So you are an Evernote user and you want to move your database to a new computer. Maybe you’re moving from Windows to Windows or Mac to Mac, or maybe you’re switching to an entirely new platform.
Moving Evernote can be easy, but there are some things you should think about before you start to make sure that you don’t lose data.
Evernote Web Users
A surprising number of Evernote users only use Evernote via the website. In fact, in many cases people don’t even know there is software you can install.
If that is you, everything you need is already stored on Evernote’s servers. Just start using Evernote via your web browser on the new computer, and you are good to go. The most you may need to do is create a new shortcut.
Mac Or Windows Users – Synchronized Notebooks Only
If you are a Mac or Windows user and all of your notebooks are synchronized, it means that they are on Evernote’s servers already. There are ways you can move your data over to a new computer (more on that later), but by far the easiest way to go is:
- On the old computer, make sure all your notes are synchronized. If need be, hit the Sync button.
- On the new computer, Go to the Download page on the Evernote website and install the Mac or Windows client.
- When you log in with your userID and password, all your notes will synchronize down to your new computer. If you have a large database, this might take a while.
- You’re good to go!
Mac Or Windows Users With Local Notebooks
If you have some or all of your data in local notebooks, it means that they are not synchronized to Evernote’s servers, which means that the data exists only on your computer.
In other words, if you are going to lose data when moving to a new computer, it is probably going to be in these local notebooks.
One option is to move over your Evernote data files entirely (more on that later), but Evernote’s recommended way to go is the following:
- Follow the instructions above to migrate your synchronized notebooks to your new computer.
- On your old computer, right-click on each Notebook and choose Export Notes. Save in ENEX format, and if you are asked, check to preserve tags. Save to a thumb drive, Dropbox, or whatever method you have to copy the files over to the new computer. It would be nice if you could just export all your local notes in one shot, but unfortunately the ENEX format doesn’t preserve the notebook structure. You need to make one ENEX for each Notebook.
- Rinse and repeat for each local notebook.
- On your new computer, go to File > Import Notes. It might have slightly different terminology depending on whether you are on Mac or Windows.
- Import the ENEX files one by one. You may need to rename the Notebook afterwards, as it puts the word “Import” before the name.
- You’re done!
Note: If you use internal note links, this method won’t work. You’ll need to move the data files (see next section). If you have no idea what internal note links are, you don’t need to worry about it.
Moving Data Files
It is possible to move the Evernote data files. I typically don’t recommend this unless you really know what you are doing, because you can mess things up.
However, if you really want to…
The Windows Evernote database is contained in one big file called username.exb. Of course, replace with your own user name.
There are many Evernote forum threads describing the process of moving the database to a new location. Here is one of them, and here are the instructions from user Wenn:
In EN go to Tools > Option > Open database folder.
Copy the username.exb file and store it somewhere on your harddisk (or stick)
Install EN on your new computer
Do step 1 again (on your new computer) and replace the username.exb file with your backup.
Disable internet and Open EN
Check if these are the notes you require and then sync.
The Mac database is a bit trickier, because the location of the database depends on where you downloaded Evernote from.
Here is an Evernote forum thread which describes where the Mac files are stored. As user Metrodon says:
If you downloaded directly it’s in ~/Library/Application Support/Evernote
If you downloaded from the app store it’s here ~/Library/Containers/com.evernote.Evernote
And, if you have an iMac with a fusion drive, it might be here
Install Evernote on the new computer, quit the app, rename or move the existing folder, and then copy over the folder above from the old computer.
Do A Test
If you still have your old computer, compare note counts and do some random testing of notes to make sure things have moved over correctly. The greater the percentage of notebooks you have synchronized, the easier all this will be.
(Photo by othree)