Review : Bare Bones Software Yojimbo

Bare Bones Software’s solution to organize all your notes.

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: Bare Bones Software, Inc.

Price: $39.00 US

The Good

  • Simple, inexpensive, easy to use.
  • Easy to enter data.
  • Syncs with iPad app.
  • Powerful search and explore features.

The Bad

  • Cannot create or edit items on the iPad.
About a year ago, I reviewed Yojimbo 2.0. Last month, Bare Bones Software released Yojimbo 3, a major upgrade to their information organizing software. A minor update 3.0.1 was released this week. Yojimbo is designed to provide a catchall place to file those little bits of information that we seem to accumulate. After you've entered them in Yojimbo, you can tag them, sort them into categories, label them, and, of course, search for them. Yojimbo refers to this collection of data as "your library." As I noted in my previous review, Yojimbo comes with pre-defined categories: Bookmarks, Serial Numbers, Passwords, Images, and Archives for saved web pages and PDFs. If these pre-determined categories do not fit your needs, you can create as many as you need.

Main Window

Main Window with Open Note

Yojimbo for iPad

The big change in this 3.x upgrade is the ability to put your Yojimbo database onto your iPad and take it with you. Yojimbo can now synchronize its database with your iPad. A companion application, Yojimbo for iPad, displays, but does not allow you to edit, your Yojimbo database on the iPad.

Yojimbo for iPad Icon

Yojimbo for iPad Icon

While you cannot add new entries, you do have immediate access to all your stored items. You can share images, PDFs, web archives, and bookmarks with other iPad apps.

Yojimbo for iPad Image

Yojimbo for iPad

Yojimbo for iPad Share Option

Yojimbo for iPad Share Option

Yojimbo for Mac

While you can use Yojimbo as a browser bookmark manager, it does much more. It has several different kinds of items that you can use. In addition to bookmarks, it supports stored serial numbers, images, passwords, notes as free-form text, and archives. Archives are either PDF files or Web archives. It is very easy to add data to Yojimbo. For simple items, such as bookmarks, images and text, you just drop the data onto the Yojimbo icon. For other types of data, you can use the menus or the toolbar to create and edit items. Yojimbo provides a small dock on the side of your screen. When you move your cursor over the dock tab, the dock slides out. You can drag and drop data into Yojimbo or open your Yojimbo database (or a section) from the dock with one click.

Yojimbo 3 dock

Customized Drop Dock

Yojimbo also provides a function key (F8) to create a note from the contents of the clipboard with a Quick Input window. It integrates into the printing system so that you have a Print to Yojimbo option in most applications. Under the PDF button in the print dialog, there is a Save PDF to Yojimbo item. Click that item and press the Print button to save it into your Yojimbo library

Yojimbo 3 Print Option

Yojimbo 3 Print Option

Once you have data in Yojimbo, you can start organizing your different items. If you are an organized person, you can create custom folders in which to store your items. If your tastes run to more of a free-form style, you can assign your own tags to individual items, and search by tag. Of course, you can also search by content; just type the text you want to find into the search widget in the toolbar. Yojimbo also is integrated with Spotlight. You can search for items in your Yojimbo library from the Spotlight menu on the right end of the menu bar.

Yojimbo automatically encrypts password items in its database, and supports encrypting other items, which are under your control. Yojimbo uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (US FIPS PUB 197) algorithm, with a 256-bit key (AES-256) to keep the data private.

For those of you without an iPad, Yojimbo also has a feature called Sidekick that lets you export a copy of your database as a series of HTML files. Then you can read, but not edit, your database items in a web browser. You can also scan images directly into Yojimbo, but I did not test this feature.

Bare Bones has taken an application that I use every day and made it much better, because it allows me to take my data with me on my iPad. The fact that I cannot edit the data on the iPad, and sync the changes back to the Mac, is somewhat disappointing, but it's definitely better than what I had before.

Yojimbo 3.0 requires Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later and costs $39, direct from Bare Bones. Upgrades from version 2.0 are free for registered users. A family pack, for up to 5 computers in a single household, costs $69. Upgrades from 1.x are $20 for any license type, including family. You can download a fully functional 30-day trial version on their site. Yojimbo for iPad is sold separately on the App Store for $9.99.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor