I have started the migration of material out of Evernote in earnest. The idea is to make my Evernotes available in Obsidian in markdown. I don’t want all that stuff from Evernote to clutter up my current collection in Obsidian, so I am creating a second Obsidian Vault, in which all Evernote exported material will reside. This way it is available in Obsidian, but separate from the more organised material.

The route to getting there is:

  1. Exporting Evernote notebooks 1 by 1 as ENEX file (Evernote’s xml format)
  2. Importing each ENEX file into Joplin as markdown as a separate notebook. Joplin is a well working note making app in its own right. Here I use it solely to translate ENEX files to markdown.
  3. Exporting the Joplin notebook as markdown to the location of the Obsidian Vault

I notice that sometimes importing ENEX doesn’t work perfectly. Usually because of some special characters used in a note or title of a note, sometimes because of the included images etc. Sometimes doing it again fixes it. Sometimes it isn’t. I’m not worried about that. I have the ENEX files available as archive, and can search them as well. Also none of it will likely be critical information, as I haven’t been missing it in the past 8 months or so that I didn’t use Evernote.
[UPDATE: What helps to fix imports into Joplin is removing large PDF’s included in Evernotes, as well as removing special characters from note titles (specifically underscores and commas, and adding titles to unnamed notes.]
[UPDATE 2: All material is now exported from Evernote, transformed in Joplin and exported again as regular markdown]

Having done this export / import, this completes my withdrawal from Evernote after I stopped using it last September, something I wanted to do since 2016 at least. I need to cancel my subscription by June, and will delete the notes in Evernote beforehand. Judging by my subscription history I have used exactly 10 years, from October 2010 to September 2020.

18 reactions on “

  1. Thank you for writing this up! I’m also on Evernote since March 2008. I will try @joplinapp for migration (fearing the export of 100s of notebooks). Why do you use @obsdmd instead of @joplinapp?





    • key diff for me is that @obsidianmd
      is a viewer on flat text files, whereas @joplinapp
      is sqlite. This allows me to view and manipulate notes with other apps as well, and sync them across devices using nextcloud. App decoupled from the content is a big plus for me.

  2. @frankm I had to remove large PDFs (>=10MB) from notes, in order for Joplin to do the conversion to markdown well. But those PDFs were already elsewhere in my filesystem (I usually added them to evernote to have them with me on the road). I transformed some 7k evernotes to markdown, resulting in markdown notes linking to/embedding over 19k images, docs and pdfs. About 2.5Gb in total, of which 2.4Gb are those 19k resources.

  3. key diff for me is that @obsidianmd is a viewer on flat text files, whereas @joplinapp is sqlite. This allows me to view and manipulate notes with other apps as well, and sync them across devices using nextcloud. App decoupled from the content is a big plus for me.

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