I like storing important files on my hard drive, not in the cloud. Call it unreasonable, but I have a distrust of the cloud. Yet I love Evernote, the cloud-based note-taking and information storing app. In fact I depend on it for many facets of my personal, business, and genealogy lives. So I was thrilled when reader Corbin Dodge, J.D., was kind enough to spell out instructions for backing up Evernote to your hard drive, after I expressed my fear of what would happen if Evernote vanished, in a comment on my blog post How I store my genealogy information. I went through all the steps of Corbin’s clear and detailed instructions and now have such peace of mind knowing that my notes are safe and easily accessible outside of the Evernote app. (I back up my hard drive to an external hard drive and to the cloud.) I didn’t want this valuable information to remain buried in the comments, so Corbin has graciously agreed to let me reprint them here. [Note: Evernote issued an update which changed the way the backup is created. This post has been updated to include the new instructions.]
I share your concerns re: what if an app goes belly up (what nightmares are made of!).
One thing I admire about Evernote is that it is easy to backup your notes so they’re accessible even if the app goes away. To do this on Mac:
(1) select the “Notes” heading in the sidebar
(2) On mac, hold down the command key and the “A” key at the same time, which will select all notes (on PC, hold down the control key and the “A” key at the same time)
(3) On the main menu bar, click “File”, then select “Export notes…”
(4) A window will pop up. There is a drop-down box labeled “Format”. It gives you 2 options. Choose “HTML”
To access the backups, click on any note in the folder. It will open in your default browser. You can backspace out the note name in the url to get the full table of contents of every note that was backed up. Not as smooth to browse as the app, but reassuring to know your notes are accessible even if Evernote goes away! It also saves the images, albeit as a separate image file
*I’ve found this folder structure works well to organize backups for my various apps:
Dropbox / Backups / Evernote / 2017-09-27 Evernote Backup
Selecting the HTML format is a safeguard in case Evernote ceases to exist. The alternate option is to save them as “Evernote XML Format (.enex)”, which is an Evernote-specific file format which saves more metadata about each note (e.g., notebooks, tags, author), so this choice could be useful if you ever need to restore lost notes into Evernote (i.e., if their sync ever messes up). The downside to .enex is that it’s not a universally-friendly file format, so it wouldn’t do you much good if Evernote ever goes kaput.
p.s., an added benefit of backing your notebooks up in HTML format is that you can easily go back and retrieve a previous version of any single note without affecting all of your Evernote notebooks (which would be the case if you didn’t select “HTML” in step 3.