A few weeks back, I wrote about how I use the Drafts app to quickly add common notes to Evernote, including appending items to existing notes. The Drafts app is a Mac-only app, and my solution, therefore, was really a Mac-only solution. The truth is that the bulk of my computing ecosystem is Macintosh, and I write about what I have experience with. Still, I felt a little bad about not having a equivalent solution for Windows or Android users.
So today, I’m going to provide a tip for quickly appending items to existing notes in Evernote via email, something that works from any platform or device from which you can send email.
Append vs. Add New
Most people familiar with Evernote know that you can email notes to your Evernote account simply by sending them to the special email address that Evernote provides you with. (You can find this address in your Account Info settings.)
People are also probably aware that you can file and tag notes in email as well. By using the @ in the subject line, you can tell Evernote in which notebook to file a note. Using the # symbol allows you to tag the note. So, for instance, if I wanted to create a new note in my Ideas notebook and tag it “story idea” I would give my message the following subject line:
Subject: New story idea @Ideas #story idea
And this would get filed and tagged appropriately.
This is great for creating new notes, but what if you want to append to an existing note. That is, instead of creating a new note, what if you want to add some additional information to an existing note?
Evernote provides a way for you to do this via email as well, although it isn’t as clearly documented as filing or tagging.
Appending via email
Suppose I already have a note in Evernote, like this one:
You can see the note title is “Notes for Going Paperless post” and you can see that I’ve got one line of text in the note.
To append to this note by email, I do the following:
- Create a new email message addressed to my Evernote email account.
- In the Subject line, include the title of the note that I want to append to, followed by a space and a plus sign.
- Include the text I want to append in the body of the email message.
- Send the message.
Here is what my email message looks like:
The space followed by a plus sign (+) at the end of the Subject is what tells Evernote to append this to an existing message. Here is how Evernote goes about doing this:
- It looks for a note with the title you’ve given in the subject line.
- If it finds a single match, it appends the text to that note.
- If it finds more than one note with the same title, it appends to the most recent note.
- If it cannot find a note with a matching title, it creates the note, instead of appending to an existing one.
After I send the email message above and sync my version of Evernote with the server, here is what my note looks like:
You can see that the text from the body of my email message was added. Not only that, the formatting came through as well (you can tell it is a larger font than the original text in the message).
Why append to existing notes?
I’ve found several uses for appending to existing notes. If I am out and about, and want to capture notes for a story that I am working on, I prefer to keep them all in a single note, so I will append to the “current story” note.
You might keep a note called “Grocery List” and append to that note as needed, instead of adding a new note for each item you want to pick up from the store.
Next week, I’ll show you another scenario where this feature comes in particularly handy.
A cross-platform solution
Appending to notes via email works across all platforms. It works on Mac and Windows, it works on iOS and Android. All you need is an email client and an Evernote account. Just remember that when you send the message you want the subject line to match the title of the note you want to append to, and include the space + at the end of the subject line, which tells Evernote to append this to the note, instead of creating a new note.
Next week is my 100th Going Paperless post, and I’ve got a special one planned. Remember how I said that once each month I’d provide a more advanced automation tip? Well, I’ve got a really good one planned. Stay-tuned.
If you have a suggestion for a future Going Paperless post, let know me. Send it to me at feedback [at] jamietoddrubin.com. As always, this post and all of my Going Paperless posts is also available on Pinterest.
Last week’s post: Achievement Unlocked! Using Evernote to Track Achievements.