The Short & Sweet Guide to Google Keep

The Short & Sweet Guide to Google Keep

: What is Google Keep? Break up smaller tasks into larger tasks. Use date-based reminders to keep yourself on track and structure your day. With Google Keep, you can keep your tasks prioritized using the "pin" feature. Break up larger tasks into smaller tasks. Google Keep has a useful collaboration feature that allows you to share a note directly with another Google user. To add a colleague to a note, just click on the "+" person icon at the bottom of any note. To add an annotation to an image, click on your image note in Google Keep to expand. Use date-based reminders to keep yourself on track and structure your day. Or maybe you just need some little reminders to keep you on track throughout the day?

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I have a confession to make: organization does not come naturally to me.

To give you a better idea of what exactly we’re talking about here, this is what my phone home screen looks like on any given day:


Not too pretty.

In fact, the above screenshot gave a few of my more inbox-zero-inclined, Evernote-addicted co-workers a good fright (Sorry, Braden!).

I love the idea of being a person who can take joy in meticulously structuring and optimizing my day via an elaborate bullet journal system, but realistically, I’ll never be. I just go where my Google Calendar tells me to go. I send myself one-off reminders via cryptic email and Slack messages (“email that person you talked to in hall”). I keep track of meeting notes in a series of disconnected spreadsheets. I bookmark Gmail conversations I need to respond to. And when all else fails, I write stuff on my arm.

This (reckless) combination of messages and documents has served me (surprisingly) well, but there’s always room for improvement.

To see if I could structure my work life with a bit more intention, I recently started using Google Keep, Google’s free note-taking app.

: What is Google Keep?

Google Keep is a free note-taking application developed by Google. Launched in early 2013, the service can be used to create, manage, and share text-based memos, lists, images, and voice notes across multiple devices. Currently, Google Keep is available on the web and as a mobile application on both Android and iOS operating systems.

The biggest draw of Google Keep compared to other popular note-taking apps is its simplicity. The interface is minimal and intuitive, enabling you to start taking and organizing notes with little (if any) learning curve.

While more robust applications like Evernote offer third-party integrations and additional features for curating advanced databases of notes, Google Keep’s clean, straightforward system is ideal for someone looking to simply keep track of their daily tasks and collaborate with small teams. For users interested in building out a serious archive of content across a larger organization, Google Keep’s capabilities will likely be too limited for anything beyond personal use.

If you’re interested in giving Google Keep a whirl, this guide will walk you through getting started, along with some helpful tips to get the most out of the app.

Getting Started With Google Keep

First things first: you can access Google Keep right here (just make sure you’re logged into your Google account).

Once you log in, you’ll see an area to create notes:


To add a new note, let’s take a look at the “Take a note…” bar at the top of your screen.

Clicking into the box will automatically start a text note. The paintbrush icon on the left will start a drawing note, and the image icon will start an image-based note.

Once you decide on the type of note you want to create, at the bottom of the note-taking area you’ll see options to:

  • Set a reminder for a specific time or place
  • Add a collaborator
  • Change the color of the note
  • Add an image to the note
  • Archive the note
  • “More” = add a label, add checkboxes, add a drawing
  • Undo
  • Redo

Pretty simple, right? Once you click out of the note-taking area, your note will be automatically added to the Google Keep screen and synced across any devices where you’re using the same Google account and logged into Google Keep.