Evernote Dumpage

Back in 2010, I was looking for a note taking solution. I had a taste of the Microsoft solution, OneNote, but being a “Mac” person, and the fact that OneNote wasn’t cross platform, and I went looking for a solution. The obvious choice at the time was Evernote. Cross platform, and while it wasn’t as flexible and convenient as OneNote, it was serviceable.

Over the years, the Evernote did a lot of incremental improvements, and it worked well for most of my needs. They added a pretty feature rich ios application that made adding notes from the road trivial. Adding the capability ingest PDF files, and do OCR on them, making them searchable.

But, some things were always clunky. Exporting via copy and paste was an unmitigated disaster. It was compelled to export in some really funky HTML format that always required a shitload of finicky reformatting to make presentable.

About 2 years ago, Microsoft released an ios client for OneNote, and a year ago a Mac native application. Suddenly the barrier to switching became lower. Not negligible, as about 4 years of notes and various data was trapped in Evernote, and that kept me from making the change.

However, recently, I have started using OneNote for work, but it was majorly inconvenient to switch back and forth between the two platforms. The last straw, was the change of their CEO, and a “disturbing”  blog post about them shedding the distractions, and going back to attempting to be the “best” note taking platform. Coupled with an 18% reduction in staff. Excuse me, if you were serious about being the best blogging platform you wouldn’t added all the foo foo rah features, and concentrated on your strengths, cross platform, consistent interface, and friction free note taking.

Last week, I had enough. A brief search of the web found that there was a solution to move the data. Fortunately, it warned me of a potential issue. Apparently, the “tag” feature of evernote complicates the import. OneNote uses the notebook/tab hierarchy, with each note being a page, whereas evernote uses a notebook structure with tags to help filter/search. The importing tool will take the tags from the Evernote notebook, and drop them into a OneNote notebook with a tab for each “tag”. If you have more than one tag on a note, BAM, it is duplicated into each tab.


So, I spent 6 hours today, cleaning up tags, exporting/reimporting, and then moving to OneNote.

I am finally done, and I went from about 20 different notebooks, to 5. A lot more structure. Better integration with Microsoft Office (this is really important incorporate land).