Evernote -> DevonThink

Today I’m moving 12 years of accumulated Evernote data into DevonThink. I’ve spent a few days testing DevonThink and believe it will do everything I do in Evernote and addresses a few key deficiencies that Evernote lacks.

I’ve still got 3 months left on my Evernote subscription so if this doesn’t pan out I’ve still got an out. Otherwise, I’ll just let it fall back to the free version.

Has anyone else left for DevonThink? I’d be interested in hearing your experience. I still want Evernote to succeed but at this point in time I think they may be too far behind to catch-up before the money runs out.

I jumped at the beginning of the year. There is definitely a bit of a learning curve but by now I have a really sweet setup.

Most everything will come across as a “formatted note”, images are separated from text and bundled together in a “group” (folder) and inter-note links will be broken. Which sounds terrible.

But for reasons too numerous to go into here, I’m very happy I stuck with it. No it’s not perfect, but I believe I’ve got a much more powerful system that I have a lot more control over.

(Keyboard Maestro also plays a role in this for me.)

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I switched a while ago and, while I dearly miss the formatting tools in the Evernote editor, Devonthink is definitely much more powerful. I have (mostly) settled on using RTF for my notes because it has the Onenote-like advantage of allowing me to link to individual paragraphs. I had hoped that Devon would continue to build capabilities into their formatted notes standard to pull even with the formatting available in Evernote. Alas, they seem to have stopped development since it was introduced. (Please correct me if I am wrong.)

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Alas, they seem to have stopped development since it was introduced. (Please correct me if I am wrong.)

Development in general continues on, but we have to weigh time, resources, and priorities.

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It’s interesting how different people see different things. I moved from Evernote to DT a while ago (12-18 months but I lose track of time after a while) for several reasons. One was that I had a big complaint that Evernote made things easy to get into it but really hard to get out of it. So many times I just wanted the plain text of a note and I had problems.

But the other reason was that I found its text editing and formatting to be idiosyncratic. It was sometimes hard to get things to look the way I wanted (and then get it out looking that way - see paragraph above). DT solves all of those problems. I can create text, rich text, markdown, etc. whichever meets the particular need, and I can get it out exactly that way as a MAC file.

So it solves both problems for me. It has saved me a lot of time.


I came from Evernote as well.

+1 for a stronger RTF editor.

The thing about DEVONthink that I think many people miss but that I have enjoyed in the many years of my use is that I’m not stuck/forced/encouraged to use its own internal tools. They are there, yes, in case useful. You can keep your RTF documents in the DEVONthink database but then use whatever RTF editor you can get/buy to do the strong features you want.

DEVONthink not like many other apps, and for that I applaud it. It’s stood the test of time for me as I move through so many “strong” tools over the years.

I’d prefer DEVONthink keep their focus on their key features, minimise their costs (and extra complexity) developing/licensing other things that are not key which inevitably lead on to extra support costs. It’s a rat hole that does not need to be gone down when people who care about these “extras” can get and use them easily.


I had, until recently, been using Evernote since its first incarnation, which was a PC program that was essentially a continuous scroll note taker, like taking notes on an infinite toilet paper. Needless to say I had been running my life and businesses on Evernote.

My concerns lately have to do with security and privacy. While Evernote does encrypt traffic between my computers/devices and the Company’s servers (mostly GCP these days), and encrypt my data at rest, they also hold my encryption keys. This is so that they can provide the web service (which I never used) and OCR (which I did use).

My nightmare scenario 1 is that they are hacked. Scenario 2 is a rogue employee. Scenario 3 is that they get bought and the privacy rules change overnight.

I had bought DT in its first incarnation, but never made any real use of it, and was pleasantly surprised with DT3. So recently I made the very time-consuming move. It requires some adjustment of workflow and re-learning of keyboard shortcuts, but in many ways it is superior to Evernote (for my use). Being able to do MathJax and Prism on markdown notes is a revelation! I even stopped using iA Writer(!).

If you have a massive Evernote database, just be aware that the import process takes time (it divides the task into batches of 50) and you will lose the use of DT3 until the process is completed. I suggest importing in small chunks.

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Welcome @Luminary99_0

Thanks for the kind comments and discussion of your transition. I’m sure there will be other Evernote converts that will be helped or encouraged by your post.