Joplin is SO superior to Evernote

After 11 years, I got pushed away by Evernote. I have fond memories, but now it's time to move on. So here go my findings as a new user to the app, but seasoned in the note taking genre. I've been using Joplin for just a few days now. After a difficult import, I moved my workflow to it. The impressions are undeniable:

  1. The markdown. Notes are stored in markdown and in markdown they're rendered on the right side. There is no rich-text format conflict and, for a note taking app, this is more than sufficient. Formatting is more about presentation, which is not Joplin's main goal. Formatting also leads to inconsistency. Future proofing and freedom from vendor lock-in are significant.
  2. The organization. The sqlite database appears to be well-schemed. It powers up the search function.
  3. The responsiveness. The latest Evernote desktop apps are bloated and, for the sake of 'modern' functionality, it led to performance issues on my PC, which is older, beating the very point of being productive. A note taking app should be suited for note taking and note fetching. Like a pen should have good ink and minimal friction, not an attached led light because I won't be writing much in the dark.
  4. The customizability. The userchrome.css, although I'm far away from mastering the selectors and supported properties, allows me to have the app be as readable as it can be. I'm resting assured I will likely have any shortcomings served by the plugin ecosystem, despite me not having tested them yet.
  5. The price. Zero. Oh yes, I already subscribe to a CSP, so paying Evernote no longer makes sense.
  6. The privacy. I already have a major company to worry about peeking inside my data, so I guess I don't need employes of a second one doing it for the sake of “enhancing AI functionality”. The encryption, albeit not thoroughly tested by me, seems promising.
  7. The hierarchy. Evernote does not allow any level above "stacks of notebooks".
  8. Being open source. Most regular Joes don't really care about this, but it is a plus. Especially for an app that deals with sensitive information.

I hope someday the apparent shortcomings can be addressed; some seem feasable, some not; but as you can see they're all circumstantial, not dealbreakers (maybe just the first?):

  1. The synchronization issue. It takes too long to sync for the first time, and even after the bulk of it is on the second device, a note updated from there seems to take longer than expected to show up in the first.
  2. Some settings appear to require the app to restart in order to take place, and there is not a 'restart' function. It would streamline if there is a 'restart app' functionality. Or even better: have all settings apply immediately!
  3. There is no set of global keyboard shortcuts to quickly create a new note, for instance. If the app is minimised to the system tray, we have to use the mouse.
  4. There is no easy way to sort notes alphabetically. This is more important than people think.
  5. There is no indicator, on the note pane (= all the portion to the right of the notes list) to which notebook the current note belongs. Sometimes we get lost, and the notebook on the leftmost list is off-screen. Maybe those breadcrumbs could come handy here!
  6. The note attachments window, not present in the competition, is actually not helpful when it comes to untitled attachments. There is only a size and an id, so the presence of the "delete" button is a liability because you don't know what they are.
  7. Lack of a favourites section. We could add our most accessed notes to that small club!
  8. Possibility of database corruption — that one I just heard, but fortunately never saw it happen to me with sqlite single-file databases. Please tell me I'm overworried!
  9. The scrollbar follows this terrible 'thinner, minimalist trend', which is actually more difficult to hit. Maybe there is a way to widen it with the userchrome.css?

I hope I enjoy using it! All glasses raised to Laurent!


Thanks for a reasonable summary of your impressions. I'm so tired of Evernote users complaining here that it's not the exact same app at no cost.


On the desktop it could be solved with Favorites Plugin

Or do you mean with a short cut?

Yes only in the all notebooks section or after a search.

I would say it only happens if it is handled incorrectly, changing the cli app to the directory of the desktop app or starting two instances with the same db (which is not possible for exactly this reason).
But just make backups, e.g. with the backup plugin

I think this is possible with userchrome.css.

::-webkit-scrollbar {
    width: 20px;

There is no indicator, on the note pane (= all the portion to the right of the notes list) to which notebook the current note belongs. Sometimes we get lost, and the notebook on the leftmost list is off-screen. Maybe those breadcrumbs could come handy here!

^ this is directly above the note, so it's to the right of the notes list. I think it's part of the Note Tabs plugin (been so long since I installed that - absolute must have plugin (along with Favorites and Backup plugins that Jack mentioned) - that I don't remember if this is a feature of that plugin).

As a former Evernote user for the better part of a decade, I agree, Joplin is better in many respects. Wait until you start taking advantage of the plugins - you will have features that were requested by EN users for years, but only fell on deaf ears at EN.

Oh, and since you're coming from EN, you might want to check out the Evernote links replacer plugin: New Plugin for users coming from Evernote ! :)


I agree, but I think that the lack of colour contrast is the bigger problem when it comes to the scrollbar. Its default grey is almost indistinguishable from the black it's designed to contrast with.


@MoriarT3a Evernote users don't know what they're missing.

@JackGruber I can't believe I overlooked the Favorites plugin. Thanks!
As for the sorting notes by title, I feel so dumb. Thanks twice!
About the notebook indicator, yes I noticed that. The "in: _Quick" is handy when visible!
Database corruption: I'm calmer now. And the backup plugin is already on.
The scrollbar CSS: it works! But only on the source (edit) pane. Do you know the element for the rendered markdown pane?

@jb261 Like JackGruber said, that's only visible after a search or on the all notes view. And it's blue, isn't it? Are you sure we're talking about the same thing?
About the links converter: good to know!
Plugins: I've been trying them for the last two or three days. They're amazing so far.

@former_evernotist I think part of the money we paid went to UX focused teams, maybe? Not that they got it right all the time. Readability, legibility, visibility and usability are important!

I was with Evernote for 12 years. Thank you for listing your impressions! I basically agree, and I hope they encourage someone to move to Joplin, too.

A slightly different view on price. I agree it is nice to have a free option. On the other hand, I am happy to pay a reasonable price for a service that I want continued. I went for Jopin Cloud, though I admit it is a lot because I want to use the email to note function. There would be different opinions on what is "reasonable", so I understand there would be different views on this.

One thing I miss about Evernote is the tagging functionality, where there were hierarchical / nested tags, and case differentiation. There seems to have been a lot of discussion about these in this forum. But these I have learnt to live without.


No, it's grey. This is a feature in the Note Tabs plugin: Plugin: Note Tabs

I think this plugin will resolve this issue for you, as well as resolve an issue you didn't even mention since it's super convenient to be able to pin notes you're working on, separately from Favorites. E.g., I use Favorites for notes I always want to have close at hand, but I use Note Tabs to pin notes related to whatever project/multi-faceted tasks I'm currently working on; these get swapped out as one project is completed and another project started.

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You can't sort search results; maybe that's what you saw. (Also, Joplin, please let us sort search results!)

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One thing I miss about Evernote is the tagging functionality, where there were hierarchical / nested tags, and case differentiation. There seems to have been a lot of discussion about these in this forum. But these I have learnt to live without.

Ah yes, I forgot to mention that. Also, Evernote had a nice, all-screen view of tags, so we didn't need to view them in the narrow left-side list.

Ah, nice! I'll take a look into that plugin.

No, I actually meant the regular notes list. But of course it would be absolutely handy to have search results sorted too.

A PR for this feature was not accepted.

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Well, the man said it. It's for another day then.

Yes, I saw. No, I don't agree with that decision. However, I've found that by starting my note titles with YYYY-MM-DD, the search results are mostly in the correct order, and that's good enough for me for now.

@JackGruber speaking of, remember the CSS on the scrollbar above?

::-webkit-scrollbar {
    width: 12px;

Look, it only applies to one pane:

Do you know the selector for the rendered markdown pane?

Add it also to the userstyle.css

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IMHO both Favourites and Note Tabs should be part of the core functionality of the app. For new users coming from Evernote, OneNote and the like, it's not always easy to understand the plugin system (which can pose a security risk as well).

AFAIK some plugins are going to be integrated in the main code of the app: Thumbs up for this - and let's hope it's materializing soon.


I currently have 19 plugins installed, and I consider both Favorites and Note Tabs to be must-haves, so I agree that these should be incorporated into core Joplin.

That said, there are plenty of others that I also think should be incorporated into core Joplin: Automatic Backlinks, Folding in Code Mirror Editor, Hotfolder, Note Overview, Outline, Quick Links, Simple Backup.

There are others that are must-have for my use case, but I think the above are universal must-haves for everyone - though not all Joplin users may have realized those are must-haves!

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One thing to mention regarding search is that our implementation of BM25 was buggy and I'm not sure it was sorting anything at all. It's been fixed in recent version.

What I'd like to investigate next is how much weight it's giving to more recent notes versus older ones.


Buggy or not, I think the user should decide how he wants his search results to be sorted and not some algorithm that may or may not work.


It's the old debate - adding more options may be more user friendly but it also makes the app harder to maintain (and for having refactored the search engine recently, I'm glad there wasn't more complexity).

Also when we add this kind of options as workaround for bugs, it means there's no incentive to actually fix the bugs, and I'd rather just get things working even it may take a bit more time.