Evernote replacements

You should Index, rather than Import, those PDFs if you want them to stay put.


Moderator Note: post moved to software discussion area, and title changed to reflect topic.

Yup, that is the path to go. I spent a lot of time digging into DT, even started to read the manual :slight_smile:

Was up till very late :cry:

But satisfied myself that it is a very strong contender to replace EN (it does web clipping) plus do a lot more as it has tremendous capability and is feature rich and excellent for research. And, support was very quick to respond to my questions.

Arriving late to the discussion…

I had a paid account with Evernote for years and left about six months ago. I switched to Joplin which is free, open source, and developing at a lively rate. It has apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. It also has a web clipper that (for my needs at least) works better than Evernote used to.

It allows multilevel folders as opposed to EN’s stacks and notebooks. It uses markdown which makes it much less likely to mess up formatting.
Joplin imports the ENEX files that EN exports but to do it properly you need to makes a separate ENEX file for every EN notebook. This is a one time deal though.

I am not claiming it will work for everyone but for me it is even better than Evernote, rather than something I use because I have to.

joplinapp.org is where it is.

I looked at Joplin but didn’t download it. After having tried both Nimbus Note and OneNote, I already knew that something that imposed more order than Evernote was a non-starter for me.

… I don’t think I explained exactly how I use a personal note database, or why it works for me as an adaptive device.

Like many ADHD adults, I have trouble categorising. I lost track of paper stuff all the time. Did I file the cable bill under Paid or under Entertainment? Where is the blender manual? Oh here it is in the folder with my screenplay research… I was afraid to throw anything away, but it took me hours to find anything. It took me hours to file anything. With every folder I used it became less likely that I’d be able to find a thing when I needed it. Just before Evernote I’d devolved to a “system” of clear plastic boxes labeled with the year. It was more likely that I’d find the documents I needed than if I set up a filing system and attempted to maintain it.

With Evernote, I used just 3 notebooks—Writing, Recipes, and Everything Else. I used a few obvious tags. I did a global search when I wanted to find something. But I mis-tag and misfile even with my simple system, so most documents ended up in Everything Else, untagged.

Bear frees me. There are no notebooks or folders. There are just tags, hierarchical tags if I get that ambitious (or crazy). I just scan or clip everything in and add tags if I want to. I search the whole DB and I don’t have to worry about categorising ever. It’s the best DB I’ve ever used.

No, I don’t want an Evernote replacement that lets me do finer categories. Not happening.

EDIT: So many here like DevonThink that I downloaded it and tried it out.

Yeah, no. Separating the images and PDFs from the note text—no good. Learning my categorisation and following it—what categorisation? Nope, not for me.

Meanwhile, just reading the description of your system gives me the heebeejeebies … I’m not as aggressive about categorizing as some people, but big piles of undifferentiated “stuff” make me twitchy. To each their own.


:smiley: Yes, indeed!


I will just add that Joplin doesn’t impose order on you. You don’t need to make notebooks at all. You can keep all your stuff in the default Inbox if you want, and you don’t need any tags.

Two of the current complaints about Joplin are:

  1. All search is global. They is no ”search by notebook” available yet
  2. Tags are not hierarchical so you can’t build a complex order out of them

I badly want to migrate away from Evernote. The new version is slow and buggy. Frequently, I have to restart because it simply will not load my (text) notes. It’s become practically unusable for me. On top of that, they’ve made some other decisions that left a bad taste in my mouth—for instance, they’ve started counting the web version as one of the limited number of “devices” you can use the app on with your license. Many of the complaints about the new version have come from power users, but I’m not a power user; the only feature I used that I don’t think is common usage is the creation of “table of contents of notes” (which lets me collect notes on a topic together regardless of where I move the other notes to). I had a good system with that, and now it’s broken.

But, there is one “killer feature” that Evernote still supports that I haven’t yet seen anyone else match. It’s so well integrated with other apps and tools. I don’t clip full versions of things from the web; I capture them to something like Instapaper and then highlight what’s relevant to me. Those highlights go into Evernote, not the full doc. I can use this with Kindle books, as well, via Readwise.

I’ve been using Obsidian a lot lately: I like that it uses plain text (markdown) files, so I know that they’ll be portable if I ever need them to be. And the developers are fast and extremely responsive. But, they don’t yet offer this functionality in a way that doesn’t require some manual effort.

You can still, I believe, download the Legacy version of Evernote from the company, but it’s unclear how long it will be supported. I am hoping for the competitors to catch up with Evernote’s ease of import before too long.

I see I created a password for Evernote in 2013, but I think I gave up on it soon after. I think that was probably when they moved to a Pro/Business subscription account and I would have to pay to use the features I had used for free up till then.

In the meantime in July 2006 I had found Yojimbo which I use to this day, particularly to keep a record of all my online orders and payments. It comes with a “Print PDF to Yojimbo” service which makes it very easy and in the dialog that comes up, I name them starting with the date in yyyymmdd format, and I add appropriate tags before committing. I also store my passwords and serial numbers in Yojimbo. Yojimbo has an iPhone/iPad app, but it’s read only, which is a small pity.

I also use Notebooks but I’m not consistent in using it, I think because it really encourages hierarchical categorisation, so I tend simply to use Apple Notes to jot things down quickly. I also have Notability on my computer(s?) and iPad, but I’ve never actually used it for anything.

I don’t think I’m ADHD at all, rather just a scatty squirrel who buries his nuts in different places and then wastes energy looking for where they’re buried, but I do understand @silverdragon in liking to use tags on a non-hierarchical database, as that’s how Yojimbo works.

I’m wondering about Bear. Its advantages over Yojimbo seem to be: 1) that its iOS/iPadOS versions are not read only; and 2) that it uses markdown, while Yojimbo uses a proprietary system—though if you type something in by hand it’s clearly using TextKit—but I haven’t tried opening up the package to see what’s inside. On the other hand do I want another location in which to bury my bits of data? And do I want to go to the trouble of going through all my stuff in Yojimbo, Notebooks, Notes etc to work out how to migrate them into Bear? Definitely to be thought about!



Could you please clarify.

A lot of my clippings have images. All I get in Devonthink are links to the image in the note. Same for PDFs. Most of the notes I make myself are handwritten (images) with a line or two of text to search or maybe a tag or 3. Having to click each image link in turn (sometimes there are many handwritten pages in the note) in order to read the whole note is a non-starter. Basically, treating each image as a separate document doesn’t work for me.

And there is the automatic “learn your categorisation” feature. I had this turned off in Evernote, and there isn’t much categorisation to learn for me, anyway, But I don’t want any AI to automatically hide my stuff in folders it thinks are relevant, or even tag it for me. Just the idea gives me the heebiejeebies as bad as Katherine’s at the thought of a massive undifferentiated pile of data. :wink: It all has to be equally visible (which is why the clear plastic containers in my former paper (lack of) system.) As far as I can tell, it’s central to Devonthink and there’s no way to turn it off (please correct me if I’m wrong. )

And the preferences! It’s as extensive a set as Scrivener’s! whimpers

If I were an academic researcher it might be valuable. But that train left the station long enough ago that the simile was still relevant. It’s an Airbus 380 when all I really need is a Piper Cub.

The DevonThink AI is ignorable. It won’t autoclassify things unless you tell it to. I mainly use it to assist my own filing choices – it usually puts the folder I would have used anyway at or near the top of its list – and for the “See Also” function.



Oh right. A metaphor. :blush:

Yes, well, it’s almost as easy to get stuff into Bear as it was to get stuff into Evernote, and that’s saying something. It has an “open PDF in Bear” print service on Mac just as you describe for Yojimbo, plus web clippers for the major browsers. Its iOS share sheet is excellent.

Only you can decide if switching to a different system is worth the friction. :smiley:

Thanks for this! It’s good to know if I ever decide I need Devonthink’s power. But my Airbus 380/Piper Cub analogy still stands. :smiley:

I’ve taken to doing the same thing with my email. There is my Inbox for anything I haven’t yet dealt with, a couple of temporary special-purpose folders like Travel for upcoming stuff, and Archive for everything else. I tag and search accordingly. No longer having the overhead of managing a complicated set of rules and folders more than compensates me for the occasional annoyance of searching for what I am looking for.

I really wish that filesystems and bookmarks would treat folders as tags (hard links behind the scenes in Unix terms) so you can have files and bookmarks associated with more than one location in your tree, because I’d do the same kind of thing in my files and favorites too.

This has been my big reason for not moving into something like OneNote on a universal basis, so I am following these discussions with great interest.

I’m only at the toe in the water stage with Devon Think so am learning as I go along. Glad you mentioned about web clipping with no images. For clippings DT has 9 different types plus with some of them there is the “clutter free” check box. I am leaning toward using PDFs because I can search and annotate them and export the comments. But in clutter free mode there were no images. But now after reading your comment when I unchecked the clutter free box the PDF now had the images included.

I also had reservations about DT thinking it was overkill so never bothered to try it. But now that I have it installed and am playing around with it and going through the literature, their forums and what other people are doing with DT I am seeing a lot of possibilities for it. Apparently it plays well with Bookends and Scrivener so that is a big plus. Will find out more as I wade into the water.