How to Use Google Keep: Getting Started Guide

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Google Keep Screens

Whether you're still using sticky notes or you're a bit intimidated by Evernote, Google Keep may be just what you need to get organized. Keep is a super simple Web service and Android app, and it can be used to store a wide variety of text or audio notes, check lists, pictures and URLs. 

Keep duplicates much of the essential functionality of Evernote in a simplified fashion, but it does have some tricks up its sleeve. Automatic and intelligent audio transcription and shareable notes in the free Android app are particularly helpful. We also appreciate the graphically appealing interface, and the fact that you can add a widget to your phone's home screen. 

To get started:

1. Download the app from the Google Play store on your Android smartphone, or visit your

Google Keep in Play App Store

2. Create a note in the Android app. You have four options to do this. You can simply start typing in the text bar that says Add Quick Note, and your keyboard will appear. Alternatively, you can select the text, check mark, microphone or camera icons to add different types of notes. 

Google Keep Quick Note

The check mark indicates a bulleted to-do list where items can be checked off. The microphone opens a blank note that immediately begins recording your voice. When you're done Keep transcribes what you've said for the body of the note, but you can also play it back. The camera icon opens your phone's camera app. 

Google Keep Dashboard

3. Title your note. For audio and picture notes, after the media has been added to the app you'll want to add a headline and some brief explanatory text to the note to help jog your memory. 

4. Color your note by tapping the artists paint palette icon on the top right. From here you can select plain or from among seven vibrant hues, including blue, grey, neon green, orange, red, teal and yellow. This is the only organizational system currently available within the Keep app. 

Google Keep Voice Notes

5. Share your notes. From your Google Keep desktop in the Android app, tap and hold a note to bring up options along the top bar to delete, archive or share.  Tapping the sideways triangle share icon opens a pop-up window with whatever sharing services you might have loaded on your phone, such as email, Facebook, Dropbox, and even Evernote. Note: This feature is not accessible from the Web version of Keep. 

Google Keep Sharing

6. Save links to read later. From within Chrome browser on our Android phone, we made notes out of websites by tapping the menu button on the phone > Share > and selecting Keep from within the drop down. Note: The same process worked from within Evernote to share a note between the two scrapbooking services. 

Google Keep Sharing Options

Generally speaking, Google Keep can be a useful repository for quick notes. If you own an Android phone it's definitely worth a spin.

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Author Bio
Anna Attkisson
Anna Attkisson, Laptop Mag & Tom's Guide Managing Editor
A lover of lists and deadlines, Anna Attkisson covers apps, social networking, tablets, chromebooks and accessories. She loves each of her devices equally, including the phablet, three tablets, three laptops and desktop. She joined the Laptop Mag staff in 2007, after working at Time Inc. Content Solutions where she created custom publications for companies from American Express to National Parks Foundation.
Anna Attkisson, Laptop Mag & Tom's Guide Managing Editor on
Add a comment
  • Stacy Scott Says:

    This is the world's lamest product. I need to be able to share the note with someone.

  • Bobbito Says:

    My #1 Problem with Google Keep is that when you "share" a note there is no option on who you share it with... it seems like my note is just floating out there in cyberspace for anyone who cares to look, to find and read. I like the idea but I want to be able to share notes with a specific person, just like in Drive where you can make a file public, or share it with specific people or groups of people. This is a major fail. My wife and I both have Keep, but are about to delete it because it doesn't have a notification/share feature that works for us.

    #2, this is more at Google in general... I know they gather information on how users interact with their services, but it seems like they don't care about your opinion. There is no way to provide "feedback" to Google specifically other than using the Play Store. I don't like that. There are a lot of Google services I use or would like to use that aren't on the Play Store that I feel I can provide valuable feedback. But they can never make those improvements just "listening" for user activity. My clicking around Keep only tells them that I'm lost, it doesn't tell them I'm trying to find out how to share a note with a specific person.

  • Jeff Yablon Says:

    It isn't great (although it's fast), and there seem to be a lot of people concerned about GOOG's inclination to kill things they don't know how to monetize. But I think Keep is a safe bet to stick around. Why? Because it's part of Google Drive ... and Drive isn't going anywhere:

  • steve Says:

    why bother they will kill the service eventually and will have to find an alternative