3 Ways to Backup Evernote (and Do You Need To?)

3 Ways to Backup Evernote (and Do You Need To?)

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Worried about losing the information you store in Evernote? Take matters into your own hands: back up the notes, notebooks and other information you store in Evernote. But why back up Evernote? After all, the service already syncs to the cloud, and if you have multiple computers your data is also in all of those places. Isn’t that enough?

Well, it depends. Unlike, say, Dropbox, Evernote does not offer a revision history – your content all syncs as-is. This means you could potentially lose any note you accidentally delete from the trash, or any content you accidentally delete from a specific note. If you share a particular notebook other users might make changes you don’t like. You get the idea: information goes away sometimes. As with any software, backups are the only real answer for that.

There’s also the possibility – however farfetched – that Evernote won’t always be around. Maybe a company like Yahoo will buy it, only to shut it down 30 seconds later, because Yahoo. Maybe a monumental server crash will result in lost data. Perhaps Anonymous will destroy the service. Sure, it’s unlikely, but stranger things have happened.

The amount of risk won’t matter, however, if you back up your Evernote data regularly. Here’s how.

Exporting Notebooks

If you use the desktop version of Evernote – offered for Windows and Mac users – you can export your notes and notebooks using the software itself. Save that data to a cloud service, or an external drive, and you’re well on you way to ensuring you won’t lose your data.

It’s easy to export any individual note you have open – just click File then Export Notes… to create an Evernote-specific file or an HTML document.
evernote-export-notebook
This is a tedious way of working for many notes, so it’s a good thing you can also export entire notebooks, though it’s a little bit hidden. Right-click the notebook you’d like to export. You’ll see the option to export it:

evernote-export

Mac Users Note: You will not be able to export from the shortcuts bar – view all Notebooks to do this.

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As with an individual note, you’ll have two options: an Evernote-specific format and HTML.

evernote-format

Use the Evernote format if you’d like to re-import this file later – all you’ll need to do is double-click the file. Use the HTML option if you want a backup that works independently of Evernote, but note that importing this into another service will be more complicated.

Just Grab Everything – Manually!

Exporting individual notebooks is all well and good, but even that is time consuming if you’ve created hundreds of notebooks. Can’t you just grab everything at once?

As it turns out, yes you can. The desktop versions of Evernote for Windows and Mac store your notebooks locally, and you can find them using your file browser. Here’s where they are:

Windows (Vista, 7, 8):
C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Evernote\Evernote\Databases
evernote-folder-location
Mac OS X:
/Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Evernote

evernote-folder-mac

Back up these folders and you should be completely safe. Even if your account is completely deleted, and your hard drive crashes, you’ll be able to get Evernote set up again the way you like it by copying this data back to where you found it.

Mac users: If you’re using the Mac App Store version of Evernote, you’re going to have a hard time finding your notebooks – it’s nearly impossible. Go ahead and download the .DMG of Evernote for Mac and install it manually. Your old notebooks will be imported after you log in, which may take a while, but it’s your only choice if you want to back up Evernote manually.

Windows 8 users: the same goes for you when it comes to the Microsoft Store. You can only grab your notes with this method if you’re using the standalone “desktop” version of Evernote, so be sure to install that instead of (or alongside) the Metro version.

Automated Backups

Whether you’ve scheduled automated Windows 7 backups, set up Windows 8’s great backup service or use Time Machine on your Mac, good news: you can set these services up to also backup Evernote. Simply ensure that the folders above are being backed up by your backup software of choice and you’re good to go.

You can also do this using cloud storage services like DropBox using symbolic links.

Conclusion

Any of these methods should help you feel more secure about your Evernote data, which in turn should help you feel more secure. Sure, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever lose your Evernote data, but if that information is essential to you why not take the added precautions? If you’ve set up automated backups, all you need to do is ensure your Evernote folders are included.

Do you know of another way to back-up your Evernote data? Have you checked out our Evernote manual yet? Please, fill me in in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you, as always.

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Comments (11)
  • First A. Lastname

    All fine and good for Win & Mac, but what about us Linux users?

    • Justin P

      No client for the platform makes is next to impossible for me to write simple instructions for this. Sorry about that; blame Evernote.

  • rob

    the automated dropbox method of backup kicks back an error telling me that the file is open.

  • Senad D

    This is an excellent overview. This approach might work to some users. But has some disadvantages. For example, your PC running all the time: and all changes done while you are on the road (done via mobile or tablet) will not be protected. Also, the format of backup is not quite flexible: you can restore just a portion of the note, you cannot search your backup, etc.

    So an alternative approach is to use something like cloudHQ: cloudHQ can sync and replicate all your notes to Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, or Box. And sync and replication is in real time: as soon as you change something on Evernote it will copied by cloudHQ. And everything is done in the cloud: so even you modify note

    And, you can chose multiple formats for your backup: as ENEX, as PDF, as text, as MS Words, as Google Docs format – even OpenOffice format is supported.

    And you can even have Evernote to Evernote replication (so you can setup a “backup” Evernote account just for backup purposes).

    I’m founder of cloudHQ so any feedback on how we solve this problem is more than welcome.

  • Senad Dizdar

    This is excellent overview. This approach might work to some users. But has some disadvantages. For example, your PC running all the time: and all changes done while you are on the road (done via mobile or tablet) will not be protected. Also, the format of backup is not quite flexible: you can restore just a portion of the note, you cannot search your backup, etc.

    So alternative approach is to you something like cloudHQ: cloudHQ can sync and replicate all your notes to Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, or Box. And sync and replication is in real time: as soon as you change something on Evernote it will copied by cloudHQ. And everything is done in the cloud: so even you modify note

    And, you can chose multiple formats for your backup: as ENEX, as PDF, as text, as MS Words, as Google Docs format – even OpenOffice format is supported.

    And you can even have Evernote to Evernote replication (so you can setup a “backup” Evernote account just for backup purposes).

    I’m founder of cloudHQ so any feedback on how we solve this problem is more than welcome.

  • Jo Ann Slaten

    On my iMac I cannot find the file you mentioned: /Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Evernote

    However, I do find a file named: com.evernote.Evernote

    As I browse down through the ENNote folder within that file I seem to find all my notes. Do you think this is the same data that I should copy as a backup, or is it something different?

    I can’t remember if I bought the Mac App Store version of Evernote or downloaded from the Evernote website.

    Thanks,

    • Justin Pot

      Go ahead and download the Evernote version from Evernote.com, because it sounds like you’re running the Mac App Store version. Evernote will let you know if you’re replacing the Mac App Store version.

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.