Pulling the ripcord on Google Keep

After consolidating my assorted online notes to Google Keep at the very beginning of this year and working with it for all of 2020, I finally decided to concede defeat and accept that I kind of hate it as a tool.

Between the horse-y way it presents your note collection as large, asymmetrical blocks and the fact that the note editor doesn’t provide even basic formatting options, it simply wasn’t doing the trick for me.

So, after deciding to commit to Evernote (I tool that I used to use erratically a number of years back), I set out to figure out how to move all of my Keep notes to it.

While Evernote doesn’t have a direct “import from Google Keep” function built-in, they DO provide basic instructions. And, by ‘basic’ I mean ‘useless.’

A bit of digging reveals that Evernote can import files in .enex (Evernote XML) format so, if you can get your exported notes into that then you’re in business.

Fortunately, some clever bugger has already figured out how to do this specifically for Google Keep exports: Charles Roberto Canato has posted a Python script to GitLab that handles this for you.

The instructions are a little incomplete so, for those of you who might need some extra pointers:

  1. This script will require you to first unzip the file you download from Google Takeout
  2. The version of python bundled with my clean install of macOS 10.11 “Big Sur” didn’t include the parsedatetime module, so run sudo python3 -m pip install parsedatetime to resolve that
  3. I found that the script didn’t produce an .enex file unless you explicitly specify an output file, despite the fact that Step 4a in the script’s README.md file says this is optional

Evernote did an excellent job of importing all of my notes (including the tags I’d assigned them in Keep) so, from there, it’s just a matter of spending some time setting up appropriate notebooks (don’t miss the ability to “stack” notebooks into categories!) and then shuffle your notes around as necessary!

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