Evernote is my favorite app, and I’m beyond excited to write about it for Lifehack. When you really get the hang of it, Evernote becomes an indispensable tool that’s far more than the note-taking app it’s most commonly billed as. One of its most useful features is its ability to save online content that you acquire either for fun or for professional purposes. Gathering research through the app has some limitations, but by utilizing other tools along with Evernote the service is a near-perfect way to save content online. Here are explanations of Evernote’s strengths and weaknesses, along with those of the app Pocket, culminating in what they can accomplish together.

What Evernote Can Do

Evernote is, at its core, a collection of notes that you’ve accumulated over time. You can create a note on Evernote manually, but what makes it really game changing is its ability to clip pages from the web or an app straight into your cloud account. With a browser extension it only takes the click of a button to save online content to your collection. If used properly, Evernote can house an encyclopedia’s worth of knowledge that’s all easy to access. You can assign topics you’re researching to single notes, notebooks, or stacks of notebooks, depending on how wide-reaching the subject is.

What Evernote Can’t Do

Even though I’m a self-professed Evernote evangelist, I can recognize its imperfections. The biggest one when it comes to saving online content is that when you clip a web page, sometimes Evernote will send you more than just the text. Wonky formatting from the page you clipped it from might come with it, leaving you with an odd-looking note.

What Pocket Can Do

Pocket (formerly Read It Later) is a web service that “pockets” web pages for future reading. You can add a Pocket extension to your browser, making it simple to save a page you’re reading on your computer. It’s almost as easy to add content to your smartphones or tablets. If you copy a URL on your mobile device and open Pocket, you’ll be asked if you want to add the content from your link to Pocket. Thankfully, Pocket almost never includes formatting from the web page that you clipped. The contents of pages in Pocket are strictly limited to text, photos, and videos. It’s the perfect way to read something on a tablet, smartphone, or computer.

What Pocket Can’t Do

Pocket doesn’t have a built-in file structure like Evernote. Sadly, organization is basically restricted to tags, and tagging is an acquired skill that not everybody is equipped with. I’m certainly not, which makes organizing my research in Pocket largely ineffective. You also can’t edit the contents of the articles you’ve saved into Pocket, which essentially limits the app to a read-only service.

What Evernote With Pocket Can Do

When you combine the services of Evernote and Pocket, things really start to take off. If you’re saving web content I recommend sending pages to Pocket first. Pocket is where you want to read the article before you get to editing. Once you’ve read it, use the Evernote web clipper to put it into your Evernote account. Once it’s there you can modify the text and add notes and annotations, as well as drop it into Evernote’s more organized Notes/Notebooks/Stacks file system. When it comes to collecting information on the web, whether it be for research or pleasure, Evernote plus Pocket is the perfect one-two punch.

What Evernote With Pocket Can’t Do

As advanced as the features of Evernote combined with Pocket are, they can’t do your web browsing or research for you, so get to work!

Featured photo credit: The Unquiet Library via flickr.com

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