Evernote Importer: TXT OR RTF FILES

Moving your data from one program to another rarely goes according to plan. (It’s right up there with Moore’s Law as a “techie true-ism”!)

So recently, I’ve been hearing that some new Evernote users who are trying to get their notes in from other note-taking programs are having a hard time getting their exported TXT or RTF files to format correctly inside of Evernote.

Import/Export is one of the spots where Evernote still lags behind the competition — but maybe we can find a way to improve the current situation ourselves…

Features

  • This AppleScript-based app takes advantage of the fact that Evernote is much better at working with HTML files than text or rich text. Once you have selected the files that you want to import, the app will convert them into HTML format and then batch import them into your default Evernote notebook.
  • If you have GROWL installed, the app will notify you when the import is complete.

Current Limitations and Open Issues

(Otherwise known as “Places Where You Could Help Out!”)

  • Works only with RTF and Text files currently;
  • No tagging or notebook selection currently enabled (I will add it if enough people want this!)
  • Errors that will undoubtedly arise when you do something that I didn’t think of or test for! 😉

How to Install and Use

Just double-click on the app’s icon to run and select the files you’d like to import!

If you’re importing a lot of items, I’d recommend that you change a few settings inside Evernote before beginning the import. In the “Clipping” tab of the Preferences menu, uncheck the boxes in the section called “After a clip:”

disable windows
If the boxes are checked while importing a large number of items, Evernote will fill your screen with open windows and sound like it is repeatedly shooting you with a laser from a 70’s Sci-Fi movie. Trust me — uncheck the boxes first and you’ll be much happier! ;)

Change Log:

  • 1.03      May 25, 2010           REMOVAL OF VALIDATION ROUTINE
  • 1.02      February 19, 2010    UNDERLINING FIXED
  • 1.01      February 7, 2010      ADDITIONAL TUNING
  • 1.00      February 6, 2010      INITIAL RELEASE

Please remember:

  1. My scripts, services, and apps are being provided for the benefit of the Mac community. While they work wonderfully for me, I cannot take responsibility for any data you might lose (or if it turns your laptop into a wild-eyed, file importing lunatic…);
  2. “Community” means “participation”. Please share with the rest of us *how* you use these scripts in your workflow, how you think they could be improved (and feel free to help someone if they don’t understand something!)

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

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Click Here To Submit Your Bug Report!

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37 Responses to “Evernote Importer: TXT OR RTF FILES”

  1. Scott Rose February 6, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

    Wow, Justin! This is so cool of you! What a wonderful Mac developer and Mac community member you are!

    I tried running this and it did indeed bring my RTF notes into Evernote (sweet!)… but unfortunately, it actually ADDED extra carriage returns wherever there were blank lines. Oh wait, no, it looks like it’s not extra carriage returns but actually one GIGANTIC blank line wherever there is supposed to be a blank line.

    Hmmm… if only Evernote had find/replace functionality, perhaps I could fix this in Evernote. It seems like they need to do a lot of work on Evernote still, especially for Mac users!

    Thanks again, Justin!

    • Justin February 7, 2010 at 12:01 am #

      Hey Scott — Maybe you could send me a sample file to help me figure out what is happening?

      If you’re interested, use the contact form to get in touch and we’ll coordinate from there!

      • Scott Rose February 18, 2010 at 11:14 pm #

        Thanks again, Justin, for this great app! I noticed a few more minor problems with it:
        – Underlined words in a RTF file come in non-underlined in Evernote.
        – If you don’t have Growl installed, it always asks to find GrowlHelperApp at the end of the import.

        • Justin February 19, 2010 at 12:04 am #

          Hi Scott,

          I think the underlining issue is fixed now… give it a whirl!

          I wasn’t able to reproduce the GROWL error. Anyone else out there *WITHOUT GROWL INSTALLED* having the same issue?

    • Robert August 16, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

      Does the “adding carriage returns” problem have a solution? I am having the same problem. I create a note on my Droid, e.g.
      Shopping:
      eggs
      silk vanilla almond milk

      I then open the note on windows xp laptop and add an item, e.g.
      Shopping:
      eggs
      silk vanilla almond milk
      rice dream chocolate bar

      When I open the list again on my Droid, I get:
      Shopping:

      eggs

      silk vanilla almond milk

      rice dream chocolate bar

      If I open it in windows again, save, and reopen on my Droid, I get:

      Shopping:

      eggs

      silk vanilla almond milk

      rice dream chocolate bar

      For some reason, evernote is taking one carriage return saved from the windows xp platform and converting it into two carriage returns in the Android platform.

      • Robert August 16, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

        PS: The website cleaned that last list. It was supposed to have double carriage returns. I’ll add dots to force the formatting to show correctly.
        Does the “adding carriage returns” problem have a solution? I am having the same problem. I create a note on my Droid, e.g.
        Shopping:
        eggs
        silk vanilla almond milk

        I then open the note on windows xp laptop and add an item, e.g.
        Shopping:
        eggs
        silk vanilla almond milk
        rice dream chocolate bar

        When I open the list again on my Droid, I get:
        Shopping:

        eggs

        silk vanilla almond milk

        rice dream chocolate bar

        If I open it in windows again, save, and reopen on my Droid, I get:
        .
        Shopping:
        .
        .
        eggs
        .
        .
        silk vanilla almond milk
        .
        .
        rice dream chocolate bar
        .
        .
        For some reason, evernote is taking one carriage return saved from the windows xp platform and converting it into two carriage returns in the Android platform.

        • Justin Lancy August 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

          Hi Robert,

          Making things look and work the same across platforms, screen sizes, web browsers, etc. is a pretty tough thing to pull off, isn’t it?

          I’m sorry to say that I don’t have any definitive answers… and, since the workflow you’re describing isn’t passing through a Mac at any point, my AppleScript probably isn’t going to be of much help to you. That said — I know the Evernote team is very interested in the Android platform and would probably take great interest in fixing this issue!

          My suggestion would be to fill out a bug report on their website and backstop it with a post in the Evernote Android forum.

          Wishing you good luck and, if you discover anything about this issue, please let the rest of us know!

          • Robert August 16, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

            Thank you for your reply, Justin. I may have to give in and buy a Mac. 🙂

  2. Jon April 5, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    For some reason it’s not letting me select any RTF or TXT files in the dialog that pops up. They’re all grayed out…

    • Justin April 5, 2010 at 11:16 am #

      Hi Jon:

      That’s really odd — It’s only supposed to “grey out” any files that aren’t RTF or TXT files….

      • What version of OS X are you using?
      • The files in question end with .txt and .rtf extensions?
      • Jon April 11, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

        Hey,

        Sorry, for some reason the forum didn’t notify me that there was a response even though I told it to…

        Yeah, I know, it is strange that it’s graying them out. The files all have .rtf extensions. And I’m running Leopard.

        In the meantime I’m using an Automator action I found that works pretty well, but it doesn’t keep ALL the formatting of the RTF (like alignment). If I have time, I’ll try it on my other Mac and report back to you, but the Automator action is working pretty well for me at this point. Thanks.

        Jon

        • Christian Villum May 16, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

          Hi Jon,

          could you perhaps explain how you use Automator to do this?
          (have the same problem as you: rtf-files are greyed out)

          Thanks,
          Christian

          • Justin Lancy May 17, 2010 at 1:04 am #

            Christian,

            Just to zero in on what’s happening — are they plain RTF files or are they RTFD files? Are TXT files selectable?

            Best,
            Justin

          • Christian Villum May 17, 2010 at 3:06 am #

            (cannot reply to your most recent post – the reply button does not work? See screen shot here.)

            The files I am trying to convert are plain RTF-files. But the problem also goes for TXT-files. See screen shot here.

            Thanks for taking the time to help out 🙂

            -Christian

  3. Ryan Graves April 21, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

    HUGE PROPS!

    I’m going to be doing a write up on the evernote import process and will be sending links. Thanks so much for building such an elegant solution!

    Cheers,
    Ryan

    • Justin April 23, 2010 at 10:29 am #

      Thanks Ryan — I appreciated your post!

  4. Justin Lancy May 22, 2010 at 10:16 pm #

    Christian,

    Seems like — between the script and the site — you’re my #1 Bug Detector these days! 😉

    What I’ll probably end up doing for now is removing the detection script and just let people pick whatever they want until I can sort it out. I thought it would be better to have it validate files a bit, but looks like that portion of the code needs work.

    Should you ever have any trouble with the comment thread, you can use the new Bug Report form to send info, screenshots, etc. to me….

    I’ll follow up again here once the patched version goes live!
    I also now ha

    • Christian Villum May 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

      Honored to be your #1 bug detector 😉

      Sounds great, look forward to the non-file format detection version.

      Also, let me use this occasion to thank you for spending time developing (and improving) tools like this and for making it available for free for people like me to use. It shows the power of the www!

      • Justin Lancy May 25, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

        Okay — In lieu of an award for your bug detecting, I present you with version 1.03 which removes the validation subroutine.

        I hope it works well for you but, if I’ve inadvertently created a bug by ripping it out, I can rest easy knowing that you will find it for me! 😉

        Thanks for the kind words, Christian…. and enjoy!

        • Christian Villum May 26, 2010 at 6:36 am #

          Wonderful, works like a charm now. Huge thanks!

  5. Esther Newton August 26, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

    I am not particularly web savvy and have only had a mac for a year, but your app worked great and I finally got my notes from another program into Evernote where I can sync it with my iphone and ipad. Thank you very much.

    • Justin Lancy August 27, 2010 at 12:40 am #

      Great news, Esther!

      I’m so happy that you are finding out more about your Mac… At the rate you’re going, I expect to be downloading **your** app by this time next year! 😉

  6. m0wry January 9, 2011 at 6:05 am #

    great script. thx for sharing!

  7. Nic April 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    I am migrating from SOHO Notes to Evernote. SOHO RTF export files have their creation and modifications dates set the dates of the notes. I would like to have the notes imported into Evernote have their dates set to the original note dates

    • Justin Lancy April 12, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

      Nic,

      I’ve added the source code for this app to the Code Library — you can view it here… and customize it to your heart’s content!

      Be sure to post your modifications on the source code page so that others can benefit from your additions.

  8. Mark Whipple June 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    Nice utility. I used it to import text files that I had exported from Mark/Space Notebook. I did not want the extension included as part of the note title in Evernote, so I added the following line of code to your script:

    set thefileName to text 1 thru ((offset of "." in thefileName) - 1) of thefileName

    This code was placed immediately after your line:

    set thefileName to the name of exportedFile

    Worked great. Thanks again!

  9. Rilan July 10, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    I have not yet downloaded the app because I currently don’t have a mac (although I’m planning to get one) and I’m still trying to decide what software I will use to archive 5 years worth of documents. I just have a few questions.

    In the future, will there be a version of it that is able to import Microsoft Works and Microsoft Word files? I have thousands of these files that I want to put into one Evernote archive.

    You know how each note in Evernote has a date that it was created and you can sort them chronologically? Will the date created carry over with the file so that the files from…let’s say 2008…won’t appear at the top with all the current stuff?

  10. VJ Anomolee September 5, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    Really wish this script would work!
    I get documents all the time (.rtf) that I would love to keep the formatting the same inside of evernote.
    I know i could just export out a pdf and throw that into Evernote… But i don’t want that extra step when viewing it…
    I have tested it on Lion and SnowLeopard on my MacbookPro…
    Any chance for an update that works?!?!

    • Justin Lancy September 5, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

      It doesn’t work at all — or is the formatting “off”?

      (Script still runs for me on OS X 10.7.1)

  11. oliver April 12, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    hey, I already found more than one very helpful AppleScript here. thanks + kudos for that!

    seeing this great applescript I wonder:
    could the ability to copy (OpenMeta) tags from DevonThink files into the Evernote-note (like in another script here) be replicated here?
    … searched for ways to achieve this, but after some days I gave up…

    thanks already for hints.

    • Justin Lancy April 13, 2012 at 12:52 am #

      Hi Oliver — Glad you’re enjoying the AppleScripts here!

      RE: OpenMeta tags. If enough people express an interest in this, I’ll certainly take a look and see if it’s achievable.

      • oliver April 13, 2012 at 6:24 am #

        thanks Justin – appreciated!
        then I circumvent (with the Deon-script shich ‘does the job’, though indirectly) and wait and see. 🙂

        … just to make a ‘community case’ – looking for a solution and trying to sample something out of what I can find on the net (as I am not script-savy myself) I found that a lot of people actually strive for OpenMeta-support for EV in general – probably with cases like this in mind.
        e.g. http://bit.ly/If17iL
        in case there should be a script I would certainly post it there too…

        best + thanks
        oliver

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