As I’ve talked about in the past, I use Evernote as an “everything else box” in my thought capture workflow. On a regular basis, I process my Evernote inbox to zero and do stuff with the notes in it. If I want to turn a note into a blog post, it goes into Notational Velocity, my Markdown editor of choice.

It’s super easy to get stuff into Evernote. Getting stuff out, not so much. You can export notebooks and individual notes in HTML, but I don’t care much for HTML unless I’m ready to publish it. I prefer to work with text.

If you already have the ingredients below and like keyboard shortcuts, I think you’ll find that this is a pretty quick process for freeing your text-based ideas from Evernote’s self-contained incubator so they can mature in Notational Velocity / Simplenote land.

This is basically just a copy/paste workflow, but I think it illustrates how fast you can transfer text using your keyboard and the right tools.

A recipe for moving text from Evernote to Notational Velocity



  1. Go to the text note you want to copy out of Evernote.
  2. Copy text you want in the note body, then copy the note title too without leaving Evernote. Use shortcuts like Command-A and Command-C to move quickly.
  3. Invoke LaunchBar (Command-Space is what I use).
  4. Type NV to start/focus Notational Velocity.
  5. Make sure your cursor is in Notational Velocity’s note title line (Command-L), and then paste (Command-V). This should put the Evernote note title you just copied into the note title line in Notational Velocity.
  6. Press RETURN to move to the note pane in Notational Velocity.
  7. Press Command-\ to bring up LaunchBar’s clipboard history. Keep your finger on Command.
  8. With your finger on Command, use your arrow keys to go to the note text you copied. Release the keys to copy the text right into Notational Velocity.

I know this isn't the most elegant solution for moving text form Evernote to Notational Velocity, but it works. It also goes really quickly once you get the hang of it. For me, it works well because I like to  digest my Evernote inbox items one at a time. It's like a filtering step that keeps junk out of Notational Velocity, where I try to raise my better thoughts.

I’m also tinkering with a few other, more automated ways of transferring notes from Evernote to text files, but I haven’t polished them enough. If you've got a way you like, share it in the comments.