How to open your most useful Evernote content with one click

Though my Evernote account stores thousands of notes, there are a handful that I refer to repeatedly. Shortcuts are the fastest way I’ve found to zoom between these frequently accessed notes, notebooks, tags and searches. You can recall items from your Shortcut list with one click or keystroke — even complex search commands. Shortcuts also synchronize to your mobile devices so you can use them where ever you are.

How to open your most useful Evernote content with one click

Here’s a few examples from my Evernote database:

  • @Inbox links to my default notebook. I jump to this view often, so it’s at the top of my Shortcuts list.
  • Weekly review checklist links to a note with my customized weekly review.
  • Blog post ideas links to another note where I record ideas for future blog posts.
  • Recently edited notes runs a saved search showing notes edited in the last 7 days. It’s a quick way to get to entries I’ve been working on recently.
  • Draft displays any notes with the draft tag. I add this tag to blog posts that are in the planning stages and replace it with published once the post is live. I use a similar approach to manage articles I’ve saved to read later with the read tag.

How to enable shortcuts

Shortcuts are enabled by default and appear at the top of the sidebar on the left of the Evernote window. If you don’t see Shortcuts listed in the sidebar, select View, Sidebar Options, Shortcuts from the menu to redisplay them.

How to create shortcuts to individual notes

Any note you repeatedly use is a candidate for a shortcut. This could include daily or weekly checklists, software cheat-sheets, routines or activity logs.

  1. Find the note you want to create a shortcut to.
  2. Drag a note from the note list to the sidebar or right-click the note and select Add Note to Shortcuts.
Drag the note to the sidebar to create a shortcut. Click to enlarge.

Drag the note to the sidebar to create a shortcut. Click to enlarge.

How to create shortcuts to notebooks or notebook stacks

Drag the notebook to the sidebar to create a shortcut. Click to enlarge.

Drag the notebook to the sidebar to create a shortcut. Click to enlarge.

This may seem redundant since notebooks are already listed in the sidebar. But the first ten shortcuts are accessible with the keyboard for swift navigation (more on this later). I go to my default notebook (@Inbox) more than once every time I use Evernote so it’s at the top of my Shortcuts list.

  1. Find the destination notebook for your shortcut in the sidebar under the Notebooks heading.
  2. Drag that notebook name up to the Shortcuts region of the sidebar. This also works for notebook stacks, but this is something I’m yet to find a use for.

How to create shortcuts to tags

Tags are another potentially useful shortcut target. I’m sure you’ve already got this figured out but just in case…

  1. Select Tags in the sidebar to display a list of all your tags.
  2. Drag the tag you want to create a shortcut to into the Shortcut section of the sidebar. Alternatively you can right-click the tag and select Add Tag to Shortcuts.
Drag the tag to the sidebar to create a shortcut.

Drag the tag to the sidebar to create a shortcut.

How to create shortcuts from saved searches

Saved searches let you save a search expression for future use. This works well for searches you run regularly or for saving complex search expressions you might need to use again. You can also shortcut a saved search for even faster access. If you’re not using saved searches already, I’ll cover this in the next post.

  1. Click the Search notes box in the toolbar to display a list of your saved searches.
  2. Drag a saved search to the sidebar to create a shortcut to this search.
Drag the saved search to the sidebar to create a shortcut. Click to enlarge.

Drag the saved search to the sidebar to create a shortcut. Click to enlarge.

Using shortcuts

Just click one of the entries you just created to display the associated note(s). You can also use the keyboard to access the first 10 entries with cmd + 1 through cmd + 0 on a Mac or ctrl + 1 through ctrl + 0 on Windows. Put your most frequently used shortcuts near the top of the list for fast keyboard-based navigation.

How to remove unwanted shortcuts

You can remove obsolete shortcuts by right-clicking the shortcut and selecting Remove from Shortcuts.

Question: In a recent reader survey I asked which application you most wanted to use more effectively. Evernote was the run-away favorite. What do you find confusing, difficult or frustrating about using Evernote? Leave a comment below or send me an email via the contact page and I’ll use your feedback as input for future posts.

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3 Responses

  1. Peter Yamamoto says:

    Where did the View/Sidebar options/Shortcuts menu item go?

    When Evernote started today on mac laptop, shortcuts is gone. I can add to shortcuts but I don’t see a way to view them!?

    • John Scullen says:

      So you mean you’ve got the sidebar visible but you don’t have shortcuts displayed in the sidebar?

      What versions of Evernote do you have? I can confirm that View, Sidebar Options, Shortcuts is available in v6.11 and v6.11.1 on macOS Sierra. If the sidebar is gone try View, Show Sidebar.

      If you’re only seeing icons in the sidebar, resize it to make it wider. You should see the shortcuts then.

  1. July 3, 2015

    […] previous post described how you can use Evernote shortcuts to quickly access saved searches. I neglected to explain how to create a saved search though. Today […]

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