You Should Be Using is a new weekly series of app tips and tricks aimed at helping students work smarter.

Many of you may have already grown accustomed to using Evernote or OneNote to take better notes in class. Unfortunately, many professors don’t allow laptop usage during class, leaving you wondering how you’ll organize your paper and digital notes.

If you use Evernote, there’s a solution built right into the service’s iOS and Android apps called the “Page Camera.”

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The Page Camera feature allows you to take a quick picture of your paper notes with Evernote’s app and store the image with your existing digital notes. That on its own is a pretty handy feature, but Evernote takes the feature a step further by detecting written text and allowing you to search handwritten notes so you can find them when you need them.

It’s not only a great way to keep handwritten notes safe for cram sessions, it’s great for keeping track of syllabi or any important typed paper. I’ve been using mine to digitially backup everything, from receipts to my latest eyeglass prescription.

The feature can take a while to get used to and a clear capture may not happen on the first try, so be patient. Here are some tips to help you take better pictures using the Page Camera:

  • If you’re a diehard Evernote user, consider buying an Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskin. Its paper is specifically designed to work with Evernote’s Page Camera.
  • Lay your notebook or paper on something dark to create a contrast between the page and the background. (I spread a black tshirt on my bed in order to avoid using the uncomfortable dark floor in my apartment.)
  • If you’re unable to focus your device’s camera with an on-screen tap, it’s likely not compatible with the app and will simply focus when you take the photo. (Always be sure to turn flash on and capture in good light, as well.)
  • Give each page a unique title and draw identifying pictures in order to easily track them down in your gallery or search.

 

How do you organize your paper notes? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Image: Evernote