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Migrating back to Evernote from Notion


Kathleen

Idea

After more than a decade with Evernote, I left when they doubled the price earlier this year. After 4 months on Notion, I despise it and want to come back. I've been scouring the internet for instructions or an app or some Python code to facilitate migrating back, but I can't find ANYTHING. All the search results are dominated by Evernote to Notion. How is it that there's not some kind of integration or...SOMETHING out there to facilitate this? I'd think Evernote would want the business back. Any help would be appreciated.

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  • Evernote Expert

Hi @Kathleen

Your assessment is correct. The only import option for Evernote is via an ENEX file or files.

However, if you did not close your account then all your notes up to your switch should still be in place. So you only need to be able to export notes that have changed our been added since you started trying out Notion.

If I was in your position I'd copy and paste content I needed back in Evernote's as and when I needed it. That would likely mean that some notes wouldn't make it back but it would be a gradual process.

I think that Notion exports as Markdown files. You might find an open source product that will convert Markdown to ENEX.

Remember, too, that if you are returning to Evernote at the Free level the limits on data transfer, note sizes etc will restrict what you can do. It might be worth considering a paid subscription for a month to remove those limitations during the import process.

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No, I came back to the Pro level I left since they have a 40% off deal going on at the moment. If free had been adequate, I wouldn't have left in the first place. Copying and pasting will only work for the stuff that's simple text. All the web clips, no. Anything with attachments, no. I think Evernote is the more robust and well developed product, but Notion has done a better job with capturing the SEO and results and it seems like Evernote is leaving something major on the table that's needed.

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  • Evernote Expert

I had a look around and located https://github.com/karloskalcium/md2enex
  This is referenced in a thread in these forums. It may require some tech awareness and I haven't tried this.  In fact I haven't tried Notion either ;)

Whilst I can agree that Evernote might gain a little by providing a suitable tool I don't see this happening in any short term.  SO you'll need to work out a way to export the notes from Notion as Markdown and convert them and import OR copy and paste as suggested.  Another option would be to export each note from Notion as a PDF and then import the PDFs into Evernote.  You could do that setting up an Import Folder in Evernote - just export the PDF from Notion saving it in the Import Folder and it will appear within a couple of seconds inside Evernote in the linied Notebook.

 

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The problem with Notion seems to be that it is not prestructured in a way EN is. They have a toolbox, but the user has much more flexibility to setup his data. This may be a blessing, but from what I hear it may be more of a curse. What it does for sure: It prevents an easy export/import operation into other apps that come with a clear structure.

For Notion content that is similar to a note in EN, I could imagine that it should be possible to export it as a pdf. Then set up an Import Folder, make sure the pdfs file name is what you would like to see as note title, and drop the pdf into the Import Folder. You get a note, that holds the pdf, that should hold the content of your Notion „note“.

For other content like Tables / databases, maybe they could be exported to something like Excel by copying, and then drop the spreadsheet into a note.

Complex content like websites or mixed files, I have no idea. Sometimes it may be easier to recreate the more important ones, for example by clipping them again, than to try to export / import.

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Evernote was once the big king of note taking apps and they had (and still probably have) tens of millions of users. They have a great documented export format with ENEX that is easy for the multitude of other note taking apps to build tools against to try and lure users from Evernote. I think we generally see a bigger (and easier) one-way exodus from Evernote vs any single note taking app back to Evernote because Evernote had so many users and had these others guys beat by several years and Evernote was a big game target for most of them.

On the other hand, we now have 50+ different note taking apps all with varying amounts of export capabilities. Even those that export in markdown will format the export just a bit different as there are at least a few different flavors of markdown. It's a moving and widespread target for Evernote and thus probably not worth it.

 

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Welcome back! 

I am not sure about importing, if you need to convert notion to markdown I believe you could do that using Obsidians converter, that at least open sources your notes, not sure how you get them from markdown to enex though! 

Some have suggested copy and paste, that could work but would be a process. If you still have your old free account you could export those files and import them into your pro account? 

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Oh, man... @Kathleen You're right where I've been thinking of heading — in Notion after 10+ years on Evernote. Like hearing from Future-Me.

Have you been able to get back to Evernote?

I'd love to hear about your Notion experience. (Or anyone else's.) What have been the deal killers for you? What did you like about it? (If you'd like, message me, and we could arrange a call, even.)

So far I've only tried to import one Notebook, as an experiment, from Evernote to Notion. It went well enough, but ...

  • It looks like I'd need to repeat that process a couple-hundred times, because Notion can only handle importing in small chunks (AFAIK, so far).
  • It stripped out almost all of my formatting, and I rely heavily on formatting to make my notes easy to scan and read. From what I can tell, I can't even manually reformat things - not that I'd want to reformat 10 years of notes.
  • I've also read (but haven't dug into the details) some not-ready-for-prime-time things, like Notion doesn't have redundancy in case their servers go down - or something like that, which either sounded unlikely, or irresponsible. But again, I've only begun to look into it. What I read may have been dead wrong, or outdated.

So I'm not sold on Notion yet, although I'm really intrigued by the flexibility of it. I can think of dozens of things I could use it for (writing, CMS, family history notes+connections, planning, habit tracking, etc.) But I hadn't given any thought to "what if I need to leave it," which seems like it could be a disaster.

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  • Evernote Expert

I've no experience of Notion. Will be interested in your discoveries. But I know that there are two key operations if I'm making a move. 1. Can I import my Evernote data and have a broadly functioning collection of notes which return this format and content? 2. Can I export my days from the new service in a format that is readily transferable to another service?

When I've played with other services in the past they have mostly failed on point 2 and some fall at the first hurdle.

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32 minutes ago, Linda Eskin said:

like Notion doesn't have redundancy in case their servers go down - or something like that, which either sounded unlikely,

As far as I recall Notion does not have offline access, you need internet to access your notes. 

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The main issue with notion is that it’s more a database builder than a structured notes app.

That may be an advantage when you design specific data structures for specific use cases. But it can turn into a nightmare when you want to leave: You may have not one app to export from, but each database has its own structure and needs its own handling on export. The more specific you build your Notion setup, the more difficult will be the migration.

And, as mentioned, no offline capability at all.

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