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How to fix conflicting changes in Evernote

Do you see something like this in your Evernote note?

Conflicting modification on 28 January 2016 at 12:30:23

It means that you were using more than one device to edit your note, and you made changes before Evernote was able to synchronise the change.

Here’s a couple of ways you might go about fixing this.

DISCLAIMER: Although this has worked for me, you use it at your own risk! Take a backup copy of your note if you are concerned.

How to fix Evernote conflicting changes – Method 1: Quick and Simple

If, like me, most of your notes are just lists of things, such as ideas for my next book, then this will probably work well for you.

1. Copy your entire note to the clipboard.

2. Paste the note into this site:

3. Click the button “Remove duplicate lines”

4. Copy the new text into your clipboard. This now has exact duplicate lines removed.

5. Paste the new text into your note, overwriting the old text. (Or paste into a new note if you want to be extra-careful.)

WARNING 1: This will remove any formatting that you were using in the note.

WARNING 2: Although this process doesn’t reorder your lines of text, because duplicate lines are removed you might find that lines lower down are no longer right next to the line they used to be next to. Personally, when I get a conflicting modification I just keep adding to the note at the bottom, and in practice this has never been a problem for me.

PRIVACY: I didn’t write this site that I linked to, and I’m not connected with it in any way, I just found it online. I don’t know it stores your note text (theoretically it could), so you might not want to paste anything too confidential in there.

So how does it know which lines to delete? Is it safe? Here’s an example:

If you are worried that you might lose text for some reason, you could always just copy all the text from your old note into a new note (ie duplicate the note) and just perform this procedure on the new note, so you’ve still got the old note as a backup.

This procedure will only delete lines that are identical to lines it has previously seen. So, in the following simple example, lines a and b are duplicated in the conflicting note, and the second instance of them is deleted:


Conflicting modification on 28 January 2016 at 12:30:23


Conflicting modification on 28 January 2016 at 12:30:23

You’ll see that the “Conflicting modifications” notice is still in place; you’ll have to delete that manually.

How to fix Evernote conflicting changes – Method 2: Difference and Merge Tool

Thanks to reader JMichaelTX for making the following observation:

[The procedure above, which deletes duplicate lines] does not really help resolve the conflict, and conflicting lines may be physically separated.

A much better method is to copy each section (that is from an original note) to separate files, and then use one of the many tools that show differences and allow merges.

But what we really need is for Evernote to (1) prevent as many conflicts as possible; and (2) provide a tool to resolve the conflicts.

He is of course correct on all counts. The procedure he describes is more suitable if your note is more detailed. It would likely take longer to perform than the simple method I showed above, and requires a little more technical skill, but could provide better results for you, depending on the content of your notes.

So there’s a couple of choices, and I hope this helps you.

TextMechanic tool

6 thoughts on “How to fix conflicting changes in Evernote”

  1. Much better to use a tool that explicitly tells you what is changed, and fix it yourself.

    Here is a free tool available in your browser. Don’t be put off by the small entry boxes, you just paste what you believe is the oldest into the left box and the newest/best into the right box and verify what you have. You choose the best version and make changes as necessary.

    Compare Plain Text – Combined – No Navigation
    :: Compare text. Original and modified text output in SAME LARGE window with highlighted differences and no navigation from one difference to the next.

    Bookmarked as follows with a Firefox keyword shortcut of “difftext:”
    difftext: ★ Compare Plain Text – Combined – No Navigation

    I use the defaults, which are as follows:
    (x) Show all identical paragraphs / lines
    (x) Compare whole words
    /x/ Strike-through for #1 text
    /x/ Underline for #2 text
    /x/ Look for moves
    5 minimum adjacent words (or characters for each move when compare at that level
    4 Lines of context when showing identical paragraphs near differences
    ion and make make changes as necessary.

  2. why on earth isn’t this just a basic function included in Evernote? this is so fundamental that it’s crazy they don’t have a diff / resolve feature…

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