Skip to Main Content
University of York Library
Library Subject Guides

How Do I.... (a Practical Guide to Administration tasks)

Take notes on my devices?

Take notes on my devices?

Google Keep is a note taking application and service. It enables you to take different types of notes. These including text, recordings, images and to do lists. Keep notes can be taken and accessed across your devices.

What features does Google Keep Offer?

Case Study: Using Google KeepSpeech Bubble image

Susan Halfpenny - Library and Information Services

Susan Halfpenny is the Teaching and Learning manager in Library and IT services. Here she discusses her experience of using note taking apps and her favourite features of Google Keep.

Listen to using Google Keep case study :

Transcript: Using Google Keep case study

Interviewer: Hi Susan, thank you for agreeing to talk to us today about note taking apps, please can you briefly tell me about your role here at the University?

Susan: Yes I am Susan Halfpenny and I work in the Teaching and Learning team I actually manage that team, so what we are responsible for is providing training on Google Apps and Microsoft Office applications as well.

Interviewer: I know that you have a lot of experience with digital technology and with different note taking apps, can you talk a bit about this and the different types of features they offer?

Susan: There are loads of note-taking applications available for different devices, so whether you’ve got an Android or an iphone there are quite a few that you can use. Some are free and some paid for and with that I think it can be quite overwhelming when it comes about knowing which one to select. I have used quite a collection of apps for work to take notes, so you don’t have to stick to using one, when I first got an iPad for work I used the iNote App, because that was on there and then I wanted something which would work across platforms so I started using Evernote so you can switch between these and have a look at what the functions are.

I think when you are looking at using any type of app it’s really what do you need to get out of it so are you looking for something which works across different platforms are you looking for something which you can do voice recording on? Are you looking for something which has really good organisational features? These are just some of the things that you may want to consider and when you have done that you are probably going to find an app that meets your requirements.

Interviewer: What is your note-taking app of choice?

Susan: My note-taking app of choice, at the minute is definitely Google Keep. I sometimes change my mind about these things so I say at the minute but I do really like that as a note taking application. The main reason I like this is because we use Google Workspace here it works really nicely across the different tools and platforms, it has got good integration with Google Workspace.I suppose another reason I really like Google Keep is because I like post it notes, if anyone knows me they will see that I walk around with coloured post it notes all the time and Google Keep kind of looks like that as well so it’s quite good. I find that it is quite a comforting thing that you move from the atom based post it note to a digital post it note.

You can do some fancy stuff with it like draw images and do checklists but it is mainly plain text. It is quite a simple note taking app that you have got there. The other thing that I like about it is the organisation is pretty good on it. It uses, like in Gmail, it uses the label features for being able to organise your notes, this is something I always think is key for me with note taking applications is being able to tag things and because you can add multiple labels across the notes that means that you can have quite a complex organisational system even though it seems quite simple. Yes, so some of the things I might use, I might tag it up as being staff digital literacy so in my staff digital literacy I might have things which are conference talks but I might also have useful tools for staff digital literacy and notes from meetings that I go to. So I just like that flexibility and the organisation that you can do.

Interviewer: Can you elaborate a bit more on some more features that Google Keep has and what your favourite features are?

Susan: I have mentioned some of these but I think it’s got quite a few, although it seems quite a simple tool to use it is quite powerful in its simplicity as well. With Google products it’s all about integration.

I think that one of the tools that I really like is if you use Google Chrome, you can get an add on for Google Keep, what’s really good with this particular tool is it means you can use if for bookmarking key webpages. So what you can do is you click on Google Keep and what that will do is, it will pick up the web link for that website and if you highlight any text in there it will also automatically copy that into your notes as well so for me I like to keep up to date with things and I like to explore different tools, it is really easy for keeping all those bookmarks in my notes where I can write about it and whether it was useful and that kind of thing and tag it up again with the labels.

Another thing I like as well is it integrates really well with Google Docs. So you get a side panel in Google Docs where you can keep notes so if you have made notes at a conference or reading that you have done, articles, websites you can bring up those notes whilst still in the document and drag and drop the text to pull the text into the document. So it is really nice for that kind of thing where you want to build on your notes and the other thing that you can do in Google Keep is, I have said that it is plain text that you are using in there but if you want to change your Keep note to a Google Doc then you can easily just click on a little button in your note and turn it into a Google Doc. Which means you can do all the styling up and share it with other people and make those notes, if it was from a conference into something that you might share with the rest of your team. I mean you can share the note in Google Keep but I prefer to turn it into a document so that I can put the headings in there and have titles and that kind of thing people can comment on the notes if I want to share them.

My absolute favourite thing if I have not sold this out to everyone, is the function that works on the app, so I have the app on my phone and when I use it on my phone it will do voice recording as well so I love this that I can open my phone if I remember I have got a good idea, it was actions that I was supposed to do in the office. I can just pick up my phone, record it, just talk into my phone, it’s great I love doing that and it records my voice recording but it also does text recognition for it as well so I have got that all on my app and then I can access that on a web browser as well . I can share that with people so it is really good for making notes on the fly, you always have your best ideas when you are walking home,don’t you?.

Interviewer: You do That’s fabulous thank you so much for coming to talk to us today Susan

Additional features of Google KeepGoogle Keep icon

person writing a task list in a book

  • Share notes with collaborators by adding their email address to your note.
  • Add drawings to your notes.
  • Add a reminder to your note.
  • Add voice recorded notes on the mobile Google Keep App.
  • Copy your notes into Google Docs.

For help with Google Keep see Get started with Google Keep on the Google Workspace learning centre

Accessing Google Keep

Accessing Google KeepGoogle Keep icon

Google Keep can be accessed via the side bar in Google Calendar and Gmail on your desktop or laptop. Here you can take a written note or make a list. If you access it via Gmail you can also add an email to a note by clicking on the email and then Google Keep and taking a note.

There is more functionality within the Google Keep application. Keep can be opened via the 'open in a new tab' option from the top right hand corner of Gmail or Calendar, or through the Google Apps logo ( 9 dots) from any Google Application.

The Google Keep application can be added to your phone if you want to add or retrieve notes via your mobile device.