Although I’ve spent much of the last five years with Evernote, it can still surprise me after all this time. A few days ago I made the delightful discovery of Evernote calendar templates. By downloading and installing a small file, you can create a nicely formatted planner for each month of the year. Within the boxes you can type text, add images, or – most usefully – link to other Evernote content.
I can imagine this feature would be great for planning long trips and linking to your travel documents, or perhaps to create a meal planner with links to recipes. Here I’m going to show you how it could be used to plan your research. My screenshots are based on the Windows version of Evernote, but it works similarly on a Mac (and I’ve noted any differences).
1) Download and install the templates
The file is available through the Evernote website. Follow this link, the click Save to Evernote in the top right-hand corner.
You should now have a new note in Evernote with the file attached. Double-click on the attachment and 13 new notes will spring out – one for each month, plus a table of contents that links to them all.
If your PC doesn’t recognise this attachment, you’ll need to associate it with Evernote (it should work fine for Mac users). Here’s how:
a) Save the attachment to your computer
b) Right-click it and choose Properties
c) Click Change
d) You’ll see a pop-up window with some choices (this screenshot is from Windows 8.1, so yours might look a bit different). Scroll down to the bottom and choose Look for Another App on this PC.
e) Now find Evernote on your computer. On my PC it’s in Program Files (x86); in yours it might be just Program Files.
The file you downloaded should now display an Evernote icon.
2) Create a notebook for your calendar
I’ve found it easier to keep my calendar in a separate notebook so that it doesn’t get jumbled up with all my other stuff. I’ve also prefixed each note with a number (1 for January, 2 for February, etc) to ensure that they appear in the right order. The table of contents note is prefixed with zero so it sits at the top.
If they’re still not in the right order, you might need to change your sort preferences.
3) Link your table of contents to the months
Now, this stage is a bit fiddly but is worth the effort. First you need to generate a link for each of the months. So, select January in the notes list (the middle column), hold down the Ctrl key, then click Notes > Copy Note Link.
On a Mac, you need to select the month in your notes list, hold down the Option key, then right-click and choose Copy Classic Link.
It’s important to follow these instructions exactly, as Evernote can now generate two types of link. By default it’ll give you a URL, so the link is opened in your web browser, rather than in a desktop application. This is useful for linking to your notes from other tools, but it is a nuisance for linking within Evernote. So, make sure you hold down Ctrl in Windows or Option on a Mac when you’re copying the link. (Thank you to Jason Frasca, whose blog post alerted me to this issue).
Next go to your table of contents note, and right-click the January tile. A menu will pop up, but just ignore it. Now in Windows, click Format > Hyperlink > Edit and paste your copied link in the box (you can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+k). On a Mac it’s Format > Link > Edit (or Cmd+k).
Now you can click through to each month from your table of contents. Repeat this step for February-December, then it’s all set up.
4) Add stuff to your planner
You can add anything you like to your planner – text, images, lists – but, as I mentioned earlier, it’s really useful for linking to other material in Evernote. I’m currently using it to link to journal articles that I need to read over the next week.
To create these links, I used a similar method to that for linking the table of contents to the month – so, I copied a note link (holding down the Ctrl or Option key), then pasted it into my planner. This means I can now find out what I need to read next week and immediately open the article in Evernote. If I’m feeling fancy, I can add a checklist on one of the days to remind me to do something with all this new research material.
For easy access to your calendar, you might want to create a shortcut to this table of contents. To do so, just click and drag the note to the Shortcuts area of the sidebar.
Admittedly, it takes a little while to get the planner set up, but it’s a good project for a soggy Sunday afternoon. Please do let me know if you have other ideas for how to use these templates.
And here’s a video demonstration of all the steps:
For more ideas on how to use Evernote, please take a look at my ebook Managing Your Research with Evernote.