Tips For Google Keep Users
is a very powerful note keeping app that has become the most important
app on both our phones and tablets, but, like anything technical it has
"issues" and, since it is a google app, it is not only unsupported,
google has not responded to almost none of the user inputs for fixes,
needs, additions or even responses since the app was release in early
Created Feb 3, 2015
Updated Mar 3, 2019
These Tips Were Compiled and/or Created by Beverly Howard
Peer to peer forums have been the only Keep user options for help and solutions to the many problems. But,
while google has dedicated support forums for all of it's other
products, there has been no google product support forum specifically for
Since the early Keep web interface url contained the word "Drive" the only forum where ongoing threads have been active is the google drive product forum, so, those threads related to Keep issues are not only buried, they are currently "unsearchable" for the most part.
To suppliment the sparse help, I created this page to help other Keep users find user
developed solutions in order to address some of Keep's major
Feedback, comments, corrections and additional tips would be appreciated.
New Tips June 2018
Keep is addictive. It has become a primary tool for daily use,
and, as a result, I finally needed to attack the problem of my
Keep notes getting out of control because of their shear number and
volume of information that Keep now manages.
I use it in a variety
of ways, from shopping lists, to quick "reminder" notes, to important
reference information. I dump a huge number of memory trigger
snippets into several "Scratch Pad" notes, and after referencing them,
the scribbles slowly sink to the bottom as the scratch pads continue to
Yesterday I finally conceeded that I needed to do a major cleanup of my
accumulation of notes. Unfortunately, the current keep design
makes that very difficult because the Keep design philosophy starts by
assuming that users will only keep a small amount of information in
their notes. There are only two options for listing one's
notes... the "tile" or "grid view" and the "list view" and both of
these become unmanagable when the number of tiles exceeds the screen
size. Filtering and labeling might help, but using those tools
doesn't really work with how Keep is mostly used ...fast and
chaotic. Additional listing options are needed. One that
simply lists note titles so that a large number of titles are visible
at one time and the titles should match the color code of the notes.
As my cleanup process started, I immediately ran into another
wall. While a lot of info in the scratch pad notes needed to be
deleted, many other bits needed to be cut and moved to appropriate
"reference" notes. That's not easy due to Keep's "only one note
open at a time" policy ...it was necessary to open the noted to
be cleaned, then find info that needed to be saved, then;
<locate appropriate note>
<open appropriate note>
<locate previous note>
<navigate to edit location>
...then, <repeat> for every transfer.
HOWEVER, while there are no options to meet the above need in Keep's mobile app
versions, I found that it was possible to open the Keep Web Interface
in a PC browser (not possible using a mobile browser) and then continue
to open Keep in multiple tabs. That immediately allowed opening a
number of different notes at the same time. More importantly,
when cutting info from one note then switching to a different tab to
paste, when returning to the original note, the screen and cursor was
located exactly where the cut was made. It also allowed creating
new notes in other tabs store new reference subjects.
The other issue is that mobile device apps are not <mark>.
<copy/cut>, <paste> friendly. Tip, if editing on a
mobile device is unavoidable, a bluetooth or hardware keyboard will
save a lot of time and frustrations since they support the <ctrl>
Would you like to bookmark individual notes? It finally dawned on
me that this is also possible. It's not obvious, and setting up a
bookmark is only possible by opening any Keep note using a PC browser,
but, when created the bookmarks also work in the Keep mobile app.
Open any note by going to http://keep.google.com using a PC browser.
When any note is opened, the keep "page" is greyed out in the background, but, the browser address bar is visible.
<click> on the address that is visible in the browser address bar.
<copy> the address URL
You can then <paste> that address into any keep note or even use it to make a browser bookmark.
This works for any note including archived notes.
One important caution... the resulting URL's each contain a long alphanumeric note identifier such as;
Since this is an undocumented find, the possibility, if not
probability, is that this identifier might change without
warning. The bookmark will only work on notes where you are
signed in as the owner of the note. Again, these "bookmarks" made
on the PC will work in Keep mobile apps. (Know that the above identifier is an invalid random string.)
So, full circle. It turns out that this "bookmarks" option allows the creation of (again, a kludge) a "titles list view"
Simply create a new note, put the titles of notes you find yourself
frequently looking for, both in notes or in archives, then open each
note, copy the URL from the address bar, switch back to your TOC note
and paste the copied URL after the appropriate title. Thereafter,
to get to a bookmarked note, open the TOC note containing the urls,
click the url next to the title and select "Go To Link" or "Open"
Using a browser, you could also create a "Keep" bookmarks folder
containing the titles with the URLs hidden behind them.
- Backup Options For Google Keep and UNDO Options
- Backup All Keep Notes and Images to Google Drive
- Copy All Keep Notes' Text at Once
- Vanishing Notes?
- Folder Alternatives for Keep
- Add Labels to Keep Notes
- Embed Filter Keywords in Notes
- Use Keep Colors Creatively
- Keep Search Factoids
- Sorting Tiles
- Banishing Big Fonts
- Voice Notes in Keep
- Image Bliss & Blues
- Pocket OCR
- No Image Data Retained
- Broken Sharing
- Feedback to Google
Backup and "UNDO" Options For Google Keep
Even though Keep was originally associated with Google Docs/Drive, Keep
has no option to backup files, automatically or otherwise.
Yosh Mantinband just discovered that Keep is now included as a data export option under
google's "google takeout" page. The output is in HTML format.
Beware of the fact that the Google Keep App has NO OBVIOUS "Undo" option when editing notes, so, this is a very important reason to regularly backup all of your Keep notes.
When using the Android Keep App, it is painfully easy to delete large
parts or entire critical notes. For example, if you power off
your device and leave Keep in edit mode, when you turn the device back
on, your hands, fingers, pocket
fabric, etc. etc can easily mark large blocks of text and if any part
of the keyboard is touched after marking, the marked text is gone
Finally!!! Keep apps have an UNDO option.
Recently (late 2017) curved "undo" and "redo" options have appeared at the bottom of the mobile app versions of Keep!
However!!! keep in mind that these new options do not always work!
My experience so far (several months) is that the undo option works about 50% of the time.
And, a new danger has just appeared in the "Marshmallow" OS when editing in Keep!!!
Normally, when you <tap-hold> the cursor position, a "PASTE" option appears.
Not sure when it happened, but now a "PASTE SELECT ALL" option appears.
It is possible to accidentally tap BOTH options at once, so, that what
you have in the paste buffer instantly replaces the entire note...
AGAIN, THERE MAY BE NO "UNDO OPTION" TO RECOVER FROM THIS MISTAKE.
there are HIDDEN <undo> options that can save your bacon when you
accidentally delete a big chunk of important text.
Google has finally "turned on" Keep's ability to respond to
<Ctrl-Z> on all platforms, so, IF you are editing with an
onscreen or external keyboard that has a <Ctrl> key, you can use
<Ctrl-Z> immediately to recover accidental deletions.
Using Android devices, you can prepare in advance by installing an additional keyboard such as "Hacker's Keyboard"
that contains <Ctrl> keys and use or switch to that keyboard when
an accidental deletion is made and execute a <Ctrl-Z>
If you accidentally delete a block of text and don't have any
<Ctrl> key options installed, another obscure option is to
_IMMEDIATELY_ turn on airplane mode when
something is accidentally erased by using
the pulldown shade _BEFORE_ you exit the Keep edit screen.
You can then open your keep notes using a pc browser, and IF YOU ARE LUCKY the previous version might still be there.
You can then copy the old note and save it somewhere. When you
turn airplane mode off on your device, the original note _will_ be
overwritten on the web and all of your devices within seconds.
Thanks, and a tip of the hat to Harry Whale for this tip!
In iOS there is also a hidden "undo" option... you shake the iPad or phone
violently when stuff disappears to get an "undo" dialog. When this
dialog appears, select "Undo Typing" and you should get the accidental
Keep wishing... After four years of users begging, the keep team
finally turned on their apps' responses to <Ctrl-Z> and violent
shaking... maybe in a few years a menu "undo" option will appear ;-)
Backup All Keep Notes to Google Drive
Backing up all Keep notes at once is fairly easy using a PC web browser on the page at https://keep.google.com
Keep was updated since this page was created and things have
changed. At the moment (subject to change at google's whim) the
easiest way to backup is using a web browser (such as FireFox or Chrome)
Google has also added Keep to google's "google takeout" page. This option stores all notes as a single HTML file.
Go to https://keep.google.com using a PC web browser.
- Check one note tile. (note, this is new behavior as of 2018)
- Type <Ctrl-A> to check all tiles.
- A "checkmark" should appear at the top left of all tiles...
Click the "3Dot" "More" menu in the Dark Gray bar at the top of the page.
- Select "Copy to Google Docs/Drive"
- Go to Keep Archived Notes
- Repeat the above to Backup Archieve Notes
Note, the above selects only the tiles present in the current
view. For example, if you want to also back up your Archived
Notes, you will need to switch to the archive view and repeat the above.
Similarly, if you have a search (filter) term entered or a color
selected, <Ctrl-A> will only select the tiles that match the
search term or color.
Until recently, copying notes that contained images did not copy
the images to Google Drive, but, today's test (2015) showed that images were
copied as well as text. Since Keep has dropped the ability to
store audio recordings, copying audio is no longer an option.
Finally, you can "send" an individual keep note to google drive from within the Keep app.
There are two options for doing this. The first is when editing an individual note using the Android Keep App.
"Copy to Google Docs"
The Android Keep App was recently updated so you can select multiple
tiles using the app interface and send them all at once to google drive;
<Tap-Hold> a tile
You can then <Tap> to select additional tiles (there is no way to select "all" tiles)
"Copy to Google Docs"
Another idea for backing up files. You might take the copies and archive them instead of deleting
that would be an option, after almost five years of using keep, I would
recommend caution and consideration before using the archive option in
keep as a backup tool.
reason that backing up keep notes is so important is that it is
extremely easy to accidentally loose entire keep notes, and there have
been increasing reports of corruption and of users loosing access to all
notes and that would include archived notes.
Backing up by marking all notes and "Copy to Google Drive" is just as easy and it also
allows keeping running backups. This covers file corruption by being
able to go back to prior backups to get to previous versions where
content may have been edited out or from uncorrupted notes.
is a good way to get notes that you don't regularly need "out of your
face" but keep them easily available if needed. Keeping running backups
outside of keep allows you to freely delete notes that you are unlikely
to access since the backups can always be used to reference and
retrieve old content. Google docs is also much easier to search than
keep which offers no easy option to search within large notes.
So... you had a note disappear without warning?
In most cases, when an entire note disappears for no apparent reason,
the culprit is from accidentally tapping the "archive" icon (top right
folder icon with a down arrow)
The fix is easy... go back to the main menu ("3Bar" menu top left) tap "Archive" and see if the missing note is there.
If it is, enter the note, then tap the "un-archive" icon (top right folder icon with a up arrow)
Folder Alternatives for Keep
Keep users have been requesting folders as far back as the week after Keep was released on Mar
20, 2013, but, until the most recent update google did not respond in any way to those needs, it has
been up to us Keep users to come up with alternatives.
1 - Add Labels to Notes
Finally, you can now add "Labels" to
Keep notes. There are two ways to do add labels and it works in
both the web and app interface
The first is to "select" one or more notes, then select the "3Dot" menu and choose "Add Label"
"Selecting" tiles is different on the web interface and the app interface.
In the web interface, use the new check option at the top left of each note tile to select one or more tiles.
In the app interface, <Tap/Hold> any tile until it changes color,
then you can quickly <tap> additional tiles with a single tap.
You can also open a note for editing and add a label using the "3Dot" menu within the edit interface.
2 - Embed Filter Keywords in Notes
the above is a nice new addition to Keep, fwiw, I have gotten used to
embedding keywords in all of my notes and find that offers the same, if
not better, organizational options... so, retaining the description.
Then, when you type a string such as "gkwine" in the Keep search box, only those tiles containing that keyword will be visible.
- Take the example that you would like to create folders named;
Shop, Wine, 2Do and Class
- Embed the keywords;
gkshop, gkwine, gk2do and gkclass
at the bottom of each note that you would put in those folders.
"gk" is simply a unique prefix string that assures that your search terms will be unique and not be found in any other notes.
This approach also has the advantage that any note can be included in multiple "virtual folders"
Conversely, you can search for two or more different "virtual folder" keywords in the same search
3 - Use Keep Colors Creatively
Keep has had the option to "color" notes
since day one. Recently (late 2014) the keep search option has
included the ability to filter notes by color.
So, if you color your notes based on the type of note, you can now
instantly hide all notes that have different colors.
Unfortunately, you can only filter by a single color during any search.
Hot Tip! Keep a
reference to the embedded keywords and color uses in one of your "top
notes" ...leave the "gk" off of these references so they are not
detected during keyword searches
Keep Search Factoids
Despite the fact that google is the king of the "search" kingdom, there
is still no way to search for items within individual Keep notes
despite many request for the option from countless users.
Use the PC/Web interface (https://keep.google.com)
Set "List View" (icon at the top right of this page) and search for your term.
Since all notes display their entire contents in "List View" the term
you search for will be highlighted by your browser and visible as you scroll down
Again, this is a kludge... you
have to remember where the line you need to access is located in the
note, since, when the note is opened, the search highlights disappear. Again, Keep's designers seem to have
assumed that no note would contain more than a few lines of text.
Unfortunately there is no way to do this on an android device... google
even removes the "search google keep" box when the above web page is
accessed using a mobile device... probably just to aggravate users on the go
You can arrange Keep Note Tiles in any order you wish by
<tap/hold> drag on android devices as well as <click/hold>
drag in the web interface.
Banishing Big Fonts
For some unknown reason, google displays note tiles containing only one
or two lines of text using a huge font. Solution? ...add
two or three <carriage returns> at the end of the text.
Voice Notes in Keep
Finally, Keep has changed the way voice notes are handled which makes taking voice notes in keep functionally usable.
In the beginning, Keep simply generated an audio file. If the user wanted text, the user had to transcribe the recording.
Then, Keep simply turned on the Google Voice Input keyboard, but didn't
retain a voice recording. If the microphone transcription was
incorrect, you had to be in a position to observe and correct the
transcription which is not a possibility in cases such as taking a
voice note when doing something like driving.
Now, the GV microphone icon does both. You can record a note
without monitoring the text transcription since keep is now keeping the
voice recording so that you can correct the transcription down the line
after you have forgotten what you dictated.
However, a couple of caveats;
It would be nice to have "Take a Voice Note" added to the "OK
Google" options, or a widget that would specifically start a voice note
when the widget icon was tapped.
- You have to open Keep
- then find the onscreen microphone icon
- then tap the onscreen microphone icon
- to start a Keep voice recording...
- ...not something that you should be doing
while driving or other activities that require your undivided attention.
Where the original voice notes were stored in an obscure audio format
that most audio players did not recognize, the current audio files are
in .AAC format which many audio players such as Windows Media Center
- Take a DEEP breath before and have your note composed before starting to speak.
- Keep will STOP the voice recording after any pause more than half a second.
- I've tested this, and as long as you can
continue to talk without pausing to take a breath or think your voice
will continue to be recorded. IMHO, the length of any pause
should be at least several seconds or settable in Keep's settings.
- Worse, when starting a new recording
in an existing note, there is often NO pause... and the only way to
reliably start a recording is to start speaking and THEN press the
green record button.
To download voice notes you have created, use the Keep web interface and download audio from there.
The last time I looked (a year or so ago) I was unable to find any apps
or windows software that would both transcribe voice input and retain a
voice copy of what was spoken. That means that this current
capability is a valuable tool since both the audio and transcriptions
can be copied and used elsewhere. Unfortunately, that value is
significantly reduced by Keep's intolerance to any pauses when
It is also a shame that Google does not take the time to use the
"What's New" field in the play store descriptions effectively. I
stopped using Keep's voice notes options when Keep no longer retained
audio files and I read all of the "What's New" notes but never saw
anything related to changes in voice notes. I found this change
completely by accident.
Image Bliss & Blues
Images can be included in Keep notes by either using the device camera
to take pictures or by importing images from Gallery (Pictures)
This is a very useful and valuable feature to quickly and easily take
images (such as product labels, etc) and keep them associated with
related notes, but know that there are both good and bad aspects when
using Keep to snap images.
Keep allows using the Keep drawing engine to mark up images... but only
when using a mobile Keep app. Simply tap the <pencil> icon
at the top right when the image is "opened" and you can use your finger
to add marks and handwriting to the image.
Sorry... there's no way to type notes onto an image or edit an image using Keep's web interface.
Keep's images offer the option to "Grab Text" from any image.
After you take a picture, you can select "Grab Text" using either the
3dot menu in the note or when viewing a single image. Keep's OCR
does an excellent job of capturing any and all text that it can find
within any image.
The only issues with this feature are that it doesn't handle text that
is other than in simple paragraph format, and the ocr is limited to a
little more than a page of single spaced text.
No Image Data Retained
When using Keep to take a picture, know that almost no image data is
retained... including the date and location when the image was
taken. If this information might be important in the future,
always use the camera app to take pictures, then use Keep's import
option to add images to Keep notes.
While Note's images have "sharing" options, almost all of them seem to
have problems. In my experience, the only way to reliably export
an image for use elsewhere is to "EMail" it to myself... and even then,
the GMail app "chokes" when the image is shared from Keep. (I
close GMail by swiping it off of the recent apps list, and when GMail
is restarted, the email with the attached image is finally
"sent." Other options such as ES FileExplorer's "save as" simply
FeedbackThere is no "link" to google's feedback system for
google's apps. To send feedback, you have to open the app or web
interface, open the "3bar" menu and select "Feedback" I often
wonder if this limit is to reduce the amount of "feedback" from google
app users since it is much more difficult to compose and edit on a
mobile device. You can, however, compose feedback on your
computer, then email it to yourself, copy the email contents and paste
that into the feedback form... I didn't say it was easy.