How to Use Google Keep

You can use Google Keep on Android and iPhone

Google Keep is Google's free note-taking app that makes it easy to type, dictate, draw, or snap a photo to create a note. The Keep desktop version, Android, and iOS apps synchronize seamlessly so that your notes are always accessible across all devices.

Get Started with Google Keep

Keep is available as an app, or you can access Google Keep on the desktop using the Keep site. If you use Chrome, install the Chrome extension to make it easier to save bookmarks as you surf the web. After you download the app or are on the Keep page on your desktop, a prompt asks you to enter your Google account information.

Download Google Keep For:

The Google Keep app looks and operates almost identical on both the iOS and Android apps. There's a difference between how the app works on these devices only when you interact with the phone's software, such as saving a bookmark to Keep. Here are instructions for the app, desktop versions, and for specific devices.

How to Set Up Google Keep

You can choose preferences for the way you engage and how Google Keep appears in the Settings menu. Use these preferences to control where notes appear, set default times for reminders, and display images on bookmarks with rich links.

  1. On the desktop, find Settings by selecting the gear at the top of the screen.

    The Settings gear in Google Keep
  2. On mobile, find the settings by tapping the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner of the screen.

    The menu and Settings option in the Google Keep app

Create and Organize Notes

After you create a note, you can use labels and colors to organize notes so that your important information is easy to find. To make your notes more efficient, pin notes you view frequently and archive notes you no longer need.

  1. Select Take a note in the rectangular box on the Keep screen. Start typing, or expand the + at the bottom of the note to take a photo, choose an image, draw, or dictate a note.

    The "Take a Note" command in Google Keep

    After you create a note, Keep automatically saves the note. You can continue to add photos, recordings, drawings, or other text to the note, or create a new note.

  2. Google Keep integrates with Google Calendar. Assign a due date to a Google Keep note by selecting the bell reminder at the bottom of the note on the desktop version and add a date and time. The bell reminder is at the top of the mobile app.

    The Remind Me button in Google Keep
  3. Keep also works with Google Maps. Select the bell reminder to create a location-based reminder so that Keep sends a location-based alert when you are in the geographic area you assigned. Location services must be enabled on the device for this to work. Location-based reminders are helpful when running errands or when you need to remember what to pick up from the grocery store.

  4. Keep uses labels and colors to organize notes. You can create up to 50 labels to organize your notes. A single note can have multiple labels.

    On the desktop version, select the notes you want to label, choose the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner, then select Add Label. Type the name of the label you want to create.

    If you want to assign a different label to a note, select Change Label.

    Add label in Google Keep

    You can also select the palette icon to see a pop-up window of colors.

  5. To add labels to a note in the Keep app, select the three dots in the lower-right corner of the screen to see the labels option.

    Attaching labels in the Google Keep app

    To quickly enter a label name, type #, and begin typing the letters of the label for the note. Keep displays a list of labels that match. Select the label you need.

  6. Keep automatically adds the last note you created to the top of the Keep workspace. If you have a running to-do list that you want to always appear on top, pin the note so that the other notes stay behind. Select the thumbtack to pin the note at the top of the desktop. To unpin a note, select the thumbtack.

    You can do this for as many notes as you need to keep on top.

  7. If there are notes that you don't want to see on your desktop, but you need, archive those notes. The notes are still in Keep, but you won't see the notes on your desktop. Archived notes show up in a keyword search.

    The Archive button on a note in Google Keep

    To see all your archived notes at once, tap the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner of the desktop and mobile versions, then select Archive. To remove a note from the archive, re-select the Archive button.

Add Drawing and Handwriting to Keep

If you draw a note or create a photo note, Keep uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to turn the words in the image into text. To activate this feature on a mobile device, select the photo, choose the three dots in the upper-right corner of the screen, and then select Grab image text. On the desktop version, the three dots are at the bottom of the screen. 

Grabbing image text from an image in Google Keep

The stylus icon in Google Keep works on the desktop version with a mouse, and on mobile devices and tablets using your finger or a stylus. You can customize the color and switch between pen, marker, or highlighter. You can also select the eraser to start over.

To access the stylus on the desktop, select the three vertical dots at the bottom of a note, then choose Add Drawing. On mobile devices, select the + sign at the bottom of the note.

Stylus options in drawing section of Google Keep

You can also use the stylus to take notes, and use the app to transcribe the note into text by selecting Grab image text.

Work with To-Do Lists

To turn any note into a checklist, select the more sign at the bottom of the screen and choose Show checkboxes. When you check off an item as done, Keep moves the item to the bottom of the note, with a line crossed through so that you can see completed tasks.

The More menu and "Show Checkboxes" command in Google Keep

Share and Copy Notes

Keep lets you share notes with contacts, automatically syncing any updates or additions across a team of collaborators.

  1. To share a note, select Collaborator at the bottom of the note and enter the email addresses of the collaborators. On the app, select the three buttons at the bottom of the screen, choose Collaborators, and then enter the email addresses of the collaborators.

    The Collaborator button in Google Keep
  2. You can copy a Keep note to a document by copying it to Google docs. Select the three dots at the bottom of the note and choose Copy to Google Docs. To open the Google Doc, in the lower-left corner of the window, select Open Doc.

    The Copy to Google Docs command in Google Keep

    If you need to print a Keep note, copy the note to a Google Doc document and print the document.

  3. The Send button on the Keep app can be used to copy a note or to send a note to an email address, Dropbox, a text message, social media, Trello, or another app on your device. Select the three vertical dots at the bottom of the screen. Select Send and choose the action or app to share. When you send or share a note, the note is still available in Keep.

    The Send options in the Google Keep app

    On the desktop, the only option is to copy to Google Docs.

Use Keep to Save Bookmarks From the Web

The Google Keep Chrome extension adds the Keep icon to the top of the Google Chrome web browser. When you are on a web page that you'd like to save, click the Keep icon and Keep creates a new bookmark of the page. Keep also copies the text you highlight on a web page on the same note. You can continue to copy text from the article by clicking the Keep button, and Keep continues to add the text you highlight to the same note.

Bookmarking a page to a Keep note

On Android, send a bookmark to Google Keep by selecting the three dots at the top of the web page you want to save and choosing Share link. Select Keep from the apps that appear.

On iOS, select the Share button while visiting a web page you want to save, then choose Keep. Keep automatically creates a note. If Google Keep does not appear as an option, select More and add Google Keep to the list of options.

Sharing a link in the Keep app

Automatically Sync Keep Across All Your Devices

Google Keep data syncs to the cloud through an internet connection. Keep is still available offline, but new notes and edits to existing notes don't sync until you connect to the internet.

Syncing is automatic, regardless of the device you use to access Keep. To open your Keep notes on any device, log in to your Google account.

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