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I never thought I would hear myself saying this, but I am starting to get Evernote fatigue. I’m the guy who wrote the MakeUseOf Evernote manual, and my favorite T-shirt is the grey Evernote one with the elephants. But I am tired of paying the annual Premium price (which has gone up), and the desktop app can get a bit too glitchy. So what should I do?
I briefly considered installing a private wiki on my website, but the thought of sifting through almost 6,500 unsorted Evernote files made me flinch. When I saw that Microsoft has brought out a notes importer to transfer Evernote notes to OneNote, I figured I would give it a shot.
Why not? OneNote is free, and has some features which Evernote charges for. Plus it is always good to live life dangerously every once in awhile. Last year, Justin showed you how to migrate, using third-party software. But personally speaking, I am more comfortable with official software from the company itself.
I’m going to show you today how to use the import tool in case you are in the same boat as I am.
Update: This article covers the OneNote Importer for Windows. Meanwhile, Microsoft has released a OneNote Importer for Mac. We have covered it in the article How to Migrate Evernote to OneNote on Mac.
Moving from Evernote to OneNote
It’s a bit cheeky of Microsoft to swipe Evernote customers away like this, but you have to admit, it’s also a smart marketing move. Someone in my position, with a lot of Evernote files, would be very reluctant to start moving thousands of files over to OneNote. But the Importer tool makes it child’s play.
What is nice is that the OneNote importer tool simply makes copies of your notes. So if you decide you don’t like OneNote, then just delete everything. Your Evernote notes will still be there.
So let’s start transferring.
Transfer Notes to Evernote on the Desktop
First, you need to have the desktop version of Evernote because this won’t work with the online version. If you need to install the desktop version of Evernote, you can get it here.
Copying your online Evernote files to the desktop app is very easy and very fast.
Using the OneNote Importer
Once the Evernote desktop app is open and all of the notes have been fully copied over, it’s time to open the OneNote Importer tool. Start following the steps.
When it asks you to select Evernote content, you need to avoid the mistake I made. I simply assumed that the Importer tool would detect my Evernote file and begin copying stuff over. But what it actually did was only copy the newest note!
To avoid this from happening, and to get all of them moved over, you need to click on the message at the top (the newest message, in my case), then go to Edit > Select All at the top.
If you have done it right, all of the notes will be highlighted, and you will see the total number on the right hand side. Make sure that number tallies with the actual total amount of notes.
Keeping those notes highlighted, go back to the OneNote Importer tool and in section 2, you can either choose which notebooks you want copied, or you can take the huge Evernote file on your computer, which holds all your notes.
If you prefer the latter method, keeping the Evernote notes highlighted, go to File > Export and when the box appears, check to make sure the number of files is the same, and choose the first option (the .enex file). Then it will begin exporting your Evernote notes into an .enex file. The time it will take to make this file will depend on how many notes you have.
When you have the file, in step 2 of the OneNote importer, click on Import a File Instead. Then navigate to the file’s location on your computer and click Next.
Now you will be required to sign into a Microsoft account. If you don’t have one, you can sign up for one. If you use Windows 10, you may already be using a Microsoft account for logging into your system, Just use that if you don’t want to be encumbered with yet another account.
Once you have signed in, the next step merely explains how everything will be formatted when it is copied over. You can also choose whether or not to preserve all of the tags from Evernote.
When you are all finished, click Import to start the process.
Again, the time it takes to import, depends on the size of your Evernote file. With 6,475 files to go, I reckon I can go and make a cup of tea and visit the dog. Back in two ticks.
Find Your Imported Notes
OK….and I’m back. The dog says hi.
The files have been fully moved over. Now you will (hopefully) see an All Done! notification, and a list of any notes it was unable to transfer over. It seems that my huge fonts folder was too big for OneNote. Hmmm….strike one against Microsoft then.
You will then be invited to View Notes In Evernote. When that happens, your Windows operating system will automatically open the OneNote app. When it opens, you will see all of your notes in all their glory and splendour (he says, with his fingers crossed).
And….no, not quite yet. The first thing you will see is a note saying “Where are my other notes?“. Yes, indeed. Where are they Microsoft?
The note tells you where to look, depending on which version of OneNote you are using. For Windows 10, you have to click the hamburger icon in the top-left hand corner (the three horizontal lines). A black slider will pop out and you should see a notebook there called Evernote (Evernote Import), or words to that effect. If you don’t, click the link for More Notebooks and choose the Evernote file. But in general, they should already be there in the Pages tab.
The posts have been moved over, but the formatting isn’t exactly great. While the links and other formatting is kept in, everything is all crushed together. The paragraphs have been slaughtered, and my business cards section has been totally sucker-punched. Somebody call the War Crimes Tribunal.
Was It Worth It?
Since the OneNote Importer only copies the notes, and it only took 10 minutes to complete, I haven’t lost anything from having a look.
OneNote is quite nice in some regards, especially if you use the Windows operating system a lot. But since it kind of messed up my formatting a bit, and I am more of a Mac guy, I am not tempted enough to cross over to the Dark Side of the Web. I think I will just stick with the green elephant and pay for another year of Evernote.
But that is not to say that you will feel the same way. You could import your notes over, and love it. Or you may have the time to sit and reformat everything, if you are determined to use OneNote. Everyone’s situation is totally different, so don’t let my experience deter you. Give it a go yourself and see how yours turns out.
Do share your experience with us! How did the migration from Evernote to OneNote go for you? And what prompted you to move? Did you run into any issues?
I will be standing guard in the comments ready to answer all of your questions. Because that is what I do.