How to migrate from Evernote and Simplenote to Bear
If you used Evernote like I did, then you have hundreds of tags, many only used once or twice, and you know a trimmed tag set will be much more useful.
When you import all those notes, you will have the same number of hashtags in Bear. Here is how you can reduce your tag-sprawl stress and get those tags under control.
Before importing, list your keeper tags in a note
First, before importing any notes into Bear, make a new note in Bear and write out the hashtags you want to keep. This will become a kind of table of contents for your Bear experience. Then pin that note to the top of your notes stack.
As you write those hashtags in this first note, they will appear as a vertical list in the far left Bear column, where hashtags live alphabetically sorted and stacked. One benefit of having them in this note is that you can group them. See my screenshot.
Organize your keeper tags in that note
Organizing those hashtags is the key. I use groups to organize mine. My first group is a single hashtag called ideas. I use that to tag notes where I quickly write inspiring thoughts. The next two groups are work related, so I blurred them out in this screenshot.
The fourth group is tech and programming hashtags. The next two groups are related to the academic disciplines I research the most, philosophy and sociology. Notice the use of
/ to create nested tags.
The fifth and sixth groups are other academic disciplines and research topics I write or collect notes about. And the final group is miscellaneous and personal hashtags.
The main goal for me here is to keep these groups all visible without having to scroll down the page. If I can’t get all my hashtags to fit into this view, then I delete them or merge them into ones you see here.
Because this note is pinned, it will always be at the top of my notes stack. And because it’s organized I can quickly see related hashtags and see all of them at once, unlike Bear’s alphabetically sorted vertical tag stack.
Import your notes from other apps, but don’t freak out
Tips for exporting your Evernote notes are here. Simplenote simply exports your notes as text files in a zipped folder, which you can then import into Bear.
When you import all your notes into Bear, if you are like me, you will have hundreds of tags that came in from Evernote and now appear in Bear’s tag stack. Don’t freak out. You have an organized list of your preferred tags in your first note that is now pinned at the top of your notes stack.
Clean up the tag stack to match those in your pinned note
You can simply delete all other hashtags from the tags stack. Or you can merge some by renaming them as tags that are already in your preferred tags note.
For notes that have no tags, you can search for keywords, then highlight the returned notes in the notes stack and drag and drop them on top of a tag in the tag stack and Bear will add that tag to the bottom of all those notes.
There are many reasons I came to Bear from Evernote and Simplenote. You can find plenty of reviews online where people detail all the features of each. Simplenote was my main note app, and I loved its extreme simplicity, for a while. Evernote was an ever-expanding collection of digital debris with a hefty price to obtain full-text search capability. Bear is a happy middle ground for me.