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Note Taking with Google Drive

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There is a plethora of great note-taking applications available now for your organisation, with applications like Evernote and Microsoft OneNote currently in the top list. It  becomes a headache if you extend your search inside the mobile app stores, which are full of tools that provide you access to save all your thoughts from long brainstorming discussions, meetings or lectures.

However, do not overlook Google Drive as one of the top note-taking applications, even though it is primarily designed to be a cloud-based office suite with secure online storage. This office suite has great advantages that the popular Evernote and Microsoft OneNote don’t offer.

Google Drive Create New Doc

All of your documents and notes are saved in Google Drive. Google Drive is very powerful when it comes to search capabilities (which of course Google is best known for). This makes finding your notes or documents very easy. While Evernote’s searching capabilities are good, they cannot compare to Google’s.

If you are working on a group project requiring input from your team, you can’t go past Google Drive’s excellent collaboration tools for writing and sharing notes with other colleagues or friends in real-time.

Using Google Docs as your preferred note-taking application removes the clutter of trying to recall exactly where you saved an attachment in the note, e.g. an image, audio file or video. Storing them somewhere else such as OneDrive or Dropbox is not an ideal solution. Using Google Drive, it’s all there in the same storage pool. 

If this sounds of interest and you want to utilise this free cloud office suite as your note-taking platform then continue on reading. Here is how to get started…

Creating a folder (Evernote calls them Notebooks)

The first step is create a folder to store all your notes. Though Drive’s search is great it is still good to be organised and have notes in the appropriate folders.

Google Drive - Create New Folder

Create a single or multiple folders, to store all your notes and other files you want to keep organised. Drive also allows nested folders if you want to further subdivide your notes.

Collaborative note-taking

If you’re wanting to work on a project or brainstorm ideas with others, look no further than Google Docs as it is the best free real-time collaboration cloud application.

Google Drive - Share Docs

Share a file and input in real-time with another Google Drive user

Google Drive makes it very easy to share a page with notes. This is done by using the blue Share function in the corner and away you go. Even better, the document Comment function allows you to receive answers for questions you have asked, or just to discuss specifics back and forth within your document.

Use those tables

Instead of just using a blank page for taking notes you may end up wanting more structure. Fortunately, you can tweak documents to make them function better for notes.

Google Drive - Create Table

Creating a table on a page is a great way to organise your note-taking.

To create a table Insert > Table with a few rows. This is a nice and easy way to split up the page. This functions well for multiple use cases, including classroom note-taking or whenever you need to import an image next to text. Currently there is no tool specifically for splitting your document into columns, so using a table solves this problem. It is also possible to add a horizontal line from the Insert menu if you are wanting to split one section from the other. 

Search smarter in Google Drive

Google is best known for its search capabilities, that was what the company started business with. Sometimes you’ll need some more tools to utilise when you’re trying to retrieve or find something. Google Drive has multiple parameters that refine the search, which is most useful if you have a large number of files saved.

Google Drive - Search

You are able to search for the type of file, perhaps you’re only wanting an image or a scanned document. If another user created a file, you are capable of searching for them. It will save you from many search results that provide you with the wrong answers.

Google Drive also supports advanced search functions found in the normal Google Search website, which will assist you to narrow down your results. Take a look at the Advanced Search Options function of Google Drive.

Make the camera work for you

It’s very simple to add pictures to Drive, just take a photo with the Drive iOS or Android app, or use your computer’s web camera. From here you can add the image to a file or upload it to your Google Drive. 

Google Drive - iOS Upload 

Take a screenshot of your notes and store them to Google Drive.

Just like Evernote, Google Drive has optical character recognition (OCR) to allow searching of text inside the first 100 pages of a PDF and the first 10 pages of an image based format file. Note that the images you are taking with your camera must be clear – and to get the best results use high resolution images.

Google Docs Research Tool

The Google Docs Research Tool is a great tool for researchers and note-takers. If there is a word or paragraph you want to know more about, just highlight the word/s and use the research tool. 

Google Drive - Research Tool 

Google Docs will retrieve the relevant links. If you think these links are useful you can keep them by making the text a hyperlink. This tool can be very useful if you have a set of notes that are intended to be generated into a report.

Keep an eye on Google Keep

Google Keep is Google’s alternative quick note-taking tool. It synchronises across devices but is only available on Android. There are other third-party tools available to utilise Google Keep on iOS but nothing officially released by Google.

Google Keep

If you are interested in learning more how you can modernise your workflows and leverage Googles tools to help your organisation contact the Dynamo6 team today.

Blog Update:

Google Keep is now available on iPhone.