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Selective Sync of Notebooks per client

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Heya,

I use Evernote personally and professionally with a premium plan.  I'd love the ability to select which notebooks/stacks can be synced/viewed per client so that my work computer will never have access to personal notes. 

My biggest fear is needing to search for a note in a work notebook for work and have private notes in the search results.  I present my screen multiple times per week and opposed to my coworkers seeing how I use Evernote, they don't even know it's installed.  It's not ideal for me, and definitely hurts any prospective word-of-mouth advertising that Evernote could benefit from.

This seems like it would be an easy implementation.  During install, offer to select which notebooks to sync to this local install, and offer the ability to edit the selection in the Synchronization options.  Bandwidth and sync operations would also benefit.

I use tags extensively and keep notebooks very broadly so would perfectly for my use-case.  It also aligns with the existing use-cases for notebooks, since sharing is done per-notebook, so I suspect it would benefit many others too.

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Just enable Sync on Demand and don't go into those notebooks on your work PC that you don't want downloaded. It only downloads the metadata (title, creation/edit date, tags, etc) but not note content until you click on it.

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For historical reasons, we should note here that Selective Sync by choosing notebooks (and possibly stacks) has been a requested feature for some time now. This feature (though it's not called "Selective Sync") is available on the Android and iOS mobile clients.  "Sync on Demand" (what @EdH suggested) is the closest thing that the Windows client has that offers similar functionality, without specifying notebooks.

5 hours ago, cdemitab said:

My biggest fear is needing to search for a note in a work notebook for work and have private notes in the search results.

A slightly different workaround for this is to maintain separate work and personal accounts. You can switch between them if you need to on your home machine. Or if you need to see work notes on your personal machine, you can always share notebooks from work to personal.

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Or, just use the web client at work. Nothing is saved anywhere.
I too would like a selective notebook sync, but there are at least two-three viable workarounds that make it managable to have access to your personal Evernote data at work without all of your data being on the work machine.

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3 hours ago, cdemitab said:

I'd love the ability to select which notebooks/stacks can be synced/viewed per client so that my work computer will never have access to personal notes. 

The selective sync feature only controls the data downloaded to the device.
Full account content is still accessed via the internet  connection.

You need to look at a different solution for your access issue.

  • two accounts?

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3 hours ago, cdemitab said:

My biggest fear is needing to search for a note in a work notebook for work and have private notes in the search results.

You should use two accounts if this is your goal.

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Thanks for the feedback and workarounds.

I started off juggling accounts and later with a shared notebook but it ended up making it more difficult to stay organized and eventually bailed.  Doing that migration again will suck but I'll give it some thought.

I'll also play around with sync on demand features too.

Thanks again!

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21 minutes ago, cdemitab said:

I'll also play around with sync on demand features too.

Downside here is that notes from personal and work will be visible in searches.  Unless

  1. You tag them all home or work and start every search with a -tag:home or -tag:work. 
  2. Or create a stack for work and a stack for home and start the search with stack:home or stack:work.
  3. You can use a text expander to start the searches.
  4. Have to avoid cockpit error during your presentations.

Which may or may not work in your environment.  FWIW

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1 hour ago, cdemitab said:

I'll also play around with sync on demand features too.

To get this to work as you want, I think you will need to uninstall, delete your Evernote database, then reinstall, and as soon as you log in, to to Tools|Options|Sync and enable Sync on demand.

If you enable it without doing this, your data will remain on your work PC until the sync-on-demand days threshold is met before it is purged locally.

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On 4/3/2018 at 10:58 AM, EdH said:

To get this to work as you want, I think you will need to uninstall, delete your Evernote database, then reinstall, and as soon as you log in, to to Tools|Options|Sync and enable Sync on demand.

Simpler - Change the setting in Options, completely close EN, delete the database (assuming no local notebooks), restart. No need to uninstall/install.

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Don't want to speak for the OP, but I think the request is more about NO sync notebook functionality, ie don't have this notebook on this device,  than sync on demand.

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2 hours ago, dconnet said:

Simpler - Change the setting in Options, completely close EN, delete the database (assuming no local notebooks), restart. No need to uninstall/install.

simpler if you know how to do that. ;)

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2 hours ago, CalS said:

Don't want to speak for the OP, but I think the request is more about NO sync notebook functionality, ie don't have this notebook on this device,  than sync on demand.

yup. from the beginning, this has been about workarounds.

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Selective sync has been a major request for at least 5 years. Particularly by MacBook users with limited disk space.

Like many other request, this has been ignored by Evernote ... so let me explain how this will play out.

Step 1: After a lot of frustration, a premium customer is going to start putting their files onto Google drive and then linking it into an Evernote.

Step 2: To conserve disk space on Google Drive, they will start converting these files to Google Doc files (which does not count against the 15 GB quota)

Step 3: These users will begin to realise that they can just as easily search for files in Google Drive as they can with Evernote ... except for free

Step 4: After doing this for a year, the client spends more and more time in Google Drive, using GDocs and Keep

Step 5: By the time the client is due to pay their next premium subscription, they start wondering if they still need Evernote, if they're doing most of their stuff in Google Drive anyway.

The ones that rant and complain on the forums ... they're not going anywhere ... they're emotionally invested in the product ... that's why they complain.

It's the other 90% who *don't* complain ... these are the people who will simply add 2+2 and move on, because it makes sense.

 

This is not a feature request, it's a business strategy forecast.

 

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1 hour ago, Lutherian said:

The ones that rant and complain on the forums ... they're not going anywhere ... they're emotionally invested in the product ... that's why they complain.

It's the other 90% who *don't* complain ... these are the people who will simply add 2+2 and move on, because it makes sense.

 

This is not a feature request, it's a business strategy forecast.

Shouldn't a proper "business strategy forecast" also break down the percentage of people in the "rant and complain" plus "don't complain" vs those who don't care at all because they have adequate storage for all of their notes on their desktop devices? Besides that, at least the Windows client has been modified to address the storage issue with on-demand sync. BTW, I'm not saying that there's no valid case for notebook-based selective sync -- I'm familiar with this from my Android device; but what I'm guessing is that a lot of desktop client users just don't have this problem.

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2 hours ago, jefito said:

Shouldn't a proper "business strategy forecast" also break down the percentage of people in the "rant and complain" plus "don't complain" vs those who don't care at all because they have adequate storage for all of their notes on their desktop devices? Besides that, at least the Windows client has been modified to address the storage issue with on-demand sync. BTW, I'm not saying that there's no valid case for notebook-based selective sync -- I'm familiar with this from my Android device; but what I'm guessing is that a lot of desktop client users just don't have this problem.

You're quite right, it just depends over which time-frame we're talking about. there are two factors. (1) Disk Space, as you rightly pointed out, is not really and issue for most desktop devices, however, one does run into limiting factors when it comes to database *volume*  (2) - the more information a user acquires, the more slugging the device comes. Customers will (unfairly) expect the local search results to be at least as fast as a google search result. But a local desktop units could never match the power of google virtual server arrays. So there is a case for local indexing with file content on the backend makes sense. Also the market seems to be moving towards cheap / low end devices that are orientated more towards connectivity rather than raw power. (sadly so)

Google has the advantage that PDF files "stream" quickly via the web, whilst Evernote downloads the whole file first ... so the option of using EN web version is not practical ... one can't even merge two files on the web version (although we could back in the day)

I still love a good solid desktop machine (I'm old school) but the reality is that I need my information available wherever and whenever I am at a moment's notice. 

The role of my desktop is increasingly is just to make sure I have a local copy of my EN Database (which I backup to an external drive, which I store in my safe).

My job (like most people's these days) is based on the quality of information I can provide in my profession. It's our bread and butter as they say - so it's more serious than pictures of fluffy kittens and instagram photos of food. 

I think this makes up a large part of the *paying* EN users, like you and me, I would gather

 

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On 4/3/2018 at 6:59 PM, EdH said:

Just enable Sync on Demand and don't go into those notebooks on your work PC that you don't want downloaded. It only downloads the metadata (title, creation/edit date, tags, etc) but not note content until you click on it.

Hi, How to enable sync on demand?

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My laptop disc 1TB space is getting choked because of Evernote syncing all stuff. Selective sync or sync on demand please help me use this feature.

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On your PC in Windows, go to Tools|Options. Then Syncronization. Then check "purge rarely viewed content."

Nothing is deleted, but it will remove the note bodies from your PC that haven't been viewed in X days, which you set on the same screen. To urge it on, you might want to set it for 1 day, and then give it a few days to clean itself up. Then go back and set to something reasonable, like 15-30 days, or whatever you want. 

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On 12/2/2018 at 10:17 AM, voleem29 said:

My laptop disc 1TB space is getting choked because of Evernote syncing all stuff. Selective sync or sync on demand please help me use this feature.

How big is your .exb file?

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I'm considering doing what Lutherian projected, though I'm a strongly-invested EN user of many years. There's no way I'm paying for two Premium accounts just because EN doesn't let me sync only work-related folders to my work laptop. (And my company won't spring for EN Business, so this is out-of-pocket for me.) 

Just before I began this reply, I had downloaded Evernote onto my new work laptop, and was about to install and thought, "Nope. Do I really want gigs of unencrypted personal files on my corporate IT backup server?" It's not just a personal risk -- it's a huge waste of resources. 

I've supported EN through many iterations and side projects, many of which I beta-tested, offered free UX advice (sometimes on these discussion boards), and enjoyed. But for some reason this feature, which other cloud services managed to implement, this one isn't ever on EN's radar. 

Pleeeeeaaassse, Evernote, pleeeeeeasssse....

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50 minutes ago, mcluff said:

There's no way I'm paying for two Premium accounts just because EN doesn't let me sync only work-related folders to my work laptop.

You don't necessarily need two premium accounts. I use a paid account for personal stuff, and a free account for work. I can share notebooks freely between them, mainly from my work account to the personal paid account for when I work from home. The personal account is premium because I wind up doing a fair amount of R&D clipping, so it gets most of the content -- since it would relate to most any job I'd ever have, it can go along with me wherever I work. Works fine, a couple of nice to haves.

Or you could use selective sync, as others have suggested.

52 minutes ago, mcluff said:

Just before I began this reply, I had downloaded Evernote onto my new work laptop, and was about to install and thought, "Nope. Do I really want gigs of unencrypted personal files on my corporate IT backup server?" It's not just a personal risk -- it's a huge waste of resources. 

Well, you don't need to have all of your personal notes on your corporate server. See above.

53 minutes ago, mcluff said:

I've supported EN through many iterations and side projects, many of which I beta-tested, offered free UX advice (sometimes on these discussion boards), and enjoyed. But for some reason this feature, which other cloud services managed to implement, this one isn't ever on EN's radar. 

Well golly -- I've devoted a fair amount of my time making suggestions, beta testing and helping other users in the forums, and never been paid for it, maybe I should complain that my ideas haven't implemented too.

Oh wait, it doesn't work that way...

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15 hours ago, jefito said:

You don't necessarily need two premium accounts. I use a paid account for personal stuff, and a free account for work. I can share notebooks freely between them, mainly from my work account to the personal paid account for when I work from home. The personal account is premium because I wind up doing a fair amount of R&D clipping, so it gets most of the content -- since it would relate to most any job I'd ever have, it can go along with me wherever I work. Works fine, a couple of nice to haves.

Or you could use selective sync, as others have suggested.

Well, you don't need to have all of your personal notes on your corporate server. See above.

Well golly -- I've devoted a fair amount of my time making suggestions, beta testing and helping other users in the forums, and never been paid for it, maybe I should complain that my ideas haven't implemented too.

Oh wait, it doesn't work that way...

Sharing between a premium personal and free work account might be the ticket for me if it doesn't require lots of workarounds -- especially for PDF search. (Similarly, Sync-on-Demand won't work if I can't search unsynchronized notes.) If I can access 11 years and many GB of work-related material archived in EN this way, I'll be considerably less disappointed to not have a feature that is becoming make-or-break. So thank you for that suggestion. 

Don't assume that I'm expressing my disappointment idly or crankily. My point wasn't to say that EN owes me. Rather, it was to say that as a big EN fan I've gamely played along as they implemented features that weren't nearly as critical, as reasonable, nor as long-requested as Selective Sync on Win & Mac clients. I'm glad you're satisfied with your particular workarounds within your particular workflow, and I'm hoping I can adapt yours to work within my own. But these workarounds don't necessarily negate the problem for those of us who have it, and they don't invalidate frustrations that it never got implemented beyond the iOS and Android clients. 

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15 minutes ago, mcluff said:

Don't assume that I'm expressing my disappointment idly or crankily. My point wasn't to say that EN owes me. Rather, it was to say that as a big EN fan I've gamely played along as they implemented features that weren't nearly as critical, as reasonable, nor as long-requested as Selective Sync on Win & Mac clients.

OK, fair enough -- I'm also a 10+ year user of Evernote. I also don't always understand the choices that Evernote makes in their development priorities, but I also don't typically try to second-guess them on it either. Since I'm on the outside, and being a developer myself, I know that internal pressures and motivations aren't always visible externally.

With respect to selective sync, I'd guess that focus on mobile apps was necessary due to storage constraints which don't usually exist in Windows/Mac. environments.  I'd think that Sync on demand would work for you, since your intent seems to be to keep some subset of your personal notes out of your work setup, so I don't see the inability to search unsynchronized notes being a downside. But I don't use that, so I don't know its ins-and-outs as I do with the multiple accounts scenario. Not sure which approach would be best for you to try out first in order for you to find out which (if either) work to your satisfaction.

Hopefully you'll find a way to make Evernote work for you, and if not, maybe some other product will do it. So far, I haven't found any other product that works as well as Evernote for me, which is why I stick with it, but I realize that other folks have different needs / use cases. Good luck.

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41 minutes ago, jefito said:

OK, fair enough -- I'm also a 10+ year user of Evernote. I also don't always understand the choices that Evernote makes in their development priorities, but I also don't typically try to second-guess them on it either. Since I'm on the outside, and being a developer myself, I know that internal pressures and motivations aren't always visible externally.

With respect to selective sync, I'd guess that focus on mobile apps was necessary due to storage constraints which don't usually exist in Windows/Mac. environments.  I'd think that Sync on demand would work for you, since your intent seems to be to keep some subset of your personal notes out of your work setup, so I don't see the inability to search unsynchronized notes being a downside. But I don't use that, so I don't know its ins-and-outs as I do with the multiple accounts scenario. Not sure which approach would be best for you to try out first in order for you to find out which (if either) work to your satisfaction.

Hopefully you'll find a way to make Evernote work for you, and if not, maybe some other product will do it. So far, I haven't found any other product that works as well as Evernote for me, which is why I stick with it, but I realize that other folks have different needs / use cases. Good luck.

Thank you! I can honestly say that Evernote has been one of the most essential apps in my career and personal life, and I've evangelized for them this whole 10 years. So there's a lot I'll put up with before I decide to go... (I think it was journalist James Fallows that made me aware of it.)  I'm optimistic that your suggestion will work at least at some level. 

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@mcluff, this is so obvious I'm sure you've considered it, but I wonder whether using the Evernote Web interface at work would be feasible for you? That should eliminate the risk of personal files ending up on the corporate backup. But I realize there may be functional limitations in the Web interface, or browser restrictions at work, that would get in the way of this.

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On 12/16/2018 at 1:45 PM, mcluff said:

Sync-on-Demand won't work if I can't search unsynchronized notes

On Demand Sync offloads search to the server.  So the downside is that you will have lag times in obtaining search results. 

Also, it has been my experience that EN servers don't appear to accurately OCR all PDFs, index web clips, or index Office docs.  For that reason I won't use ODS.  My local searches are more complete than server searches.  For example I just did a search for on demand sync.  My PC says 96 notes and EN Web says 77.  Not saying all 19 missing notes are PDFs/web pages/office doc, but it doesn't really matter.  Should be getting the same answer.

Looked at one of the notes (a clipped note) in this example that appears in the PC search results but not on the web search results.  Ctrl-F on the note on the Web finds the three terms but for whatever reason the note is not returned in the Web search results.  Hence no trust whatsoever of EN Web search results for me, and no ODS.  YMMV.

I reported this to EN some time ago, but have not heard back.  🤷‍♂️

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Old thread but it seems like the developers thought that "Sync on demand" was just as good as "Selective sync" which might be the reason they've ignored the request. If this is the case, I think a more suitable feature request would be the option to hide notebooks so they only appear when you click a "Hidden notebooks" menu option. This way, when "Sync on demand" is enabled, you don't accidentally see the notes in a search or in your Notebooks list and have Evernote download them. They'd still be in your Evernote account but not downloaded on that computer and not able to be accidentally downloaded. This seems equivalent to the Selective sync feature on Dropbox for example (shown below):

image.png.603723e9d4ed6fcad4158a68a0f404e0.png

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