Quickly add a page to Evernote from iPhone Safari

I regularly make use of Evernote from my iPod touch (effectively an iPhone without the inbuilt communications) and I frequently look to add information from a web page in Safari to Evernote.  As I’ve written about before, the standard Evernote bookmarklet can be added to the iPod/iPhone Safari app and this will then provide an option to set a title for the note as well as providing an option to add tags.  I find this useful but invariably it is quite slow.

Another option has been to simply copy the page content, close Safari, open the mail app, select a new mail, set the recipient to be my Evernote e-mail address, then paste the information into it and press send.  This tends to be a little quicker than the other option to get the information into Evernote (the bookmarklet can be quite slow to load), but when you factor in going back into Safari, then there’s really nothing in it.

Overall the process of simply just wanting to get a page into Evernote as quickly and painlessly as possible has been elusive - until now that is.

I took a look at the limitations of the Safari app on the iPod/iPhone and quickly concluded that a bookmarklet was currently the only viable option to create any sort of action.  Looking at the efficiency of getting something into Evernote in as agnostic a way as possible seemed to lend itself to the use of the (account specific) Evernote e-mail address.  So if I could find a way of creating a bookmarklet to trigger the e-mail of a web page this would allow me to stay in the browser and not have to complete any additional information.

I found several services that would allow me to create a bookmarklet that would send the page URL into Evernote, but it was the page content I was looking to add to Evernote.  I finally managed to find the solution I was looking for with a service called toRead.  toRead is an e-mail based bookmarking service.  It is free to sign up and even though it is currently in beta I’d be very surprised if this free usage changed.

So here are five simple steps on how to set-up the option to quickly add a web page to Evernote from the Safari app…

  1. Browse to toread.cc.
  2. Enter the e-mail address for your Evernote account (this can be found in your account information) and click the start now button.
  3. Open Evernote and find the e-mail from toRead which should now be a note in your default notebook.
  4. Open the registration link it gives you in Safari on your iPod/iPhone.
  5. The registration page provides two links on it specifically for iPod/iPhone users.  Select and hold to get the option to add each of these to your Safari bookmarks (taking care to edit them and remove everything before the word “javascript” on each bookmark as per the instructions on the registration page).

The two bookmarks you now have can be used to send the content of any page you are browsing (including an option to comment on the content) Safari on your iPod/iPhone.  The content isn’t perfectly reproduced and a bit of extraneous information is prefixed to the content by toRead to note when it was captured and what the URL was.

It would be great if Evernote could team up with toRead or even provide a similar service themselves that would allow the prefixed information to be populated into the “correct” parts of the note meta data (e.g. the URL of the page into the URL field, the page title into the note title).  After all there’s always room for improvement.

Author: Stephen Millard
Tags: | evernote | ipad | iphone | ipod |

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