Now, after an Evernote update, the camera on the iPad 2 can be used to take snaps to add to notes; photos are stored on the Evernote servers. After a little while your photo will be analysed, and any text that is picked up in the shot will be searchable from within the app. This is undoubtedly one of the most awesome uses of the iPad 2’s camera, as it acts like a scanner and text- recognition software suite in one. However, what is most amazing is that it can actually read your handwriting. Yes, as long as you don’t write in shorthand or have the kind of illegible scrawl that leaves people scratching their heads, Evernote will read your words and allow you look them up quickly. This means that if, one day, you don’t have your iPad with you and have to head into the dark ages with a pen and paper, later on all you need to do is take a quick photo of your page and your note will be just like any other. So how do you do it?
1: Sign in or sign up
Evernote is a free app, and you can get a free account too. If you like, you can subscribe to a Premium account, which will get you a whole host of new features for a monthly or yearly fee.
When you first log in to Evernote you get a note from the firm explaining just what you can do with the app. One of those things is searching text within photos, which we just had to try out.
3: Create a note
Touching the New Note button (bottom left) scrolls a blank sheet onto the screen. You have options along the top of the page to add a voice recording, a photo from a library, or take a new photo.
4: Snap happy
You’ll want to take a new photo, and when you touch it the iPad camera will activate. If you want to save yourself the hassle of typing up handwritten notes, you can just quickly take a photo of them.
5: A new title
Give your new note a descriptive title. You can add a little text below if you like, and the photo you just took will be added in the box above. Tagging your note will help when sorting, too.
6: Quite a library
Soon enough you’ll have a small collection of notes. With a free account you’re limited to 60MB of storage per month, so if you want to save a lot it might be worth the upgrade.
When the images have been processed by the Evernote servers, the text in the pictures will be searchable within the app. A standard search will bring up all mentions of the word in text or photos.
8: Found it!
When you press Search, the app will highlight the relevant text in the note or on photos directly. It will act intelligently too, highlighting longer words such as ‘professionally’ when the search was ‘professional’.
9: Can you read my writing?
What’s most impressive is the handwriting analysis. If you’ve taken a photo including your writing, this will be searchable too, saving you from frantically searching your paper notebook for a single entry.