springpad email that is associated with your account. You can find it in the setting of the web app.


  34. Hi Bobby,
    Have you considered doing a review of getglue.com? Potentially they’re the real missing ingredient to the ideas/stuff collecting. Like Springpad, you can relate your items to the picks of other people. More like foursquare or gowalla, rather than just collecting (or hoarding) ideas and stuff and looking them up after the fact, you “check-in” while enjoying certain activities. The items become the context for how you are spending your current time (rather than space which is how the location based services work.) So instead of saying, “Someone recommended ‘Community’ on TV. Let’s save it and come back to it some time” or “That looks like a nice bottle of wine, let’s clip it.” You would find yourself enjoying the bottle of wine, and “check-in” announcing essentially that you are currently enjoying (or not enjoying) that bottle of wine. And like the location-based counterparts, you could think of this as a conversation piece or simply keep the information to yourself and think of it as an experience journal (or something in between, if for example, you were curled up with a book, but just wanted those friends in your book club to get in on your experience). Although the categories are still limited, ultimately, you gain the same service that Springpadit offers: a storage of things you have come across that is leveraged through social networking through recommendations, buying options etc. And I would argue that it’s a lot more fun. Rather than just collecting things and using the social network as an enhancement, the getglue model is built from the get-go by gaming the shared experience.

    • Hiya James,

      I’ve played with GetGlue — not since it’s revamp, though — but never really got into it. I don’t often broadcast what I’m doing, so it didn’t really do it for me. Your comparison with Springpad is interesting, though. I never really thought of it in that light, and now you’ve got me curious. As you’ve put some thought into it already, are you interested in writing that post you mentioned? I know I’d be interested in reading it! :D

  35. I simply want to say I am just newbie to weblog and really enjoyed you’re website. Very likely I’m want to bookmark your blog post . You definitely have exceptional stories. Bless you for revealing your blog site.

  36. Hi Bobby.

    Great post. Thanks for it.

    I am looking for an app to organized my businees notes, and I am trying to decide between Evernote or SpringPad. According your experince, if you should start from scratch with one of them, what do you prefer?

    Thanks in advance!!


    • Ooohh that’s a loaded question Daniel… I currently use both, and it really depends on what your personal and business needs are.

      If you are collecting information that you need to be able to share easily, want/need to track products, and want to be able to schedule events and do some collaborative planning (esp. visually), Springpad is going to do well for you.

      If you need a virtual filing cabinet that makes it easy to access information anywhere, easy to collect information, some sharing capability (though not socially — Evernote isn’t really meant to help build your social profile, while Springpad can), and powerful OCR search for text in images, then Evernote is for you.

      Also, due to the minimalist nature and widespread hardware and software adoption of Evernote, it is somewhat easier to get information and files into it. Springpad, on the other hand, helps you organize the information from the get go, and is focused on enhancing that information for you as time goes on.

      I’m sure you can see why not knowing your specific needs and goals makes it difficult for me choose one over the other. What I can tell you, if it helps, is that I use Springpad more for personal use at this time. Much of that is due to having already started with Evernote, no current way to bulk transfer or sync the two programs, and the fact that Evernote is already easily available offline with its desktop app.

      I hope this helps you out!

      • Hi Bobby.

        Well, really you have me help me a lot!!!

        I need at this moment an app where store my meeting and trainings notes, some events, etc. And if Evernote can be used offline and Springpad no, then I will use Evernote.

        But I would use Springpad for my personal life: the Android app is really easy to use an I want play with it.
        Thanks so much for your fast answer!


      • Glad I could help, Daniel! Springpad will be implementing offline access via HTML 5 at some point soon, and already works offline on the mobile app. Maybe there will be a sync with Evernote tool at some point…

        I believe that Springpad is designed more for personal use — at this point — anyway. It does have some fantastic potential for both personal and business in the immediate future however. Definitely keep an eye on it!

      • Daniel: your question is spot on. Bobby and I were having this exact chat recently as well. So, like Bobby, I’ve also written on how I Get Things Done using both Springpad and Evernote. http://bit.ly/e572pX.

        The more I use both services, I am more and more convinced that one tool doesn’t fit all needs, and I agree with a lot of what Bobby just said. In particular, I think it’s a simple choice of what are you looking to accomplish?

        Where Evernote wins, is the ability to take notes in a desktop app, store files, utilize awesome OCR technology to search text in your images you take on your phone, offline storage, export options, geo-tag notes, etc. You can share entire notebooks with individuals or the world.

        Where Springpad wins, is the ability to “do more” with your notes. Your notes become smarter when they interact with strategic alliances they’ve formed with folks like Amazon, Yelp, Foursquare, etc and then share specific notes over Facebook and Twitter! Your notes become social. You can import Delicious bookmarks and share those with friends in your social stream as well.

        When it comes to tasks, there is a ton of stuff written on this subject. Again, pick the right tool to help you do this specific job. my advice: don’t make a square peg fit into a round hole. In fact, even Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote doesn’t even practice GTD! Evernote is great but not so much for tasks. Springpad allows you to create tasks and checklists which can also be shared. Check my post on how I’ve been able to do it. It may just be that Nozbe, Google Tasks, RTM, or any of those other tools can manage your tasks while SP or EN will store your work and personal stuff. Just the way Google Calendar or Outlook manages your calendar, use the right tool for your particular task!

        I hope this helps and cheers!

  37. Hi Daniel

    Thanks for your suggestion, and nice to chat with you. I read yesterday some of your posts about that::

    and the update


    and today the one that you comment. Great blog and posts

    And after read this fantastic Bobby’s post


    I can say that as more as I read, more confuse I am :)

    The GTD is a new concept to my. Initially I was looking only for an app where store my meetings notes, but now I am really interested in GTD. I have sometimes, while work, the feeling that I am not so productive that I should be, and that I am not well organized. And maybe GTD could help me.

    Bobby, Daniel, thanks so much for open my eyes!!!!


    • LOL! Sorry to inundate you with information, Daniel. You might also want to check out my GTD in Producteev post… :P


      Or Evan’s post on GTD concepts: http://www.40tech.com/2010/10/11/how-to-use-gtd-concepts-to-manage-and-process-information-overload-in-the-digital-age/

      Seriously though, the Evernote post is a good resource for learning GTD fundamentals, even if you don’t choose to use it as your task management platform. Many people like it because it bridges old school pen/paper/daytimer techniques with new technology. Many others need more automation — reminders, Google Calendar connections, etc, and so use Producteev, Toodledo, or another platform. As Daniel says, sometimes the best choice is to adopt multiple platforms and play to their strengths. I do try my best to squeeze as much out of a single app as I can, though… I’m actually working on a GTD in Springpad post right now, so keep a look out over the next week or so. :D

    • I wanted to add just 2 more cents to the mix. I recently read a comment to a post about someone trying to use Evernote as a photo album. While I don’t doubt this is possible – I think the old metaphor is still true – you need the right tools for the job. While trying to make Evernote or any other tool your swiss army knife (2nd metaphor), you may put your mind at ease by not trying to shove a square peg into a round hole (3rd metaphor & cliche)! :)

      I look at it like this:
      * Evernote is awesome storing notes & files and acting as your external brain.
      * Flickr is awesome as photo sharing.
      * Calendars are awesome at creating events/reminders
      * Notebooks to online task management tools are awesome at keeping your action items in check.
      * Springpad is awesome at sharing notes & things you love socially

      Anyway, just my 2 cents … Cheers! :)

      Bobby – can’t wait to see your post!

      • Valid points, all, Daniel — and in my experience, those near-exact thoughts are what companies use to fend off users that ask “why can’t it do this yet?” The concept is also a large part of their model for success, as spreading yourself in every direction is much less likely to result in trust, a good product, or profit.

        On the flipside of that coin (there’s my cliche metaphor :P ), it can be annoying to have to turn to many different services, especially when those services often don’t connect to each other the way that we would like or think would make sense. And for me, well… I just really enjoy the hell out of figuring out ways to make things do more than they are supposed to or were meant to, as well as making things work together in sometimes unprecedented ways. I like to tinker and create or expound upon interesting processes — or maybe I just want to bend technology to my will… I live to geek. :D

  38. Quick jot on the latest comments: don’t let gtd distract you from what feels to be the best fit. More organically, when you start playing with both, you’ll naturally gravitate towards the one that feels more natural for you. Springpad does have better task implementation; more intuitive entry on mobile apps, checklist creation, and budding reminder network. Gtd ain’t all that.

  39. After trying both, I think SpringPad provides what most people need. Some of the features that Evernote provides are nice to have (file attachments, OCR etc.), but it lacks some basic usability. Also, I started long back using their web and windows client, and when I started using their mobile clients, I realized that you need to pay to get offline support (which is free on desktop), and this is something I don’t like.

    While SpringPad seems everything I want, I am not yet switching to it, at least not until they implement import and especially export. Without export, your data is locked up in their system, which is the last thing anyone should expect. Once they add these features, I am pretty sure there will be a lot more adaption.

  40. Pingback: Evernote Web App Gets a Makeover–Adds Social Sharing | 40Tech

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  43. I was wondering how you might use Springpad to simply make a to do list. What I used to do was have 3 to do lists in iCal: HOT, WARM, and COLD. I like this concept. I just want a quick and easy place to go to see what is on the HOT list. The only way i found to prioritize with Springpad was to add due dates to everything, but I didn’t want to do that. What I am trying is to assign a HOT, WARM, or COLD category to every task. Then I saved a custom filter that takes me straight to the HOT ones. This approach doesn’t work so well when it comes to the iPhone app because I can’t sort by category. Maybe I should use a HOT tag instead. the only way I can filter the HOT stuff on the iphone is to flag it. Any other suggestions for my HOT list? I need super easy access to the most important todo’s, no matter where there are, what notebook they are in, etc. Thanks!

    • Hi Duncan,

      Sorry for the late-ish reply here. I think your best option is to create a tag set for your HOT, WARM, COLD lists. At least until to-do list categories make it to mobile.

      A couple of things to know about how tags work in Springpad:

      – A tag will only show up in a notebook if there is an item in that notebook with that tag. If you want your tags to always be available in each notebook, you will have to create a permanent dummy item with all three tags attached.

      – Tags are sorted by number of items in any given notebook first, and then alphabetically. The problem this creates is that, if you have more items tagged, say, “Notes”, your @HOT or whichever tag will appear below it. Again, this happens on a per notebook basis, so your HOT, COLD, WARM tags my never be in the same place twice. In the All Notes book, however, it is likely that these tags could float to the top, as you are using them in many notebooks.

      I would also keep flagging the really important items, as it is the fastest way to access them. You can also add reminders where necessary. An additional option is the saved search filters, but I can only access them on the web app. My mobile apps have been acting weird lately, though, so you might have better luck.

      Take a look at my recent post on GTD in Springpad if you want a broader view of tags and productivity methods in the app: http://www.40tech.com/2011/03/11/gtd-in-springpad/

      I hope this was helpful! :D

  44. Pingback: Springpad Web App Adds Offline Access, Data Backup | 40Tech

  45. In some comments above, you mentioned to add a document to SpringPad, you click on the “more” section on the right side bar – I just signed up for SpringPad and there is no right side bar and I can’t find a “more” section in the MyStuff area or anywhere else. Has this feature changed in newer versions or something??

    • Hi Michelle, sorry for the late reply. :D

      Since the redesign, it is actually easier to add a document to Springpad, though it is still not as apparent as I would like.

      All you need to do now is open the note (new or otherwise), and look below the editing box for News & Notes — it’ll be on the bottom left. Beside this header, there is a link that says “add a note.” Click the link, and a little pop-up window will open with the following tabs:

      – note
      – link
      – photo
      – video
      – file

      Click file, then the Choose File button, and follow the prompts. Note, also, the checkbox that allows you to keep the file private or share it publicly.

      I hope this help you out, and enjoy Springpad!


      • Thanks so much! I did figure it out while playing with SpringPad yesterday. It does seem a little hidden, but I got it now! Thanks!! I’m still not sure how much I’ll use SpringPad, but I’m in school full-time currently & was thinking it’d be a nice option for keeping track of assignments & such. Thanks again!

      • Glad to hear it, Michelle!

        You might find the board feature to be useful for school projects. And it is also a fantastic way to keep a visual and notated bookmarks library, either for personal use or for sharing with a group.

  46. Pingback: Review of GTD in Springpad & Which GTD Solution Nina Chose [Reader Workflow] | 40Tech

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  48. I have just signed-up for Springpad and trying to get myself set up.

    Would anyone be able to tell me if the Springpad “Apps” still exist? I think they are a great feature but I have not been able to find where I can download these.


  49. Rachel, hi

    No, the apps have been long gone, and I for one don’t miss them. They were another dimension of complexity that has been incorporated into the mark-up and styling for different types of clippings. For example, if you want to clip a recipe, you still have all the upside of good layout for the recipe, and if you just way to see recipes in your view, you still can. GTD can still be accomplished through tags or notebooks @office etc.

    Springpad has a conversion service from defunct apps to the new design in your settings, I believe most but not all apps were supported.

  50. Pingback: There’s a special app for that – Part 9: Apps for college/university students with learning disabilities | inov8 Educational Consulting

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