Even if you are a happy Evernote user, you need to know how to export your data. At the very least, you want to have a backup under your control.
It’s nothing against Evernote. Any time you are using a cloud-based service (any service), you need to think about how you can get your data out. It just makes sense to have yourself protected. After all, you are responsible for your own data, no one else.
Fortunately Evernote makes this pretty easy to do. The screenshots for this post are for the Mac version of Evernote, but the Windows concept is the same.
Use The Local Evernote Application
You may be using Evernote on the web or via a mobile device. You can definitely do that, but for the purpose of backing up or exporting your notes, I recommend installing the Evernote Mac or Windows program. You can find them here.
Once you’ve installed the Mac or Windows application, you can export your attachments, export all your Notes, a specific Notebook, or even a specific Note.
Export Evernote Attachments
Everything in Evernote is stored as a Note. If you’re using Evernote to go paperless, most likely you are storing your PDFs as attachments to Notes (whether you know it or not).
If you just want to export your attached files out of Evernote, highlight the Notes you want to export. You can either export all attachments for all Notes, or do it on a Notebook-by-Notebook basis if you want to keep your structure.
Once the Notes are highlighted, on the right-hand-side click the Save Attachments button.
You then choose a folder to save the files to, and they’ll be saved to your hard drive.
Here’s a video that shows how to export attachments in Evernote.
Exporting All Notes
If you want to export your entire Notes and not just the attachments, Evernote has a built-in Export feature.
First, on the sidebar, click on Notes.
On the Menu bar, choose Edit > Select All.
When the popup appears, in the Save As field give the exported file a name. That will be the name of the folder (if you choose HTML) or the file (if you choose Evernote XML).
Choose the folder you want to save your export in.
Decide whether you want to export as HTML or Evernote XML (read on to find out which one you want to choose).
Note: There is one big drawback to exporting all your notes. It will put everything into one big archive, and won’t keep your filing structure. If that is important to you, you’re probably better off exporting Notebook-by-Notebook.
Exporting A Specific Notebook
In the Notebooks section, click on the Notebook you want to export.
On the Menu bar, choose File then Export Notes from “notebookname”.
The rest is the same as if you were exporting all Notes. Give your file/folder a name and choose where to save it.
Exporting A Specific Note
In the Notes section, right click on the Note you want to export.
Choose Export Notes…
You know the rest by now.
Choosing Your Export Format
When you export, you have two options for exporting: HTML or Evernote XML Format (.enex). I’ll explain both below.
Export As HTML
Evernote will create an HTML file (basically a web page you can view on your computer) for each note. If your note has images, the HTML file will display them. If it has other attachments like PDFs, it will link to them. Here is how it works. In this example I will export my Instruction Manuals Notebook.
1) Export Your Notebook per the instructions above. Choose HTML for the export format.
2) I am going to save it to my Desktop in a folder called Instruction Manuals as HTML
3) Now when I go to my Desktop, there is a folder called Instruction Manuals. Inside it are a bunch of .html files – one for each note. If the note has attachments, there is a “.resources” folder where the attachments live.
You’ll also notice there is a file called index.html. Let’s click that, shall we?
4) When we open index.html, it is a handy list of all the notes that we have exported with links to each one.
5) If we open a note that had a PDF, there is a link to the PDF file that we can then open
Export As Evernote XML
If all you want is a backup, or if you want to move your Evernote data to some other system, it may make more sense to export as an Evernote XML file (.enex).
The concept of exporting it is the same, but if you choose Evernote XML, instead of a bunch of HTML files that get exported, you instead just get one big XML file. Here’s what it looks like if we export that same Instruction Manual notebook.
Here’s what the file looks like if we open it up.
As you can see, if you don’t speak XML this isn’t going to help you much, but it preserves all your notes, tags, and data for importing into Evernote or another application. This is very helpful for moving Evernote Local Notebooks to a new computer.
So there you go, there is how you export your information out of Evernote.
Do you export using another method? Have you used the .enex files for anything interesting? Leave a note in the comments.
This post was originally written in June 2010. It was updated in August 2015.
Hi Brooks, I’ve been going nuts trying to go paperless. Your article was one of the missing puzzle pieces for me!! 🙂 Thank you so much!! A lot of people talk about how great their paperless cloud setup is, but they never talk about what happens if they need to get their data off a system. I’m always worried a company like Evernote might go out of business, so I’ve been hesitant to try anything that will ruin the structure I’ve created for my docs. Now that I know I can download all my pdfs in one go, I can finally consider Evernote as a paperless option! Thanks for saving me time and stress with your thoughtful article!! 😀