Yojimbo vs Together vs Evernote: a review

I have been trying to choose an information collector and organiser for the last few weeks. There are quite a few available for the Mac and I thought I would write about how I came to my final decision.

What exactly is an information organiser? Basically it is an application that can collect and store pieces of information as notes. Little bits of text, web page archives, snippets from a web page, photos, PDFs, all sorts. These applications are enormously versatile with as many uses as there are users.

What do I need it to do?

I have three main uses.

  • I want to be able to store little snippets of text, such as a reference number for something I just bought online. The type of things I could write in a notebook but could more quickly add to the computer if I’m already sitting here.
  • I buy loads of stuff online. Almost everything except groceries. (And the only reason I don’t do that is because the service isn’t available where I live.) When I’m researching something I want to buy I want to keep track of all the items I’m considering. For example, last week we bought a new TV. (It’s not arrived yet but that’s a whole other story!) I looked at multiple websites comparing plasma and LCD, features and cost. I could have bookmarked each page (or kept multiple tabs open) but I would have ended up with a large number of pages, flipping back and forth all the time. Instead, it is much easier to save relevant snippets of each webpage (or sometimes an archive of the whole page). I want to be able to save web archives, with a link to the original page and have the ability to add my own comments.
  • I need to keep track of reading material I use for work. I read a number of online journals and websites and need to record and archive anything I have read – a mixture of web archives, bookmarks and PDFs. They need to be kept well organised – I have an annual appraisal where I have to present evidence of what I have read with comments that I may have added.

Features I consider important

  • Add a URL or web clipping with only one mouse click (or an easy keyboard shortcut)
  • Preview a web archive or PDF within the application
  • Tags for organisation
  • iPhone or web access (only necessary to access my reading material at work)

Having looked at a few applications I decided to trial Yojimbo from Bare Bones Software, Together from Reinvented Software and Evernote.

Yojimbo and Together are both fully fledged applications costing $39. Both have a free, fully functional demo. Yojimbo lasts for a generous 30 days, Together for 15 days. Ample time to fully evaluate both.

Evernote is a little different and is currently still in beta. It has a Mac and Windows desktop application that can be synced with a web version. It is free unless you want to add more than 40MB a month in which case it is $5 per month (or $45 a year). Total storage is unlimited.

Here’s how they fared.

Style

All three applications have an iTunes style source list with notes appearing to the right. Together and Evernote both look lovely but in my opinion Evernote is a little cleaner looking. Yojimbo is okay but a little dated looking (and it has a horrible icon!).

Creating notes

There are many ways to create web archives. All three applications have a bookmarklet that can be installed in your browser. Click the bookmarklet and a web archive of the page you are on is downloaded into the application. I found this worked perfectly with Yojimbo and Together. 

The Evernote bookmarklet works with the web version which will then sync with your desktop app. At the moment it is a little hit-or-miss. I found with websites with a lot of text and pictures such as Amazon or The Times it would tell me it couldn’t archive the whole page and asked me to select a portion.

Yojimbo and Together also allow you to drag a URL to their dock icon. Yojimbo has a tab at the side of the screen (the Drop Dock) you can drag a URL onto. Together has a very similar tab (the Shelf) that can also be dragged onto. Evernote should allow you to drag items onto its dock icon but I couldn’t get this to work.

It is also possible to save a highlighted selection of a webpage. Together and Evernote save these as web archives and therefore also save the URL and links (although saving of links in Evernote is erratic). Yojimbo saves a highlighted selection as a text note and the URL is not saved along with it although links work. The easiest way to save a highlighted selection is to copy and paste into the applications. Yojimbo does this using a keyboard shortcut. Click F5 to activate the Quick Entry panel and whatever is on the clipboard is already there waiting to be turned into a note. Together works a little differently. Copy to the clipboard, then click and hold the dock icon and select New From Clipboard. Evernote can paste directly into its desktop application by using the Paste to Evernote command from the Evernote Clipper icon in the menu bar.

Evernote has one more method of adding web pages. It can take screenshots, either the whole screen or just a selection via the Clipper icon. A nice idea but it wouldn’t save the URL of the source page for me.

PDFs are added to all three applications by simply dragging to the dock icon.

You can create simple text notes in all three applications. In Yojimbo just click F5. You can create a keyboard shortcut in Together to open the Shelf and add a note. These both work  no matter what application you are currently working in. Text notes in Evernote are created directly within the application.

Evernote also allows you to use your iSight camera to create notes. For example, you could take a photo of a receipt, business card or Post It note.

In summary:

Together is good at creating web archives of whole pages or a selected portion and saves the source URL. Yojimbo is good at whole page archives but fails with selected portions. Evernote is buggy but it is a work in progress and its problems are likely to resolved in time.

Viewing notes

Yojimbo saves whole page archives exactly as they appear in a browser. Highlighted selections are unformated. Together saves both whole and partial webpages as they appear in the original. Evernote saves web archives unformatted.

Evernote and Together easily allow you open a saved web archive in a browser. Yojimbo can open a whole page web archive in a browser. It is unable to do this with a partial clip as it has been saved as a text note without a URL.

PDFs can be viewed within all applications. Yojimbo and Together also allow you to open in Preview. To view an Evernote PDF in Preview you first have to click Print and then Preview – not ideal. You can also view PDFs in Preview. (I finally found how to do this in Evernote: double-click the PDF to open it and then control-click.) Together can show you where a file is saved. The other two can’t.

Together and Evernote can display all notes as thumbnails, although with web archives Evernote does this more consistently. Together can also display notes via its Shelf. Pressing spacebar opens a note with Quick Look. Double clicking opens in the appropriate application, e.g. Safari, Preview.

In summary:

Together shows web archives exactly as they should be. Yojimbo and Evernote don’t do so well. They all work well with PDFs.

Organising with tags

Adding tags is easy and intuitive with Yojimbo and Evernote. You just type into the tags area under the note’s title. In Together you need to click the info button first, followed by the tags button. Not so intuitive but once you know how it’s done it’s easy.

There doesn’t seem to be a way to show all the tags at once in Yojimbo except through Preferences. To view all notes with a particular tag you have to use the search box.

Together has two views – groups (analogous  to folders) or tags. The tags view shows all your tags in the source list on the left. You can click on a tag (or command click to select multiple tags) to show the associated notes. Evernote works like Together except both tags and notebooks (or folders) are both visible at all times. Both allow you to drag notes onto tags to add them.

In summary:

Tags implementation in Evernote can’t be faulted and is undoubtedly better than Yojimbo and Together. Once you know how to do it in Together it works pretty well. Although the initial adding of tags is easy in Yojimbo, actually working with them is clumsy. Tagging comes across as being an afterthought rather than an integral feature of the application.

iPhone or web access

Evernote has a web version that syncs with you desktop application. All your notes are accessible from any computer whether it’s a Mac or PC. The web application looks good and has much the same functionality as the desktop version (although it is a little buggy at present). It also has a mobile web version for using with an iPhone.

Yojimbo can sync with another Mac via .Mac (and will presumably work with MobileMe). It doesn’t come with web access. However, Webjimbo is an application that allows full access to your Yojimbo notes online or from an iPhone or iPod Touch. You can also add notes. It costs $30. (I haven’t actually tried this.)

Together can also sync with .Mac. It has no online or iPhone access and the developer has said it’s not something he’s working on. This is a great shame as it means I am unable to access my notes when at work (where I only have a PC and my iPhone).

In summary:

Evernote is the ultimate application for easy access to your notes at all times. Yojimbo has web access but at a cost ($69 total). Together is an absolute failure for me in terms of access away from home.

Search

Yojimbo and Together use Spotlight for search which usually works pretty well. Searching with tags is easy in Together and Evernote as all the tags are visible in the source list. With Yojimbo you have to remember what tags you have (unless you look them up in Preferences).

My experience is that Evernote has the most accurate search functionality. It also has a rather cool feature in that it can seach text within images or handwriting. This is done initially on the Evernote servers and then synced back to your Mac. It works well with text in images but struggles with my handwriting unless I’ve written in capitals.

In summary:

Search isn’t really an issue with any of the three but I felt it worked best in Evernote.

My final decision

Yojimbo was quickly ruled out. It seems dated and is lacking features. The final nail in the coffin was its inability to save the URL of web page snippets.

So it was between Together and Evernote. They both look good and are easy to use. I really can’t fault Together other than its lack of iPhone access. This means I can’t use it to store work reading material as I’m unable to access it at work.

Evernote has a number of small annoyances. However one has to remember it is not yet a completed product and I’m sure my criticisms of it will be dealt with by the time it is finally released. Evernote is my only option if I want online access to notes but it’s not good enough yet to have it as my sole information organiser.

So I’m using both. For short text notes and web research I’m using Together (which at £19 is a bargain). For storing work-related reading material (bookmarks, PDFs and web archives when they work) I’m using Evernote (which incredibly is free). In time I may end up using just one of them if their features improve but for now I’m happy working with both.

(Note: I tested Yojimbo 1.5.1, Together 2.1.4 and Evernote for Mac 1.1.1c Beta)

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58 Responses to “Yojimbo vs Together vs Evernote: a review”

  1. Brad Says:

    After a long search, I narrowed it to Evernote and Together, and recently decided on Evernote since it allows me to sync across Mac, Windows and the web or iPhone. Hard to beat that. I love the look of Together and really want to use it, but like an RSS reader I need it to be cross-platform.

    On your note about source url’s not making it to your notes, I think that only happens with a screenshot (v. pasting your clipboard). Source url’s work for me when I copy an image to my clipboard then return to the page I want to copy (if necessary) and select Paste to Evernote.

  2. Rachel Murphy Says:

    Hi Brad. I find the saving of source URLs to be hit and miss. If I copy and paste text and/or an image the URL is usually saved along with it but not always. Of course, you can manually add a URL to note, turning it into a two step process which is a bit of a pain.

    I just downloaded version 1.1.2 but unfortunately none of these problems have been fixed yet. Hopefully it won’t be long.

  3. Reinvented Blog » Blog Archive » Together Compared Says:

    […] Yojimbo vs Together vs Evernote: a review by Rachel Murphy, whose blog includes a number of thoughtful posts on Mac software. […]

  4. Sergio Says:

    I’ve read your review, and I find it very incomplete. You lacked to review a lot of very important factors concerning information management software in the Mac platform.

    First, is robustness : Unlike you said, Yojimbo doesn’t use Spotlight for searching. It uses its own index and search engine (internally) and it’s almost ten times faster than Spotlight. Together uses the Spotlight index, so the search is slow and inaccurate. Spotlight index can also be corrupted, and that will unable you to search with applications that use Spotlight for search. When your library goes over the 1000 items, you are going to begin caring about the speed of search.

    Second, is moving data. The biggest complain with Evernote, is that it doesn’t let you export your data in a transparent manner. In Yojimbo and Together, you can just simply drag-and-drop an item to the Finder to be exported integrally. You can also export your entire library (Together doesn’t need this because it doesn’t include the files into de database). Most users have complained to Evernote because the application lacks a way to export data.

    Third, is backup (time machine). Yojimbo has a unique library that is taken as a single file by Time Machine. It is backed up every single time you modify your database, so your TM disk will become full very fast. That’s a drawback for Yojimbo.

  5. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Sergio Thank you for feedback. It’s always useful to have negative as well as positive comments. I wrote this not as a full review but purely from my own perspective. As I was testing each application I made notes for myself to help me decide which I should choose. I thought converting my notes to a blog post could be helpful for others.

    In reply to your first comment, the Yojimbo website states it uses Spotlight. http://www.barebones.com/products/Yojimbo/ Half way down the page, under Yojimbo highlights, “Instant Spotlight search”.

    Your second point, moving data. I must confess, this isn’t something I considered. Hopefully Evernote will deal with this in future updates.

    Your third point, backup. Again not something I had looked into. Yojimbo’s method with Time Machine certainly doesn’t sound ideal.

  6. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @EduccilkRuido Thanks for reading!

  7. Choosing Evernote « Setting Contexts Says:

    […] hearing about Evernote. CC Chapman has a great write up here and Rachael Murphy’s has one here. But I was really trying to keep away – I didn’t want to interrupt my workflow with another […]

  8. CLP Says:

    @Rachel: Thanks for your reviews. Very helpful overall. I was surprised to see no mention of EagleFiler in this context. I’ve been using it for a few months now and it seems to offer most of the functionality everyone is looking for. However, I don’t think it offers any specific tools for iPhone access. Not a problem for me, but maybe for others.

    However, it works quite nicely with Time Machine and disk cloning software because everything is stored in a standard folder, not a proprietary database. Folder syncing software can also be used as long as its library file has only be modified on one of the computers or folders being synced.

  9. Rachel Murphy Says:

    I must admit I never considered EagleFiler. It doesn’t seem to have as high a profile as the others. I’ve had a quick glance at it now and it looks rather good. I like that it stores everything in Finder format. It does lack the ubiquity that Evernote has but would seem to be a good competitor to Together. If I ever get fed up with Together I’ll probably give EagleFiler a look.

  10. DrCris Says:

    This is an interesting review, as I have recently looked through the same programs. I use Evernote for all my brief notes, and I love that I can view notes from any place.

    However, PDFs and documents that are on my hard drive are all included in Together. I include all my work, study, writing, family and craft stuff together in one place. They are much easier to find, and I don’t worry about fiddling with Folders in Finder.

    I found Eaglefiler was a slightly light-weight version of Together, so I didn’t continue with it.

    So I think that Evernote replaces stickies, or Notebook rather than Together. Together replaces Finder!

  11. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @DrCris: “Evernote replaces stickies…Together replaces Finder”- couldn’t have put it better myself!

    I have found another really useful way of using Evernote that I’ll blog about next week.

  12. dave Says:

    Strange, I find yojimbo much better looking than evernote (except for the icon, which I agree, is terrible).

    The only thing I find appealing in evernote is the web client. It felt unpolished and buggy. And while you said it’s a work in progress, well, they all are.

  13. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @dave: Evernote’s online syncing is certainly its best feature and its iPhone app makes it even more useful. It’s not a buggy now as when I first looked at it (for example, dragging URLs to the dock icon now works properly) but there are still additional features I’d like to see.

  14. im user Says:

    I decided to use Together also because of you review.
    Still, if Together could download entire sites not only pages it would be even more a right choice for me.

    I would find iPhone or online app as a Togethers companion veeery helpful but I can wait.

    And more fullscreen preview options.

  15. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @im user: I would just love it if Together had a web and iPhone version. It would completely replace Evernote for me then. It would be a lot easier for me to only have one application but as neither Together nor Evernote are perfect I’ll have to keep using both.

  16. Patte Says:

    I also vote for a Together iPhone application.

    comment: I haven’t read all the comments, but the main annoyance of Evernote for me is the following hard fact:

    I can’t drag and drop most of my stuff out of Evernote. It’s like a data prison.

  17. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Patte: “I can’t drag and drop most of my stuff out of Evernote.” This is now my biggest complaint against Evernote. PDFs can be exported (control-click the PDF when it is open and choose Save PDF as…), text and images have to be copy and pasted. But drag and drop would be so much easier. You can drag in. Why not out again?

  18. MacBliss Says:

    Thanks. Good Review.

    From my experience, Together doesn’t seem to perform with larger libraries right now, which may be another factor for others to consider. I am finding I have to break up my main library which only contacts 3500 files, as performance has slowed to downright unusable. Luckily it has multiple library support, but you currently can’t view more than one at time. To his credit, the developer posted an alternative and faster way to switch Libraries on his forums.

    EagleFiler has the ability to open multiple libraries at once — which is a nice plus, plus it’s clipping manager seems to be most clever — in that you can choose which library to place your clipping into.

    In reply to DrCris’s comment about EagleFiler being a “lightweight version of Together” it seems to me the other way around. Although I do not use EagleFiler right now — only tried the demo — it just feels more scalable to me — especially since it can archive your mail.

    Together includes one major ability that EagleFiler, Yojimbo or Evernote have — like the ability to copy or alias any file type on your Mac — not just PDFs or Text/RTF/D files or images.
    It would be nice if it could be a Finder replacement — but without the ability to handle at least moderately large libraries with ease, it really can’t.

    Also it doesn’t seem to do well with clippings of just some text on web pages unless you are using Safari. For example, it can’t create web archives of selected text in Camino or Firefox, which means it can’t capture url of the page. But upon testing, nor does EagleFiler. I think this only works with webkit browswes, like Safari or OmniWeb.

    Also one other software that wasn’t mentioned, is Journler — which could be considered a worthy alternative to any of the above. I think the developer is planning to release an iphone/ipod touch version at some time in the future. But it also seems the development has slowed a bit from the fast pace of its earlier incarnations.

    I just got a new iPod Touch, so syncing is now and a rather important consideration. I am going to explore Evernote a bit more and possibly Yojimbo. And any apps that can sync files to and from the ipod Touch might also make Together and EagleFiler syncable. The EagleFiler developer posted some helpful apps on his blog, that do just that. http://c-command.com/blog/2008/09/11/eaglefiler-libraries-on-an-iphone/

    Since I am new to ipod touch, I don’t know if you can edit notes on your iphone/ipod touch in rtf/rtfd format so it might be read only.

    Lastly, syncing from iphone/ipod touch is supposedly available for Yojimbo via Missing Sync, but from my research I have heard that some users are having problems with it.

    In reality all of these apps have some great features — but deciding on which one is best given your situation and requirements can be challenging. So once again I thank you for your review. And all the comments from others.

    Just got to keep experimenting I guess, until the best solution presents itself.

  19. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @MacBliss: Thank you for your helpful comments.

    I find it frustrating that I have been unable to find a single application that can do everything I need. I’m still using both Together and Evernote although I find I am using Evernote more and more as I have come to rely on its ubiquitous access. But there are still times when Evernote fails, such as yesterday when I discovered I couldn’t drag an email into it. Something Together has no difficulties with.

  20. Deep Sea Says:

    I’m surprised DevonThink didn’t get mentioned here–I’m planning to buy it since the reviews I’ve read are outstanding.

    What do you think? I’ve never used EverNote before–Is DevonThink a similar type of program?

    Is anyone here familiar with both who could comment?

    Thanks very much.

  21. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Deep Sea: I tried out the DevonThink Pro demo last year for PDF storage in conjunction with my ScanSnap scanner. I really wanted to like it as, as you say, the reviews are so good. However, it felt unintuitive and complicated and I ultimately went with Yep which was far more attractive. (Yep however is much more limited in that it can only store PDFs.)

    When I came to look for an information manager I didn’t even think to consider DevonThink, probably because I’d been so put off when trying to use it as a PDF store. I suppose DevonThink could be used in just the same way I use Evernote (without the ubiquitous access). I’d suggest having a look at both application’s demos to get a feel for them before committing yourself.

  22. Torley Says:

    FRIENDLY GREETINGS RACHEL!

    I just got a Mac Pro and am searching for info comparing these info-managers. THANK YOU for your review and following up in the comments, I appreciate your personal perspectives!

    With “Tags implementation in Evernote can’t be faulted and is undoubtedly better than Yojimbo and Evernote.”, did you mean “Tags implementation in Evernote”?

    I’m trying out these various apps right now and hope to make a decision by a couple weeks from now. All the bestest! =)

  23. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Torley: Thanks for pointing out the mistake – I’ve fixed it now!

  24. Hal Williams Says:

    Clarifying Spotlight search issue with Yojimbo (see Sergio’s comment):
    When you are performing a search within Yojimbo, Sergio is saying that Yojimbo uses its own indexing code which is unrelated to and faster than Spotlight. However, Yojimbo does provide info to Spotlight so that if you choose to perform a Spotlight search, Yojimbo items will be included in the list of hits, a nice feature.

    DevonThink also allows Spotlight to index its database. I’ve never used Together or the Mac version of Evernote.

  25. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Hal: Thanks for the clarification regarding Spotlight and Yojimbo. I can confirm that Together and Evernote items will also show up in Spotlight searches.

  26. jack Says:

    “I’m surprised DevonThink didn’t get mentioned here–I’m planning to buy it since the reviews I’ve read are outstanding.”

    I use devonthink and wouldn’t think of using anything else. The learning curve is higher, it’s not the prettiest interface (honestly, Together looks like it was designed by willy wonka), but for research it has no comparison.

    If you’re just writing down a few notes and throwing your recipes in the application, devonthink maybe overkill. But for serious collection, or research, the other programs here are toys in comparison.

  27. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @jack: The new version of DEVONthink looks pretty good. But I agree it is a level above the other apps and probably better suited for more serious users.

  28. Yann Says:

    Surprised you haven’t mentioned Yojimbo biggest feature: data encryption.

    It might not be a feature you use, but if you have a million passwords for online accounts, and sensitive client data, like database access, hosting accounts, etc… Yojimbo’s security feature comes in very handy.

    I’m looking around though, because it seems that Yojimbo’s not being updated, besides for minor bug fixes… I have to say though that its interface is a lot more polished than Evernote which is definitely *still* glitchy (maybe not buggy…). The synch feature is a killer though… What to do?!

    I want an app that looks like Together, syncs like Evernote, and is secure like Yojimbo! Ho well… one can always dream 😉

    ps: I don’t think DevonThink has quite the same target audience, although it definitely a great app too.

  29. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Yann: I store all my passwords in 1Password to keep them secure. However I do use Evernote for storage of some sensitive documents such as bank statements. I’m not that fussed about encryption but I don’t want anything like that syncing to the Evernote servers so I keep that kind of data in a local Evernote notebook.

    Of late I’ve found myself using Evernote more and more and Together less and less. As you say, the syncing is Evernote’s killer feature. There have been a number of small updates recently such as bulleted lists and hyperlinks that have made it much easier to use too.

  30. Peter Says:

    For a really simple but powerful database and blindly fast free text search you might try iDATA 3. It is the great grand child of Cassady and Greene’s InfoGenie. I love this program but never see it mentioned. It should be rediscovered. The developer said that an iPhone/Touch app is being considered.

  31. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Peter: Thanks for that. I’d never heard of iData before.

  32. Bookmarks about Evernote Says:

    […] – bookmarked by 4 members originally found by musabd on 2009-01-01 Yojimbo vs Together vs Evernote: a review https://facelikefizz.wordpress.com/2008/06/30/yojimbo-vs-together-vs-evernote-a-review/ – […]

  33. Elliott Says:

    Have you looked into Shovebox yet?
    http://www.wonderwarp.com/shovebox/

    It sounds like the app meets three of your four needs. The only thing missing is iPhone support, which is on the way (the iPhone app is in closed beta right now).

    Best yet, Macheist is giving away Shovebox as loot right now.
    http://www.macheist.com/

    • Rachel Murphy Says:

      @Elliott: ShoveBox is certainly easy to use and I like the way you can assign keyboard shortcuts. It strikes me as being best suited to collecting web clippings and bookmarks. It’s not so good at storing PDFs.

  34. Ken Says:

    Just found out that Yojimbo causes serious keychain and other mobileme issues. Apple is advising that you not sync yojimbo through mobile me. Which defeats the utility for me. Also, the mono database thing makes yojimbo grow exponentially, so syncs take longer and cause more problems.

  35. Ron Says:

    Will anyone ever make an app that is almost like MS OneNote for Mac? I currently use SOHO Notes, but it too looks like and acts like all the rest out there, PLEEEZE MS do a Mac version of OneNote.

    • Vermonter 17032 Says:

      @Ron, you might want to look at Curio from Zengobi software. It isn’t exactly like OneNote (which I agree is great), but I think it comes close. Also, it integrates Evernote notes, which can be handy.

    • sarahs Says:

      Look for “Growly Notes” by Growly Bird software. Finally a good substitute for OneNote, thank goodness!! Spent several years looking for it!

  36. Tenakha Says:

    Hey. Great review. I have started using Evernote a few days ago. Are you still using it? You must have been using it like for a year now. So tell me – do you still rate it as number one?

    You must keep blogging. I found your reviews of other apps useful also – although I am primarilyu a pc user.

    Regards
    Tenakha.

  37. Christi Milligan Says:

    Yes, I’d love to hear what you are using now too. I know Yojimbo just came out with 2.0 and I’m sure the others have advanced too. What do you think now?

  38. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Tenakha @Christi: In the end I stopped using Together and switched over entirely to Evernote. It just became too awkward using 2 different applications. I’ve been trying out Yojimbo 2.0 since its release though. I’ve still got a couple of weeks to evaluate it on the free trial so I may write a blog post on it after that.

  39. coopertino Says:

    Hi Rachel, thanks very much for your reviews – really helpful. I think many people (yours truly is one 🙂 have been heavily influenced by them. So, having tried Yojimbo, Together, DevonThink, EagleFiler and Evernote, I ended up liking Evernote the most. Feature list aside, it feels the most ‘current’ of these products, and once I experienced the first smooth sync between my iMac at home, MacBook Pro at work and iPhone, I went straight to the checkout area and got a yearly subscription.
    I have a question for you though: in your experience with EN, is it better to structure your notes into many notebooks and a few tags, or the other way around. What worked for you.
    Thanks, and keep the reviews coming, you’ve got followers out there !!!

  40. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @coopertino: Thanks for your kind words! I mostly rely on notebooks. Despite the fact I also tag everything I find I don’t use them that much. Search in Evernote works so well that I tend to find it quicker to type in part of a word than find the tag to click.

  41. Skipper Says:

    Hi Rachel,
    I am a new to MAC, and have read your review with great interest. I was wondering if you have looked into Curio (www.zengobi.com) and PersonalBrain (www.thebrain.com)? They do however not synchronize like EverNote, which I also use, but they are able to collect and map your information together.
    Thanks again for the good review!

  42. Mike Says:

    Have a look at http://helipadapp.com/ – Mac desktop, syncs with web, iphone ap. Just pure text notes.

  43. Mr. Twang Says:

    Rachel, have you ever tried Notebook from Circus Ponies? I use it on my Mac and really like it.

    I am looking for something that will create small notes that are alphabetically sorted, and that I can sync to an iPhone; I do that in Palm Desktop and my Tungsten E2 PDA. I MUST have that feature on an iPhone, I won’t go that route until i have a good solution for that. Know of one?

    Great review you wrote, by the way, very clear and helpful, and I love the logical summaries in each section.

  44. Nick Says:

    For me Evernote shines at clipping and searching.

    What I don’t like about Evernote:
    – no subfolders
    – not autotagging
    – no smartfolders

    With that, I find it impossible to create a good workflow for my data. Together has subfolders, auto-tagging, groups (a combo of folder and tag that allows an item to be in multiple groups vs. just one folder- good for GTD contexts and other lists). Evernote has saved searches but they are hard to get to (scroll though all your notebooks) not easily organized.

    Together search is great. It has a search filter where you can tweak where you looked- name, content, tags, folders. This is a nice feature for tweaking results.

    Evernote is similar where you can tweak notebook or whether search any/all for your keywords.

    Another big plus to Together is tabs. Evernote doesn’t have them. The benefit is similar to tagged browsing, except now you are browsing your clips.

    Evernote is my cudgel, and Together my rapier. I use Evernote for clip and search because I find it’s tags nearly useless without a workflow for managing or using them.

    Another separation: web-based info= Evernote, stuff I write= Together.

    But better yet is probably Storage=Evernote, Worflow=Together.

    And with that, I now put bookmarks into Together. Basically, I can’t stand using Evernote if I need to manage the data after adding it. Together is a pleasure to use here. I have groups for in work blog posts, yet those posts live in their project folder. I can easily create todo lists for my in progress work, and interface my notes from many useful perspectives.

    I don’t have a high need for mobile or remote access right now, so that could make me work harder at Evernote in the future. Also, someone with a big more organization may not suffer the workflow limitations I have with Evernote.

    I don’t use the Evernote iPhone app much for entry- I find it way too slow to launch. I use the regular camera and note taking apps and move them over to various apps later. This is a bit disappointing, but I find it to slow.

    My overall tool chain is now: Evernote (clipping), Together (writing, research), Scrivener (writing projects), and The Hit List (task management). Lots of overlap (folders, tags, clippings) but the separate is helpful both from a technical perspective (features to the problem at hand) and a mental one (less noise when working in a specific context).

    MacJournal is good as well, but doesn’t have the auto-tagging. Journler was the gold standard in many opinions, mine included, but isn’t actively developed any more.

  45. noxlady Says:

    It’s true that Together doesn’t offer any sort of iPhone syncing, BUT since it stores the items unencrypted in the Finder, you can install Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) on your computer and then move your Together library to Dropbox. Then all those files are available on all your computers, and can be viewed & downloaded using Dropbox’s web app & iPhone app 🙂

    • Rachel Murphy Says:

      Good point. I have a feeling I wasn’t using Dropbox at the time of writing this post. I no longer use Together so it’s not something I can try out now. (I really should get around to writing an update to this post.)

  46. Hugo Thomsen Says:

    I have used Together for two years, and have, in desperation with the poor performance, looked at Evernote and Yojimbo and a few others as well. Together is still in use, but I am keeping my eyes open for alternatives – the main gripe being that you have to have separate libraries when your data reach 400 Mb which happens fast when you work with a lot of graphics. Together is a CPU hog, and clogs the memory – there is a fundamental flaw in the way it is engineered, and the guys behind it are unable to / uninterested in solving it. So I keep on looking, testing new products as they come out, grinding my teeth over Together in the mean time. Pity with a good product that once put into use shows it is so poorly engineered.

    • Barnaby Maichael Andersun Says:

      This has been very helpful!
      But it’s a year or more old now… Can you help with a fresh take on it?

      I’ve been SO keen to find a method of tagging everything on my Mac for ages.
      I hate folders, and want to keep very few of them and put all my focus on tags for everything.
      (I find it very frustrating that Apple hasn’t put tags as a central filing method, and are still keeping to folders… anyway…)

      I have tried a few apps, but none were easy. I found Together, Yojimbo, Evernote.

      My goal is to find a new method of filing, sorting and searching for ALL documents on my Mac.
      I woud like to only have folders down to 2 levels.
      With 5 top level folders. And each of those with, say 5-10 folders each.
      And that’s it.
      Then sort everything else with Tags.

      Do you think this is dobable?
      Which program do you recommend as my best long term solution?

      • Rachel Murphy Says:

        You might find Yep from Ironic Software useful. It tracks, amongst others, PDFs, Pages and Word documents, and spreadsheet files. Everything is stored in one big Filed Documents folder within your Documents folder and you assign as many tags as you like to each document. I use it for storing things like scanned paperwork and downloaded bank statements.

  47. Nick Van Weerdenburg Says:

    I stopped using it for the same reason. Using MacJournal now- V5 improved a lot of things, and a lot of the reviews online are pre-V5.

    That said, it lags Together in a number of ways- especially tagging.

    If Together ever got their performance act together I would switch back in an instant.

    Alternatively, if Evernote ever releases subfolders and smartfolders, I may just move everything there.

  48. mike012003 Says:

    I recently started using Evernote and its “free” storage space is severely limited. I have over 4000 pics on my iphone and have used only half the iphone capacity. I uploaded 166 pics from the iphone to Evernote, used 99% of Evernote upload capacity and recieved a warning notice that Evernote utilization would be restricted until the next cycle. From a practical standpoint Evernotes data restriction allows only 2% utilization of my iphones capacity per month. With this strict data limitation, it is more functional to use my iphone, ipad, and laptops and “Forget Evernote”.

  49. MisterMax Says:

    I don’t really get the point or appeal of any of these apps as they have either restrictions, limits or import problems. I don’t think any are ready for prime time–evernote seems the best but the subscription fees and inevitably having to buy an account are ridiculous–I hear this is the wave of the future but I’d rather just use my laptop as a hub not the web…the idea of “subscribing” to use an app’s features are not appealing..

  50. John Rickard Says:

    Evernote may be appealing in many areas BUT I really don’t like an ongoing monthly charge and the free version is sufficiently disabled to push you on to subscription. I understand you used to be able to buy the app outright but no longer ? Charge me a one-off fee for software fine but just consider what open ended charging is going to cost you !

  51. René Says:

    For people interested in tagging files I would highly recommend the combination of LEAP (just a more powerful Yep) and OpenMeta tags. If you start searching files with one tag, it shows you all tags related to it. None of the other products mentioned here is able to do that (although Yojimbo comes close). For me using tags without the “related tags” doesn’t make any sense at all. This is actually my main gripe with Evernote.

    In addition: via Dropbox you can now sync files and their tags between several Macs.


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