Evernote does not offer an official desktop client for Linux, but there are a few workarounds. For a better-than-browser experience, try one of these methods.
Evernote Web and Chrome app
The browser-based version of Evernote is the only officially supported way of using the application on Linux. It works, but if you’re a tab hoarder like me, editing your notes in a tab in a sea of tabs can be a bit tricky. On top of that, there is the additional baggage of running a full-fledged web browser.
Evernote does offer an application in the Chrome store. If you right-click the application icon and select Open as window, the web application will launch in its own, tabless window. You can add the web app to your application menu or desktop by right-clicking and selecting Create shortcuts…. I prefer this method to logging into the website because the windows application takes up less visual real estate in its own window.
However, using the Chrome application will require you to be online. (The Evernote Chrome application offers offline support only for Chromebooks.)
As for browser extensions, Evernote’s web clipper still works beautifully in Chromium and Firefox, so getting clipped content like recipes or news articles into Evernote is a cinch.
Whatever is a project hosted on GitHub that is little more than a wrapper for Evernote web written with Electron. Because it loads up the web application, there’s very little difference between the Chrome application and Whatever.
An evolution of the older desktop application NeverNote, NixNote 2 attempts to be as close to a desktop replacement for Evernote as possible. NixNote 2 was in beta for a couple of years and finally hit an official 2.0 release in February.
In NixNote 2 the note lists are organized as columns of text, not unlike a spreadsheet. A good thing about this layout is that it allows for quick sorting by title, date, or other characteristics. The bad thing about this utilitarian design is that it’s not as pretty as the official Evernote application.
One of the cool things NixNote 2 does that the web-based clients don’t do is show PDFs inline. If you’re someone who scans a lot of documents into Evernote, having to download a PDF just to look at it can be a hassle. If you have a scanner that uploads PDFs to Evernote with generic note names, simply being able to preview the PDF in your application can be a big time saver.
NixNote 2 also allows for offline notebooks (uncheck Synchronized when creating a new notebook), auto-import, and exporting notes as PDFs.
The NixNote 2 interface shows dramatic improvements from the various beta releases. As a result, the interface feels smooth and far less buggy. The UI is written with Qt, so users who aren’t using the KDE Plasma desktop will have to install the Qt libraries.
The big drawback to NixNote 2 is the Evernote API. Evernote’s API is rate-limited, which means you can download only a certain number of notes for a given time period (about 45 minutes). If you have a large collection of notes, performing the initial sync to NixNote 2 will take a long time.
Tantalus is an open-source project that aims to create a desktop Evernote replacement that looks really sharp. It’s a work in progress and seems to not support core functionality (syncing notes) yet. The project author is apparently working on the UI and desktop functionality before tying the application into Evernote’s API.
Although I’m looking forward to seeing where this project goes, Tantalus will suffer the same API limitations that NixNote 2 does.
Although there are a lot of flaws in the solutions available, using Evernote on Linux in 2017 is much better than it was in 2016. Users switching from Windows or Mac should know that some of the features you expect from desktop Evernote either won’t be available in Linux yet or will be implemented in a way that isn’t quite the same.
Alex is a tech tinkerer who built his first computer while in middle school. Alex is also a huge Linux geek and loves all things open-source and web.
A graduate from California State University, Long Beach, Alex also spent five years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Before that, he was a computer science major. He still writes a few lines of code from time to time.