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Evernote is highly acclaimed here at Lifehacker, and I will admit, it's for good reason. It is a versatile program with a lot of useful features. However, after leaving and coming back to it (to give Whitson's suggestion a try), I've started realizing the reasons why I really don't like the program and why I generally don't open it in my day-to-day life, even though I have been storing so much data in it. This post is to share my thoughts and see if I'm not the only person who has had the same experience.


I'm a firm believer in choosing apps/services that, for whatever reason, you find yourself using a lot — not necessarily what is considered the "best" app/service or has the most features. It's different for everyone. Certain apps that aren't exactly critically acclaimed have actually been some of my most used ones because I just naturally find myself gravitating toward them.

Here are the reasons why I find Evernote actually inconvenient — and why I don't gravitate toward opening the app regularly and utilizing all the data I've stored in it.

Image Clipping

Clipped image notes are pretty inconvenient. If I just want to clip an image, I don't want it to show up in a word processing window whenever I open the "note." I would much rather view it like any other photo on my phone or computer would view in a photo viewing app — full screen, nothing in the way on the top and bottom, easily zoomable, all that jazz.


If I am going to create a notebook of images (eg. to view a list of desk design concepts for a building project), I would want to be able to view it like a photo album, with the ability to swipe between the next and previous image once I've selected one on a phone. Evernote is set up so that you have to press the Back button and then choose the next image/note every time.

PDF Clipping

PDF clipping also isn't all that great. If you want to open a clipped PDF, you have to open the note first, then the PDF. When I clip a PDF, all of my written or highlighted notes in relation to it are made in the PDF itself, not in a word processor window that lists the file as an attachment.


Ideally, viewing a PDF note should be like viewing a regular, typed Evernote note, minus the ability to edit the text. Maybe that means an option to import a PDF such that it can be reformatted to the best view for the current device screen.

List Making

It's been discussed for years now: bullet list support, the crux of note-taking, is pretty terrible in Evernote. To name a few gripes — indentation is unpredictable, you can't have double or special spacing between bullets, and there is no support for multiple bullet levels.


Audio Notes

Audio notes are so compressed that I have often found mine to be close to unusable. It's great that uploading space is saved from compression, but it goes too far for my uses, and there is no option to control audio quality. For my purposes especially, which often involve recording live music and spoken voice, that extreme loss of quality just doesn't cut it.


Instead of Evernote, I find myself just using iOS's Voice Memos as my audio-note-taking app. It's quicker, higher quality, and all of my audio notes — which are usually in the same category or similar anyway — are in one easy list that I can access with one tap. It doesn't sync wirelessly, though, which drives me crazy. (I am considering DropVox).

Evernote Premium Restriction

(This one isn't deterring me from using Evernote every day, but it is something that prevents me from utilizing it's full potential.) Even if I had the option of higher quality recordings with a premium membership, it wouldn't necessarily be all that useful, because Evernote Premium only gives you 1GB of uploading space. [EDIT: My bad, thanks for clearing this up, you guys. I do understand that it's 1GB *per month* as opposed to Dropbox, which is overall capacity based. I still think Dropbox is a way better deal, though.] Not to sound stingy, but if someone is going to pay for a service, it shouldn't still be so restrictive. (I am aware you can buy another GB once you're reaching the max, but it's not worth it to me — I would just buy Dropbox Premium, which offers literally 100 times the size Evernote Premium offers, for the same price as buying that one extra GB).


General App Format

I'm not sure what it is about the program, but I just can't seem to get used to the way it displays everything. The new update for iOS 7 looks so beautiful, but I still find myself glazing over all the information on the screen, wondering what I'm supposed to be looking for or doing.


Another huge reason I don't automatically open up Evernote to take notes is that the app, especially the Desktop version, is more "heavy-weight" than light-weight. I think that's why I barely open Wunderlist, as well, but I do constantly open nvALT/Simplenote.

The things listed above are the most common and important types of notes in my Evernote database — and they are all inconvenient to use. All of that to say, I just listed things that make me not gravitate toward Evernote. I'm not highlighting all the good stuff that the app has to offer, which I think is a lot. If it all works great in your experience, then I say good on you!


I'm not going to completely get rid of Evernote, but I am going to accept that it's just not the productivity app for me. I'll keep utilizing Dropbox and nvALT/Simplenote as my main productivity apps.

Comment with your good/bad experiences with Evernote.

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