Back in October, when My Simple Curiosity was featured on Lifehacker, several commenters were interested in using templates with Evernote for Android. At the time, I offered up a few crude workarounds, but I was unable to find any apps in the market with the desired functionality. That is, until I discovered Note Creator. Here is a short description of the app straight from the Google Play Store: “Note Creator allows you to create notes in your Evernote account from a range of templates, and make your own templates from existing note layouts or from scratch”. It sounds perfect, right? Unfortunately, the app didn’t work as expected on my device (possibly because I was running one of the latest CyanogenMod nightlies). Nevertheless, I decided to contact the developer to ask a few questions and request some features. He was very quick to respond and open to my suggestions, and earlier this month he released a completely overhauled version of the app, which now works great on my device.
To help you get started with Note Creator, I’ll walk you though an example which uses my Evernote GTD Project note template previously seen in this post.
Step 1: Download and Install Note Creator
Note Creator is a free Android app. Download Note Creator from Google Play.
Step 2: Create Template
Although the note we ultimately create from our template will look just like the notes created on Windows and Mac, Note Creator templates require special XML-style tags to function correctly. As a result, we’ll need to modify the original template to match the proper format.
I’ll provide a link at the bottom of this post where you can download the Note Creator GTD Project template shown above. Import this note into your Evernote account for safekeeping. More information on how to create your own templates can be found on the Note Creator website.
Step 3: Link Note Creator to Your Evernote Account
The first time you open Note Creator, the app will request access to your Evernote account. Fill in the required information and authorize access. Once you’re signed in, you’ll be taken to the main activity screen.
Step 4: Add a Template (aka Note Creator)
To add a Note Creator, click the + at the top of the screen and select the ‘My Account’ tab. The app will list all the notes in your Evernote account that match the default search criteria “intitle:template”. The note you imported earlier should appear in this list (if it doesn’t, use the search box at the top of the screen to find it). When you click on the note, the app will ask you to give the Note Creator a unqiue name.
The name you choose is important since the title of every note created from this template will be the same as the chosen name. This behaviour is a bit unfortunate; however, the developer is working on an update which will allow you define the name of each note you create. Click ‘OK’ to add the Note Creator. The app will take you back to the main activity screen, and you should see your Note Creator listed there.
Step 5: Create an Evernote note
Now that your Note Creator is set up, it’s time to use it to create a new Evernote note. The UI here is a bit tricky. If you click on the Note Creator, you will see a pop-up menu with three options listed—Create, Clear, and Delete. At this point, we don’t want to do any of these three options. Instead, click on the > at the far right of the Note Creator. The app will take you to a different activity screen where you can fill in the Note Creator’s text entry fields.
Fill in all the entries. To add ideas to the ‘Brainstorming’ section, click on the word “Brainstorming” (instead of the >) and select ‘Add’ from the menu that pops up. Enter your idea, then click the <NC button in the top-left corner of the screen to go back to the previous screen where you can add more ideas. Once you are finished filling in the template, click the button that has the arrow going into the box to create the note in Evernote. Select ‘Clear’ when it asks you if you’d like to ‘Keep content?’, that way your Note Creator is ready for the next use. You should receive an alert that says “Note Created” to let you know your note was created successfully.
You may want to adjust the ‘Note Creation’ settings, which can be found in the Settings menu (click the wrench/screwdriver button in the main activity screen to access the Settings menu). I have it set to put notes in my default notebook instead of the same notebook as the template.
Here is a picture of the finished product:
Once the note is in Evernote, you can fix the title, add the appropriate tags, and create the specific Project notebook that it belongs in (for more info, see here).
With that, you’re now ready to create GTD Projects on the fly with your Android device when you don’t have access to your laptop or desktop PC. If anyone has another method that they would like to share, or a different app that they would like to suggest, please do so in the comments below.
Click here to download a copy of the GTD Project Template for use with Note Creator.