Sorry, that headline is a bit of a geek joke. Let’s start again.
Something that many people have been asking for is better text editing, clipping and cut-and-paste support in Evernote. One of the issues was the way notes were stored in Evernote; basically we converted the note structure into something very similar to HTML 1.0. This guaranteed consistent performance across multiple devices but at the cost of making everything look like a web page from 1997. Last week, we fixed that through a coordinated upgrade to our back-end servers as well as our Windows, Web and Mac versions.
You’ll see the difference in the latest Windows (v3.5.3) and Mac (v1.8.1) versions. Editing notes feels more natural and you have better control over fonts, colors and alignment. Cutting and pasting from another program to Evernote works better and, in most cases, clipped pages keep more of their formatting: they retain their fonts, columns, and more precise page layout.
Sometimes this isn’t exactly what you want, so we’ve also added a “Simplify formatting” option under the Format menu in our desktop versions, which removes all that new-fangled web stuff and leaves you with a simplified document that may be easier to edit in more places, including on mobile devices. Here are a couple of examples showing the new looks.
Copy and paste with styles
As you can see, Evernote did a pretty good job of getting the fonts and colors. If you look extra close, you’ll notice that a couple of the fonts didn’t make it over. This can happen. Things aren’t perfect yet, but we’re getting there.
Before and after: Web clipping
Here, the clip went from unstructured text, to multiple columns with images, fonts and styles almost identical to the original webpage. Here’s a link to the original for comparison.
A few notes on web clipping
Web clipping results may vary depending on a number of things, including the site you’re clipping from, your browser, operating system, and other factors. The Evernote Web Clipper you use also plays a role in determining the quality of the clip. For the time being, the Firefox add-on and the Clip to Evernote bookmarklet are the only clipping options that do not benefit from all the new features. If you use either of these methods, then your clips will look slightly better than they did before. Those using the recently updated Chrome Extension, will see improved results.
As a rule of thumb, to get the best clipping performance you should select just the section of a web page that you care about before you clip. This avoids having to deal with the margins, ads, navigation, and other stuff that clutters up your clip. If, on the other had, you want to capture exactly what a web page looks like, try clipping the page as a PDF (on Mac, Shift+Click on the Safari Clipper button or “Print to Evernote” in any Mac browser) or a screen shot (Mac or Windows). Remember that both options be searchable thanks to our image recognition technology.
How will this look on mobile devices?
Mobile devices are covered, as well; all existing mobile versions of Evernote are able to display the new note formats (to the best of their hardware’s abilities, of course). We snuck that in a while ago in preparation for this release.
More to come
As exciting as this upgrade is, its only the first step. Today, you’ll find that it’s easier to create nice looking notes whether you write them yourself or grab them from the web, email, paste them from other applications. Now that we’ve fundamentally improved Evernote’s underlying note structure, we’ll be able to add a host of new features like highlighting, annotation, templates, better tables and lists, and more formatting options. We’ll be busy for a while…