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Evernote for note taking - doesn't really work

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I've been an on/off user of Evernote for many years. I really like that it's available on many platforms, the syncing works just fine for me, the web clipping is great, organization works great for me, etc but there is one thing that makes me stop using Evernote for note taking every time I try: writing notes doesn't work well.


For a long time I thought it was me (I prefer non-wysiwyg editors) but then I realized that Evernote misses a the concept of semantic markup. That is, instead of actually considering a heading a heading Evernote just applies some styling information to it.


So if I send a HTML note to Evernote that contains headers, Evernotes converts those headers to "bold, slightly larger text" as soon as I start editing it. And from within Evernote there is no concept of headers at all, which means that trying to style text is a multi-step task ... and then trying to keep things consistent is difficult, especially when different clients seem to generate different results for the same actions.


I've found that Alternote is a huge improvement for writing notes, it's way faster to write text with headlines, bullet lists, etc. Not to mention that it's a much nicer writing environment.


My suggestions for improving Evernote would be


1. Introduce semantic markup, let a header be a header, etc


2. This is what I really would like to see: introduce an option that would allow those who so desire to write their notes in plain text, preferable using Markdown, and keep these notes as is (including tabs, whitespace, etc) and then have rendered view that displays the formatted version. Examples of apps that do it this way are DayOne and DevonThink,

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For the past couple years, Evernote has been working on a major editor update. It might not fit your Markdown specific needs, but based on the following links, it looks like the changes and improvements will be substantial for the general users.


Forum discussion


Evernote Blog

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Yes, this is what got me to try Evernote once again (for note taking that is, not just clipping info).


What worries me a bit is the talk about the enex format, if I read the specification correctly a note can contain anything - which of course is good in one way. But I can't see any rules for an optional semantic markup of the content.


My way of reasoning is: YES, it's very nice that Evernote is rewriting the editor so the behavior will be consistent across platforms but I don't think that's not enough. There has to be a way to define the meaning of different parts of the notes so that formatting etc can be kept consistent.


Perhaps they are thinking about this, I couldn't say based on the posts. The Markdown support announced in beta 1 could be a first sign but I got the impression that it was treated more like some kind of shortcuts for formatting commands not to mark up the content.


I hope I worry unnecessarily ...

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