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neilio

mac (Archived) Evernote needs true export

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One of the biggest deficiencies in Evernote is the inability to get your information out without having to rely on cumbersome wrappers (like the HTML export). Is there any plans to rectify this?

I really like the integration between the desktop client, the web, and the iphone app, but the inability to get PDFs, images, and other information out of Evernote in its original form (or in an easy to handle text file, for notes) is really frustrating.

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Evernote has two forms of Export:

* Our own XML-based export format, which preserves 100% of the content of the note, including custom features like encryption

* HTML, which is the most interoperable possible format that preserves the vast majority of Evernote content

There does not exist any standards-based file format that would be better than HTML for using notes from Evernote.

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I'm sorry, but that's really poor, and as I said it's one of the main reasons I'm contemplating moving away from Evernote. The standard way to handle a user's data is to give it back to them the way it came in. If I import an image, or a PDF, I should be able to just pull it out without exporting it wrapped in an HTML file.

What this seems to me is an excuse to lock people's data within Evernote, as getting it back out is too time and labour intensive

Anyway, I'm done complaining, as it's obvious data integrity is just not a priority for Evernote.

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I'm sorry, but that's really poor, and as I said it's one of the main reasons I'm contemplating moving away from Evernote. The standard way to handle a user's data is to give it back to them the way it came in. If I import an image, or a PDF, I should be able to just pull it out without exporting it wrapped in an HTML file.

What this seems to me is an excuse to lock people's data within Evernote, as getting it back out is too time and labour intensive

Anyway, I'm done complaining, as it's obvious data integrity is just not a priority for Evernote.

Yes, you can get images, PDFs, Word docs, Excel docs out of Evernote in the form they went into EN. As far as the export standard being exporting all data in one fell swoop in the format it was entered in, please cite.

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Sure. A good example is Yojimbo. If I import a PDF or image into Yojimbo, I just have to drag it out to get the original item back.

In Evernote, I either have an XML export, which is totally useless in any app except Evernote, or I have to export as html, dig through the exported folder to find the original item, move it, and then delete the exported HTML that I didn't want in the first place.

I'm not talking about full export including tags - I just want to get a file out in the original format, without any of the extraneous stuff that Evernote dumps with an HTML export.

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Sure. A good example is Yojimbo. If I import a PDF or image into Yojimbo, I just have to drag it out to get the original item back.

IOW, you must do it document by document? That you can do in EN. Maybe not as glam as DnD, but it's a right click, save as.

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I should note that I've been an Evernote Premium user for a while now (coming up on a year and a half, i think), so it's not like I just started using Evernote and am coming here to rant. But the closed or user-unfriendly way Evernote handles exports is making me more and more wary as I put more and more into the application.

Another good example is Eaglefiler, which gives you the original file in a navigable file structure, and keeps its metadata separate. If you ever need to get at the original file, you just have to open the Finder and browse to that file's location.

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IOW, you must do it document by document? That you can do in EN. Maybe not as glam as DnD, but it's a right click, save as.

Nope - I can also highlight multiple items and drag them out, and I get the individual files. Again, Evernote's export just isn't user-friendly.

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I should note that I've been an Evernote Premium user for a while now (coming up on a year and a half, i think), so it's not like I just started using Evernote and am coming here to rant. But the closed or user-unfriendly way Evernote handles exports is making me more and more wary as I put more and more into the application.

Another good example is Eaglefiler, which gives you the original file in a navigable file structure, and keeps its metadata separate. If you ever need to get at the original file, you just have to open the Finder and browse to that file's location.

Hey, I'm as anal/pensive/whatever as the next person. In fact, probably more so. If a document is important to me, I keep a backup copy on my hard drive & it's also backed up to my offsite backup service (Jungle Disk). It's nice to be able to put it into EN as another backup option as well as accessing it from the web or any other computer or even my iPhone. If you have reservations, perhaps you should do the same.

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Hey, I'm as anal/pensive/whatever as the next person. In fact, probably more so. If a document is important to me, I keep a backup copy on my hard drive & it's also backed up to my offsite backup service (Jungle Disk). It's nice to be able to put it into EN as another backup option as well as accessing it from the web or any other computer or even my iPhone. If you have reservations, perhaps you should do the same.

This is the crux of my problem. Over the time I've used Evernote, I've pulled in images and PDFs that weren't so critical at the time that I needed multiple copies, but are still important enough that I'd like to pull them out and back them up somewhere. But I can't do easily with the current state of the application.

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Hey, I'm as anal/pensive/whatever as the next person. In fact, probably more so. If a document is important to me, I keep a backup copy on my hard drive & it's also backed up to my offsite backup service (Jungle Disk). It's nice to be able to put it into EN as another backup option as well as accessing it from the web or any other computer or even my iPhone. If you have reservations, perhaps you should do the same.

This is the crux of my problem. Over the time I've used Evernote, I've pulled in images and PDFs that weren't so critical at the time that I needed multiple copies, but are still important enough that I'd like to pull them out and back them up somewhere. But I can't do easily with the current state of the application.

Yeah, you could. It may be time consuming & a PITA, but if they are that important, it would be worth the time to either right click/save as or email the notes to yourself or whatever. Really...IMO...if they are that important, you could do it. I don't know what your ultimate goal is. But when you say "and back them up somewhere", what are you really trying to accomplish? Backup? Probably not b/c you can backup your EN database on your own & pull them out as needed. Perhaps if you explained what you're ultimately trying to accomplish, someone can help you.

(And please don't say you're trying to export...b/c people don't wake up one day & decide they want to export their data. There must be some underlying task you're trying to accomplish here... I'm also not trying to be invasive. But sometimes, people get a mind set that they need to "do task B" in order to accomplish project A. But the reality is there may be a better way to accomplish project A.)

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Well, backup is one thing. But it's also, as I said, the fact that I'm becoming more and more wary of having everything in one basket. If Evernote made it easy for me to get media, notes, etc. out as simply as Yojimbo, Eaglefiler, Together, or any of the other Mac universal applications, I'd feel less concerned.

Google is a good example here. In many ways, their services are similar to Evernote, in that they allow you to aggregate your data (email, photos, calendars, etc.) but they also make it simple to get your information out (cf. http://www.dataliberation.org/), if you decide you no longer want to user the service.

Basically, I want Evernote to take this idea seriously that they need to put as much priority on helping you get your data out of their service as they do on making it easy to get it in. It really is that simple.

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Well, backup is one thing. But it's also, as I said, the fact that I'm becoming more and more wary of having everything in one basket.

I can certainly relate to that. As I said earlier, my way around that is to keep copies of my documents, audio files, etc on my hard drive. I also backup my EN database nightly to my online backup service of choice (Mozy, Carbonite, Jungle Disk, etc.) If EN were to go down tomorrow (God forbid & very unlikely), I would still be able to use the Windows EN desktop with my local database. (Just as I'm still using my Palm OS desktop, since I've not fully migrated from that!) I do have to say since I'm not a Mac, I can't say for sure that the Mac client works as a stand alone product in the event the EN servers are down...maybe someone else can comment here.

Another Windows disclaimer here...this is the way the Windows client works...hopefully someone with EN/Mac knowledge will address this...EVERYTHING (repeat EVERYTHING) in my Windows desktop client is on my hard drive. So I can back it up at will. (Nightly.) I'm not 100% at the mercy of cloud servers.

(shrug)

It's good to not have all your eggs in one basket. But as long as you're doing regular backups (a good thing, even if you don't use EN!) then from what you've described as your usage & concerns, you should be ok. You may also want to start keeping copies of documents/PDFs/etc on your hard drive, as I described above as additional insurance. If , indeed, your only ultimate goal is the concern about not being able to use EN in the future.

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Neilio,

I think almost everyone here "feels your pain" about the limited Export options.

If you skim through some of the other recent threads relating to formatting and import/export issues, you'll see that Evernote is in the process of reworking the code of how notes are displayed and rendered. My guess is that they want to get that out the door before trying to tackle ways of exporting the newer markup. (And that *IS* just a guess on my part). In the interim, there are number of AppleScripts which can get your stuff from Evernote to Yojimbo, for example. (A link to the directory is in my signature).

Granted -- this is an intermediate step and not true drag-and-drop export... but at least it may give you some piece of mind that your stuff isn't totally locked in.

Hope this helps!

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Additional export issues:

I cannot seem to export an encrypted note at all. I just get a notice the note is encrypted in Evernote.

Big issue for me ads I need to make backups of my notes and many are encrypted.

Is there any workaround?

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If you select a note that contains encrypted text, and then File>Export it to an *.enex file, that should work fine. I just tested this in 1.7.0.

How are you trying to export the note?

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As HTML since .ENEX is useless for importing into other applications. If you try it just re-imports into Evernote.

Actually HTML export is also problematic but is at least better than nothing.

We need a robust note import and export.

Things like a plain text export of all notes (and if the note can't be exported as plain text a warning followed by conversion of what it can do)

I'm very leery of moving everything into Evernote. First security, which is why I have so many encrypted notes, second is data portability. I started my notes when the original US Robotics Palm first came out. I need to be confident that I can get my notes in and out of applications as the tools and needs change. The data are critical even though I know that over time the platform will change. If Evernote wants to be the platform I use now, they need to provide good ways to get in and out.

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If you get an error message when you select a note and try to Export it as *.enex, please take a screen shot of the error, and then go to: Help > Activity Log

and Copy the last few lines to the clipboard, since they may have some useful information.

Thanks

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I don't think you understand. I can export an encrypted note in ENEX format. But then I can't *do* anything with it except import it back into Evernote. I can't read it , open it or look at the note or contents in any way that I can find except via Evernote and there is no help in the manual or on-line guides.

If there is a way to do that with a ENEX format note it needs to be added to the manuals.

I expect my exports to be readable in something simple. I expect an export to produce a file I can then use to put into some other application. Export implies I need it out of Evernote for some other purpose. HTML export is a poor second choice and in any case you can't export an encrypted note which is stupid. Once I've decrypted it, I should be able to export it in the same format as it was imported in, in this case simple plain text.

I can't even print an encrypted note to have a paper backup so I'm really struggling with using Evernote.

Printing, formatting and import/export are significantly lacking right now in Evernote. I see those same things coming up again and again here ont eh forums. SO add my voice to those asking for changes.

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Here's a technique I use for getting a pdf or jpg document out of Evernote in the proper format:

  • Click on the note in the note title column.
    Place the mouse cursor to the left of the document within the document window...to the left of the line that indicates the left edge of the document.
    Drag the cursor left to right over the document to select it.
    Right click to open the context sensitive menu.
    Select Open With Preview.

The document will open as a pdf or jpg and can be saved to the desktop or a folder.

Lew

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Mac OS only - this does not work on Windows.

- Create a new note with some images and/or pdf.

- Go to ~/Library/Application Support/Evernote/data/51783/content/. All folder names in there has pattern - pNNN, where NNN is an integer number.

- Find the greatest number - that is your latest note created. You will find your images and pdf files although renamed. The content.html is your note, you can open it in browser. The html is well-formed, you can apply XSLT transformation or parse it with your favorite language.

- Cannot find the right pNNN folder that contains the note you need to "truly" export? grep would be one of your options. Grep by title, tags or keywords.

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Be very careful with the contents of the 'data' directory mentioned in Glen's post. If you modify any of the files contained there, your client could behave unpredictably, and possibly result in data loss.

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Totally agree, you have to be very careful with content of those folders. You'd rather copy files you need and work with copies otherwise you can corrupt your EN desktop. But it IS possible to reuse EN content somewhere else - jpeg's, pdfs, transform html's, parse xml's as long as you know what you do. And as it was already mentioned, Mac OS X only! The Windows desktop is a totally different beast.

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Here's a technique I use for getting a pdf or jpg document out of Evernote in the proper format:

  • Click on the note in the note title column.
    Place the mouse cursor to the left of the document within the document window...to the left of the line that indicates the left edge of the document.
    Drag the cursor left to right over the document to select it.
    Right click to open the context sensitive menu.
    Select Open With Preview.

The document will open as a pdf or jpg and can be saved to the desktop or a folder.

Lew

You can also right-click directly on an image or PDF in the note content editor and choose "Save As..." to save a copy of the file.

You can also drag-and-drop an image from the note content editor. We plan to add drag-and-drop support for PDFs.

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Mac OS only - this does not work on Windows.

- Create a new note with some images and/or pdf.

- Go to ~/Library/Application Support/Evernote/data/51783/content/. All folder names in there has pattern - pNNN, where NNN is an integer number.

- Find the greatest number - that is your latest note created. You will find your images and pdf files although renamed. The content.html is your note, you can open it in browser. The html is well-formed, you can apply XSLT transformation or parse it with your favorite language.

- Cannot find the right pNNN folder that contains the note you need to "truly" export? grep would be one of your options. Grep by title, tags or keywords.

Although, if you know how to apply XSLT transformations you'll probably know how to parse and process the XML generated by an ENEX export. ;)

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For me, the issue is structure/tag export.

I think the problem stems from the lack of folder organization in EN, as this is the "standard" way of expressing structure.

Here's the use case:

I have a rather large, well-organized nested folder full of scanned PDFs that I'd like to use in my clipping application.

In DEVONthink, for example, I can just drop this folder onto the app, and it imports all the files, preserving their nice folder structure. If I so choose, I can later drag that folder out of DEVONthink into a Finder window, and it will export everything, folder structure intact.

In Evernote, it appears that I can import only flat groups of files (dropping a folder of any kind makes Evernote want to ZIP things), and then have to tag everything manually.

"Exporting" is similar; I can get the flat files and notes out alright, but have to re-do all the structure by hand.

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I also feel Evernote needs proper export. What happens if my accountant calls and needs all of my receipts for the year that are stored in Evernote as PDFs? It seems any other program would let me just export them all as PDFs, and then I could zip them up and email. Is this a legitimate concern and realistic situation?

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Starhawk -

Command-click on All Notebooks

Export Notes...

Choose Format: HTML

100% of the files in your account will be exported into the subdirectories created by the Mac client.

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When I store PDFs in Evernote, I don't usually attach any "note" data; I think of the note as being the PDF. Thus, when I export it, I'm expecting a single PDF file to be exported, not a PDF wrapped in a folder along with an empty HTML file.

For a small handful of files, this is just awkward, but with a larger export, it quickly becomes fairly inconvenient.

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When exporting to html on the Windows desktop, if I select two notes that each contain one PDF & export them, two PDFs are created. Each PDF has the name that is the title of the note & they are all in the same folder.

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The Mac client makes separate HTML files and subfolders for each note so that they're a little easier to navigated.

Evernote is not a file storage system, it's an application for creating notes, which can then store any number of files within them (or none). We don't have a UI for "export just the files in these notes, but not any of the titles or contents", but it's pretty easy to do this by just Exporting notes and then using the Finder to find the files you want. (E.g. all *.pdf files in that export directory.)

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Dave,

Thank you for your reply. I knew I could export the PDFs, but my concern was that each pdf file was hidden in its own folder, making it a very messy situation when you just need the PDFs. The "search directory for PDFs" is certainly a suitable workaround if that accountant example were to ever happen. Thanks for the idea!

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Hello,

I'm on an iMac 24 and I too cannot export/save an image based note I received from a Lexmark Printer using its in-built 'Scan to Evernote' application.

Whereas with e.g. a PDF I can right-click and select 'save as', I can't do anything useful with the scan from a Lexmark printer's Evernote App.

If I attempt to drag I get a JPG image but it does not drop. I cannot cut and paste into e.g. Photoshop CS5. It plain DOES NOT WORK!!!!

Export to HTML results in no image at all - a blank HTML document...

This is 2010 isn't it? We are on a Mac platform? Right now this image is in Evernote and in there for good...

This needs fixing.

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When you right-click on the image within your note, do you see any menu appear?

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