How to Convert Notes from Evernote to OneNote

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I was a huge Microsoft OneNote user back in my days as a Ricoh sales engineer. I used a variety of Tablet PCs circa 2001-2007, with the last one being a Toshiba Portage M400, to take thousands of handwritten notes during meetings with hundreds of clients where I outlined business processes, identified relevant personnel, created diagrams, and in general documented complex content management solutions. Those notes are still available to me today, fully indexed and searchable (the text and handwritten portions, anyways).

For a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the advent of smartphones and tablets (iOS, webOS, and Android, in my case) where OneNote clients weren’t available, I switched to Evernote and generated thousands of notes there as well. Evernote is a fine service, with solid clients across pretty much every platform, and it served me well. I even spent a few years as a Premium customer, paying $50 or so a year to enable offline notes and greater bandwidth, and it still has the best Web clipping features.

Recently, though, as I’ve started using all Microsoft products, and as Microsoft has released OneNote clients for every platform I use, I’ve switched back. I prefer OneNote’s inking capabilities, which I use on my Surface Pro 3 and my Dell Venue 8 Pro. I also prefer OneNote’s more free-form note taking capabilities and organizational structure. I was fairly religious in tagging notes in Evernote, but I rarely actually used tags when finding information; rather, I tend to use general search, and OneNote’s search functionality (for text, handwritten notes, and within images) is instantaneous and second to none.

The biggest issue for me, then, has been having literally thousands of notes–all of them important–located in two completely disparate places. To make my conversion back to OneNote complete, I’ve been looking for a good way to migrate notes from Evernote to OneNote. Fortunately, I found one, in the excellent utility OneNote Batch, part of the OneNote Gem line of add-ons and utilities. OneNote Batch is $25, and I’ve found it worth its weight in gold.

OneNote Gem has a wide range of features and functions, which I’ve not had a chance to delve into, that go well beyond merely converting notes from Evernote. For now, however, I’ll cover the specific Evernote-to-OneNote migration functionality contained in OneNote Batch.

Preparing OneNote
The first step in migrating from Evernote to OneNote is to take a look at your organizational structure. Make sure that you can map your Evernote notebooks to your OneNote structure, whether as OneNote notebooks, main sections, or sub-sections. I chose to migrate all of my Evernote notes to a single OneNote notebook, my default Personal notebook that’s stored on OneDrive and synced to all of my machines. Then, Evernote notebooks map best to either main sections or sub-sections, depending on the overall hierarchy of my information. It’s not a one-to-one mapping, and in some cases I don’t like how things are organized in Evernote and so I’m creating a different structure in OneNote.

For this post, I’m converting my Technical Notes notebook from Evernote to a Technical section that already exists in OneNote. This is a two-step process: first I’ll import to OneNote as a new section, and then simply move the notes to the existing section. Once that’s accomplished, I can then further organize the information in OneNote as required. I could also rename the folder in Evernote to be the same as the OneNote folder name, and then the notes would be directly imported into the existing OneNote folder:

Evernote Notebook to Migrate

Here’s what my OneNote Personal notebook looks like prior to importing from Evernote:

OneNote Structure Prior to Migration

Starting OneNote Batch
If you’re using Windows 8.1, then the easiest way to start OneNote Batch is to search for it. I couldn’t find it in my list of programs, and so apparently it doesn’t install a Program group (or perhaps I didn’t select that option when I ran the installer). In any event, simply open Search from Charms, then type in OneNote Batch and select the application in the list:

Open OneNote Batch

If, like me, you get an error that OneNote Batch can’t find Evernote, simply navigate to the Evernote.exe file on your system and select it:

Error - Cannot Find Evernote

Error - Cannot Find Evernote - Find Evernote.exe

OneNote Batch should open in the default view for pulling notes from Evernote into OneNote. If it doesn’t, click on Import, then select the EverNote button. Click on the Evernote icon to populate your Evernote folders; they’re all selected by default, and I recommend that you uncheck them and then perform the conversion one folder at a time.

Note as well that OneNote Batch will open with the OneNote notebooks listed that are currently selected in OneNote. If you don’t see the required notebook, then make sure that it’s an option in OneNote.

For the most part, I’ve found the default settings to be correct. Two options to keep in mind are:

  • Import EverNote Tags as Keyword Tags.: Selecting this will append bracketed Evernote tags to the note title in OneNote, such as {Research}. OneNote tags aren’t the same as Evernote tags, and so if you use tags in Evernote then this option allows you to search within OneNote similarly to how tags are searchable in Evernote. I turn this on in my conversions, to maintain the ability to search by certain important keywords.
  • Create section (with EnEx file name or EverNote notebook name) in OneNote Notebook or Section Group.: Just as it sounds, this maps the imported Evernote folder directly into OneNote, either as a section within the notebook or as a subsection within a section group. If a OneNote section with the same name already exists, then the converted notes will be inserted into the existing section.

OneNote Batch Interface

I’ve turned both of these on for best effect.

Performing the Conversion
Once you’ve selected the Evernote folder to import from and the OneNote folder and section to import into, and set the options correctly, simply click on the blue arrow in the upper-right corner of the EverNote window. The import process will start and status will be displayed in the lower left-hand corner of the application window:

Migration Process 2

Once the import process is complete, the number of notes will be displayed. Make sure that this number correlates with the number of notes in the Evernote folder:

Migration Process Complete

The following is an example of an imported note, with a bracketed Evernote tag ({Technical}):

Migrated Note Example With Tag

Conclusion
Using OneNote Batch to convert notes from Evernote to OneNote is a simple process, and well worth the $25. It’s likely worth the time to look more deeply into the app to learn all of its functionality, but I’ve found straightforward conversions to be both efficient and reliable. Let me know in the comments how well the process works for you, and if you have any issues.

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Comments

  1. No need to pay money if your are on Windows: there is a free Windows app called Evernote2Onenote, which works marvelously. It is described here http://lifehacker.com/migrate-your-data-from-evernote-to-onenote-with-this-to-1560885406?utm_campaign=socialflow_lifehacker_facebook&utm_source=lifehacker_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow.

    • Mark Coppock says:

      I tried Evernote2Onenote, which is a much simpler tool without any configuration options, but couldn’t get it working reliably. OneNote Batch, on the other hand, worked from the first try and has migrated thousands of my notes without a hitch. Thanks for the link, and certainly anyone who wants to give a free tool a try should check it out. I do stand by my recommendation of OneNote Batch, however, and feel its well worth the $25.

  2. I used Evernote2Onenote to convert a notebook to try it out, and it worked. The problem is that on notes that I typed myself with multiple paragraphs, the paragraphs are smooshed together after the conversion. I know that there are different ways of formatting paragraphs, some programs it’s simply a newline, while some add a hidden paragraph marker. I think evernote is the former and onenote is the later.

    I would buy the batch converter, but I’m worried that this is a formatting problem with evernote’s exporter and the results would be the same. Can you confirm that a hand-typed note (not a web-clip) with multiple paragraphs gets converted properly?

    • Mark Coppock says:

      Sure. I have a notebook with simple typed notes (called “Thoughts”) that are just straight text. They have paragraphs, and line break formatting seems to have been converted without a problem. Good luck!

      • Thanks for the reply. I noticed there was a trial version of the converter so I tried it, and it has the same problem… I’m not sure what’s different on mine, but the only way I can get the formatting to look right is if I select all and copy an Evenote note and paste it in Onenote with the text only, no formatting option. I can’t imagine why that is, and I can’t imagine doing that for all of my notes… I guess my search continues.

  3. Brian Novak says:

    Does this preserve the links between notes? If I have links between notes in Evernote, will the links be converted somehow and work between the OneNote notes after conversion?

    • Mark Coppock says:

      You know, I’m really not sure. I’d guess not, since this is likely programmatic in Evernote. It’s not something I use, though, sorry.

  4. Angeles Garcia says:

    I just bought it and as I it does not work, it only exports one one note out 100+ that my evernote notebook has. Do you know what is the problem?

  5. Mark – Thanks so much for the advice. Have over 4,000 EverNote notes. Finishing up using OneNote Batch. Well worth the $25. I tried the Send to OneNote option. Wasn’t happy with it. The combination of using this tool and Onetastic, I’m very heppy with the end result.

    • Mark Coppock says:

      Glad it was helpful! Agreed, it and Onetastic make OneNote an overall excellent tool. I’ve definitely left Evernote completely behind.

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