Evernote's persistence despite my growing dislike

I once swore by Evernote. I used it for everything. I used it to take notes, to collect scanned documents, receipts, bank statements and serve as a general reference archive for everything that caught my attention and that I want to be able to get back to one day. I still do much of that with Evernote today but that is more because I haven’t worked out how to do all of what I want to do without it yet. I’m getting close, though. Until then, Evernote is the app that is just slightly more convenient to keep using to remain in use.

Evernote used to be clearly superior to other options. It works fairly well on my desktop and I have a host of workflows that tie into it. My bank statements and assorted legal newsletters route into Evernote automatically. I scan all my receipts and store them in Evernote in case I ever need to find them again and I keep track of case reports and miscellaneous bits of data in there, including important data relating to my home and family.

I don’t use it to take notes any more. The apps are too slow to get going and unreliable enough to really not want to go there at all. All the documents I scan and store in Evernote go into a Dropbox folder too. I once contemplated using Evernote for my tasks too but Omnifocus is where I manage all my projects instead. I used the mobile apps all the time to capture stuff on the go. I still use them for that but not nearly as much as I used to, the apps are just too unreliable so it’s easier to take a photo with geo-location data and email it to my Evernote profile for storage.

Between Dropbox for file storage, Omnifocus for my tasks and short term reference and my plain text notes (synchronised through Dropbox), there isn’t a lot I really need Evernote for lately. The one thing keeping Evernote in my workflows is not knowing how I can export all my data into a coherent archive that I can reference later, if I choose to. I also have a couple niggling uncertainties around how I would capture and reference emails I receive (such as email newsletters) which I forward to Evernote automatically.

I can probably supplement a Dropbox file storage system with Yep and Leap from Ironic Software and integrate better into my growing Openmeta Tags use for my notes and documents. The cost of a bundle of all the Ironic apps is even less than my annual Evernote Premium subscription.

With all of this I find myself wondering what went wrong? When did Evernote become the service I use because I am more or less locked into it, despite it being the sort of service that eschews lock-in, in favour of common standards and formats? Is Evernote going to fix these apps, make them all work better or should I join the few travelling out into the desert in search of something a little more reliable and effective?






  1. Nathan Jeffery avatar

    I sometimes find it to be a little slow to load on mobile, but not too slow, and I’m still using an iPhone4 and an iPad2

    With regards to exporting data. Open Evernote on your Mac, select one note and then press CMD+A it will select all of your notes. Then click on “File” => “Export Notes” and you should have all of your notes 🙂

    I use Evernote a lot too and when I say a lot I mean it’s always open, I don’t do images though, actually I expressly avoid all images. I know evernote says we can use the app to “remember everything”, but I don’t “understand” how to use it for more than Slightly Text, as it doesn’t feel natural.

    I save all images/files/PDFs into DropBox.

    I do like plain text notes.

    If you’re interested in trying something a little different, consider getting ‘Diet Coda’ for iPad and; FTP into a remote server and store all of your notes in plain text or in markup.


    If Apple’s built in notes, had a better look and feel and if you could share notebooks, I might consider moving to the native app as it keeps notes in sync everywhere, but for now, I pretty much still dig Evernote.

    1. Paul avatar

      I thought about this the morning after and as much as a pain in the butt Evernote can be, replicating its capabilities entirely would probably be more of a pain. The odds of me moving away from it entirely are probably fairly low but it remains a somewhat grudge use case for me.

  2. Nathan Jeffery avatar

    You’ve made some good points though.

    One thing that I would REALLY really like is the ability to set the colours within the interface or at least choose a dark them.

    I do a lot of my work late at night or when I’m(mainly my eyes) a little tired and there’s nothing better(more relaxing) than a dark background with light text on it, when you’ve got to stare at the screen for hours.

    I used to do a tone of work in a plain text editor, before becoming an Evernote convert, now I live with a white background and black text…. hopefully they will bring out some more functionality soon and enhance stability, especially considering their growth into the corporate space with Evernote Businesses.

    I’d love to upgrade our whole business, but it’s a little bit expensive at this stage(the way I perceive it), when compared to the cost of the standard premium account.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: