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Evernote 2.0 beta gets notebook sharing, Stacks

Evernote, the increasingly omnipresent “digital brain” organizer for your notes, bookmarks, and files, released a big 2.0 beta upgrade for its Mac client on Wednesday. Among the new features are two of the most-requested additions: in-app notebook sharing and Stacks.

Introduced over a year ago as a Web-based feature, notebook sharing has finally come home to Evernote’s native Mac desktop client (and before either the Windows or mobile clients, too). Previously, you’ve been able to share and collaborate on Evernote notebooks in a browser with coworkers, clients, and loved ones, but now you can manage it all from the comfort of the desktop app. A new Shared tab at the top of the notebook list displays the notebooks you have shared or linked from other users, and you can specify whether to share a notebook publicly or just with specific people from your address book.

Evernote Premium users get the added benefit of allowing others to not just view, but also edit the contents of a shared notebook. As long as your collaborators upgrade to the new Evernote 2.0 beta, they can edit notes in the native app, or they can visit Evernote.com to edit in a browser. Premium members also get to view note history, which works on shared notebooks as well.

The second major and much-requested new feature in Evernote 2.0 is Notebook Stacks—a fancy name for folders. You can finally drag notebooks onto each other to stack them into collapsible lists, reigniting hope that you may actually be able to clean up your Evernote sidebar. Each copy of Evernote remembers which stacks you have opened and closed: so, for example, on your Mac at work, you can leave a “Work” stack open for easy access to research and notes relevant to your job; but you can leave the “Home” stack open on your personal Mac for when you’re off the clock.

Evernote 2.0 also got some interface attention, and heavy users should take note. The sidebar has been redesigned with collapsible sections for notebooks, tags, and saved searches. If you prefer to organize and work in tags instead of notebooks, expanding the tags section will take over the entire sidebar to give your tags more room.

While Evernote 2.0 is available now, remember that it is a beta. In order to download it you’ll need to go into the current version’s preferences and enable the “update to beta versions” option.

The Evernote app is free, as are many features of the service, including syncing your notes between Mac, iPhone, iPad, PC, and other devices; OCR for images; and read-only notebook sharing. The Evernote Premium service—which costs $5 per month or $45 for a year—not only increases your monthly upload allowance from 40MB to 500MB but also adds a number of features, including support for all types of files, the ability to search within PDFs, offline notebooks on mobile devices, SSL encryption for all communication, and more.

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