Export PDF Files Out of Evernote

Over the past fifteen years I have used Evernote as a home for scanned PDFs; typically things like insurance documents, utility receipts, credit card documents, manuals, and so on. For much of that time I used a Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner that would automatically shove the PDFs into Evernote, which was my PDF OCR processor. This allowed me to search through any of these documents for invoice numbers, dollar amounts, and so on.

Over time, though, I quit using Evernote for everything else and I've been stuck with its annual subscription just to store these documents. Now that my operating system (macOS) can search PDF documents for me, Evernote seems a bit much. What I've decided to do is move all of these PDF documents to folders in my file system. (In my case, they are in iCloud so that I can theoretically look at things like manuals on my phone – though sadly I cannot search within PDF documents on iOS yet.)

These sorts of documents were quite organized in my Evernote. I had a Filing Cabinet Stack, which had notebooks (e.g. Insurance: Progressive, Paystubs, Utilities: Cable & Internet, etc) each containing a document per PDF. So each document in these folders contained only an attached PDF - generally no other notes were typed in the document. How do you get these PDFs attached to the documents out of Evernote? You would think the best option is Export as PDF…, but that's not it.

Here's what you need to do:

  • Select all documents you want to export from a given notebook

  • Right click and select Export…

  • Choose Single web page (.html)

  • Click Export

  • Select the folder where you'd like your PDFs to reside

  • Browse to the target folder and there will be a My Notes folder there - browse down to My Notes/My Notes files and you will find all of the PDFs that were attached to your documents

  • Drag and drop those PDFs to whatever destination folder you intend to be their permanent location

I repeated this process for each notebook in question. It took a long while, but much better than drag and dropping each individual PDF from Evernote to my filesystem!

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