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Saturday, May 25, 2024

The Ecstasy and Agony of Evernote

Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, December 21, 2009
5:28 pm

Evernote is an essential workhorse in my daily life.  I currently have 3,467 notes in my various Evernote notebooks, using an Evernote premium account.  I use the product multiple times every day for note-taking (I have a reputation as a prodigious note-taker), personal journal (almost daily), electronic filing (I rarely file paper any more) and as a general, all-around information repository.  I particularly like its architectural model using intelligent client applications synchronized with a server-side database.  This allows me to keep information in sync on my laptop and desktop machines (both Windows) as well as my iPhone

That is the “ecstasy” part.  The “agony” came when I installed the long-awaited new Windows client (version 3.5 beta) last week.  What I hoped would be a major improvement of the Windows client, was, instead, a deep disappointment. While I liked a few new features, such as the mixed view, the core note taking engine is still very primitive.  If anything, it was a step  backwards.

The two biggest problems are the very awkward and limited outlining capability and the complete lack of templates.  The new table feature is extremely basic.  I  submitted suggestions in all three areas several months ago, but apparently these seemingly basic functions for a product with “Note” in the name weren’t desirable enough to see the light of day.

It is very painful when I have to drop back to Microsoft OneNote to get access to a decent outlining editor, and then transfer the result to Evernote, rather than have a native capability for outlining.  For a guy who thinks in outlines, all I can say is, “Arrrgghh!”

Perhaps Evernote should open up their architecture so third parties could create plugins to provide functionality not available in the core product.  For example, the Thunderbird add-on “QuickText” provide very useful email message templating capability for a product that lacks such a feature.  Perhaps other plugin vendors could provide decent outlining and table functionality.

Here’s hoping that Evernote someday gets it right. Please!


2 Responses to “The Ecstasy and Agony of Evernote”

    I just use the web-interface to Evernote, since my notes are stored in their cloud anyway. Why use a Windows client?

    By the way, their cloud is my bone of contention with Evernote. I cannot access an Evernote from my iPhone when there is no network connection. (Yes AT&T, your service is spotty at best in the centre of high-tech Silicon Valley)

    Comment by Jonathan on December 22, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Unfortunately, the web interface is even less feature-rich than the windows interface – no templates or tables, poor outlining.

    I do have good success with the iPhone app. I can use it too take notes and then synchronize when a network is present. That seems to work ok for me.

    I guess my demands must be too specialized, but Microft addresses templating, tables and outlining wonderfully in OneNote. Too bad Evernote can’t follow suit.

    Comment by Mark Dixon on December 22, 2009 at 7:27 pm

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