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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.
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.
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:
Mac Users Note: You will not be able to export from the shortcuts bar – view all Notebooks to do this.
As with an individual note, you’ll have two options: an Evernote-specific format and HTML.
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):
Mac OS X:
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.
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.
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.