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How (and why) to use Google Drive as a powerful note-taking tool

Derek Walter | Feb. 4, 2015
There's an abundance of perfectly good note-taking software available for organization addicts, with tools like Evernote and OneNote typically topping the list. The field gets even more crowded if you expand to mobile app stores, which are loaded with specialized tools that promise to save all your ideas from those lengthy brainstorming sessions, meetings, or classroom lectures.


Docs will then pull up relevant links. If you want to keep those links around or if they're useful for a collaborative note-taking session, then you can make the selected text a link. This can prove especially handy if you have a set of notes that are going to get worked into a report.

When it may not be right

Docs works well for the use cases we covered here. But it still may not be right for you, depending on your personal note-taking style. For example, if you like to mark up your notes on a tablet with your finger or stylus, Docs isn't the right choice for you. 

Further reading: Google Keep vs. OneNote vs. Evernote: We name the note-app winner

OneNote and Evernote have more extensive organizational systems if you juggle multiple projects or digitize a ton of paper notes. Evernote and OneNote also allow you to embed audio recordings in notes. Additionally, Surface Pro 3 owners shouldn't forget about the tablet's deep integration with OneNote, which fires up with one click of the digital pen.

Both OneNote and Evernote offer some in-depth tricks for note-taking power users, as well — tricks that Google Docs can't match.  

Keep an eye on Google Keep

Google Keep is is Google's take on a quick note-taking tool. It syncs across the web and Android (sorry iOS users) and is generally a great way to save quick notes or check-box lists — its Sticky Note-style layout doesn't really lend itself to more detailed files, however.

Yet you never know if Google will one day announce some bigger plans, perhaps more deeply integrating Keep with the rest of Drive. So watch for how Keep develops over time. Either way, Google doesn't look to be letting Evernote or Microsoft run away with the productivity prize.


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