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Evernote to OneNote adventure

For several years I have been a fan of Evernote. I was so much of a fan, that I considered myself a fan boy. I was an Evernote evangelist. Everyone that I met that might have a need to manage data, I would introduce them to this wonderful program.

I became a fan boy of Evernote after using MS OneNote. I have no idea which version of OneNote it was but it must have been one of the first couple of versions. At some point I learned that data in OneNote was good as long as you did not have a need to export it out to other applications or import data into it.

I am thinking that I must have gotten a new computer that did not have OneNote installed or the version of MS Office did not come with it. No matter the reason, it did not have OneNote and all my data was trapped in that program with nowhere to go. At that point I hopped off of the Microsoft Office train and started looking for an alternative. That is when I found Evernote and I have been using it for several years now with much success.

When I told my boss about my fan boy like adoration of Evernote, she smiled and showed me MS OneNote 2010. She showed me how integrated it had become in MS Office and especially MS Outlook. I still love Evernote, but I love the seamless integration with Outlook, and since I live in Outlook for corporate communications I decided to take the plunge again. After all, I love living on the bleeding edge of incompatibility.

The first thing I had to figure out was how to export data out of Evernote and import it into OneNote. I quickly figured out that this was not going to be a trait that either program has built into it. I spent some time on the Net surfing around for solutions and found two.

The first convertor is called Ever2One Convertor and it is free and works fairly well. It works as long as you do not try to export all 2000 notes out of Evernote at the same time.

The second convertor is called Onenote Batch and it costs 25.00 to purchase a license. When it comes to software utility apps the cost was very reasonable considering how much time it was going to save me in the long run.

If you are like me, the last thing you want to do is read the freaking manual also known as RTFM.   How much fun is there in reading a manual from cover to cover, before you get to use the application. I will have to tell you that when you like to do that, you usually allow technological gremlins to invade the process of converting your data from one app to the next.

The first mistake that I committed, other than RTFM, was to set up the notebooks on a new Onedrive account on the cloud. I spent hours upon hours last night creating new Notebooks and sections in OneNote and then using OneNote Batch to export out of Evernote. On my first attempt I tried to export all 1550 notes from Evernote into OneNote. That just dumped all of them into one OneNote folder and then I had to manually move everything where I wanted.

I finally learned that I had to export one Evernote Notebook at a time and point it over to the corresponding OneNote section. Once I did that then I was on a roll. Every EverNote Notebook exported over to OneNote like a dream. That dream turned into a nightmare when I went to the office and plugged my laptop into the work network. When I fired up OneNote on my main workstation it did see all of the new OneNote folders and sections but it gave me the error “this section was created by another copy of OneNote but has not uploaded the data yet, please synchronize OneNote” or something to that affect.

Instead of reading the manual I launched over to Google and found the devil in the details. It appears that Onedrive used to be called Skydrive. Lots of folks lost their ability to synchronize their OneNote data when that happened. There were lots and lots of horror stories from folks that were not able to synchronize their notebooks between devices while using the Microsoft Cloud solution One Drive. What, a Microsoft product is causing problems? Tell me it is not so.

At some point I realized that synchronization was not going to happen between my devices using One Drive. I opted for option B which was to log on to One Drive from the web and delete the OneNote notebook. Then I created a new One Note notebook on my user drive on our LAN. I can get to that from the workstation and my VPN connected laptop at home. Both devices are now synchronizing data with zero problems. It helps that I manage my network and I understand how to use network drives. Most home users are stuck with cloud solutions and would be caught in synchronization hell.

For now, I am going to drive the shiny new software toy around and see if it will be all that is cracked up to be. I will leave Evernote on all my devices “just in case”. Just in case I need to get to a piece of information quickly while I get accustomed to the Microsoft solution. I am also going to take advantage of the corporate training videos on OneNote and hopefully it will show me some tricks that will shorten my learning curve.

For those of you that are uninitiated with regards to note taking apps or have a need to organize and manipulate notes here is a good article on LifeHacker that will give you a great comparison of the two apps.

What do you use for note taking and why?

 

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Comments

  1. James, that was quite a story. Sounds like my own adventures in tech.

    • Hey there Sherra, thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. Wrestling with tech problems is so much fun isn’t it? LOL

  2. Dude, say it’s not so. How could you go from Evernote to OneNote? I love Evernote and use it constantly – on my Mad, my PC, my iPhone, iPad and even occasionally the web version. I have played with OneNote on all of those platforms as well, but it just doesn’t seem as mature to me. And, like you, every time I go to use it I end up with synchronization errors, missing notes, or conflicting versions. I use MS Office, I really like OneDrive, and I keep hoping for Evernote as I really kind of like the notebook metaphor. Not to mention the handwriting recognition. Bit so far, Evernote gets the job done while OneNote just keeps letting me down.

  3. I am going to try OneNote because my boss encouraged me to do so. She showed me all the things she is able to do that helps her manager her busy schedule and OneNote is integrated with office. I am not getting rid of Evernote. I do need to do some spring cleaning with all of my notes and get rid of out dated information. I will probably use OneNote on the network for work related things and keep Evernote around for personal use. If OneNote turns out to be a huge disappointment again I can always go back to using Evernote all the time.