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Markdown WYSIWYG support plz?


saileshpanchal

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I have to agree with jemostrom above -- I couldn't care less about Evernote's support of Markdown attachments. Markdown is not a display format, it's a writing format. I don't want to attach "Markdown" documents (if I did, they'd be in a display format). I want to be able to write notes using Markdown syntax instead of Evernote's dreadful formatting options.

 

I think Evernote has officially indicated their uninterest in this feature (apparently, producing $30 water bottles is more in line with their increasingly incomprehensible product vision) so I've long since given up and no longer write in Evernote. I use the Byword markdown editor, which allows automatic publishing to Evernote. It's not ideal, but it's usable, unlike Evernote's ridiculous interface. 

 

Given that Evernote doesn't seem to understand the concept of "writing" (beyond something they can use to sell you stupid notebooks, pens, postits, etc), I would rather see this implemented via the API, by a developer who cares about words. 

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It appears that those who want markdown will have to wallow in their disappointment along with those wanting nested notebooks & a Linux client.

 

I know you don't speak for Evernote, but this is exactly what I believe the company's attitude is. And it's not for me to judge your preference for wallowing; I'd rather continue pursuing worthwhile workarounds or alternatives, and evaluating whether or not I should remain a paying customer of the company. 

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This nonsense about bags and socks is really childish.

 

Do you honestly think that the same people who are re-writing the editor are also involved in the Market?

 

Perhaps it's your understanding of how large companies work that is "childish." Do you honestly think the people implementing market, or editor features, make their own decisions about their priorities?  Evernote, and any maturely run company, makes decisions on product strategy at an executive level, and those decisions then drive budgeting, goals, etc, for each group. Evernote, as a company, is clearly choosing to focus on one group of not-at-all-average people (techie enough to use an online note service, wealthy/foolish enough to spend money on special pens, postits, Moleskine notebooks, etc) rather than the group of not-at-all-average people like me (who are serious about writing/organizing/note-taking). 

 

 

Yes, if you are a bit techie then you are probably very familiar with it, but the average Joe is I am sure blissfully unaware.

 

Markdown is hardly "techie." It was created as a markup language for people who either didn't understand, or didn't want to bother typing, HTML. 

 

 

I think you are absolutely 100% correct. Evernote are building an application and service that is hugely useful for a wide and general audience. They are avoiding building in special features that will help small groups (like code formatting that would undoubtedly be really useful for programmers) and are instead aiming pretty much straight down the middle of the road.

 

If you are serious about writing then my suggestion is to use a serious writing app, there are lots and lots of them out there that will do the job and have all the extra bells and whistles to make writing a better experience.

 

Of course, Markdown is techie - in the real world, most people have no idea what HTML is never mind what the alternatives are. Show me a single main stream application that supports Markdown and I'll of course change my mind. I don't see it in Word or Pages or Open Office though - surely these are the most mainstream and most used word processors that if your assertion is correct would already support what is basically a Gruber creation without any true standard.

 

Finally, Evernote is a very well funded company that is continually adding new technical staff. Given the speed of the development cycles it does seem dumb to assume that the Market (whatever you think of the products) is having any impact on the application and service direction and code.

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Hi. Raw markdown? Do you mean plain text? Evernote works just fine with plain text (actually, not really plain text, but close enough).

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=1564

As for using Evernote as the "database" for something else, it is possible through a third party integration, but no one has done it for Markdown. The API is there if anyone wants to make the app!

 

 

Yep, I'm a very modest person :D

 

So what I would like to see is builtin support for ODB (makes the workflow for editing text soooo much better) - something that needs to implemented by Evernote. But the "markdown" iOS editor could be implemented by someone else ... perhaps one already exists?

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I definitely agree. I think a new internal representation, or trying to find a way juggle between the two representations, would be hard. Instead, I was thinking EN could store the data the way it does, but detect when I've input text that looks like wiki markup and display it properly outside of edit-mode. Or provide me with some meta syntax (like !wiki-markup or something) to tell EN to ignore all the internal formatting (all the html directives that it normally interprets) when trying to display the note, and instead display the text formatted according to the markup directives it might find.

However, this might be difficult for some people to accept or understand. Also, escaping interpreting those directives could be difficult (the internal representation is so rich, it would be hard for EN to interpret if you are writing a page in EN about wiki-markup, or a page in EN /in/ wiki-markup). I understand its not an easy suggestion to implement.

Maybe its a bad suggestion, but should be interpreted instead as a sign of a problem. I don't really want to turn EN into a wiki. But I do want to turn it into a place where I can do my work, keep lab notes, equations, algorithms, snippits of code.

In EN, its easy to get data into it and its easy to get data out of it. Its not easy to make data inside of it. For note-takers, drafters, list-makers, etc its a real draw back.

I guess I see the same type of comments in this forum from folks who want image editing inside of EN-- a suggestion which I think is a little preposterous. If I want something as complicated as image editing, I would use some other program. When its done, throw it into EN.

For some reason, I don't feel the same way about making a bulleted list, a table, or an equation in latex. I really want to do that inside of EN. Is that wrong? I am really resistant to doing these things somewhere else and throwing it into EN when its "done" (for one thing, because things /I/ produce are never really "done" and I typically want to go back to edit them more, or add things to them.)

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I would agree with the fact that evernote needs more options then just RichText(?) format. I have been using John Gruber's Markdown lately and have been becoming more of plain text nerd. Since getting true Markdown syntax highlight/etc would be unlikely for you to support, I'd at least like the option of writing in plain text.

I have an ipod touch, so features like the camera and voice notes do nothing for me. Evernote just takes too long load for simple notes. I was using the Notes app the it comes with. I then heard of simplenote. It's a plain text note taking app that just sync to the simplenote servers. Loading is very fast and would be faster if i had a premium account (which I'm considering) and didn't need to load the ad.

Would it be possible to maybe have a plug in/syntax highlight/etc systemfor people who want there own choice of markup?

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Frankly, as a business, I think Evernote is smart to focus on these folks.

 

I don't buy that. We're not talking about people who are saying "support RTF" vs "support HTML". This is plaintext, which is what the damn .ENEX files are already actually in.

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However, I don't think we need <pre> just to get Markdown rendering support. Theoretically, the app ought to be able to easily handle Markdown support (I think) even if we are working in rich text (by ignoring any .enml tags).

Markdown support entails:

  • Being able to understand some Markdown dialect (duh! But you need to pick the dialect first)
  • Being able to faithfully map that Markdown dialect into supported Evernote ENML constructs. That seems feasible.
  • Being able to faithfully map supported Evernote ENML back into Markdown. This is where I go "uh-oh". Markdown was, in its inception, at least, a text --> HTML conversion tool (https://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/). Now you can find tools out there that at least claim to go HTML --> Markdown. I've never used one, so I can't verify how well they work. But what I can tell you is that if Evernote can't provide a faithful and seamless roundtrip between ENML and Markdown, then that just opens the door to more customer unhappiness. I've seen a similar effect in a Wiki tool (might have been Atlassian's Confluence) that let you edit your entries in either rich text or in Markdown, and you could switch either way just by pressing a button. The problem was that it could lose formatting when going back and forth, and that was exceedingly frustrating. It's either that or you wind up in the same situation as some of the formatting on mobile devices ("Sorry, but we can't handle that formatting") and that's not a good place to be. Or maybe an input-only Markdown control, ditto.

HTML is not my realm of expertise, but the mix here just seems, well, fraught with potential difficulties. Let's face it, if and until they can nail down the current editing problems (well known to one and all), I'd just as soon they held back on something like this. 

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+1

 

Been transitioning over to Evernote for EVERYTHING and love the efficiency of a cloudy one-stop-shop EXCEPT that it's inability to handle Markdown (or even just simple code snippet insert) is causing quite a bit of pain.  Would really love to see this added.  Cheers!

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it does not have to be markdown. The android app should at least provide the same formatting functionality like the other clients and mobile apps. On iphone you get 

 

  1. Text Styles Tools: Tap to change the text style, including bold, italicize, underscore, strike through, and highlight
  2. List Tools: Tap to create bulleted and numbered lists, or to insert a checkbox
  3. Indent Tools: Tap to indent the current line of text
  4. Insert Link Tool: Tap to insert a text hyperlink
  5. Simplified Formatting Tool: Tap to simply text formatting or convert the selected text to plain text
  6. Paragraph Style Tools: Select a block of text, then tap any of the options to apply pre-defined format settings to 
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Sounds like you've also addressed a problem outside the scope of this thread (workflow and versioning), and I'd love to read more about the solution you've created. But it sounds like you're ready to move on completely from Evernote. Surely it wouldn't be much more work to add tagging and searching? 

 

 

 

Ok, I just realized that I also mix discussions here (adding the versioning and mailing issue). But please understand this only as an additional description to explain what and why we're doing this and that.

 

You may realized our main use of EN is now only to store files. Changes in EN notes are very rare. I just stick to EN because of this blog post of Phil Libin. After he promised to increase the quality, I decided to give him another year (maybe a little more) to work on the tool.

 

 

 

No, not really. As I wrote in my last paragraph, I'll give EN the time to improve. 

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+1 for Markdown support.

 

Might I suggest that markdown and its variants can happily replace 90% of what folks do in the average wordprocessor? This means your text is liberated from proprietary formats (although having said that EN is a proprietary format!). The real benefit of Markdown is that is can be converted into just about any format needed easily. As markdown is plain text it would also reduce the file size considerably from RTF.

 

My suggestion for markdown implementation would be similar to many ios apps that show the markdown syntax in grey and immediately render the formatting. The only area that seems to be problematic are links. It would be useful to show them rendered and allow editing via the menu or shortcut key (command+K). Although I'm sure many have better suggestions. IAwriter and Byword on ios have great markdown rendering whilst typing imho.

 

As a side note I don't find EN bloated or overly complex or trying to be all things to all men. There a very few features I do not use apart from some of the formatting as I mainly use plain text and markdown. The great strength of EN for me is that it's a place for everything. Proprietary format files, images, audio, email, web clippings and of course text. If I was using text alone I'd probably go with a wiki, but with EN I essentially need to use very few other apps. I can interlink my info create indexes, use it for GTD and can get everything easily in and easily out. What's not to like? Information no longer comes to me in text only so I need something that caters for that and for my context it beats Devonthink and others. The premium search is awesome! Where others see the subscription and cloud as a problem, for my it provides flexibility and backup. I can as easily get at my info on my iphone or ipad as with my macbook air.

 

Sorry for the digression.

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I don't know which client you are using, but the Mac has "Make Plain Text," which will strip out the formatting and ought to leave you with a monospace font (you can adjust this in the Preferences). 

 

 

I think the reason Evernote doesn't have plain text (a .txt file) is that EVERYTHING in Evernote is contained within an .xhtml file (they use a modified version called .enex), so it is impossible (as I understand it) to have pure plain text. I think this is a limitation we have to accept. That said, as I posted on my blog, it is "good enough" for some use cases.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=1564

 

Ideally, Evernote would support Markdown within the app (by support, I mean render the Markdown in .html, perhaps in a separate window), and maybe it will someday. At the moment, you'll have to export out of the app into another one (this is what I do), or copy/paste.

 

 

1. I'm not using the Mac client. And when it "makes plain text", is it actually making the note plain text or is it simply the same as Simplify Formatting? Based on your own description of the fact that "EVERYTHING in Evernote is contained within an .xhtml file", then I'd say no, the Mac client isn't actually making it plaintext either.

 

2. I understand that everything is within an XHTML file. But how would that make it impossible to be plaintext? XHTML *is* a text file, simply showing as formatted otherwise, thanks to an interpreter/renderer.

 

3. I f it was good enough, then why would we all be asking for proper plaintext support. I'd argue that "good enough" isn't good enough. And your blog post (and many others) all seem to point to adding extra steps to the  process, whether through an add-on or an additional application. Why would it be so hard to allow Evernote notes to be either in .ENEX or plaintext?

 

We're asking for a feature, but you're arguing that we should just be happy with what already exists. Why?

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I've been using Markdown for notes too. For notes that I'm likely to want to edit, I keep them in Dropbox and use Elements, or Nocs on my iPhone. I only keep a static form on Evernote, because of the problems mentioned here, and in many other threads.

It's a bit odd that a hi-tech gadget like the iPhone takes word processing back to the 1980s. Soon we'll be re-living the heady days of the first WYSIWYG software!

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@psteinweber Just curious: Do you really have no workarounds at all? Thinking of e.g. Byword on Mac and Editorial on iPad.

There are two big problems with workarounds and third party apps.

1. They introduce another unnecessary layer of complexity, which increases the chance of bugs, adds another layer of support issues (is the product even going to be around in 6 months) and make my life more complicated in general. Evernote is supposed to simplify and organize my life, and if it becomes too complicated to use then I stop using it.

 

2. Workaround and third party apps don't work consistantly across platforms, and often third party apps only work on one platform. This means I need to use one work flow on a Mac and a second workflow on Windows. Evernote already has enough cross-platform inconsistancies which interfere with my willingness to use Evernote.

 

Markdown is fairly simple, and could provide a consistant, simple editing abilities on Windows, Mac and the web platforms.

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@Mike Korner I agree. I was just curious about how people are coping with the lack of support. With the various workarounds on the various platforms.

 

Personally I sort of have it covered on numerous platforms but not my main one: Linux. I guess I should there do like I did on iOS with Editorial: Hack together a "Markdown to HTML and email into Evernote" workaround.

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A massive +1 for this feature request from my side.

 

I'm a premium user since years, but really about to let my subscription run out end of the current period. Why? Because writing, styling and editing notes is broken. Browsing my notes, which come from various devices and sources is a visual mess! I am designer and programmer, therefore I'm sensitive about that. But I don't have much demand of Evernote styling my notes at all. I just want simple markup: defining headlines, bold, italic, bullet point lists, quotes, preformatted code. That's about it. And I would like to be able doing this from any device in a consistent matter. The method of manually selecting a larger font size for headlines does not make sense (let alone I can't even select e.g. 20pt on all devices!). I just want to say it's a H1 (or a #).

 

I'm aware: we demanding this are probably not the average Evernote user. But we are the ones caring. Don't let the geeky early adopters run away to the competitors. You know they are the ones that made you what you are today.

 

Thanks for listening.

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Check the http://nimblebox.me

It's a small application for Windows that support Markdown and many more handy tools. I have developed it recently. I will appriciate any comments.

 

Too bad it is only for Windows :(

 

Good luck with it! I look forward to hearing what others think of it.

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I never thought of Evernote as a writing tool. I often drag pdf's or add web clippings. If I have to compose something longer than a sentence or two I usually use TextEdit and Marked (Multi-Markdown Rendering Tool) and copy-paste or drag the final document in.

I think JMichael has the best method currently available in Evernote.

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I think there is a mix up here between two things:

  1. The functionality of using markdown (or plain text file - if we get one we get the other)
  2. The format used to store the notes

As I see it these are to a large degree independent. I'm looking for better support for (1) - being able to use my favorite text editor to write markdown code and marked for generating HTML/PDF/LaTeX when needed. For that I think that ODB Editor support is the best way to go on the Mac.

 

(2) is something else and probably only of interest to developers of programs that uses the API. But I opened an enml file and took a quick look (no I didn't read the docs :) ) and from what I can see it's an XML file ... which means that it just a matter of defining what you want to store and create a definition of how it should look like. To me it looks like Evernote stores one note per enml file with one content node per file. The content seem to be a note node with some attributes and then HTML code in the text node. So storing plain text here shouldn't be a problem (displaying it is another thing).

 

My personal opinion here is that Evernote has to be careful in designing their programs, they can't make the clients too confusing and should probably focus on the core features and only add new features when they are really needed. And even if we think that markdown is an essential features (I think so) we might only be 0.01% of the Evernote users ... which would make a stupid design decision to include markdown support since it would probably confuse at least 95% of the others who use Evernote making it a bad product for them. On the other hand if 30% or so of the users asked for markdown support we would probably see markdown support real soon.

 

So I'm pretty sure that it isn't a technical issue that has prevented us from seeing markdown support in Evernote, but a design decision - which might change over time.

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@jefito Agreed: Not sure what Markdown would do with ENML - as it looks quite a bit like HTML.

I think that the technical term is is "choke"?? :) It's XML, based on a subset of XHTML, with some additions. I don't know enough about Markdown to know how it handles stuff that Markdown doesn't have a parallel for.
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Apparently both <pre> and <code> are legal in ENML. Not sure why that doesn't cover the plain text need - but then I don't understand it.

 

I agree. It's not "really" plain text, though, because it has the <pre> tag in it. It would be fine with me if we had that. In the end, it wouldn't affect my current workflow at all (see the link I posted above).

 

However, I don't think we need <pre> just to get Markdown rendering support. Theoretically, the app ought to be able to easily handle Markdown support (I think) even if we are working in rich text (by ignoring any .enml tags).

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Evernote now has a user base of more than 23 million - I'm guessing that the overwhelming majority have never even heard of markdown or wiki markup.

Given that Evernote's aim is to have the same functionality across all devices, adding either method across 14 (i think it's 14 now) different platforms seems to offer a very small if any ROI. I'm guessing it will never happen.

Apparently, the API is really good - why not try writing a client yourselves?

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No, not really. As I wrote in my last paragraph, I'll give EN the time to improve. 

 

 

I'm sorry, yes, I edited my post to reflect that. I am as well (obviously, or I wouldn't spend time posting here), but increasingly I wonder why. My question wasn't a troll though; I'm seriously asking what role Evernote's software plays in your solution. Not as in "What's wrong with you that you're still using it," but as in, "Is there value here that I'm missing?"

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As I wrote earlier in this discussion, I don't believe the EN guys will ever implement this markdown feature. I also checked the public beta of 5.6.0 of the new Mac version. And since there is no feedback from the EN folks here, we had to move on.

 

Well said; that was essentially my point. I have moved on from writing in Evernote. 

 

 

 

As Mike Korner wrote, in the meantime we also did established a different workflow. But since I can't trust Dropbox, we installed a Git on our server and created a special repository for some stuff. If you think Git is too techie, please know even our assistants are working with that, using a tool like Gitbox for checking in and out. So we are creating and maintaining our files in all formats we need - we're not using just Markdown, but also AsciiDoc for our documentation. The files were created with the writing tools of our choice, every employee has its own favorite (BBEdit, Ulysses, Textedit etc). With Git we do have not only the perfect synchronization, but also the best version comparison (which is another weakness of EN, see this thread). Later, when a version of the file is finished, it will be exported and embedded as a final version into Evernote. The target format depends on the later usage of the file. Unfortunately we can not use EN for sending out PDFs to our customers because of this issue) - so, most notes are in RTF and HTML format.

 

 

Sounds like you've also addressed a problem outside the scope of this thread (workflow and versioning), and I'd love to read more about the solution you've created. But it sounds like you're ready to move on completely from Evernote. Surely it wouldn't be much more work to add tagging and searching? Given the strategic direction Evernote is taking, why are Libin's promises meaningful? I mean, great, a software executive is committing to delivering quality software. But his vision for the software doesn't make any sense, and we're using fewer and fewer of its features, so who cares if their next big product improvement ("Write On Your Hand With Evernote's New EverGloves! Only $99 in the Store Now! Available in White Or Bright Green!") is well-implemented or not? 

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+1 for Markdown support.

I love Evernote (at least compared to the current competition) but lack of markdown support is really annoying.

Hi. Welcome to the discussion forums!

I also would like to see markdown support, but I have a feeling this is something that is best left out of the main app, because frankly speaking, "regular" folk aren't going to find it terribly useful, and Evernote would probably be wasting its resources here. I have no data to back that up. Just a feeling based on the lack of tech savviness in people around me.

The good news is that third-party integrations bring markdown support to Evernote already. You can use multimarkdown to create an Evernote note:

http://brettterpstra.com/a-better-os-x-system-service-for-evernote-notes-with-multimarkdown/

And, there is apparently a service in this year's Evernote devcup (six more days to vote!) that allows you to use markdown syntax in Evernote

http://devcup.evernote.com/submissions/8669-enwiki

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It's just asking for Evernote to support inline preview for Markdown attachments (much like it does for PDFs, Excel spreadsheets, and others).  This would scratch my itch as far as Markdown in Evernote is concerned, and hopefully shouldn't be too difficult to implement.

You should note that some Evernote clients don't support all of the named previews on all clients; e.g. PDF is previewed on the Windows, but not the MS Office formats; the Android and web clients don't even preview PDFs. It's anybody's guess as to how easy / difficult it'd be for Evernote to implement. One problem: it's not clear that there is an official way to recognize Markdown files via file extension (which is what you need to identify attachments at Markdown-previewable); there's a case for ".md" and ".markdown" an others, but also for ".text".  There's also the problem of whose Markdown are you going to recognize, as there are several variations. None of these are insurmountable, but they do present obstacles to implementation.

 

Links:

http://daringfireball.net/linked/2014/01/08/markdown-extension

http://superuser.com/questions/249436/file-extension-for-markdown-files

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markdown.

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I don't know which client you are using, but the Mac has "Make Plain Text," which will strip out the formatting and ought to leave you with a monospace font (you can adjust this in the Preferences). 

 

 

I think the reason Evernote doesn't have plain text (a .txt file) is that EVERYTHING in Evernote is contained within an .xhtml file (they use a modified version called .enex), so it is impossible (as I understand it) to have pure plain text. I think this is a limitation we have to accept. That said, as I posted on my blog, it is "good enough" for some use cases.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=1564

 

Ideally, Evernote would support Markdown within the app (by support, I mean render the Markdown in .html, perhaps in a separate window), and maybe it will someday. At the moment, you'll have to export out of the app into another one (this is what I do), or copy/paste.

 

 

1. I'm not using the Mac client. And when it "makes plain text", is it actually making the note plain text or is it simply the same as Simplify Formatting? Based on your own description of the fact that "EVERYTHING in Evernote is contained within an .xhtml file", then I'd say no, the Mac client isn't actually making it plaintext either.

 

2. I understand that everything is within an XHTML file. But how would that make it impossible to be plaintext? XHTML *is* a text file, simply showing as formatted otherwise, thanks to an interpreter/renderer.

 

3. I f it was good enough, then why would we all be asking for proper plaintext support. I'd argue that "good enough" isn't good enough. And your blog post (and many others) all seem to point to adding extra steps to the  process, whether through an add-on or an additional application. Why would it be so hard to allow Evernote notes to be either in .ENEX or plaintext?

 

We're asking for a feature, but you're arguing that we should just be happy with what already exists. Why?

 

 

1. It takes it a bit further than simplify formatting. You lose images, note links, etc. when you apply plain text. In terms of the .enex, almost nothing is left for rendering purposes.

 

2. It is a text file that has to be interpreted by the app, so it needs cues like headers, <div>, etc. That is my understanding, anyhow, and if that is the case, then "true" plain text is impossible (given the constraints of the service).

 

3. I agree that it would be "ideal" if we had Markdown support, though I don't think we will ever be able to see .txt support. It could be a limitation of my imagination or it could be that I am just plain wrong, but that is my understanding of how the service works.

 

I am asking for the feature as well. Please read my posts -- "Ideally, Evernote would support Markdown within the app..." I've also got a bunch of blog posts extolling the virtues of plain text, so please understand that I would be very happy to see plain text and Markdown support. 

 

However, I believe there are technical limitations and perhaps practical considerations in Evernote that will prevent us from seeing plain text. This is a discussion forum and I am expressing my views. Occasionally, I am totally wrong. Maybe this will be one of those cases. In the meantime, if / until we ever get Markdown support, I am suggesting solutions that are "good enough for some use cases." 

 

It sounds like you are not one of those use cases. That's cool. For the benefit of other users, though, I think it is worth making suggestions. Feel free to ignore them if you want.

 

 

 

Frankly, as a business, I think Evernote is smart to focus on these folks.

 

I don't buy that. We're not talking about people who are saying "support RTF" vs "support HTML". This is plaintext, which is what the damn .ENEX files are already actually in.

 

That's cool. Again, I could be totally wrong. It is just my opinion based on what I know about the service. 

 

[EDIT:] By the way, smarter people than me have tackled this question over the years. Here is one of the answers -- basically, it is conceivable, but not without reworking the service, and it would still (as I understand it) need to be contained inside of an .enml wrapper.

http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/22897-wheres-evernote-going/page-2#entry119356

 

If you read the thread, you'll see that I was asking for exactly the same thing you are (plaintext) a couple years ago. I've decided (based on what I have read) that it is unlikely to happen, and perhaps even impossible within the app. Perhaps, as I said, I am wrong. 

 

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Thanks for the interesting discussions. I agree totally with KenF that Evernote will never add this feature to the product. Their lack of attention to their core product staggers the imagination, but they must be making good money on overpriced rucksacks, leather notebooks, and business socks. Emanual offered a good suggestion on using .md attachments. I just tested this successfully using Byword. The problem is that it is tied to a single platform, which is one of the constraints I was trying to use Evernote to solve.

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However, I don't think we need <pre> just to get Markdown rendering support. Theoretically, the app ought to be able to easily handle Markdown support (I think) even if we are working in rich text (by ignoring any .enml tags).

Markdown support entails:

  • Being able to understand some Markdown dialect (duh! But you need to pick the dialect first)
  • Being able to faithfully map that Markdown dialect into supported Evernote ENML constructs. That seems feasible.
  • Being able to faithfully map supported Evernote ENML back into Markdown. This is where I go "uh-oh". Markdown was, in its inception, at least, a text --> HTML conversion tool (https://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/). Now you can find tools out there that at least claim to go HTML --> Markdown. I've never used one, so I can't verify how well they work. But what I can tell you is that if Evernote can't provide a faithful and seamless roundtrip between ENML and Markdown, then that just opens the door to more customer unhappiness. I've seen a similar effect in a Wiki tool (might have been Atlassian's Confluence) that let you edit your entries in either rich text or in Markdown, and you could switch either way just by pressing a button. The problem was that it could lose formatting when going back and forth, and that was exceedingly frustrating. It's either that or you wind up in the same situation as some of the formatting on mobile devices ("Sorry, but we can't handle that formatting") and that's not a good place to be. Or maybe an input-only Markdown control, ditto.
HTML is not my realm of expertise, but the mix here just seems, well, fraught with potential difficulties. Let's face it, if and until they can nail down the current editing problems (well known to one and all), I'd just as soon they held back on something like this.

Sure, "theoretically" the editor ought to be working just fine now. It doesn't, though, and it wasn't my intention to downplay the work involved. I think we are talking about different things.

For fairly straightforward .html to Markdown, a lot of apps do fine (I mention nvALT, for example, on my blog). By "fine" I mean that the results are not perfect, but "good enough" for me (I've got screen shots of Markdownified websites). You're correct about Evernote users and their expectations -- I imagine lost formatting would cause a lot of grumbling. And, as you said, the current editor doesn't even work as expected. So, we agree here.

However, I don't expect rich text to make the round trip. I think that is the difference in understanding. If my current workflow round-trips OK then there isn't any reason Evernote couldn't automate that, right? I do Enml > html > txt > markdown. Certainly, doing this in a preview window seems benign enough, because no bits or bytes in the note would be harmed. It wouldn't be "true" plain text, but it would work as if it was.

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Yes, Markdown support, please.

Ideally, Evernote would save the Markdown-written content and when the post is not in an edit state, it would render it as HTML. Once you start editing it, it would be editable in the original Markdown format.

Perhaps this is a feature for the minority, but it's a group that writes and blogs online a lot, so they'd be even better advocates for Evernote.

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  • Level 5

Plain text / Markdown, Latex, MathML and SVG: These are all aspects of the same thing: A much more polyglot approach to note content.

 

I still don't understand why XML in its various forms (or a subset of them) isn't supported. And I use the words "I don't understand" as there's probably some reasonable engineering explanation.

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+1 for Markdown

I have to disagree with the sentiment that the basic user could not learn how to use Markdown. I don't consider myself a nerd but have picked it up easily. Contrast that with the current horrible, often changing note taking tools in EN. Add TextExpander support for iOS as well.

Users will never learn how to use new features such as these unless you show them how. I thought that was what an innovative software company was supposed to do (see Day One, for example).

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+1 for Markdown

I have to disagree with the sentiment that the basic user could not learn how to use Markdown. I don't consider myself a nerd but have picked it up easily. Contrast that with the current horrible, often changing note taking tools in EN. Add TextExpander support for iOS as well.

Users will never learn how to use new features such as these unless you show them how. I thought that was what an innovative software company was supposed to do (see Day One, for example).

Hi. I don't think there is anything difficult about Markdown. I just don't think many users, who are generally looking for WYSIWYG, are using it now, or are interested in learning to use it. People who take blogging seriously, in particular, like it because they can smoothly move from plain text to markup without having all of the tags cluttering up their text. I imagine most users are not moving their notes out of Evernote into blogs, and if they have blogs, they are using WYSIWYG there as well. That's just my impression of the world around me, and I'd be interested in seeing any numbers or other observations that contradict this.

I'm also not sure I want Evernote investing their precious resources into user education as well as a revision of every platform (and the API as well?) in order to achieve (in part) what the existing rich text support already does. As much as I like, use, and prefer Markdown, I don't think it is, or ever will be mainstream.

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I'm not sure whether I'm for or against, but I just read a recent Coding Horror post, and *he's* certainly in favor of Markdown, in general : http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2012/10/the-future-of-markdown.html.

Yep. Markdown is cool. Unfortunately, even basic elements get parsed "wrong" in one app and "right" in another, so it is in need of standards. I suppose that would be an argument against employing it. W3C may not have made Evernote possible with their web standards (the basis for Evernote's code), but they (probably) made a lot of things easier.

Ultimately, I think we'd all like to get things like CSS support and Markdown support, but I also think this is stuff ideally suited for third-party integrations (some already exist), because the big numbers are in users who can just download the app and get started without having to "learn" a single thing.

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I agree with the need for (Multi)Markdown support with Evernote. If I ever quit my Premium membership, this will probably be the reason. In the meanwhile I am testing Markdown Here add-on and the Byword app, which can publish to Evernote. However, being able to freely toggle in Evernote would be the best. 

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Hi. Raw markdown? Do you mean plain text? Evernote works just fine with plain text (actually, not really plain text, but close enough).

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=1564

 

Yes, Evernote doesn't actually handle plaintext. "Close enough" isn't enough. I put plaintext into a note, then Evernote has to be told to Remove Formatting. And that doesn't take, since it insists on changing it from plaintext to a formatted font. In order to fake it, I had to change the default font to a monospaced typeface. Which still isn't using plaintext. 

 

Plaintext is simpler, smaller, and faster. It's weird that Evernote doesn't play nice with it. I understand the appeal of various forms of formatting, but to neglect the most basic format of them all? That's just odd.

 

Evernote supporting plaintext and Markdown would make Evernote pretty much perfect for me. And, I suspect, for a lot more people, too.

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Please add this -- I write most of my serious Evernote postings now in Markable, because I don't have the patience to point&click constantly to format text, or to highlight and choose a monospace font off the dropdown menu instead of using standard markdown syntax. Also there's no sensible way to create links in Evernote. Full markdown support is the single most important improvement I could hope for from Evernote.

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@jonschlinkert

I use Markdown to edit my note then turn them into rich text. MS word, Markdown are the same thing to me. I just copy from them and paste on EN. So I think that adding Markdown support equals to expanding text editor of EN.

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  • Level 5*

Given that they've just released major updates to the Mac and iOS clients, I think it's fairly safe to assume that this isn't coming in the short term at least.

I still think it's not coming at all though.

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Posted · Hidden by charboyd, March 16, 2015 - spam
Hidden by charboyd, March 16, 2015 - spam

I have heard that there is a team that is building something that has the right UI, features, and support that everyone has been looking for called NoteHash. Evernote seems to be holding off features and is always charging more (which really stinks).


I really have high hopes for these guys…


http://www.notehash.com/


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Please add this -- I write most of my serious Evernote postings now in Markable, because I don't have the patience to point&click constantly to format text, or to highlight and choose a monospace font off the dropdown menu instead of using standard markdown syntax. Also there's no sensible way to create links in Evernote. Full markdown support is the single most important improvement I could hope for from Evernote.

This is the way I do it too, using an external editor to do the md formatting and then pasting it into Evernote when I'm done. Would be nice to have it inside the app. The nice thing about markdown is that it doesn't even have to be visible to anyone who doesn't want to use it.

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+1

I know why I want this, so for the Evernote perspective, they should do this because

1. It fits with the limits of their editor

2. Expands their audience by including people who want a plain text pathway

3. Prevents them being taken over by a copycat who adds markdown and gets the geek-cred and all the Verge/Ars/Boing publicity which goes with that and drives google search links :-)

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+1

I know why I want this, so for the Evernote perspective, they should do this because

1. It fits with the limits of their editor

2. Expands their audience by including people who want a plain text pathway

3. Prevents them being taken over by a copycat who adds markdown and gets the geek-cred and all the Verge/Ars/Boing publicity which goes with that and drives google search links :-)

Geek cred. That is the best reason yet! Seriously, Evernote could do with a bit more geek cred every once in a while. By the way, the Verge gave a nice plug for Evernote a couple of days ago along with some other nice apps.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/12/25/3793484/best-apps-new-mac

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1. It takes it a bit further than simplify formatting. You lose images, note links, etc. when you apply plain text. In terms of the .enex, almost nothing is left for rendering purposes.

 

2. It is a text file that has to be interpreted by the app, so it needs cues like headers, <div>, etc. That is my understanding, anyhow, and if that is the case, then "true" plain text is impossible (given the constraints of the service).

 

3. I agree that it would be "ideal" if we had Markdown support, though I don't think we will ever be able to see .txt support. It could be a limitation of my imagination or it could be that I am just plain wrong, but that is my understanding of how the service works.

 

I am asking for the feature as well. Please read my posts -- "Ideally, Evernote would support Markdown within the app..." I've also got a bunch of blog posts extolling the virtues of plain text, so please understand that I would be very happy to see plain text and Markdown support. 

 

However, I believe there are technical limitations and perhaps practical considerations in Evernote that will prevent us from seeing plain text. This is a discussion forum and I am expressing my views. Occasionally, I am totally wrong. Maybe this will be one of those cases. In the meantime, if / until we ever get Markdown support, I am suggesting solutions that are "good enough for some use cases." 

 

It sounds like you are not one of those use cases. That's cool. For the benefit of other users, though, I think it is worth making suggestions. Feel free to ignore them if you want.

 

 

 

Frankly, as a business, I think Evernote is smart to focus on these folks.

 

I don't buy that. We're not talking about people who are saying "support RTF" vs "support HTML". This is plaintext, which is what the damn .ENEX files are already actually in.

 

That's cool. Again, I could be totally wrong. It is just my opinion based on what I know about the service. 

 

[EDIT:] By the way, smarter people than me have tackled this question over the years. Here is one of the answers -- basically, it is conceivable, but not without reworking the service, and it would still (as I understand it) need to be contained inside of an .enml wrapper.

http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/22897-wheres-evernote-going/page-2#entry119356

 

If you read the thread, you'll see that I was asking for exactly the same thing you are (plaintext) a couple years ago. I've decided (based on what I have read) that it is unlikely to happen, and perhaps even impossible within the app. Perhaps, as I said, I am wrong. 

 

 

 

1. Yes, it loses all of the formatting and images — that's the point.

 

2. Interpreting the individual items? You mean as in the way Markdown fundamentally is meant to work?

 

3. It already supports plaintext in the form of ENEX files — the interpreter simply reads the ENEX files and renders it as formatted text. How could it be *harder* to tell it to *not* render?

 

4. I get that you seem to be pro-plaintext and pro-Markdown, but you keep offering reasons why we shouldn't even bother asking.

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  • Level 5

FWIW I'm enjoying using Note & Share on iOS to create documents in Markdown on the fly - and sending them to/from other places and Evernote. If you're interested see my blog post on this:

 

https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/blogs/MartinPacker/entry/appening_1_note_share_on_ios?lang=en

 

Obviously this is a long way from an "all platforms and clients" solution. But it gets me happily writing on the hoof - and Markdown is much more productive than writing basic HTML.

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Funny how this old topic pops up again and again. I would pay to know if/where Markup is on the EN roadmap...

Somewhere in the same vicinity as the support for LaTex and for an Esperanto version, I'd guess.

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Funny how this old topic pops up again and again. I would pay to know if/where Markup is on the EN roadmap...

Somewhere in the same vicinity as the support for LaTex and for an Esperanto version, I'd guess.

 

Mi esperas ke vi malpravas.

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Hi. Raw markdown? Do you mean plain text? Evernote works just fine with plain text (actually, not really plain text, but close enough).

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=1564

 

Yes, Evernote doesn't actually handle plaintext. "Close enough" isn't enough. I put plaintext into a note, then Evernote has to be told to Remove Formatting. And that doesn't take, since it insists on changing it from plaintext to a formatted font. In order to fake it, I had to change the default font to a monospaced typeface. Which still isn't using plaintext. 

 

Plaintext is simpler, smaller, and faster. It's weird that Evernote doesn't play nice with it. I understand the appeal of various forms of formatting, but to neglect the most basic format of them all? That's just odd.

 

Evernote supporting plaintext and Markdown would make Evernote pretty much perfect for me. And, I suspect, for a lot more people, too.

 

 

I don't know which client you are using, but the Mac has "Make Plain Text," which will strip out the formatting and ought to leave you with a monospace font (you can adjust this in the Preferences). 

 

I think the reason Evernote doesn't have plain text (a .txt file) is that EVERYTHING in Evernote is contained within an .xhtml file (they use a modified version called .enex), so it is impossible (as I understand it) to have pure plain text. I think this is a limitation we have to accept. That said, as I posted on my blog, it is "good enough" for some use cases.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=1564

 

Ideally, Evernote would support Markdown within the app (by support, I mean render the Markdown in .html, perhaps in a separate window), and maybe it will someday. At the moment, you'll have to export out of the app into another one (this is what I do), or copy/paste.

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Plain text / Markdown, Latex, MathML and SVG: These are all aspects of the same thing: A much more polyglot approach to note content.

 

I still don't understand why XML in its various forms (or a subset of them) isn't supported. And I use the words "I don't understand" as there's probably some reasonable engineering explanation.

 

It might not be an engineering explanation. It might be a niche use case one. Honestly, at least in my circles, very few people use Markdown or LaTex. An overwhelming majority just want WYSIWYG, and they are quite satisfied with the rich text options available. Frankly, as a business, I think Evernote is smart to focus on these folks.

 

Yes, it makes it more difficult for me, because I rely on Markdown, but I can understand why they might have decided not to support it (yet). I could be wrong! Maybe the developers there don't use Markdown and this is the first they are hearing about it :) My guess, though, is that they do know all about it, and they even realize its benefits. They tend to be pretty knowledgable about such things. However, there are also business decisions to make that are a separate thing entirely. 

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As I understand it, if emacs can't already do it, then it can't be done...

 

Emacs is the Chuck Norris amongst editors. True. (Glad we're not on Reddit, I'd get downvoted immediately)

 

To add something to the discussion: Found Markable.in yesterday, does pretty much what I'd expect from an inline EN-editor. And - it SYNCS (kind of) with Evernote!

 

http://markable.in/

 

Works on the iPad too. Nice one.

 

Cheers

 

André

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This sort of thing is inevitable, and I'm glad to see it. Evernote has built the framework/ecosystem for 3rd-party application makers to integrate more specialized features that Evernote may not wish to implement on their own, or at least have no time for it. I'd personally like to see the ability to more tightly integrate, like, for example, a plug-in system on the Windows client, which is what I use most. But the API at least makes integration possible, if not ideal.

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Maybe you could have a look at Drafts from Agile Tortoise in the AppStore ? It is a plain text editor with support to Markdown. It has many way to export to other apps. I'm using it to write notes with Markdown then sending it directly to EN. Works real fine !

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Count me in as one who want Markdown support in Evernote. It might be that I'm even satisfied with a simpler solution than most of you.

I would like to use Evernote as the backend for keeping notes written in (multi)markdown - I want to use Marked to format in the cases when I want HTML/PDF etc. But mostly I just want Evernote to store the raw markdown which I then can read/edit in some application. In other words I would like Evernote to support the ODB Editor Suite on the Mac (I have no idea how this works on Windows). I also would like to have a good text editor on iOS - Byword can publish to Evernote but is there some app that uses Evernote as the note database?

Hi. Raw markdown? Do you mean plain text? Evernote works just fine with plain text (actually, not really plain text, but close enough).

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=1564

As for using Evernote as the "database" for something else, it is possible through a third party integration, but no one has done it for Markdown. The API is there if anyone wants to make the app!

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The thing is, at least for the way I work, this *does* allow writing Markdown.  When I open the attachment, up pops FoldingText where I can make my changes in a Markdown editor I like, and when I save the document in FoldingText the attachment in Evernote automatically updates.  Ok, it's not the same as WYSIWYG support right in Evernote, but it means I can write Markdown and have it saved in Evernote without needing copy anything back-and-forth.  I actually do this quite a lot, this way I can keep drafts of Markdown documents in Evernote along with notes related to the document (which I just write directly into Evernote), and I can edit those drafts without worrying that anything will get out-of-sync.  Having Evernote display the rendered Markdown right there would be great for me because it would mean I don't need to open the Markdown to see it, but even if it just shows the Markdown source (i.e. plain-text) I'd be pretty happy.

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It appears that those who want markdown will have to wallow in their disappointment along with those wanting nested notebooks & a Linux client.

 

I know you don't speak for Evernote, but this is exactly what I believe the company's attitude is. And it's not for me to judge your preference for wallowing; I'd rather continue pursuing worthwhile workarounds or alternatives, and evaluating whether or not I should remain a paying customer of the company. 

 

 

 

As I said, any company must make decisions based upon priorities.  I'm sure they wish they could please ALL 100+ million users, but of course, that's not possible.  Rather than ascribe attitudes to Evernote that really only simply reflect your dissatisfaction is unfounded and quite frankly, serve no purpose.  Your goal of "pursuing worthwhile workarounds or alternatives", OTOH, is useful & is exactly what many of us regularly post here on the board to those who say feature XXX is a dealbreaker.  Since EN does not post their roadmap, each user must decide if their prized missing feature is a deal breaker (and find an alternative app) or find a viable workaround.  That's pretty much how many things in life work.

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This nonsense about bags and socks is really childish.

 

Do you honestly think that the same people who are re-writing the editor are also involved in the Market?

 

Perhaps it's your understanding of how large companies work that is "childish." Do you honestly think the people implementing market, or editor features, make their own decisions about their priorities?  Evernote, and any maturely run company, makes decisions on product strategy at an executive level, and those decisions then drive budgeting, goals, etc, for each group. Evernote, as a company, is clearly choosing to focus on one group of not-at-all-average people (techie enough to use an online note service, wealthy/foolish enough to spend money on special pens, postits, Moleskine notebooks, etc) rather than the group of not-at-all-average people like me (who are serious about writing/organizing/note-taking). 

 

 

Yes, if you are a bit techie then you are probably very familiar with it, but the average Joe is I am sure blissfully unaware.

 

Markdown is hardly "techie." It was created as a markup language for people who either didn't understand, or didn't want to bother typing, HTML. 

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