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(Archived) Evernote Mac: Importing and exporting notes. Thumbs down.



I sure would like to use Evernote for Mac, but there's no way that I can switch to the program since it doesn't allow us to import any notes from any other format!

Evernote doesn't even do the bare bones basics of importing, which would be importing plaint text files (.txt) or generic RTF files (.rtf) files.

EVERY other note taking program for the Mac (and I do mean EVERY note taking program) lets you import/export RTF files and TXT files. This includes programs like SOHO Notes, Yojimbo, Notebook, OmniOutliner, OmniFocus, even Stickies!!

So there is no way in hell that I am going to retype -- or copy-and-paste -- all 250 notes I currently have in SOHO Notes to switch over to Evernote.

What makes matters worse -- and I think this is even worse than the lack of ability to import -- is that Evernote LOCKS YOU INTO its own PROPRIETARY FORMAT once your notes are in the program. You cannot export your notes out of the system except in its own proprietary Evernote format or HTML format. Why would we possibly want to export our notes in HTML format unless we're designing a website? That isn't an easily-editable file that we can send to other people or import into other programs.

How can Evernote possibly ignore the 2 most important note formats of all time: plain text and RTF documents?

BIG THUMBS DOWN TO EVERNOTE until this is corrected. I certainly can't use Evernote because I can't even get my notes into the program.

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You can export to HTML, an open format.

I believe most other notes apps accept HTML, do they not?

Nope, unfortunately, I cannot import HTML notes into any note-taking programs for the Mac. I can't even import HTML notes into a massive database program like FileMaker Pro which imports dozens of different file formats. In fact, I can't find ANY program, out of the 150 Mac programs on my hard drive, that can import HTML notes.

And, of course, I can't export my notes from any of my other programs INTO any format that Evernote will import, since Evernote will ONLY import its own format.

So I'm stuck, sitting on the sidelines, unable to use Evernote.

I have no idea why the Evernote engineers have not made this import/export feature the #1 highest priority of all, to help people switch over to USING THEIR PROGRAM!! And to make it easy for people to leave their program, if they don't like it, so people don't feel trapped for life.

So for now, I am forced to stick with SOHO Notes, which also syncs with the iPhone, and actually SURPASSES Evernote in dozens & dozens of different ways. While I was initially drawn to Evernote because of its web syncing ability, that one compelling feature is by no means an important enough feature to get me to RETYPE all 250 of my notes from scratch.

Evernote engineers, are you listening??

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1.) You can import RTF and TXT files just by dragging and dropping them on the Evernote icon... Doesn't get much easier than that!

2.) Here's a link to an AppleScript that exports Evernote-to-RTF files:


1. Hey, thanks so much Justin!! That's certainly an undocumented feature (I read the entire user manual and it doesn't mention that anywhere). HOWEVER, I just tried this and I can see why this may be undocumented... because it doesn't actually import the RTF files correctly at the current moment. It truncates all blank lines together, so an entire document with spaces between the paragraphs no longer has any spaces between the paragraphs anymore... once you bring them into Evernote. Every single line in your RTF file becomes "smushed together" within Evernote.

2. This is great... thanks so much for the heads-up! :)

So, now it seems like my request to the Evernote engineers is to PLEASE FIX the RTF import capability of Evernote so that it brings in RTF files correctly, and please add this RTF import capability into the "File>Import..." menu so that people know it is there.



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Ah, my bad. I apologize!

Don't get me wrong, I agree Evernote needs more exporting options. That was one of my concerns when I first started using it. I guess I have stopped caring, since I don't foresee leaving Evernote anytime soon! :)

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Ah, my bad. I apologize!

Don't get me wrong, I agree Evernote needs more exporting options. That was one of my concerns when I first started using it. I guess I have stopped caring, since I don't foresee leaving Evernote anytime soon! :)

Hee hee, thanks... at this point, I just want to get my notes INTO Evernote so I can start using it!

So hopefully the Evernote engineers can fix the RTF import capability.

Although even if they fix the RTF importing capability (which I hope they do sooner rather than later), I wish that the Evernote engineers would take a look at SOHO Notes for the Mac, which currently does so many more things (and does them better) than Evernote does. But Evernote has the web syncing, which SOHO Notes does not.

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Well Scotty (and anyone else with the same issue)....today is your lucky day! :)

I wrote a small app that I think will improve your file import experience and posted it on my website:


You can leave any thoughts, comments, bug reports on Veritrope.com!

Wow, Justin! This is so cool of you! What a wonderful Mac developer and Mac community member you are! :)

I tried running this and it did indeed bring my RTF notes into Evernote (sweet!)... but unfortunately, it actually ADDED extra carriage returns wherever there were blank lines. Oh wait, no, it looks like it's not extra carriage returns but actually one GIGANTIC blank line wherever there is supposed to be a blank line.

Hmmm... if only Evernote had find/replace functionality, perhaps I could fix this in Evernote. It seems like they need to do a lot of work on this product still, especially for Mac users! :)

Thanks again, Justin!

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That's weird... not happening here with my files. Anyone else trying the various import methods described in this thread? Having similar results?

If anyone is interested in helping to sort out these import issues, PM me here or send a message via the Veritrope.com contact form to get in touch. We’ll coordinate and come up with a few sample files to help me figure out what the issues are!

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Justin, you've really done an amazing job here. Thank you so much! :) The Evernote team should hire you immediately and pay you royalties forever. :)

And yet, I simply can't understand how you can create something so impressive and so perfect and so brilliant and so meaningful in just one day... yet the Evernote team hasn't addressed this issue IN ALMOST 3 YEARS.

It makes me have serious questions about Evernote's customer service, technical team, and their ability to deliver on what their users really NEED and WANT. I mean, who are these Evernote people developing their product for, if they can't give us basic import/export ability built into the program? You just proved that this can be done in one day. I have NO PROGRAMS on my entire Mac that DON'T HAVE basic import/export capability. Evernote is the only program that lacks this crucial ability.

Now that I've used your tool to bring all of your notes into Evernote, I realize that all of my notes are stuck in there forever unless I use YET ANOTHER one of the amazing tools that you brilliantly created, which is your Evernote Export AppleScript. Yet if it wasn't for you, no user would have this capability in Evernote at all.

I sincerely wonder if the Evernote team even cares about the customer or what the customer needs, and I much prefer to work with companies who obviously care about their customers. I'm still going to cautiously use Evernote, but I do NOT have a warm feeling towards these Evernote people.

You, on the other hand, would be someone that I would hire and trust in a second. In fact, I may have some small AppleScript jobs for you in the future.



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Well, as much as I hate to do anything other than whole-heartedly agree with the idea that people should give me jobs and money.... :)

If you look in this thread:


...you'll see something I wrote directly to the Evernote Developers on the topic. Dave Engberg, who is part of the Mac team for Evernote, replied with some additional detail about these issues.

I still need to reply on that thread (...that's next, hopefully), but to address Scott's points on *this thread*:

  • [*:34j7fepp]It is clear to me that the team is earnestly working on it. Sometimes, it takes a while to turn a big boat around and, even though Evernote may not seem like a "big boat", we're talking about a platform that has to work on Windows, the Web, Android, etc. Based on what Dave said, the changes that are required to really make the importing side of things better are platform-wide changes... and moving cautiously with something that could have a deleterious effect on millions of notes is certainly understandable.
    [*:34j7fepp]The fact of the matter is that, in this context, the AppleScripts that I write for import/export are like "taking an aspirin" for minor Evernote pain, whereas people like Dave and Geech are trying to provide a long-term, lasting cure for your workflow headaches.
    (Is this stretching the metaphor too far?)
    But aspirin has it's place -- which is why I urge anyone who cares enough about Evernote to read through forum posts like these to ask that additional AppleScript support be made a priority. Robust AppleScript implementation means that users like us can hack together some stop-gap solutions for workflow problems while the Developers work on the deeper fixes. It would also help everyday users develop workflows and contribute integrations as a community. For the Evernote Development Team and other API Developers, this could also really help shine a light on how people actually use (or would like to use) Evernote.
    Seems like a "WIN/WIN" to me! :)

That said...

We all know that, the longer that Evernote takes to turn the boat around, the more alienated users (and consultants like us, Scott) it creates. I've written about this elsewhere and, personally, I think that it would be a real shame if this didn't get addressed *very soon*.

My hope is that some additional Corporate-level support (e.g., money and programmers) will allow the Development Team to turn the corner on all of this stuff -- and to move on to the more fun and interesting things to do with the platform!

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