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mac (Archived) REQUEST: Plain text option

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Dear Evernote devs,

First of all, I searched a lot about formatting and I see it's an issue for many users of Evernote.

Can you add a setting to disable formatting completely so that all notes in evernote were handled as plain text in notepad?

Or maybe this setting can be on per notebook basis.

Adding button to clear formatting is already overdue. So many people are in need of this.

Can you please give some insight about this? If this something you're still working on and would you be able to add a setting to disable formatting completely or have it off by default when pasting from other sources etc.

PS: i'm your premium customer.

thanks a lot.

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Thanks for posting. Formatting is something that we're always working on improving.

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[EDIT: Paste without formatting] doesn't always work (mac) and neither does simplify formatting (mac). one surefire way to get rid of hidden crud that messes it up aesthetically and sometimes even causes bizarre behavior (lines of text will leapfrog other ones) is to select all, cut, paste into a text editor (textwrangler on mac and notepad on windows), select all, cut, and paste back into evernote.

of course you'll lose all formatting. beaides preferring plain text, i also avoid formatting, because i don't want to hassle with these format gremlins.

for the problems to be so widespread (ios, osx) it must be difficult to solve (at least with html variants) and i am not holding my breath for true plain text.

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@GM: I know you prefer, and continually campaign for, plain text, but a plain text ONLY solution would NOT be acceptable to many of us.

OTOH, if Evernote wants to add a "Plain Text" option, then I would have no objections.

While EN Mac rich text is not perfect, I find it works well in most cases.

  • When I create/type a note from scratch, I rarely, if ever, have a problem with formatting of any type
  • I can tweak the format (Font, Font Size, Font color) of most web clips without any problem
  • There are a few web clips that are very difficult to reformat

I could NOT live without the rich text formatting feature of Lists (numbered, bullet) and checkboxes.

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@GM: I know you prefer, and continually campaign for, plain text, but a plain text ONLY solution would NOT be acceptable to many of us.

OTOH, if Evernote wants to add a "Plain Text" option, then I would have no objections.

While EN Mac rich text is not perfect, I find it works well in most cases.

  • When I create/type a note from scratch, I rarely, if ever, have a problem with formatting of any type
  • I can tweak the format (Font, Font Size, Font color) of most web clips without any problem
  • There are a few web clips that are very difficult to reformat

I could NOT live without the rich text formatting feature of Lists (numbered, bullet) and checkboxes.

as i always say, i want a plain text option. i did not mean to imply here or anywhere that en get rid of rich text. i am not campaigning to convert everyone into ascii art fan aficianados. i'm content with being one of the few left :)

i believe i have actually been supportive of the rich text option in several posts, because i think many users want it. iit is good for business, and besides, i like having the options. frequently lament, though, the impossibility in en of having good ol plain text.

my posts are meant to supply options, suggestions, and workarounds, but rarely proscriptions or prescriptions.

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JMichael,

I'm also a strong advocate for a plain text option, and I haven't seen anyone, ever, a plain text only solution.

I'd also like to add a caveat to your comment that "While EN Mac rich text is not perfect, I find it works well in most cases." The caveat is for you. For myself, I find that rich text definitely does not work well for me in many cases, because I'd like to move notes between Evernote and other applications without Evernote adding a bunch of unrequested embellisments in the process. I don't have a single objection to any of the use cases you mentioned, for which rich text may be fine and dandy. But it's not fine for many of us who would like to use Evernote to take notes or store notes using systems that deal with plain text, without Evernote corrupting the notes in every round trip.

I think of it this way: Evernote doesn't alter a file I upload. Why should it alter what I type? If I want rich text, that's a feature I should have (and quite often use). But if, for example, I'm storing code snippets or text data, I'd like Evernote to leave it alone.

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I am not smart enough to see an easy solution within the current enml framework besides <pre>, which I think would cause lots of messiness as well (the lack of line breaks). At the very least, though, I think I would like to see two things:

1. Sections of text with just the <p> tag. Why not? I think this might go a long ways towards fixing the bizarre behavior that sometimes occurs in both iOS and OSX with leaping lines of text. Just a thought. Maybe I am way off here, but there has to be a way to strip it down more.

2. The ability to export our notes as plain text. Yes, I can strip the html from thousands of notes, but it would be nice if we could have the option without having to go through that extra step. VoodooPad does this well (for example).

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format match doesn't always work (mac)

What do you mean? When/how has it not worked for you?

Thanks for catching that. FormatMatch works great. Highly recommended. I had a brain ***** and was thinking about Paste Without Formatting (the command in Evernote).

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I'd also like to add a caveat to your comment that "While EN Mac rich text is not perfect, I find it works well in most cases." The caveat is for you.

The caveat you raise should be obvious since I stated "I find it works well ...". It is clear that I was speaking ONLY for myself.

I do not deny that many others have reported problems with rich text on the Mac. I'm all for these issues being investigated and fixed.

I think of it this way: Evernote doesn't alter a file I upload. Why should it alter what I type? If I want rich text, that's a feature I should have (and quite often use). But if, for example, I'm storing code snippets or text data, I'd like Evernote to leave it alone.

I agree, this is the way it should be. However I'm not sure that it is 100% obtainable as long as the EN text is stored using HTML, or actually, an HTML derivative, ENML. Any time you type or paste plain text into a HTML editor it is going to change what you type:

  • Duplicate spaces may be removed
  • Tab char will be ignored ( or converted to a space at best)
  • LF/CR may be converted to HTML paragraphs ("<p>"), thus adding a blank line after each LF/CR.

Many HTML editors handle the LF/CR issue by supporting a SHIFT+RETURN, which then uses a HTML line break ("<BR>") instead of paragraph.

This is further complicated by the fact that Evernote does NOT use pure HTML, they use ENML.

And so the rules are changed to some degree, but it not clear exactly what the rules are.

The final complication is when you copy text from Evernote. Evernote must translate the ENML to both plain text and HTML and put on the clipboard. I suspect this translation is at least a contributor in the issue you have reported of pasting into other applications.

I guess I'm saying all of the above to say this: Evernote may never be a perfect storage system for exact text, like code.

If you need that capability now, then the only workarounds I know of are (1) Attach as a separate file; (2) Use another tool (like a Code Snippet mgr).

At the same time, it is clear that Evernote could do a much better job of editing and displaying rich text.

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I've migrated from Journler, and I miss its serious / stable formatting the most. I hope that EN will grow to accommodate some of my wish list!

Some things I'd love to see develop:

  • real tab-stops (tab only enters five spaces). This kills me - I would previously:
    • enter a date, price, or key-combo then tab-tab, enter my note and would end up with a beautifully formatted key>value style list
    • (I can imagine how an approximation of this could be marked up in ENML using span tags)
    • the EN tables are no substitute (can't resize the cells, hide the border, add new rows with kb, etc)

    [*]features available even in this forum's text-area:

    • shift-enter for unbulleted newline / <br> within list
    • indenting paragraphs
    • clear-formatting button

    [*]WYSIWYMean CSS styles (ala Wordpress: Heading 1, Heading 2, Blockquote, etc) with a user CSS file I could edit (Many users would share their styles!)

    • (I prefer my BG colour to be other than white, and I'd love a more consistent solution than the mac Fonts panel.

    [*]I'd love to be able to hide the formatting bar, because I use kb shortcuts

    • (don't need buttons for snapshots/recordings/attachments - I drag content into the window)

    [*]a solution for the issues mentioned by JMichael re making default-formatted notes around formatted web clips

    [*]column selection mode: hold Alt whilst dragging. I can see how this would be difficult <sigh> :)

I've tried to frame this in positive language - I hope you can hear my optimism. This is a wish list relevant to formatting in EN - I'll save other suggestions for more appropriate threads.

Best Wishes! Tim

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Forgive me if this was said, I have spent a couple hours reading and searching, which is my patience limit...

I want an easy way to change or at least remove, the line spacing settings in a page. I do a lot of either copy/paste, or email in, other documents from sources both Mac and Windows. I find some paragraphs have set extra space after the paragraph, and some don't. OK, what I really would like it to be able to select a range or entire page, then set all to Standard, or add a selectable space before or after separately. But at least to be able to set them all to the same.

Please. (It never hurts to be polite. ;) )

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Forgive me if this was said, I have spent a couple hours reading and searching, which is my patience limit...

I want an easy way to change or at least remove, the line spacing settings in a page. I do a lot of either copy/paste, or email in, other documents from sources both Mac and Windows. I find some paragraphs have set extra space after the paragraph, and some don't. OK, what I really would like it to be able to select a range or entire page, then set all to Standard, or add a selectable space before or after separately. But at least to be able to set them all to the same.

Please. (It never hurts to be polite. ;) )

hi gd. good to see you here on the forums. i don't know exactly what behavior you are experiencing, but as a general rule of thumb, i recommend using formatmatch (an osx app) to cut and paste things without any formatting.

the problem in evernote is that it will strip out all formatting, and sometimes you still get some bizarre behavior. text will jump lines, and line breaks appear where there ought to be none. i wish i could explain why, but i have a feeling there are several things going on in each case, otherwise it would have been fixed by now.

the formatting is a work in progress. most of the time i don't even notice, but there are still occasional oddities. i try to send in examples of these to the evernote staff whenever i can (some of the information in notes is not something i can share, so i have not been able to report as much as i'd like). the more you report, the more data they have to work with, and hopefully we will be able to squish all of the remaining bugs :)

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Super easy way to remove text formatting on Macs: Freeware program called Plain Clip that you run right before pasting text that you've copied. When you run it it seems that it doesn't do anything because nothing pops up on your screen and the program exits immediately upon opening, but it actually strips the formatting out of your clipboard.

If you have Quicksilver or some other keyboard launcher installed you can simply execute Plain Clip without having to take your fingers off the keyboard.

Anybody know of similar software for Windows 7?

Anyway, hope that helps.

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Some things I'd love to see develop:

  • real tab-stops (tab only enters five spaces). This kills me - I would previously:
    • enter a date, price, or key-combo then tab-tab, enter my note and would end up with a beautifully formatted key>value style list
    • (I can imagine how an approximation of this could be marked up in ENML using span tags)
    • the EN tables are no substitute (can't resize the cells, hide the border, add new rows with kb, etc)

Another vote for real tab stops. I've just started migrating my digital note collection from VoodooPad and elsewhere (e.g. random plain text files and RTF's), and the lack of tab stop support is a really jarring omission. I love being able to access my notes from anywhere, and I hope that Evernote comes up with a solution for proper tabbing soon.

I hope I'm posting this in the right place. If there's some other way that I can register my vote that will have more impact on the product roadmap, please let me know and I'll do it.

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Another vote for real tab stops.

There are no real tab stops in HTML, which is the base of Evernote's note storage; tab characters are just whitespace. Evernote does support indentation when you're editing, but that's no comfort for someone who drops tabbed text into a note.

I hope I'm posting this in the right place. If there's some other way that I can register my vote that will have more impact on the product roadmap, please let me know and I'll do it.

It's fine to post in the forums. Evernote staff will read it and make note. There is no formal voting system.

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