Set Up Your Personal Organizer with Springpad

Bookmarks and notes have come of age and graduated from your browser to their own place in the cloud. What we should be building is a high-powered internet connected personal database of everything that’s of interest to you and not just text and links. More so, everything should have a custom wrapper of its own, that gets dynamically updated without any input from you.

Springpad is a free personal organizer to save and use just about anything — recipes, products, restaurants, ideas, notes, articles, and more. After the break you can find out how this web app turned out to be the most used app in my daily life.

Overview

Springpad gives you a place to quickly and easily save anything you want to remember. Take a note, create a task, scan a product barcode and look up the book your friend mentioned. The best part is that no matter where you are, Springpad is there with you to make sure you don’t forget something worth remembering. Just think it and Spring it, and it’ll be there for you when you need it.

Overview

Overview

Springpad is absolutely free and there are no bandwidth limitations. You can either sign up using their form or use your existing Google, Yahoo, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The Backstory

Until last month, my bookmarking system had been archaic and almost broken. I used to right click on pages of interest and would add them as a Fast Dial in Firefox. Over time there where hundreds of such fast dial links causing the browser to crumble under pressure. And, all the valuable article ideas and links to apps were not in cloud. So I started looking for the perfect bookmarking and note taking application.

Just like everyone does, I gave Evernote a try and was almost ready to pay the subscription. I knew of Springpad earlier through the iOS app and thought I would try the web app once before making a decision. Once I tried it, I was hooked and it became the app that I use multiple times a day.

Getting Started

Chrome Extension

Chrome Extension

You can get the most out of Springpad if you use a browser extension. There is an official Google Chrome extension and users of other modern browsers can take advantage of the Springpad bookmarklet. I will be using the Chrome extension in this article.

Creating Notebooks

After logging in, start creating notebooks. Notebooks are dedicated categories where you move your respective notes to. Create notebooks to separate your home and work life or to plan trips and special projects. Use the Spring Board to visually plan next steps. It’s as flexible as you’d like it to be.

Creating a New Notebook

Creating a New Notebook

In addition to dedicated notebooks, you can add as many tags as you want to keep things organized. Tag anything and access them all in a single click.

Saving Stuff

Adding Stuff

Adding Stuff

You can start saving notes, links etc., either from the browser extension or directly on the web app. Hit the Add Stuff icon to the top right of the app and choose the type of stuff you plan to save. Don’t worry that there only three types of notes you can save. Try the Add by Type, Add Nearby and Add from My Stuff to bring up new options.

Add by Type Options

Add by Type Options

As you can see, using Add by Type you can pretty much save any type of media. The beauty of Springpad is it has customized formats for saving each and every type of media from the list.

A Checklist

A Checklist

A checklist has a totally different form and set of fields when compared to movies and the same for other options.

Adding a Product

Adding a Product

Springpad has an amazing “look up” option that makes life simple for you. Let’s assume that you’re into iPads and are looking to add a notebook with all relevant information about it. Thanks to Springpad, you don’t have to add all the information about the product (iPad) manually. Enter the name of the product and hit Look up. A list of links from ecommerce sites will show up.

Product Details

Product Details

Choose the one you find useful and add it to a notebook. That isn’t all. Springpad will automatically categorize everything you save and gives you powerful organizational features. You can all see price comparison results too.

Using the Browser Extension

Springing a Link

Springing a Link

What sealed the deal for Springpad in my case is the way it springs and saves an entire webpage. More than 90% of my bookmarks are IMDB links for movies to watch later and using the Chrome extension, I save entire pages.

A Sample Notebook

A Sample Notebook

Springpad doesn’t just gulp up the page and dump it in as a plain HTTP page, as is. Rather, it extracts all relevant information from the page and makes it available for access from the web app later.

Extracted Information

Extracted Information

So not only do I have the direct link to my original bookmark, I don’t ever have to go to that page to view all the details. You’ll know how awesome such a feature is as soon as you start using Springpad. Links to reviews, renting or streaming from Netflix and Amazon are available too!

Setting Alerts

Springpad isn’t just a digital filing cabinet to help you save and organize stuff. The app puts your information to work for you even when you’re not around. Behind the scenes, Springpad is always on the lookout to save you time and money with essential updates customized for your interests and available when you need them.

Alerts

Alerts

The app can alert you to price drops, product availability, deals of the day, news, useful links and other relevant offers for the things that matter to you. Integrate your Twitter account and you will get tweets of the alerts too. It’s like having your own personal assistant!

Final Thoughts

Springpad is an app with so many features, it’s almost impossible to cover all its features in a single review. You can scan barcodes, find nearby business, share things publicly and more. Everything is automatically synced between your mobile devices and the web for instant and universal access.

While some features (like recording and uploading voice clips) are missing in comparison to Evernote, Springpad is by far the best alternative with its own unique features and an unbeatable price tag, free!

Share Your Thoughts!

Do you find the way Springpad organizes stuff useful? Will you make a move from Evernote or other bookmarking apps to Springpad?


  • http://www.web2andmore.net Kevin Tea

    Great summary of the power and relative simplicity of Springpad. While I use Evernote for most of my heavy research I use Springpad for my day to day work because of the seamless way it syncs with my Android phone. Springpad’s online support rocks, too.

  • http://etiennedelagrave.com Etienne Delagrave

    Tried it, but haven’t found a way to share an album (list). The only missing feature for me to use it..

    • Tim

      You can share anything in Springpad. Just open the item and there is a Share button at the top. You can send a link to whoever you want to share it with.

  • http://www.rebatesense.com RebateSense

    I’m a paid subscriber of Evernote and I’m kind of happy with what it does. Even though there are a bunch that could be improved (a snappier web app, revamped organizing feature, etc.) I was kind of using Evernote for all my note taking needs until I bumped into SpringPad. It kind of pulled me in with its great utility feature and I’m using it fairly heavy these days.

    But at the end of the day I’m confused with what goes where. I do have quite a lot of notes on Evernote and certainly don’t want to abandon it. At the same time I keep piling things up on SpringPad as well and now I have to manage 2 different apps for my notes and life bits.

    Any advice on how to narrow these 2 together? Are you facing the same issue as well? If so how are you managing it?

    • Mike

      Use one for work and another for personal. Then decide

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  • Sandra Williamson

    Many thanks for previous comments as I’m new to Springpad and have a bit more experience with Evernote. Happily the problem seems resolved as in suggestion that Evernote should be personal and Springpad for business. That seems to be proper choice as I spend substantially more time with PC for business than for personal & although I’ve paid for Evernote already, Springpad by reading quickly seems to have broader uses. Time will tell but I certainly plan to give this a strong workout and learn all the finer points in that way.
    My first go-to program that first-off captured all about Springpad is my most used software, by far, which is Snagit by TechSmith & I’m just a paying customer who would be lost without the Snagit. My “One Click” is always at top of my screen waiting to capture any and all things of interest. Now I will go to customization & setup sending my captures to Springpad.
    Thanks for what appears to be a long & happy association with you, the saver of all things business on my PC! Bye, S

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