Questions and Answers About Context


Questions and Answers About Context

Posted by Andrew Sinkov on 04 Dec 2014

Posted by Andrew Sinkov on 04 Dec 2014

We believe that Evernote can play a big part in you accomplishing your work in a better, more informed way. Recently, we’ve introduced Context, a new feature to helps Premium and Business users do just that. Context can display a variety of content that’s related to what you’re working on as you’re working. We’ve gotten questions on our blog, forums, and via social media about how Context works and we thought a quick FAQ might be in order.

What is Evernote Context?
Context is a new feature in Evernote. As you use Evernote, our Context algorithms try to find other information that is likely to be useful and relevant to whatever you’re working on. Our goal is to show you information that will help you improve the quality of your work, without you having to think about searching for it. It’s like having a super smart research assistant always by your side.

What information does Context show?
Currently, Context can display three types of information when it finds something relevant to what you’re working on: your prior notes, shared notes from your coworkers if you’re an Evernote Business user, related news and articles from Dow Jones and our other partners, and relevant people from LinkedIn. In the future, we’ll add other sources that we think would be helpful to Evernote users.

Is this advertising?
No. Evernote does not get paid based on the number of views or clicks. We have no financial incentive to show any articles or other content. We only show things that we think are useful to our users. We don’t share user account information with our partners and we allow users to determine which Context sources they want to see, or to turn the feature off completely.

Does Evernote share any user data with publishers or other partners?
No. If you click on a Context-suggested article and it opens in an Evernote note or a browser, publishers will see these clicks as web visits, just like they would if you went to their website on your own. Publishers do not see any connections between those views and an individual Evernote user and they never see the content of your notes.

How does Evernote make money from Context?
Evernote makes money by providing products and features end users are happy to pay for. We think Context is a powerful feature that will help people do their best, most informed work. It’s one of several features that people enjoy when they sign up for Evernote Premium or Evernote Business.

Who is Context available to?
Context is available to all Evernote Premium and Evernote Business users.

Which versions of Evernote support Context?
Evernote for iOS and Evernote for Mac. We’ll be releasing Context for Windows and Android in the coming months.

How can I customize my experience of Context?
In your Preferences Menu, you can select what types of Context results you’d like to see: related notes, articles or information about people and companies. You can also further customize your results by telling us which content providers you’d like to see content from. Or, if you’d like, you can turn Context off altogether.

What’s next?
We’re focused on bringing Context to Evernote for Windows and Android and in learning how we can even more sharply hone the results users see when they’re using the feature.

Are you using Context yet? Tell us what you think and what other content sources you might like to see featured.


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52 Comments RSS

  • Robert

    Great new feature for Evernote!

    Now that’s off the to-do list, how about implementing some of the very basic features that have been requested for years, and that will have the most impact on users… namely improvements to the editor.

    Serious note takers would appreciate better table handling, the ability to define and use styles and more consistent editing. It’s Evernote only achillies heel.

    • Joel Harrison

      Robert – the only problem with that, and what I think Evernote tries to stick true to, is that it is a ‘note taker’ not a word processor. Yes I agree I’ve run into some occasions I wish it had more features but that’s what Google Drive/Docs/Sheets is good for. The simplicity of Evernote is part of what makes it great in my opinion

    • kaije

      I’m enjoying Context, thus far, but I totally agree about the editor.

  • Tom

    Great. How about an option to turn the background white and turn grey and green text to black so that anyone who is over 30 or vision impaired doesn’t have to struggle to read you text

    • Nino Piamonte

      You can tweak that on your operating system itself.

  • Evan

    I love the concept but just haven’t found the results very relevant so far. I’m in the tech industry, which is where you’ve focused your early partnerships, but the related links are almost never useful to me. Perhaps that will change as you improve the sources and algorithms over time. Also, please consider adding simple separators (lines?) between source types (notes, articles, and people) in the Context field at the bottom. Thanks for continuously working to improve Evernote!

  • Phil

    Please add Wikipedia as a Context source.

  • Clint

    A step in the right direction. I currently try to leverage Androids universal search,x which looks through my contacts, Evernote, drive, emails all at once.

    Subscribed RSS feeds and Web search history is another rich source of context indicators, but user sensitivity towards private data will nake this application difficult… Irrespective of the fact Google probably has is already 🙂

    Evernote’s focus has always been to help one remember… To make one’s brain work better, not to take notes… I suspect that this is where the disjoint between users and Evernote exists. Users expect focus on the text editor for example while Evernote staff focus on search algorithms and the semantic web. I understand it, but it’s easy to see why folks don’t get it, it starts with the name. Evernote is not a note taker, it is a database. EVERBASE, would have been more accurate.

    I personally like the name EXOCORTEX, an external layer of brain function based on silicon that will hopefully become more and more effective and imbued with AI as I face an increasingly complex world, and looking to the future as I get to “old age” decades in the future, I need an

    • Clint

      Oops, hit send by accident.

      To end off, if Evernote’s true vision is for an AI augmented human cognition system (which I hope it is) I would be overjoyed, because it’s what I need. Others need it too, perhaps they just don’t realise it yet. We could all us an extra few IQ points and I dont care how I get them. Here’s the deal, make me smarter Evernote and I’ll look the otherway if any fonts don’t display properly when printing or similar. 🙂

  • Wilhelm Deussen

    I remember your promise from last year that Evernote would be focusing on stability, reliability, solidity etc. While there has been improvement there, I still feel that some of these new features (Context, inline chat) don’t have so much added value as to give them priority over my main issue with Evernote: the lack of SPEED.

  • John

    What are the privacy and security implications of Context?

    This is one question that has not been answered from the blog post. For example, are the Context searches transmitted over an encrypted connection so that my employer can’t view the summarised content of my personal notes? Does Evernote store Context searches in an unencrypted or identifiable manner?

    These “value adding” services are often used to erode privacy or inadvertently introduce security’s weaknesses. In this day and age, such issues should be openly addressed in blog posts like this.

    I hope there will be the option to turn this off (the Internet search part, that is). If I need to find related sites or data, I’m happy to search for this myself. Sounds suspiciously like the beginnings of a Gmail-like customised ad service that is tailored to the content of notes…

    • Taylor Pipes

      John, A good reference would be our Three Laws of Data Protection blog post, specifically communications between our clients and servers are encrypted, this includes calls for Context. Our systems automatically analyze your data in order to power Evernote features, such as search and related notes, and to tell you about important features and products that we think will enhance your Evernote experience, but we never give or sell your content to any third party for advertising purposes.

      As a user, you have the option to turn the feature off. When you do, the calls for related notes and articles will no longer be made to our servers, and no Context content will be displayed in your Evernote.

      Three Laws blog post:

  • Joseph Nobles

    How do I remove your product from my Note 4? I didn’t ask that it be downloaded onto my phone and I would like to remove it. I don’t even have the option to disable it! Thank you for your attention to this matter.

  • Alana

    why is it so impossible to get on the phone with ANYONE?

    • Taylor Pipes

      We offer live chat and email assistance for Evernote Premium, Business, and Market customers. Additional help can be found in our Knowledge Base (!/product/evernote).

      For more information on support, please consult:

  • MConn

    OK – I HATE this new feature… It appears that they have now added the ‘Context’ feature to the latest Windows release ( This Windows free version does not have a ‘Preferences’ menu anywhere that I can find, thus there does not appear to be a way to turn this incredibly annoying thing off. It continually generates stupid pop-ups every time you do anything in a note… Evernote – this is SO DISTRACTING. Unless we’re able to turn it off I will definitely stop using this product.

    • Andy

      While I am not going to stop using Evernote I find this new feature incredibly distracting and in the blog post there is reference to “preferences” where I can turn this off but there is no “preferences” to be found in my version and no way that I can find to turn this off so I am stuck with this thing popping up every few words I type.

      I am using Evernote Public (274061) on Win 8.1

      • Kate Morell

        Does Evernote have a bunch of “YES” people working there because somebody should’ve raised the concern of this feature as being less productive than helps – the related context pops-up every click of a note that causes a huge distraction, it’s like whack-a-mole! I just want to turn it off – better yet, uninstall and going back to the old version without related context; related to be better off without context pop-ups.

    • sgee13

      Totally, agree! I HATE THIS ‘Imposing feature’ Context. At least, Evernote should offer users to ‘turn off’ this annoying pop-up, Or, I will stop using this. I want to go back to older version on Windows.

  • Martin YJ

    Mixed emotions…

    I like the idea behind the feature, but this is too much of a distraction. Pops up every five seconds – even when I have clicked the darn news thing. Making me so irritated that I had to come here and write that I’m irritated.

    Now I’ll get back to getting distracted…

    • Aaron

      Yes, this is a huge distraction. The only reason I am reading this post if because I googled how to turn this thing off.

      • Debra

        I also only found this article because I was trying to find a way to disable Context. It is incredibly annoying and pops up ridiculously often. I don’t want it, give me a way to turn it off!

        • Taylor Pipes

          If you want to turn Context off, you can easily do so from Evernote options (Windows Desktop), preferences (Mac), or settings (mobile devices):

          Windows: From the Evernote menubar, select Options > Context
          Mac: From the Evernote menubar, select Evernote > Preferences…, and uncheck the ‘Show Context’ option.
          Android: Tap the options icon (three lines), tap on Settings > Context, and uncheck ‘Disable Context’ option.
          iPhone, iPad, and iPad Touch: Tap your account name at the top of the screen, then select General > Context from the ‘Settings’ page. Tap the more icon (angle bracket) labelled ‘On’ and tab the ‘Show Context’ switch to disable Context.

  • Josh

    I’m trying to turn off context but when I go to the “options” menu on my PC I can’t see the option – can someone at EN help me turn this annoying feature off?

  • John

    Please, turn off this feature

  • Jason

    This feature is awful and intrusive. What would possibly make you roll this out without a way to turn it off? PLEASE implement a way to turn this off on PC immediately.

  • Darcy K

    Related Content roll-unders are VERY annoying! How do I turn off these annoying notifications PERMANENTLY?

  • Sam

    I do not see anywhere under Preferences to turn this off. I find the pop-up feature extremely distracting, inconvenient, & unhelpful.

  • Matti Paksula

    This is a horrible feature. Fix the product and quit fooling around.

  • user99

    I would be nice to be able to remove this without having to pay for premium…

  • Matt

    This option is awful!!!!!!!!!! It’s so distracting when I am trying to concentrate on writing something with evernote. How do I turn it off??????????????

    • Taylor Pipes

      Matt, to disable Context, please refer to the section “How to turn Context off” in our knowledge base article. We have instructions based on the devise you are using.!/article/104102093

      • greenstang511

        Free accounts get this feature when they shouldn’t and there is NO way to turn it off because the Options -> Context does not exists. I do not like this feature as well and the pop ups are very distracting. Maybe it’s time to move to one note.

        • Taylor Pipes

          What platform are you using?

  • JB

    UGH!! I just upgraded to the latest release of Evernote Desktop for Windows and I STILL don’t see the option to disable Context under the options menu!

    • Taylor Pipes

      Using Evernote for Windows: From the Evernote menubar, select Options > Context

      • Bill

        Taylor, I’m on Windows 7 Enterprise, SP 1. Using Evernote Windows desktop app (274061) Public. I agree with all other users here of that app that no matter how many times you repeat the instructions to disable Context, there is no toggle for Context under Options. (Available choices are General, Sync, Note, Hot keys, Language, Reminders, Clipping). I get these popups *every* time I have a note open in a separate window when I scroll to the bottom of that window.

        I use your app on my smartphone, Mac at home and Windows at work. No issues with the Mac app, but the inability to disable this feature on your Windows app has taken a huge chunk out of the tremendous goodwill I had for Evernote. I expected MUCH better from you guys when I began relying on your app across multiple platforms. I hope you can restore that goodwill among your very disappointed users.

        • Taylor Pipes

          Bill, thanks for the response. I am looking into this issue for you right now. Will report back. Thanks so much for your patience.

        • Taylor Pipes

          Bill, I have confirmed that this issue has been fixed in the latest Evernote for Windows, version 5.8.3. Could you let me know whether the issue has resolved on the latest version?

          • Bill

            Hi Taylor,
            Thank you for your followup. Yes, I downloaded Evernote for Windows and I’m not seeing the Context popups any more.

            FWIW, even I wanted to enable that feature, I don’t think having popups appear for every note when I scroll to the bottom — and most annoyingly, the popup not disappearing and preventing me from seeing the bottom of the note —
            is a good user experience. Thanks again for addressing this.

  • Paul

    I hate these popups!
    I am using Evernote a long time now, but this really SUCKS. This stupid popup drives me crazy.
    In the end, it seems that Evernote is just as BAD as any other company. I want to turn these popups off in my Free version !!!

    • Taylor Pipes

      Can you give us details about where you are seeing this pop-up and what version of Evernote and operating system you are using?

  • James Gordon

    Absolutely the worst concept for a feature ever. I could understand if it was advertising driven in a free version, but I am willing to bet literally the only people with it on are the ones who don’t know you can’t turn it off. Evernote lacks a lot of actual, useful, features. It’s astounding, and not in a good way, that this one was developed instead of something people might actually *want.* It’s the model of something *inflicted* on the user.

  • Rebekah

    How does the news article integration handle subscriptions for the news partners? Do you have to have one for the ones that require it (e.g. WSJ) in order for it to work? What is your planned rollout for additional news sources?

    • Ronda Scott

      Hi Rebekah,

      You don’t need to subscribe to the various news sources, but you do need to be an Evernote Premium or Business user to see context results.

  • david

    Very disruptive. How do I turn this feature off

  • Dave

    No. Just … No. My Notes are where I focus on my work. If I want to be distracted, I’m MORE than capable of doing it on my own. I don’t need a bunch of useless spam cluttering up the bottom of my screen.

    Moreover, we Mac users have been clamoring for find-and-replace for *years* and what we get instead is intrusive and distracting noise.

    I pay money for Evernote Premium. I am already a revenue stream for you. I do not appreciate your “monetizing my eyeballs” by shoving more nonsense into my tool.

    While you’re considering what users might actually want in the product, how about the ability to conveniently set the background color for selected text or table cells. Color is important, and you all but ignore it.

  • James G. Olmstead-Dean

    It would be most helpful if the article also contained the information on how to turn this annoying feature off. Given the number of legitimate “needs” from the customer base, it’s pretty appalling that Evernote spent the time developing what amounts to “annoyware.” Whether Evernote gets paid for the advertising delivered to us or not, the difference between this feature and malware such as “ad choices” is negligible. It eats screen space and thought cycles to no good use. I’m willing to bet that if you’d polled users on what features they WANTED to see developed this would have been very near to dead last.

  • Laura Doliner

    I do not need or want the Context feature. The directions I have found for turning it off do not work for my windows app set up. I was forced to buy the Premium version in order to use Evernote on more than two devices. So i am not at all happy about being stuck with that space-eating Context window. And I am very unhappy that there is no way to get beyond the pre-set choices on the Evernote t website Suppor page to request help for this issue. I will be looking for an alternative program to replace Evernote as soon as I can make the time to switch away. I have enjoyed many things about Evernote, but the lack of support is intolerable.

  • Laura Doliner

    After posting my (flaming) reply, I’ve scrolled down through the other comments. It is obvious that many users hate this feature and cannot turn it off. What is the matter with you folks at Evernote? Do you read these comments? I suggest you set up a way for everyone to get rid of “Context” and inform all users.

  • Gabriel L.

    I’ve seen a lot of opinion voiced against the feature, and I understand your objections. On the other had Context is extremely useful for academic writers and other authors. Really handy!! If you’re like me and you’re used to the easy hyperlinking in Microsoft OneNote, Context is most welcome. A fantastic tool.

  • Izack

    This option is nice or not nice based on how relevant the results are…
    It would be nice to have a way to “down-vote” bad results and “up-vote” the good ones.
    some kind of learning algorithm based on those votes would be nice.
    removing “down-voted” context would be great