10k notes in Evernote...How to start?

I’ve been fascinated by Obsidian after watching several reviews on YouTube. I’ve wanted to get out of Evernote’s proprietary system for years and this looks like a good fit.

I don’t want to start from scratch, and I’ve discovered I can export from Evernote to Bear and then from Bear to Obsidian and get pretty nice files, with the exception of any attachments don’t autolink…and I’m having a hard time mentally getting my head around not having attachments right in notes themselves (ala Evernote).

Anyway, just looking for feedback and thoughts from this awesome community!

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How would it be different? Evernote hides the internal workings by having everything in the database, but attachments will be stored separately. In Obsidian, all the workings are visible and attachments have a visible separate existence, but preview and export should still show attachments in the note.

I’m struggling deeply with this too. I tried using the Notion importer and then using the script to make it ready for obsidian but no luck :frowning:

Ah–you’re right, preview shows images right in the note. PDFs are still just links to the PDF (in Evernote, I’m used to PDFs showing up in line), but I can get used to that. Thx!

I used Joplin to convert Evernote notes. I imported enex files to Joplin and then exported them to .md. It was very smooth and created a _resources folder for the linked images, audio and pdfs etc. Once you open the files in Obsidian, if you move the resources, it will update any links.

I am a visual person and have a lot of embedded images. I can’t wait for Obsidian to have a WYSIWYG editor instead of having to toggle between Edit and Preview mode.

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Have you used Joplin for long? Or did you install it purely for its import/export capability? I’m curious what compelled you to adopt Obisian over Joplin.

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I tried Joplin a while ago and it has a lot of features but it didn’t quite have the right ‘feel’. Just something about the UI felt rigid. So I’ve used it mostly to convert from Evernote to md.

I’ve been enjoying using Obsidian and every day I’m discovering new cool things about it that fit for me. It’s so rich and flexible.

The one big friction which I struggle with is working with markdown edit and preview modes. Specifically not seeing images in edit mode - something like Typora does. That would be so amazing.

Not sure if that answers your question but I look forward to all the wonderful things the obsidian team keeps showing up with.

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Thanks, for relating your experiences with Joplin. I had never heard of it and was just curious. As a command line junky, I was intrigued by its command line client.

One of the first short-cuts I mastered was Cmd-E (on macOS), for toggling between editor and render mode. I hit that as much as several times a minute if I’m creating an entry with rendering concerns. It’s not quite realtime WYSIWYG, but it’s very close.

When I write and want to see the preview at the same time, I open the same note (per Ctrl-Click) in a parallel pane in preview mode. Every formatting you do and every image immediately is visible.

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You can use Joplin to import your notes, then export markdown that can be opened by Obsidian. it works well.

I still use Joplin to gather stuff from the Web.

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You may want to check out yarle from @akos0215.

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Hi. I also want to get out of Evernote. But after 12 years Evernote I have around 100.000 notes and 1000 notebooks in Evernote. I tested Bear (ipad) and Joplin (Windows 10) and Joplin is giving the best result. But I have to export every notebook to a enex file and then import in Joplin and export to Markdown. Did you try Yarle ? I think that if a developper would make a good Evernote exporter to Markdown that a lot of people would pay for that tool. The latest Evernote 10 is so slow that I can not use it anymore. Thats why I decided that I never would put my notes in the hands of a company format. Obsidian and Markdown is not perfect but it is the best that I ever have found. In the summer I tested more then 50 replacements for Evernote including MS VScode. That one I did liked the most but there was no filemanagent and linking. Obsidian is the best of VScode and so much more. I did go very deep in Obsidian and I start my day with it and keep it open all day.

I did this as well, but am struggling to find my attachments? I am going to go look for the _resources folder. Thank you!

Wow man! you do have a lot of notes!

My humble notebooks have a couple thousands more or less. As others, I’ve installed Joplin just to convert enex files - one by one for each Evernote notebook - to a folder with notes in md (and the _resources folder too). That folder is just a vault that can be opened with Obsidian.

I use VS Code to edit as well because of the markdownlint plugin that keeps me in line with the md format.

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I tested and compared 4 different methods for converting an Evernote .enex export into markdown for Obsidian, on MacOS.

  1. Import into Joplin (as markdown), export as markdown.
  2. Import into Bear, export as markdown.
  3. evernote2md - https://github.com/wormi4ok/evernote2md
  4. yarle - https://github.com/akosbalasko/yarle

Joplin and Yarle were the best at properly converting formatting, including tables and web clips. Their markdown output is nearly identical. The other two were fine, but didn’t output markdown quite as cleanly. Bear didn’t handle tables and evernote2md included some HTML if I recall.

PROs for Joplin:

  • Much easier than Yarle because it’s an app.
  • Slightly superior markdown. (Yarle added some extra \ characters but they don’t show up in the rendered Preview.)

CONs:

  • Exported files don’t retain tags.
  • Exported files don’t retain their Evernote last-modified timestamp.

PROs for Yarle:

  • Exported files do retain their last-modified timestamp.
  • Template feature for including metadata in the final markdown, including created-at and modified-at timestamps, tags, and lat/lon location. I used this to generate a front-matter section (see below), though the tags don’t conform to Obsidian’s standard format for frontmatter tags. And the rest of the metadata might need some post-processing if you want a different format.

CONs for Yarle:

  • It’s a command-line utility so much more advanced. Took me a good hour to troubleshoot to get it working and work around an apparent bug in how the script finds my template file. Use the ‘npx / no install’ method if you go this route. I’ll inform the creator of the bug.
  • Converts your note titles to lowercase - an annoyance since Obsidian filenames are used directly in text and lettercase can be meaningful.
  • Bug: includes a blank location tag when there’s no location metadata attached to a note.

(I’ve submitted all of these issues to the creator so hopefully they’ll get resolved in the near future.)

Conclusion: Joplin is the quick and easy solution if you don’t mind losing metadata like tags and timestamps. Yarle is better if you want to keep metadata.

Bear will also output tags (at the bottom) and preserve file timestamp. Here’s a detailed blog post outlining Evernote conversion using Bear, that might also be helpful when using other methods. http://www.markwk.com/migrate-evernote-plaintext.html


Here is my Yarle template file, producing a frontmatter block followed by title and content:

---
{metadata-block}{notebook-block}evernote-notebook: {notebook}{end-notebook-block}
{created-at-block}created-at: {created-at}{end-created-at-block}
{updated-at-block}modified-at: {updated-at}{end-updated-at-block}
{location-block}location: {location}{end-location-block}{end-metadata-block}
{tags-block}tags: {tags}{end-tags-block}
---

{title-block}# {title}{end-title-block}

{content-block}{content}{end-content-block}

This produces something like this:

---
evernote-notebook: test-notebook
created-at: 2020-03-12T01:36:22-07:00
modified-at: 2020-03-23T00:57:58-07:00
location: -122.672119189073,38.44120077906999
tags: #test #test2
---

# Title of the note

Content of the note....
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I found a decent solution for this by utilizing Notion (I never got into notion due to too much point-click interface which doesn’t float my boat);

However, Notion provided good functionality to

  • a) import all of notes from EN into Notion and
  • b) Export from Notion to MD
  • c) Lastly, import or copy MD’s into my vaults folder.

And voilah! Except now I have been tediously processing these notes into something manageable and have finally come close to the light at the end of the tunnel!

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Hi Jimmy. Can I ask you a few questions because this sounds very interesting?
When You import Evernote to Notion and Export to MD what happens to:

  • Stacks?
  • 1 Evernote note = 1 Mardown file?
  • Pictures ?
  • Tags
  • Tables
  • Webclipping
  • Last modifies Time stamps
  • Filenames

Did you also test with Joplin, Bear or Yarle ?
How many notes did you convert? I have to around 100.000 :slight_smile:
Any help would be very welcome.

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Your reply encouraged me to share my own experience. I haven’t processed so many notes (just 2k) but hope this helps somehow!

From Evernote to Obsidian