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Yojimbo: Quite possibly the best personal data management app ever.


For quite some time, I've been needing a good app to organize various bits of data. Notes, snippets of code, shopping & to do lists, serial numbers; all sorts of things. I had been using a great little app called Notebook from Circus Ponies, but it didn't quite do everything I wanted for quick storage, easy retrieval and organization.

Enter, Yojimbo from one of my favorite developers, Bare Bones software. (Creators of BBEdit, TextWrangler and Mailsmith.)

I've used Yojimbo for a few hours, and I can already see it's probably the best tool for personal data management. Ever. It has a ton of strong points and I encourage anyone in need of this kind of app to download the demo. (It's a 30 day demo, and the app is $39. Not cheap, but worth it, in my book.) These are some of the things that make it a powerful tool:

Quick, Easy Input - While Yojimbo is running in the background, you can copy data in any application, hit F8 and get a quick input window to make a new entry.

Print PDF to Yojimbo - If you buy a lot of stuff online, you might be aware of the rather cool feature in Mac OS X that let's you "print" to a PDF file. This is excellent for web receipts. Well, Yojimbo lets you print a PDF directly into it's database so you don't have to keep a folder of PDFs, which is just the digital equivalent of a drawer with a buncha slips of paper in it.

Automatic Data Classification - When you enter new data into Yojimbo, the quick entry pane checks what you have on the clipboard and guesses what sort of data it is (e.g. serial number, URL, block of text) and then gives you a customized form to better input the data and save it appropriately.

Organization - The app's UI is the design that's become somewhat ubiquitous on the Mac. (...and with good reason!) To sum it up quickly, it looks like Mail. You can create folders collections for manual filing and recognized data types are sorted into smart collections automatically. You can also label and flag items.

Easy to Find - All of the text content in the Yojimbo database is indexed, thus allowing a very fast search. It even indexes the contents of the PDFs it's storing.

Built-in .Mac syncing - Special bonus for those that use .Mac: Yojimbo integrates with the .Mac synching automatically. Once you install the app, just go into your sync prefs and turn it on.

Anyways, download it yourself and play around with it. I suggest you watch the little introduction movie at the beginnning, it explains some of the key features so that you can be up and running in seconds.