I love Evernote. It is the repository for all of my daily tasks, intermittent journalings, todo lists, random thoughts, email templates, celebrity crush names, unsent letters to exes, movies to watch, books to read, and pretty much everything else that passes from forehead to fingertips.
That said, there are a TON of annoyances with formatting in Evernote. If you just live within Evernote you’ll probably be fine, but copying and pasting from Evernote it into other programs (at least on Mac), is a headache. I often want to email notes or messages to people from Evernote and am caught off guard by my rage at the unintended double spacing that occurs. Here’s the situation – I write a wonderfully formatted note in Evernote like this:
Simply highlight, copy, and paste into Gmail and you get:
Grr, terrible. Double spacing all over the place. What’s worse is that, even if you want to correct this in Gmail, you have to select everything, remove all formatting, and then delete the double spaces that were inadvertently created by hand. Very annoying.
After Googling for a quick fix, I found that this is a known and unsolved problem in Evernote, much to the chagrin of the commenters. Most solutions tack closely to what I used to do by hand – copy and paste from Evernote into a different text editor like Sublime Text, clean it up, and then copy and paste the message from there into Gmail. As you can tell from the length of this sentence, that is an annoying solution for people who enjoy using computers to make life easier.
So I decided I’d come up with my own solution. NOTE: This is a super dirty solution but, heck, it works. We’ll use Mac’s built-in Automator program to write a service that can intercept text copied from Evernote and convert it to plain text.
1. Pop open Automator and create a new service:
2. The Automator service we’ll create is going to be super simple. The default action “Service receives selected [text] in [any application]” should already be there. We’ll then add in the “Run Shell Script” action, which, wouldn’t ya know it, already has our default action in it (“cat”), followed by the “Copy to Clipboard” action. So easy.
This service is insanely simple – it intercepts the text we copy from the program, pipes it through “cat”, which literally just prints the input back out but without any formatting, then copies that to the clipboard. Done and done.
3. Save the service with a snappy name. I used the imaginative “Copy as plaintext”.
4. We’re technically done but, if you want to get fancy, you can add a keyboard shortcut under the Keyboard section of the System Preferences.
5. Now, back in Evernote, we should see the new “Copy as plaintext” option in our context menu (or you can use your keyboard shortcut).
6. Hop over to Gmail and paste and, voila! Plain text in Gmail!
* Because this script converts everything to plain text, you’ll lose any other formatting too (bold, bullet points, images). I don’t usually use Evernote that way so if you guys do maybe this isn’t that helpful.
* If you copy/paste from Evernote into Gmail first the formatting will forever be messed up in that email, even if you copy-as-plaintext/paste after.
* This service will work with any application if you need to copy plain text from other programs.
I hope that helps anyone else who’s had this issue. Feel free to post your corrections / comments / clever improvements. Enjoy!