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Google Keep: What it is, how to use it, and where to get it

In this tutorial, we'll show you how to take, organize, and customize notes and use Google Keep Notes to its fullest.
By
April 14, 2022

Google Keep is one of the simplest and best free note-taking apps on mobile. It’s available on Android, iOS, and through your web browser. The app was rebranded to Google Keep Notes at one point, but Google eventually went back to Google Keep. If you are confused, don’t be. They are the same app.

It seems like a simple note-taking app on the surface. However, it has many fun little features and plenty of extras for your convenience. Let’s take a look at how to use Google Keep. You can download the app to your Android device with the button below.

QUICK ANSWER

Google Keep is one of the most popular note-taking apps on Android. You can take a variety of different notes, organize them into labels, and collaborate with other people. All features listed below are present as of April 2022.


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What is Google Keep?

Google Keep Google Play Page
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
Google Keep is a note-taking app connected directly to the Google Drive experience. However, unlike most of Google Drive, you can’t access notes from the Google Drive app as you can with Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides. It takes up Google Drive storage, but notes are generally so small that you likely won’t notice the impact on your Drive storage allotment.

The app launched on March 20th, 2013, and has undergone several evolutions. That includes the aforementioned name change, various UI updates and changes, and various feature improvements and additions. It currently has over one billion downloads in the Google Play Store, making it one of the world’s most popular apps. There is also a web version, a Google Chrome extension, and mobile apps for both Android and iOS.

The app features a simple UI, plenty of simple customization features, and Google’s Wear OS support. You can also take a few different types of notes as well. Its lightweight demeanor makes it snappier than heavier note-taking solutions. It also has some of the best cross-platform support of any note-taking app on mobile. Lastly, it’s completely free with no in-app purchases, subscriptions, or premium versions.

How to create notes in Google Keep

Google Keep controls
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
Google Keep can create five types of notes. They include a regular text note, a list note, a handwritten note (you can also doodle and make it a drawing note), a voice note, and a picture note using your camera.

  • Regular notes — Tap the multi-colored plus symbol in the bottom right corner of the main page in Google Keep, and a new note opens.
  • List notes — Tap the box with a checkmark symbol in the bottom left-hand corner to create a list note.
  • Handwritten or drawn notes — Tap the icon that looks like a paintbrush to create a new handwritten note.
  • Voice notes — Tap the microphone icon in the bottom-left corner area to create a voice note.
  • Picture notes — Finally, tap the icon that looks like a picture frame to create a picture note.
  • Additional tips — Once you create your note, give it a name where it says “title.” The app prominently displays titles on the main page, making notes easier to find.
  • Add additional info — Once inside a note, you can press the plus symbol in the bottom left corner to add more stuff. For example, you can add an image to a voice note or add a list to a handwritten note. You can mix and match any of the five types listed above and even use all five in a single note.
  • Change profile — People signed into multiple Google accounts can change which account they’re using for Google Keep by pressing the profile button in the top right corner of the main page and selecting the other account. You can also swipe the profile picture to change more quickly.

Using notes once you create them is fairly self-explanatory, so we’ll spare you explanations you don’t need.

How to organize notes in Google Keep

Google Keep organization
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
Note organization isn’t the strongest feature in Google Keep. However, you can organize them well enough to keep things mostly neat and orderly.

  • Long-press and drag — Long-press any note to select it, and then drag the box around to where you want it to go. That’s the easiest and most basic way to organize notes.
  • Pin notes — You can pin important notes to the top of the list, where they’ll stay indefinitely. Long-press a note to select it, and then tap the pin icon at the top middle of the screen. Using the method above, you can organize your pins separately from the main list.
  • View types — Finally, Google Keep has two view types. There are two rectangle boxes at the top of the screen, next to your profile image. Tap that icon to switch to a different view. Tap the four-square icon to change it back to the traditional view.
  • Change colors — You can change the color of any note to help separate it from others. Long-press a note and tap the palette icon in the top right area on the main page. Select your color to change the note color. You can also do this while in a note by selecting the palette icon at the bottom of the screen.
  • Change background — A newer feature in Google Keep is changing the background to an image instead of a color. In your note, tap the palette icon at the bottom. Below the color selector is a background selector. There are only a few background choices, but they look oddly good.

You should have no problems keeping your notes nice and organized with these tools. We only see this system struggle to work if you have hundreds of notes and never delete the ones you don’t need anymore. Make sure you do maintenance on Google Keep now and then to keep it uncluttered.

How to use labels in Google Keep

Google Keep labels
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
Labels are an important and powerful tool in Google Keep. They operate similarly to folders in other note-taking apps. You create labels, put notes in them, and then you can open a label to see just those notes. Here’s how to use them.

  • Managing labels — There is a label system in the pull-out menu. It’s accessible by tapping the 3-line button at the top right of your main page. From there, tap the Create new Label option to manage your labels. You can add, delete, or rename labels from there.
  • Add notes to a label (main page) — There are two ways to add a note to a label. The first is by long-pressing a note and tapping the label icon at the top of the screen. Tick the box next to the label you want and hit the back button when you’re done.
  • Add notes to a label (inside the note) — The second way requires you to be in the note you want to add to the label. Hit the 3-dot menu, select the Label option, tick the box next to the label you want, and then hit the back button.

Labels act like folders and are the most pivotal way to organize your notes. It’s especially helpful when you have a larger collection of notes across various purposes. Pro-tip, I color code my notes based on the label I want them in. For example, all of my work notes are green. It adds a bit of visual organization as well.

How to copy, share, or add collaborators in Google Keep

Google Keep collaborator
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
Google Keep is one of the best note-taking apps for collaboration and sharing. You can share your notes with people at the office or add your significant other to a note so you both can add stuff to it. Here’s how to do all of those things.

  • Copy notes — Long-press the note you want to copy until it’s selected. Tap the 3-dot menu button in the top right corner and select the Copy option. Your note will duplicate on the main screen.
  • Share notes — Open the note you want to share and tap the 3-dot menu button in the bottom left corner. Select the Share option. You’ll be prompted to choose to share it directly or if you want to make a copy on Google Drive first.
  • Add collaborators — Open the note you want to work with and tap the 3-dot menu button in the bottom left corner. Select the Collaborator option. On the next screen, add the email address of the person you want to add to the note. Tap the Save button after you’re done.
  • Remove collaborators — Follow the instructions for adding collaborators, except when you get to the appropriate screen, tap the X button next to the email address you want to remove. Tap the Save button to finish.

How to delete and archive notes in Google Keep

Google Keep archive and delete
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
Google Keep offers the ability to delete or archive notes, but deleting notes will destroy them permanently. Archiving notes will remove them from the app’s main screen and hold them elsewhere if you want to use them again.

  • Deleting notes — Long-press the note you want to remove and tap the 3-dot button in the top right corner of the screen. Hit the Delete option to move the note to your trash. Google Keep will automatically (permanently) delete the note out of the trash in seven days.
  • Emptying trash — You can, of course, go the manual route. Hit the 3-line menu button in the top left corner and tap the Trash option. Tap the 3-dot button in the top right corner and tap Empty Trash to destroy everything. You can also permanently destroy just a single note in the trash by long-pressing it, tapping the 3-dot menu button, and tapping the Delete Permanently option.
  • Remove notes from trash — Long-press the note and tap the circle icon in the top right corner. That will restore the note to your main page.
  • Archive notes — Long-press the note you want to archive and tap the 3-dot menu button in the top right corner. Select the Archive option to archive the note.
  • See archived notes — Open the side menu by tapping the 3-line button in the top left corner. Tap the Archive option from the menu. Notes in your archive have all of the functionality of a normal note.
  • Retrieve archived notes — Follow the instructions above for seeing the archived notes. Once there, long-press any note, tap the 3-dot menu button and select the Unarchive option. You can also go into the note directly and tap the box icon with an upward-facing arrow in the top right corner to achieve the same task.

For the most part, archiving is better than deleting because you can always go back and see old notes if you need the information for something.

How to use Google Keep reminders

Google Keep reminder
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
The reminder functionality in Google Keep is one of the most underrated features. It gives Google Drive a to-do list function, and it works well enough for any minor use case. In addition, Google Keep can do reminders based on time or location.

  • Create a reminder (main page) — Long-press the note you want. Tap the bell icon at the top of the screen to create a reminder. Add in a time and whether or not you want the reminder to repeat at regular intervals. Alternatively, you can tap the Place option and add a GPS location. Google Keep will send you a notification when it sees that you’re at that location.
  • Create a reminder (in the note) — Hit the bell icon at the top of the screen. You’ll get a list of suggestions, or you can pick your own date and time or your own place. Choosing to pick your own time and place works the same as the main page.

How to export Google Keep notes to Google Drive

Google Keep copied to Google Drive
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
There are two main ways to export Keep notes to Google Drive. The first uses the app and is much easier. The second lets you inject a Google Keep note into a Google Docs document. We’ll cover both methods.

  • Export within the app — Long-press any note on the main page and tap the 3-dot menu. Select the Copy to Google Drive option, and that’s it. You’ll be able to see the note in your Google Drive. You can also go into any note, tap the 3-dot menu button in the bottom right corner, select the Share option, and tap the Copy to Google Drive option. Both methods do the same thing.
  • Export from web browser — Go to Google Drive and open a Google Doc. In the right margin, you’ll see the Google Keep icon. Click it, and you’ll see your notes. You can click-and-drag a note to the Doc to copy it to the document. You can also copy and paste information manually.

This isn’t the most useful feature overall, but sometimes notes get big enough to where it’s easier to manage them in a Google Doc instead of a note. Plus, Google Drive still allows collaboration, so you technically don’t lose any features.


You should be able to do everything in Google Keep now. We’ll update the list as Google continues to add new features. Of course, if you don’t have the app, you can download it with the button below.

FAQ

Google Keep is a note-taking app and Google Tasks is a to-do list app. Google Keep has to-do list app features, but Google Tasks doesn’t have any note-taking features.

This isn’t a Google Keep problem, but rather a Google account problem. Try logging out of your Google account entirely and back in. Also, make sure Google Play Services (Google Play) is up to date.

Yes. There are add-ons for Firefox as well as Chrome. Search each browser’s extension collection and you should find it relatively easily. There is also an iOS app. All extensions, websites, and apps sync with each other.

No. There is nothing to suggest that Google Keep is being discontinued.