Evernote for iOS Update Brings Rich Text Support, Shared Notebooks, and Other Goodies

Evernote for iOS Update Brings Rich Text Support, Shared Notebooks, and Other Goodies | 40Tech

Last week, when it was still August (where the hell did the summer go?), Evernote released the mother of all iOS updates. There was a lot to it — a cool redesign, a lock feature for premium users — but the big deal was the inclusion of a rich text editor and the ability to access notes in shared notebooks.

The new features aren’t as robust as the desktop version of Evernote, of course, but are nonetheless dripping with the sort of awesome that makes you want to find your Irish roots and dance a merry jig.

Here are the highlights:

Rich Text Editor

The new editor allows for basic bold, italics, underline, bullets and the like, as well as strike-through, header text, highlighting and linking. You can also edit notes that were already created with rich text, which is great, but don’t think the append prompt is gone for good. If the note has too much fancy in it, even the new editor may not like it. There is a new option, though, that saves at least a bit of headache: the ability to simplify the formatting to be workable in the iOS apps. This way, you only lose some of the formatting, instead of everything.

Evernote for iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) Now Has a Rich Text Editor | From Evernote Blog

Note: Checkboxes are still not able to be created in Evernote for iOS. You can check them, but not make them.


Shared Notebooks

Tired of not being able to access a note or notebook that someone shared with you? Now that Evernote has added shared notebooks into iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, you can breathe easy. Note that I said access, however. You can only read them, not create new ones. Yet.


Another handy feature is the new ability to search within notes. Want to find a word or turn of phrase from your note? Now you can, quickly and easily. It’s no desktop search, but it’s definitely a good start.

This is only the tip of the update-iceberg. There’s a lot more going on under the hood and in the form of a new look and feel for Evernote’s iOS apps. If you haven’t updated yet, you should. Get the full list of new features here.

New Evenrote Design for iPad | From Evernote Blog

Thoughts on Evernote’s new iOS features? Head down to the comments!

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. Regarding checkboxes, theoretically you could create notes with checkboxes in Egretlist and then move them to whichever notebook you want them in. Not ideal (and not free!) but perhaps a work around?

    BTW, since there have been a couple of articles on Markdown at 40tech.com recently, I was wondering if you guys had come across Elements 2.0? It’s an iPhone/iPad app that supports Markdown, Dropbox and Evernote.

    • Nice workaround, Nina!

      I’ve never heard of Elements. I’ll take a look at it. As always, you have an open invitation here if you care to review it. :D

      • Thanks, Bobby! I’ve only just started to use Elements, so it will be a while before I know if and what may be interesting to share.

        There’s a similar app called Note & Share with even more sharing options, including EN and image sharing via Posterous, but I settled for Elements because it can share to Tumblr and allows folders. That last feature may become invaluable since, after playing with the new EN for iOS, I’m beginning to agree with Ever-Not (below).

        Perhaps it is because I use EN across several devices and “trunk” apps, but I always found EN very unstable in terms of preserving text formatting across all platforms (one reason why I recently abandoned Awesome Note – can you beleive it? – for Egretlist, which integrates more tightly with EN). So to make sure that my notes are editable from anywhere and don’t look a mess as a result, I used plain text where possible. After the update I find that plain text notes now also become corrupted between multiple edits and syncs. So until it becomes possible to s/off rich text in iOS, I may have to save all my notes as drafts in Elements/Dropbox until I’m ready to “publish” them to EN, i.e. when they’re unlikely to require any more editing. That would be a pain though since I now use EN as my “brain dump” from which I create tasks, draft notes etc.

        I’ll also check out Ever-not’s suggestion, FastEver; I heard good things about it. Alternatively, if you can recommend an EN font/style that seems to sync reliably across devices I’d be grateful for any suggestion. So far every combination I tried had unpredictable results. Many thanks!

      • I haven’t run in to the corrupt notes issue. Has there been any word about it on the EN forums?

        So far, my experience with the new formatting capabilities has been positive — however, I don’t use Evernote on the iPad for detailed writing. Most of my notes end up in plain text out of habit and time constraints.

      • Yes, there are a number of complaints about various formatting problems in the comments to the EN blog update. It seems that the problems arise when you edit a note from the iPhone or iPad, including plain text notes. Font changes, line spacing is doubled etc. Also, you can’t edit check lists from the phone; EN says there is too much formatting and if you choose to “simplify” the check box gets removed.

      • The check lists thing is on their blog post announcement as something for a later update. Too bad about the other bugs — they are usually pretty thorough with their testing. Hopefully there will be a fix soon.

  2. Hey I never knew that I can use the iOS so very well, I use a Iphone 2g and Ipad, but I know only the minimal use if them But this is something really more than what I know about the I phone and its utilities. I really loved the way it is described.

  3. Sorry to say that for me, the Evernote iOS update is an abomination of microscopic font, append dialogs for simple photonotes created on desktop and overall, EN has become an Outlook wannabe that distracts me from my content. After two years with Evernote ’tis a painfull breakup but it must happen.

    Catch Notes/Spingpad testing, here I come! And yes, I will read your Springpad GTD post next.

    Bobby, I have read and enjoyed many of your productivity posts. You and Dan Gold have helped me tremendously with App/GTD info.

    • Relationships with productivity and notes apps always seem to be in flux for people. I can see how EN could be distracting, especially if you live in it. I hear what you’re saying about Outlook, too, I avoid that software like the plague for just that reason. Problem is, people are so used to it that it is hard for them to break away to better designs — and that may be why more popular/widespread software tends to emulate it to a degree. In some weird way it is actually easier for people.

      Glad to hear that Daniel and I have been able to help you out! If you are looking for an additional tool to try out that has a very clean interface, check out Memonic. Review here: http://www.40tech.com/2011/08/26/memonic-a-not-so-quiet-rival-to-evernote-and-springpad-app-of-the-week/

      Incidentally, I just confirmed with the CEO that the crazy premium account deal ($3.33 Euro for 10,000 notes and 50GB storage) link works until the end of October. And it works for whomever, not just the Swiss/Germans.

      • Thanks for your memonic tip Bobby though I didn’t like the Yahoo Mail layout. :)

        Can’t beat Evernote’s ability to save most any file type though. The iPhone app is just a deal breaker for me so I reverted to previous version while I move my notes out. BTW, Evernote does store iOS apps if you like to save them for reverting.

        Some sharp dev should look at Daring Fireball and say: “I’m going to create Evernote apps that look like THAT!”

      • My pleasure, Ever-not.

        There’s definitely no way for any app to fit in with everyone’s ideal layout. Personally, while I like minimalism, Daring Fireball style would never work for me. I like a nice balance between minimal and pretty, and find that EN for iPhone and iPad does a decent job.

        Catch Notes or Simple Note may definitely be more to your liking. Have you looked at Thinkery? It’s web app only, I believe, but you may enjoy it.

  4. Rats! I just remembered to mention that checkboxes can be added via FastEver, a brilliant front end app for making Evernote text entries on iPhone. Type instantly, fast upload even on 3G, checkboxes, Notebook targeting and something that not even Apple thought of, swipe to move cursor one space.

  5. Thanks, I have been searching for facts about this subject matter for ages and yours is the best I have discovered so far.

  6. Bobby, Thinkery looks to be a bit cooler than Catch with it’s keyboard shortcuts except no photo support which is an absolute must for me. I do appreciate your suggestions though! Also Catch on the web has a nifty expand/contract note action somewhat like Workflowy which helps me operate from one page in Catch. Catch’s support however has been less than zero for even the simplest questions. I have now been attracted (again) to the eye candy that Springpad offers and I’m testing.

    re “web app only”, I am more and more into web apps as they get faster and are available most everywhere.

    • I heat you, man. Let me know how Springpad works out for you this time around. I’ve just recently had word from the CEO that some new things are in the works that will separate Springpad from Evernote even more, and I’m really curious to see what their up to.

  7. educational post. you’re always making us learn something new, thanks.http://www.musicaeletra.net

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