Is it possible to append to existing notes in Evernote? That’s a question I read recently on a forum. Although I’ve been using Evernote for four or five years now, and despite having read hundreds of posts where people outline how to use Evernote, I wasn’t sure of the answer. So I did some research and I discovered that in the simplest sense, you can’t send stuff to append automatically to an existing note, not within Evernote itself. By that I mean there isn’t a dialog box or right-click menu giving you the option to append to an existing note, or similarly when you clip a webpage to Evernote using the Web Clipper, there is currently no option to append it to an existing note.
No doubt that will all come to Evernote eventually, but I can tell you some ways that you can use to append to existing notes in Evernote.
Manually append to your current Evernote note
A note doesn’t have to be just one clipped webpage or one clipped recipe for example. Just in case you hadn’t realised this, it is possible to edit a note manually and add stuff before it or after it. For example, if you’ve used the Evernote Web Clipper to create a new note, there’s nothing stopping you appending stuff before or after it. For example, you could paste in text, images, etc.
Merge to append a set of Evernote notes to one of the notes
You can also merge two or more notes into one note so I guess this constitutes appending to a note. Just select the notes you want to merge in the Note List. The F11 key will bring up the Note List if you don’t see it. Then select Merge as shown above. They may appear in a disordered heap as in the left panel above, but they will be merged in the order oldest note at the bottom of the merged note and newest note at the top. The merged note will take the title of the newest note as in the right panel above. You can then delete the titles of the individual notes if you want and rename the merged note. And all the tags in the individual notes will also be brought into the merged note.
Your Evernote email address can append an email to an Evernote note
This is one feature I didn’t know about. Using your Evernote email address, you can append the contents of an email to an existing note in Evernote. Didn’t know you had an Evernote email address? Well you can find it under Tools>Account Info. Add it to your contacts in your email client to save having to remember it. The proviso is that the subject line of the email and the title of the existing Evernote note must be the same. If you have two Evernote notes with the same title, the email will be appended to the more recent note. This also works for appending email attachments. All you have to do is put a ‘+’ at the end of the email subject line as in this example:
Test note 4 @Miscellaneous +
In my simple example above, an email with this subject line and sent to my Evernote email address will be added to the merged note I created above called Test note 4 in my Miscellaneous notebook. I don’t think you need to include the notebook name but it may help to append the email to the correct note if you already have the same note name in different notebooks. I can see the benefits of this if you wanted to say create a log of something. You’d just email your notes to Evernote and they’d all be appended in a continuous log with the oldest email at the top of the note and the newest at the bottom. As you can see below, my text emails are appended at the bottom of Test note 4.
Append a log of PDF annotations to a PDF note
So what else can you append? Well, if you’re an Evernote Premium user you can annotate your PDFs. Annotation is built into the Evernote for Mac version and a summary of your annotations are appended at the top of the PDF. Here’s a good guide to annotating PDFs on a Mac. Hopefully, it’ll come to Windows soon. In the meantime, again if you’re a Premium user, you can annotate PDFs in Evernote on Android and iOS devices and a summary of the annotations will be appended at the start of the PDF. If you want to know more about this, here’s a great post on reading and annotating journal articles in Evernote.
Use Drafts to append to an existing Evernote note (iPhone/iPad)
If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can use the Drafts app to append to an existing Evernote note. I use Android so I haven’t tried this but Jamie Rubin gives a detailed guide here.
Use IFTTT to append data to an existing Evernote note
You can also use IFTTT (If This Then That) to append data to an Evernote note. If you don’t know about IFTTT, it’s worth checking out. Here’s a link to a great guide to IFTTT from MakeUseOf. Basically, a ‘Trigger’ plus an ‘Action’ make a ‘Recipe’. Once you’ve signed up, among other things, you can start to use readymade IFTTT recipes to automatically send stuff and have it appended to an existing Evernote note.
If you search for ‘Evernote append’ on IFTTT, you’ll come up with over 1,600 readymade recipes ranked by the number of people using them. The recipes can include: adding tweets, favourited tweets, FourSquare checkins, Facebook status updates, new book wish-list for your Kindle, iOS reminders etc., all appending to an Evernote note. And if you can’t find the recipe you want, you can make your own with – Append to Note. This Action can be used to create recipes which will append to an Evernote note as determined by its title and notebook. Once a note’s size reaches 2MB, a new note will be created.
Here are just a few examples of readymade IFTTT recipes which append different kinds of data to an Evernote note:
Collect ebook highlights in a single Evernote note
Create an Evernote list of bestsellers to read
Log when you enter and leave a place and append that to an Evernote note
Append a line to an Evernote note every time you tweet – creating an effective backup solution
Archive your Foursquare check-ins in one Evernote note
Save a diary of all your Facebook status updates to an Evernote note
Use Zapier to append data to an existing Evernote note
Zapier provides a service like IFTTT with Actions and Triggers except that combinations of these are called Zaps. For Evernote, they have an Append to Note action. You can read more about it here.
Well I hope that’s given you some ideas to take Evernote a little further. What sort of stuff do you append to Evernote notes? Have I missed any other ways to append stuff?