Create lists, transcribe recordings, doodle, collaborate on to-do lists, and much more with Google Keep.

Google Keep isn’t your average note-taking client. While the app sports a minimal interface and is easy to pick up and use, it offers a set of powerful tools that make it an effective task management utility. From creating collaborative to-do lists to transcribing voice notes and saving bookmarks, the app does it all.

The best part about Keep is that all changes are synced automatically, giving you quick access to your notes across all your devices, and on the web. Here’s what you need to know to get started with Google Keep.

How to install and log in to Keep

This part’s straightforward. Just head to the Play Store, search for Keep, and install the app.

  1. Open the Play Store from your home screen or app drawer.
  2. Search for Google Keep and tap the first search result (by Google).
  3. Tap Install.

  4. Following the installation, open Keep and tap the Get started button.
  5. Select the Google account you want to associate with the app.

    Google Keep login

How to create and edit your first note in Keep

One of Keep’s strengths is that it is very simple to use. Creating a note or editing an existing note is about as easy as it can get.

  1. Open Keep from the home screen or the app drawer.
  2. Tap the Take a note section at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Enter the title and text, and tap the Back button to save the note.

    Google Keep add note

  4. Tap the note you want to edit.
  5. Tap the desired section to start making changes to the note.
  6. Tap the Back button to save the changes.

    Google Keep edit note

How to create and manage lists in Keep

Keep allows you to easily create and manage to-do lists. Here’s how to get started.

  1. Open Keep from the home screen or the app drawer.
  2. Tap the List button at the bottom.
  3. Set a Title for the list, and start adding items. To delete an item, tap the Delete button on the right.

    Google Keep add list

  4. If you’ve already started a basic text note, you can turn it into a to-do list by tapping the + button at the bottom left of the screen.
  5. Tap the + button, and hit the Checkboxes option to turn the note into a to-do list.
  6. You can turn the note back into a text note by selecting the Menu button in the top left and selecting Hide checkboxes.

    Google Keep edit list

How to share notes and add collaborators in Keep

Keep has an excellent collaboration feature that lets you quickly share your notes and to-do lists with your friends and family. I use the feature to collaborate with my wife over grocery lists, chores for the weekend, and things to buy for the house. Here’s what you need to know about sharing notes.

  1. Tap the note you want to share.
  2. Tap the Action button at the bottom right.
  3. Tap the Collaborator button.
  4. Allow Keep access to your contacts.

    Google Keep sharing a note

  5. Enter the email address or name of the person you want to share the note with.
  6. After adding the collaborator, tap the Save button to share the note.

    Google Keep collaborate

How to set reminders in Keep

The ability to set reminders for notes or to-do lists is one of Keep’s most useful functions. The reminders feature works the same way as it does in Google Now: you have the option of creating a reminder based on time or location. Here’s how you can easily set a reminder in Google Keep:

  1. Launch Keep from your home screen or the app drawer.
  2. Tap the note for which you want to set a reminder.
  3. Tap the Remind me button in the top right.
  4. Set a reminder that triggers at a particular Time or at a Location.

    Google Keep reminder

You can also set recurring reminders for things like shopping lists. Reminders set in Keep will show up in Google Now and Inbox. When you’re setting a reminder, you get default options for Morning, Afternoon, and Evening. Here’s how to change the default options.

  1. Open Keep.
  2. Tap the menu button on the left. It looks like three stacked lines.
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. In the Reminder settings section, tap Morning to change the default time for notification alerts in the morning.

    Google Keep reminder settings

How to dictate audio notes in Keep

In addition to text notes, you can also dictate notes to Keep, with the audio getting automatically transcribed. It is a lesser-known feature that comes in handy when you’re taking notes in class.

  1. Launch Keep.
  2. Tap the Speak button at the bottom.
  3. Start recording your note. After you’re done speaking, you’ll see a text form of the note along with the recording underneath.
  4. Tap the Play button to listen to the note.

    Google Keep dictation

How to add an audio recording to an existing note

Adding an audio recording to an existing note is really easy.

  1. Launch Keep from your home screen or the app drawer.
  2. Tap the note to which you’d like to add an audio recording.
  3. Tap the + button at the bottom left.
  4. Tap the Recording button and start speaking. You’ll see a text version of the recording as well as the audio added to the bottom of the note.

    Google Keep audio notes

You can delete the recording by hitting the Delete button at the right of the audio. Doing so doesn’t delete the text, which you’ll have to clear manually.

How to take images using Keep

You can easily take photos from within Keep, and extract text from within images.

  1. Launch Keep from your home screen or the app drawer.
  2. Tap the Camera button in the bottom right.
  3. Tap an image from your gallery or tap Take photo to take a new photo.
  4. Add a title and text to the image if required.

    Google Keep add image to note

How to extract text from an image

Want to grab the text from a photo you took, but don’t want to manually transcribe from the image? There’s a feature for that.

  1. Launch Keep.
  2. Tap a note with an image in it.
  3. Tap the image.
  4. Tap the Menu button in the top right.
  5. Tap Grab image text.
  6. You can also make annotations to an image by tapping the Pen button in the top left.

    Google Keep add image to note

How to add an image to an existing note

If you’re looking to add an image to an existing note, it’s quick and easy.

  1. Launch Keep from your hoe screen or the app drawer.
  2. Tap the note you want to add a photo to.
  3. Tap the + button in the bottom left.
  4. Choose Take photo to take a new photo to add to the note.
  5. Tap Choose image to add an image from the gallery to your note.

    Google Keep add image to note

How to doodle in Keep

Like doodling? You can use Keep to draw digitally, with three modes available.

  1. Open Keep from the home screen or app drawer.
  2. Tap the Pen button from the bottom.
  3. Tap between Pen, Marker, and Highlight tool.

    Google Keep doodle

  4. Start drawing on-screen. To go back, hit the Undo button on the right.
  5. Tap the Eraser from the bottom bar to erase your drawing.
  6. Tap the Select button from the bottom bar to select and move part of your drawing.

    Google Keep doodle edit

How to use Keep as a bookmark tool

Remember Delicious? You don’t need a dedicated tool to save bookmarks anymore, as Keep does a capable job of saving and organizing your bookmarks.

  1. Launch Chrome.
  2. Navigate to a website.
  3. Tap the Menu button from Chrome to save a link to Keep.
  4. Tap Share.
  5. In the Share via screen, navigate to Keep to save the link.

    Google Keep bookmark tool

  6. Use the Label button to assign a label to the link.
  7. Tap Save to add the link as a note in Keep.

    Google Keep save bookmark

How to export notes to Google Docs

While Keep has a lot of features, it doesn’t offer rich text editing. If you’re in need of more robust formatting and editing tools, you can export your note to Google Docs, Evernote, Word, or other word processing services.

  1. Launch Keep.
  2. Tap and hold on a note to show menu options.
  3. Tap the More button from the top right.
  4. Tap Copy to Google Doc to turn the note into an editable Google Docs document.

    Google Keep export to Google Docs

  5. If you’re looking to edit the document in another word processor, hit Send from the menu.
  6. Tap your editor of choice from the Send note menu.
  7. Tap to save the note in your word editor.

    Google Keep export to Evernote

You can also save several notes to a single Google Docs file. Just hold down to select individual notes, and then tap Copy to Google Doc.

How to archive or delete older notes in Keep

If you no longer need a note, you can easily archive or delete it. Here’s how:

  1. Launch Keep.
  2. Tap a note.
  3. Tap the Archive button to archive the note.
  4. Tap the Action menu from the bottom right to access the delete option.
  5. Tap Delete to delete a note.

    Google Keep delete note

How to recover archived notes in Keep

If you’ve accidentally archived a note, you can recover it by going to the Archive tab from the hamburger menu.

  1. Launch Keep.
  2. Tap the menu button (looks like three stacked lines) on the left.
  3. Go to Archive.
  4. Tap the note you want to recover.
  5. Tap the Unarchive button located at the top right corner.

    Google Keep unarchive notes

You will be able to do the same for deleted notes, with notes staying for up to seven days in the trash.

  1. Tap the menu button on the left.
  2. Go to Trash.
  3. Tap and hold on the note you want to recover.
  4. Tap the Restore button.

    Google Keep restore deleted notes

How to sort and organize notes with labels in Keep

Keep lets you add labels to organize your notes. If you’re like me and take a lot of notes throughout the day, labels are absolutely essential to make sense of the clutter.

  1. Launch Keep.
  2. Tap the note for which you want to add a label.
  3. Tap the Action button in the bottom right.
  4. Tap Labels.
  5. Add your desired label.

    Google Keep add label

How to add labels via hashtags in Keep

You can also add labels quickly with the hashtag (#) symbol.

  1. Launch Keep.
  2. Tap the note for which you want to add a label.
  3. Type a #, which brings up all available labels.
  4. Add your desired label from the list.

    Google Keep add label hashtag

How to edit and organize notes based on labels in Keep

You can create, edit, and organize notes by labels with ease.

  1. Tap the menu button (looks like three stacked lines) on the left.
  2. Tap on a label to show notes tagged with that particular label.

    Google Keep sort labels

  3. Tap Edit to change label names.
  4. Tap the Edit button on the right to edit the name of a label.
  5. Tap the + button to add a new label.

    Google Keep edit labels

How to color code notes in Keep

Along with labels, you can use colors to visually differentiate between different types of notes.

  1. Launch Keep.
  2. Tap the note for which you want to add a color.
  3. Tap the Action button in the bottom right.
  4. Tap the desired color from the options at the bottom.

    Google Keep color code notes

Questions?

Let us know in the comments below.

Updated July 2017 with a section on how to recover archived and deleted notes.



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