Updated May 2017
There’s Super Exciting Big News to
Report from Evernote!
On January 26th, Evernote released a brand new ios app…the app has been completely redesigned!
You Can Now Change the Color & Size of Fonts
from Right Within Evernote’s ios App!!!
This redesign is huge and it’s really great news for the millions of mobile users out there! The screenshot below show you what the new app looks like in the App Store and I added a link to find it there too. Use the link in Safari which should give you a Google search result that you can tap or click on. That will then open the app in the App Store.
Using Evernote’s New App
I’ve been using the newly designed app for the last couple of months because I’m a beta tester for Evernote. The new methods for changing font sizes and colors are simple and straightforward. They should also be pretty bug free given how long we were testing. In a couple of days time, (when I’m able to) I’ll write a whole new guide explaining the process.
Although the font variation features are simple the use, there are so many more updated features that have been added too. Even simple navigation within the app has changed drastically…which is why I’ll write an all new guide to using the ios app.
In the meantime, feel free to download the new app and keep the old app on your device too…just in case you can’t figure something out…that’s what many of us do in the beta program. Because we rely so completely on the data we store in Evernote…downtime isn’t an option!
What follows is my original article, which is rendered obsolete now by Evernote’s new redesign!
Mobile Evernote Users Have Needed A Variety of Font Types & Sizes & Colors for a Very Long Time!
We’ve been asking, no begging for this one seemingly simple feature for years, which is…
How & Why I Created this ‘Work Around’
Anyone who uses Evernote a lot on a mobile device knows that the fonts you can use within the mobile app are extremely limited (and by limited I mean there’s only one). This lack of variety extends to sizes and colors as well.
You can do so much more with fonts in the Windows and Mac versions of Evernote!
However, I prefer using tablets, primarily an iPad…but sometimes an Android one, where text formatting options are very limited. But where there’s a will there’s a way…which has led me to develop methods to work around the ios or mobile limitation.
Why Do I Even Bother with Different Fonts or Different Colors?
I’m a very visual person. I also have to work to keep myself focused. For me, the visual aspects of data that I’m trying to comprehend or work with in some way can drastically impact how productively I’m able to accomplish various tasks.
To further illustrate what I mean by this, here are a few of the main reasons that I rely on different font sizes, colors, types and even different highlight colors within my notebooks. Hint to the Evernote ios development team…how about a few different fonts, sizes and colors…please?
- I use different font sizes and colors a lot to quickly zero in on important ideas within notes, and even to zero in on certain notes. Different colored fonts are instant attention grabbers!
- I like to make my notes aesthetically pleasing by my own personal standards. Frankly, it really annoys me if my notes are messy, cluttered and disorganized. So, a few well-placed colors or larger fonts both improves my productivity (exponentially) and keeps me happy at the same time! One of my oft repeated parental mantras during my child-rearing years was ‘a cluttered space leads to a cluttered mind’. Because my productivity suffers a lot from clutter, I assumed my kids would too. (Looking back, I guess I wasn’t a very FUN Mom!)
- I like to use larger fonts for titles and subtitles. Elaborating further upon that, these act as ‘instant attention grabbers.’ I’ve found that font aesthetics are especially important to me for finding information quickly within my notes too. If a note isn’t well organized visually…I oftentimes cannot find some little detail that I’m sure is buried within it (maybe because I’m so annoyed by the discordance surrounding it?) I’ve found that if I spend just a few minutes daily on the aesthetic aspects of my notes, finding information is much, much easier for me and can save me a lot of time in the long run.
- I often share my notes. When I do, I feel that I should make an attempt to keep the data within them understandable beyond what was in my head when I wrote them. If I don’t, I sometimes discover that even I can’t always follow my ‘train of thought’ at a later date.
- I also like to use different colored highlights a lot. I wrote a followup post sharing some highlight cheat sheets here.
Here’s a YouTube Video I Made to Demonstrate This Method
I’ve Included 2 Sample Font Notes
That You Can Download
If you scroll down towards the bottom of this guide you’ll find I’ve included 2 of my own Sample Font notes.
The following sections discuss various methods for creating your own font library. I added mine at the end just to save everyone a little time, because this is really the only time-consuming part of this workaround.
If you tap on or click on one of the links, you’ll be given options to either open or save the samples. If you select ‘Open In’ and then select ‘Evernote’, the sample will be saved inside a new note created in the Evernote App (in either your default notebook or in a notebook that you designate by tapping on the Notebook Name and changing it.)
Alternatively, if you select the ‘Save it’ option, ios will display apps that are on the device you’re currently using. You’ll need to select one of those apps and then take an additional step. You’ll need to find and open that app and then export my sample to Evernote (again by using the ‘Open In’ utility.) The ios ‘Open In’ command is really just a user friendly way to Export something.
Main Concept Behind Why This Workaround Actually Works
Most text editing apps, including Evernote handle text formatting very simply within ios. When you beginning typing a new document using any ios app, initially the text you enter will automatically be displayed in whatever the default font that app uses. In many cases it’s just the standard default ios font. However, different apps provide varying formatting options.
Here’s an example:
When you’re typing the text of an email using Apple’s standard Mail app, you can change the text that you use within the email’s body to be either bold, or italicized, or underlined. You can also use several of these formatting options together on the same text…like this…here I’ve applied all 3 together.
Most of the time when you do that, these formatting selections will stick until you intentionally change them again. So if, as you’re typing, you immediately change the default formatting of a word you just entered and then continue typing…the new formatting options will be applied to the new text.
To avoid this, I usually type the whole body of an email first and then I’ll go back and bold, italicize or underline certain words or phrases if I think it’s necessary. I do this intentionally to avoid having to change the formatting for a big chunk text…like the rest of my email. It seems much easier to me to just select and change a word or phrase here and there.
But now I realize I’ve gotten a little off track. So to reiterate, my main point is this…whenever you type text which immediately follows a change to the default text of ios…all new text will be displayed using the changed format.
So if I make a word bold while I’m typing…all of the words I type that follow the word I first ‘bolded’ will also appear in the bold font. If I don’t want all my new text to all be bold…I can either continue along on my merry way typing and making everything bold…and then later, at the end, I can select the whole big chunk to ‘unbold’ it. Or, I can just type one or 2 words beyond the bold one and then select them and change them back to the default font…and then continue typing.
ios can be a little quirky…
You can use that quirkiness to your advantage to manipulate the fonts…not just in Evernote…but in many different apps, including Apple’s built-in standards.
if: I copy and paste some text into the body of something as I’m typing it…and
if: that pasted text appears in a different font, size or color…
then: all words that I type immediately following my pasted text will take on the characteristics of the pasted text.
Side note: Evernote’s ios app provides a few additional text formatting options beyond what the Apple standard Mail app does. In addition to bold, italicize and underline, you can also highlight (but I can’t highlight in WordPress) and
strike out text.
My Old Method for Changing Fonts, Colors, or Sizes of Fonts
My main workaround for years has been to copy and paste different words that I search for on websites into a note. Then anything I type into the note that immediately follows that word ends up being displayed using the copied font’s characteristics (both size and color).
Steps for Old Method
Step 1 Start typing a new note and when you arrive at a place where you’d like to use a different font, open Safari and search for webpages that are displayed with fonts you like.
Step 2 When you find a font that you like in both in the size and the color that you need, copy one of the words displayed in the desired font. Then open your note and paste the word into it. Paste it immediately before (or in front of) the part where you’d like to use it.
Step 3 Continue typing your note at that place going forward (so that you’re immediately following the word you just pasted in.) Any typing that you enter in this area of the note, (as long as it’s after the word you pasted) will appear in the new font type and color.
Notes About Using this Method | Some Idiosyncrasies
If you’re editing a note that you’ve previously written, text which follows a new pasted word won’t change…only new text that you type after the paste operation will be altered.
Sometimes, when you start using this method, Evernote might display some aberrant behavior and change some things that you didn’t want changed. My theory for why this happens is because EV is overloaded with too many conflicting formatting options. This often happens to me if I’m researching a topic and cutting and pasting many bits and pieces of data from many different websites into one note. If this occurs, it may help to create the note this way instead:
- First type or enter most of the information that you want in the note and save it.
- Second, reopen the note and use the ‘Simplify Formatting‘ command to reformat the entire note (tap the … in the upper right-hand corner to find ‘Simplify Formatting‘.After you’ve removed all the formatting, use the cut and paste method described above. Cut and paste the reformatted words or phrases again. This is tedious which is why I like my new method much better.
Main Disadvantage of My Old Method
This method is cumbersome and can be time consuming when I’m in the middle of creating a note. The part that was most time-intensive for me was finding webpages that displayed the fonts I wanted. Sizing was especially difficult. What appeared to be the correct size on Safari, usually ended up being too small or too large within the context of my note.
My First Improvement to the Old Method
I began to keep a note with some of the font’s I’d found so that I could use them again in other notes. This worked a little better, but I had to remember to save a new font to the Sample note…something I usually forgot to do.
My other problem was that over time my Sample Note become a cluttered, disorganized mess. I found it increasingly difficult to use it quickly (as I acquired more fonts). Consequently, I couldn’t easily find fonts even in my own sample! I often ended up back in Safari using the cumbersome hunt and search method.
2nd Improvement | My Vastly Improved Method Involves Creating A Font Library
Everything changed when ios 7 was released. However, I’m leaving this section in my article because not all users have updated to ios 7 or 8 yet.
Almost immediately following Apple’s release of ios 7, Evernote came out with a new, completely revamped app which had a lot of nice new features. Sadly, more fonts and the ability to change the size or color of fonts, was not among the improvements.
But, when Apple released ios 7, they also gave all ios users a valuable gift: the entire iWork platform of apps for ios devices became free…this was a huge boon for ios users! Even though I’m not a frequent Mac user, (and in fact I used MS Word when I did use an iMac a lot), I started playing around with Pages. It tool a little time but in the end I found that I loved the easy visual way of creating documents using Pages.
Granted, there was a learning curve for mastering Pages. In addition, the learning process was dramatically worsened by one huge glitch that Apple didn’t address until ios 8 was released. That glitch was the lack of detailed on-line help within Pages or any of the iWork apps.
(Initially this function was there, but at some point in time I just started getting the message ‘Opening Pages Requires an Internet Connection’, no matter which device or which iWork app I was using…but I was already connected to the internet.)
The thing about Pages that opened my eyes to a better solution:
There is really one aspect of Pages that I love, and that makes it especially well suited for creating a font sample library for Evernote. That feature is the ability to export or to save final documents in 4 different formats: Pages, Word, PDF, and ePub. With the nice variety of fonts and colors available in the Pages app I began creating my new font sample libraries using it instead my my earlier methods.
While I was creating my font sample library, I discovered that if I saved the final document to Evernote in the Word format, then I could reliably copy and past the various fonts from it into different notes while maintaining the exact style details of the font. This didn’t work as well with documents that were formatted as Pages or PDF’s. I never tried it with the ePub format. This seems to have been improved upon more recently, and most formats seem to work well now.
Below I’m providing my two primary methods of creating a font sample library on ios devices for Evernote, including the steps you’ll need to use this method when composing notes.
Note: The steps below for circumventing the lack of font variety and sizes on EV will work whether you’re using an ios or Android platform. The steps are essentially the same. My example here is described while using an ios device because that’s my primary device type, but this is very easily done on Android devices too…just using different apps as the text editors or word processors.
Unfortunately, I loaned my Nexus 7 to a friend so I didn’t have it handy while writing this article.
Using Different Fonts With The Evernote App for ios:
Steps to Creat | A Font Sample Library in Evernote | Using An iPad
Step 1 The easiest fastest way I’ve come up with doing this is using the Pages app. I type one word and then copy it over and over again into each column, then start a second column with additional variants by line of the font. Initially I was tediously trying to note the font name and size, but as you’ll see from my examples, this got old fast and I gave it up.
You can also do this using virtually any word processing app. DocsToGo, is a MS Word app that also works well for this too, but really, any text editing app that allows you to change font characteristics should work. I have not yet tested out the new Word app that Microsoft recently released for ios.
Step 2 After you’ve created a document with a nice sampling of fonts and colors, export the note to Evernote, or attach it to a note. If you’re using Pages, you’ll notice that Pages documents can be opened directly into Evernote by using the ‘Open In‘ utility, but only while you are in ‘document editing mode‘.
- Using the above icon you can either open the document in a different app, or send it to Evernote using email.
- In either event, the document will end up in your default notebook – so just tap the notebook name at top of note to change it, or move it where you’d like. (depending upon which ios version you’re running and which version of Evernote, the location of the notebook name while in note varies. In ios 8 versions, notebook names may be hidden under the ‘i‘ on the top right.)
Note: DocsToGo is a Microsoft Office app – it’s the best I’ve found for Word Docs on iPad. It also includes Excel. But there are many free apps such as Documents by Readdle, or many File Management apps like FileApp that also give you word processing capabilities to create your style sheet too. One favorite if you like dictating is Dragon Dictation.
Alternative Step 2 A different alternative to sending the document, or using the ‘Open In’ utility involves using a word processing app like one of the aforementioned, and just copying & pasting the entire font sample library you create into a note in Evernote. Note at the time of this writing this option didn’t work directly using Pages, (you need to use the first option of exporting or opening it in Evernote) but it does work using the free Documents 2 app by Savy Soda.
Also note that when exporting using the ‘Open In’ function, the format that should be exported is .doc or .docx or Word. Neither Pages, nor any other app I’ve tried that generates PDF formats functions correctly for this purpose.
Using the Sample Font Library During Note Writing in Evernote
1. While you’re creating a note or while editing an existing note with the Evernote ios app, just navigate to your Sample Font Library note to find the font you like best for that context.
2. Copy and paste one of the words from your ‘Sample Note’. Pick the font you like in the desired size and color from your saved note, then paste it into the new note. Where you paste the word is important. Paste it immediately before where you’ll begin typing. Then start typing or entering text again, and you’ll see that now everything you type is in the new font! It’s pretty cool!
3. After you’re done entering text, simply remove the sample word you pasted by selecting it and using tapping on ‘cut’.