Joplin: The True Open Source Evernote Alternative

Brief: Joplin is an open source note taking and to-do application. You can organize notes into notebooks and tag them. Joplin also provides a web-clipper to save articles from the internet.

Joplin: Open source note organizer

Joplin Logo

If you like Evernote, you won’t be too uncomfortable with the open source software, Joplin.

Joplin is an excellent open source note taking application with plenty of features. You can take notes, make to-do list and sync your notes across devices by linking it with cloud services like Dropbox and NextCloud. The synchronization is protected with end to end encryption.

Joplin also has a web clipper that allows you to save webpages as notes. The web clipper is available for Firefox and Chrome/Chromium browsers.

Joplin makes the switch from Evernote easier by allowing importing Evernote files in Enex format.

Since you own the data, you can export all your files either in Joplin format or in the raw format.

Features of Joplin

Joplin Featured

Here’s a list of all the features Joplin provides:

  • Save notes into notebooks and sub-notebooks for better organization
  • Create to-do list
  • Notes can be tagged and searched
  • Offline first, so the entire data is always available on the device even without an internet connection
  • Markdown notes with pictures, math notation and checkboxes support
  • File attachment support
  • Application available for desktop, mobile and terminal (CLI)
  • Web Clipper for Firefox and Chrome
  • End To End Encryption
  • Keeps note history
  • Notes sorting based on name, time etc
  • Synchronisation with various cloud services like Nextcloud, Dropbox, WebDAV and OneDrive
  • Import files from Evernote
  • Export JEX files (Joplin Export format) and raw files.
  • Support notes, to-dos, tags and notebooks.
  • Goto Anything feature.
  • Support for notifications in mobile and desktop applications.
  • Geo-location support.
  • Supports multiple languages
  • External editor support – open notes in your favorite external editor with one click in Joplin.

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Installing Joplin on Linux and other platforms

Joplin app in Ubuntu

Joplin is a cross-platform application available for Linux, macOS and Windows. On the mobile, you can get the APK file to install it on Android and Android-based ROMs. You can also get it from the Google Play store.

For Linux, you can use AppImage file for Joplin and run the application as an executable. You’ll have to give execute permission to the downloaded file.

Experiencing Joplin

Notes in Joplin use markdown but you don’t have to know markdown notations to use it. The editor has a top panel that lets you graphically choose the bullet points, headings, images, link etc.

Though Joplin provides many interesting features, you have to fiddle around on your own to check things out. For example, the web clipper is not enabled by default and I had to figure out how to do it.

You have to enable the clipper from the desktop application. From the top menu, go to Tools->Options. You’ll find the Web Clipper option here:

Joplin Web Clipper
Enable Web Clipper from the desktop application first

The web clipper is not as smart as Evernote’s web clipper that allows to clip portion of a web article graphically. However, you still have good enough options here.

It is an open source software under active development and I do hope that it gets more improvement over the time.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a good note taking application with web-clipper feature, do give Joplin a try. And if you like it and would continue using, try to help Joplin development by making a donation or improving its code and documentation. I made a sweet little donation of 25 Euro on behalf of It’s FOSS.

If you have used Joplin in the past or still using it, how’s your experience with it? If you use some other note taking application, would you switch to Joplin? Feel free to share your views.

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