From Evernote to Notion in Four Weeks

Jenna Pederson on September 24, 2019

I’ve used Evernote for a decade. A DECADE. Evernote (combined with a few other tools) organizes my entire life. I use it to: Take meeting notes A... [Read Full]
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I've spent months trying to pull off what you're doing. I feel like my Evernote usage is much simpler than yours, although I've been using it just as long.

I was absolutely unsuccessful.

I love Notion for it's beautiful formatting and it's page nesting. I'm absolutely nuts about the database objects, although they have some rough edges still. The editing experience is terrific and I really enjoy writing in it...but mostly I write in it and then copy/paste into Evernote (except images, Notion won't let you copy those).

Here were my challenges:

  • No native apps, so it misses out on OS-specific features, like Spotlight on the Mac. Also: SLOW.
  • Terrible mobile applications with no reliable offline methodology
  • Completely non-scriptable (I'm on a Mac, I'm used to AppleScripting the heck out of Evernote)
  • No text recognition in images
  • No ability to search within attachments
  • No simple tables. Tables are always databases, even if I just want a simple grid which I use...in like 40% of all my notes.
  • Can't edit attachments in place, for example in Evernote I can double-click a Word attachment, edit it, and save directly back to Evernote replacing the existing file. In Notion I have to download, edit, delete original, upload new.
  • Web clipper is still a long way behind, and only available on Chrome.

So that's a huge list (sorry Notion!). I think success depends a lot on whether or not you use all the features of Evernote. I do, and unfortunately Evernote is still the undisputed king in that case.

 

Yes! This is exactly the feedback I was looking for and even reminded me of some of my other uses of Evernote that I would miss. Thank you for this list!

The lack of text recognition in images is going to bite me (whenever I start really playing with search). That is an amazing feature of Evernote.

I wondered about the "tables as databases" thing and was frustrated with it right off the bat. I don't need a page for every row for simple use cases!

I'm super curious what you were AppleScripting in Evernote! Any examples to share?

 

Over the years I've used AppleScript for all kinds of different things in Evernote. Some of the most important ones have been replaced by software lately.

My big ones are:

  • Automating a regular export-to-HTML of all my Evernotes for backup purposes
  • Using a script in conjunction with Pandoc & TextUtil to let me write in Markdown and convert to RTF. The script would copy all the note text, convert it, and paste it back formatted. Now I just use Evertool bound to Keyboard Maestro keys to make it so much easier.
  • When I was using EN as a todo application, I used scripts to manage my different task notes, like copying unfinished things from my "due today" note, moving them and anything due tomorrow into a new, "due today" note. Those were super fun, but got ridiculously complicated. I finally switched to Things 3.
  • Automatic naming, taging, and moving notes from the inbox based on the content of the note. I'm planning on switching to Hazel for this, because its easy to set up rules based on the content of PDF files, among other things. Probably still need the AppleScript to actually move and file the document though.

Anyway, I'd be happy to share if there's something you'd like to accomplish and I've already done it. I did a lot of experimenting. :)

Edit: If you're on a Mac, you might also like DevonThink. It's at least as scriptable as Evernote, maybe more so. It is much, much worse at basic note taking - it doesn't have anything like Evernote's custom note that can contain everything - but it will accept almost any file, has great search, multiple databases, file indexing...super powerful. Mobile app is kind of a mess, but an update is coming now that 3.0 has been released on the desktop.

 

I've also used Evernote for a decade. But not for my shopping list. I prefer the simplicity off Google shopping list. I like looking over at my Google home speaker and saying Hey Google, add tomatoes to my shopping list. Plus, if I wake up in the night and think of something, I don't have to turn on the light and get my device or a pen.

 

Oh I'll have to look at the Google shopping list! I was doing this with Alexa+IFTTT+Evernote and it was a bit wonky.

Another use case for this (and my favorite): when you're cooking, and your hands are full of food, and you run out of something 😂

 

I use it for a bunch of different automation tasks. My favorites/most used are:

  • Blocking distractions (with RescueTime's FocusTime) when I start a Harvest timer
  • Ending FocusTime when I stop a Harvest timer
  • Tweet Medium stories I clap for
  • Save Facebook photos I'm tagged in to my phone
 

I feel your pain! I've tried Evernote and OneNote. I somehow found out about Zoho Notebook and have really liked it. I'm not in with both feet yet, but it's looking really good. I'm thoroughly entrenched in the Google garden right now, but if Zoho's other apps are well-integrated with its Notebook, I might fly away! Plus, I think Zoho apps are Zapier enabled!

I will be checking out Notion, though. When I saw the folder structure, I was like, "Where have you been?!" Then I thought Google drive might also be a possibility.

Thank you for sharing your experience!

 

I'll have to take a look at Zoho. Thanks for the tip!

 

Thanks for this writeup Jenna! I've been playing with Notion as well, switching from OneNote. I'm not nearly as integrated as you, I mainly just use it for organizing thoughts and notes...

Honestly, I don't really use OneNote that effectively, as things are scattered between txt documents on my desktop and Google Drive docs as well. Notion doesn't quite replace them effectively for me. It's better than OneNote at organized notes, but it's too slow for the quick stuff that I would put in my txt scratch files, and it's not quite accessible and searchable enough for what I put in Google docs.

Not sure what to change ATM.

 

I totally hear ya, Todd! Thanks for sharing your use cases. I will likely still have some scratch txt files too. I don't think this will replace Google docs for me either. My use case for Google docs is mostly client-specific docs or actual documents when I need full-blown spreadsheet features, etc.

 

Would you be willing to share you conference/CFP list?

 

Upcoming (still open):

  • JSConf Hawaii
  • NDC London

In the past/no longer open:

  • CT Web Dev
  • VueJS London
  • NDC Sydney
  • Frontend Con
  • Cream City Code
  • NDC Oslo
  • Midwest UX
  • Minnebar
 

I found it was difficult to move pages from one list to another. I’d lose properties that were unique to one database.
Needs to auto merge or have a global property system, for sure.

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