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Evernote to Notion: here is how

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Many of the functions of Evernote can be implemented in Notion but with limitations. A database record in Notion is called a page. One of the features of Notion is any record can have a page attached. Each page has the characteristics of the HTML page and edited with a block editor with the complexity of WordPress. For the purpose of this discussion, they are two different things as many records of a database will not have pages attached. 

The transition from Evernote to Notion will take 10-20 hours of work for 10-20,000 notes. Is faster as certain hours of the day. 

Use of tags

Tags have THREE functions in Evernote:

  1. substitute for folders structure (parent-child structures)
  2. identifying unique but none searchable associates (synonyms)
  3. saving the results of searches

Tag use scenarios

  1. For the first use, tags are a substitute, 
  2. for non-searchable associations, tags contain information that is not in the notes themselves and therefore essential
  3. historic search result saved in tags are inferior to a dynamic saved searches - which update as new records are added. 

Limitations of Notion

  1. there are currently no scripts as the Notion API is not yet public
  2. ctrl-A selects only 200 records no matter how many records the database may have
  3. search does not identify attachments (PDF, Office) in the pages or URL for links to videos (YouTube). 
  4. attachments are not indexed on images and PDFs for the lack of OCR.
  5. no automatic import of files and emails. 
  6. no print function and sharing is only via links (public or team) 
  7. should you wish to share a whole page content (note) then export as PDF and email or print as a multistep process
  8. lack of integration between internal "calendar" and external calendars from Google Gmail and Microsoft Outlook. 
  9. formating of dates cannot be changed - only MMDDJJJJ but not JJJJMMDD and DDMMJJJJ.
  10. limited language support - English and Korean
  11. the API for the transfer from Evernote to Notion is undocumented so the results can be quite unexpected e.g. Evernote permits 100 tags per note. Notion permits less but how many?

Already, one can see, Notion is poorly suited to document management but for note-taking it has potential. Evernote combines document management and note-taking. Notion combines note-taking with project management. Notion provides many more opportunities for expansion of the scope so you are less dependent on the product development team. 

As Notion cannot identify notes with PDF attachments, these notes should be identified (search resource:application/pdf) and tagged with tag "PDF" for easy identification later. 

Safety in numbers

If you are moving to Notion, I would recommend moving the contents of Evernote to OneNote too for the OCR capability. Microsoft has software that will do this flawlessly. Tags are included a the top of each note. The software works with the Evernote desktop database ie it works offline. 


1. Duplicate the folder structure to tags

You may have a nested structure notebook. This structure needs to be turned into tags.

Notebook structure: "level A" : "level B" : "level C"

This nested structure of parent and child folders: "level A" containing folder "level B" containing folder "level C" needs to be converted for the note with tags "level A", "level B", "level C".

It is fastest to do this in Evernote. Finally, move all notes into ONE folder. 

2. Tag reduction

The porting of data to Notion may result in tag loss. Identify the most important tags and delete the redundant. By compressing the tags in this way the tags can be decompressed in Notion. 

Identify key tags

Use the new Evernote to rank the tags in order of use. Screen capture the top 30. These will be the priority in Notion "master tag database".

This may not seem a lot of tags but it works because of the Pareto distribution in tag use. 

Prune tags

For the 30 tags in step 2, the tags need to be preserved. The best way to do this is to strip the tag from the note where a keyword search would find it anyway, for example: search dog tag:dog

The tag "dog" for these notes is redundant. Now the search tag:dog will only show the notes where the connection cannot be determined from a keyword search (scenario 2 above).


Repeat as above for the top 30 tags identified. 

Transfer of data between Evernote and Notion 

This is straight forward. Give Notion plenty of time to complete this. The result is a database of all notes. The "single source" database has a page for each record which contains the contents of the notes - including attachments. 

Recreating the Evernote function in Notion

Three tables are created: 

  1. a big table of all notes: "single source" database
  2. table for folders: "folder relations" database
  3. table for tags: "master tags" database


Later you might like to add "single source" linked to "project" database. There are many videos on YouTube explaining project management with Notion. Notion has integration with Asana too but many find Notion good enough. 

Connecting the databases

These databases are connected in the following way:

  1. "single source" linked to "folder relations"
  2. "single source" linked to "master tags"

The "single source database" will get two new columns with relational links to the "master tags" and "folder relations" database. 

The "master tags database" is simply a list of important 30 tags identified above. More tags can be added later as required on a note by note basis as far as it is practicable to do so. For now, just type into the database with the 30 tags. 

Folder database

The "folder relations" base is a list of folders but every folder can have one parent and multiple children. This is a recursive structure. 

The tags "level A", "level B" and "level C" and it becomes this:

folder - parent - child

"level A" - NULL - "level B"

"level B" - "level A" - "level C"

"level C" - "level B" - NULL


Now go back to the "single source" database and for the records with the tag "level C" add the relation to the "folder relations" database. Only 200 records can be selected at a time. Now repeat for the records with the tag "level B" (but exclude "level C" already marked) and finally "level A" (but exclude "level C" already marked). After doing this the folder structure is recreated.

Delete the tags "level A", "level B" and "level C" as they are now redundant.

Relational databases in Notion

Now to make these relational databases in Notion is described in 10-minute video here:


Dynamic saved search

On the best things about Notion is you can create as many dynamic saved searches. The mechanism is by creating views of the database

The view can be tailored to the requirements of the search by:

  1. Full boolean search on all database properties (attributes) e.g. A AND (B OR C) AND (NOT "empty"). Brackets allow grouping and grouping can be nested
  2. The results can be displayed as a list, table, cards or board. 
  3. The results can be sorted with any combination of database properties (attributes) and ascending/descending
  4. All database properties (attributes) can be shown or hidden, and order manually in the list, table, cards or board template.

Templates are powerful, as a new database view (search) can be quickly created from a template and refined with a few clicks. 


  • Like 2
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Couldn't agree more ... and Notion search is poor and there's no offline ...

I am actually moving BACK from dabbling in notion - too much complexity for me, found myself lost in my own system. It's like an online bullet journal - looks lovely but day to day, just too much. Sometimes limitations and structure aren't a bad thing to prevent you ending up down a rabbit hole which I certainly did with Notion.

Notion looks great and has many features, but at the end of the day, I'm keeping notes. The new Evernote editor IMHO has addressed the issues i had with it previously and I found myself switching between the two which is even worse. I'm now moving my stuff back to Evernote.

I have been an Evernote premium subscriber for 10 years and haven't posted much previously but after the latest release I felt I had to. It baffles me why supposedly Evernote users/supporters post on here syaing how they are moving to other products, why not just do it quietly? Makes me think nefarious employees from the other products are posting ...

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2 hours ago, Everluke said:

Makes me think nefarious employees from the other products are posting ...

Surely no-one could be so underhanded!  ;)

Misery does love company though...

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Only 10-20 hours?! :)

I appreciate the effort the original poster put into writing all of that, but I think it was done in poor taste. Your first post here is simply detailed instructions about how to leave Evernote for another app? But, I guess it also says a lot about Evernote if they don't care--a plug for a competitor comes off sounding kind of like a plug for Evernote's simplicity. 

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Yes, maybe it sounds crazy that a forum to support the use of EN does allow to be used to post instructions of how to leave it.

But - one of the strong arguments for EN always was the possibility to pack up, wrap everything into ENEX-exports and move somewhere else. Because EN notes are well structured, many competitors offer import routines. EN is not locking users in by holding our data at ransom.

Here the problems start: Some competitors can’t import all, because they lack features (like tags, or OCR capability). Some will import, and you can happily use them, but you can’t go back to EN or elsewhere: The wobbly structure does not allow for good export of data. 

My conclusion: As long as there are good ways to leave EN, it is a strong point to stay.

P.S. The list of Notions inabilities reads far worse than what EN offered us as a starting (!) point in v10. Yes, we feel we lost some features that were important to us, but why move somewhere else where these features are not to be found as well (like no local storage and no scripting in notion, and besides no print on top comes no email-interface).

WTF, I stay „legacy“ and wait for EN to fulfill the promise to release missing functions, over the next few months please. 

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Every app has a concept - something that makes it successful. Strength is also a weakness in that we tend to think narrowly about what we do. Evernote has strengths in document management. It is not a strength of Notion. Annotating PDF and OCR search is a wonderful thing and only OneNote comes close. 

Finding things is the next point. Search on OneNote is woeful. There is now not a single way to search for the NEW and OLD Evernote - two different approaches, one the way forward and the other an unsupported dead end. Notion is rather good as searches (excluding document management functions). 

The third aspect is how much freedom a person requires to construct a workspace. Evernote design has the assumption that narrow scope is better. KISS - keep in simple - and get on with the job. A full database is way too much space of most people. Building a note-taking environment with a database is possible but too much work. Notion finds a middle ground. It includes databases and encourages the user to think with database concepts such as relations - which are easy to do in Notion. So you build a notes database and more databases to structure the notes - tags and folder (parent-child relationships) - and finally a project database to track tasks and then manage people in a resources database.

The fourth point: How much time will be lost waiting for the product developers to implement a feature in a product without roadmaps. The feature may never come. Evernote does not allow use to build our own "features" but Notion does and it is quick to do if you know a little. 

The rabbit whole problem is a good one. It has always been there with coding. Building the best database ever is a fine thing but what have you achieved. Productivity has a lot to do with focus and setting priorities - THIS is important and THAT is not. That applies for Evernote too where gather stuff can become a type of madness as Notion which encourages a "gardening mentality" and building a relational database with all the bells and whistles. The 80:20 rule applies. 20% of the effort brings 80% of the benefit. The workspace does not need to be perfect but rather just functional. 

One app rules them all mentality. We have gone past the point where one app can cover all our needs. Multiple apps provide more functions and integration the required automated flow of data between apps. 

A few examples here that are beneficial to workflow improvements through integration. 

  • Todoist allows you to create tasks from Google Gmail and manage them in Google Calendar. 
  • Filterize allows the automation of tags and folder management and more in Evernote. 
  • Google Drive permits the sharing of documents between apps - Evernote and Notion both support Google Drive - and cloud storage.
  • Miro integrates into Notion and is an online collaborative whiteboard platform for teams: Meetings & Workshops, Brainstorming, Research & Design, Agile Workflows, Strategy & Planning, Mapping & Diagramming.

Why in the Evernote forum. The best place to discuss the expansion of the Evernote usage is in this forum. Some of the functions may come into Evernote later but the NEW version of Evernote shows that we cannot make any assumptions what is coming out of product development. Without a roadmap, there is no way to know what is coming. Why wait, there are so many good apps out there now. 

Black and white thinking is too narrow. It is not the question of Evernote or not - consistent with a "leaver quietly" paradigm - but rather Evernote and what else. What you use from day-to-day and month-to-month depends then on the task and priorities. One some days Evernote may get a lot of use on others very little. 

Should the features and performance of the NEW Evernote be improved it could become more useful but currently, it is limited. The keyword search results from Notion make far more sense producing more relevant results than do the those from the NEW Evernote for my liking.

I choose the name Tamagotchi because it was an old but very successful concept. Evernote is like that. NEW Evernote may find its way but we cannot assume it will. The use of multiple apps with different functions give us flexibility permitting a soft transition from one app to another. 


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Yeah, that Evernote never seek to limit or restrict these types of conversations shows they are confident in their product if nothing else! 

Personally for every notes app I try I immediately see something that I don’t like and come back to Evernote. Be it tags or search, there’s always something. Personally notion is the worst I have tried, it’s so confusing and cluttered trying to do basic things is hard work for me. 

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I sent a ticket to Notion support - the "how to text" from this post above. They do not have a forum or chat support, but Slack style support and twitter forum. Twitter is faster than the Slack support. Response time is approximately half a day on Slack. Here is the reply.

"Thanks for sharing a very detailed response! I'm so sorry if the current Notion have many missing features at the moment. I definitely agree that improving and adding these things will be a very good added features that can also help our other users. 

I'll share these with the engineering team to help prioritize these on the roadmap.

Thanks for bearing with us as we continue to improve Notion. Reach out anytime if you have more questions or feedback! "

Sounds a lot like Evernote support currently. I agree that there are easier options out there than Notion if it should be similar to Evernote. 🙂


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  • 2 weeks later...

"The grass is green on the other side" is often used to justify stagnation. Nothing is forever. Technology is dynamic, not static. Technology is never perfect and leaves us to decide between the best of the limited. 

Notion is a very good product for anybody that like databases. :-)

No excuses for Evernote who need to do much better. 

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Thanks,@Tamagotchi for describing what it would take to move from EN to Notion. It's helpful to know.

I, too, have done some dabbling in Notion. It's an intriguing app but will require way too much work to set up for the way that I use EN.

Here's another article about EN and Notion. Towards the bottom of the article is an informative discussion about the differences between these two and what would be most suitable for you, if you use notes in specific ways.


For me, this article says that EN is the best choice for the way I work. 

My subscription expired today and I've switched to the month-to-month EN premium plan for now. I will continue to dabble and will stick around for a few more months to see which way the EN wind blows...

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Thanks a lot, @Tamagotchi, for these helpful instructions!

After the release of EN v10, I also checked all alternatives and came to the conclusion to give Notion a chance. The data base functionality of Notion gives me great possibilities to create individually adapted organizational systems for the different areas of use. Dynamic dashboards with lists that automatically update themselves with newly created entries are only one of many examples for a much more professional information architecture. Sure, for the purely private use this is overkill, but for the ambitious professional use (and if you are a bit versed in information management), Notion seems to be an absolutely brilliant tool.

I had always wanted Evernote to be able to do things like this, e.g. being able to set links to tags/notebooks and saved searches within notes. But the current interviews with CEO Ian Small clearly show that Evernote's development will go in a different direction: new AI capabilities will be designed to help users find relevant information even without a complex information architecture. This is great for many people, but not for me.

When I started with Evernote, the only choice was between Evernote and Onenote. Now I realize that, in the meantime, many other alternatives arised. My first impression is that I am really excited about Notion - hopefully this impression is confirmed. I would then finally have the tool I always wished to be the future of Evernote! And I don't have to worry for months that EN will end up breaking my workflows completely because not all the old functionality will be restored. If support for the legacy version is then switched off, I would be left without a working system. Instead, I will rather use the time now for a step-by-step migration of my EN system to another app that I know provides the functionality I need for my workflows.

Sorry, EN, but it's your own fault that some paying premium customers like me will probably be gone soon. Couldn't you have at least published a detailed roadmap of which functionalities will be restored and which ones won't? I would never have even considered migrating to another app if it had been clear that I could continue working with EN in the long term ...

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