Review: Bare Bones Yojimbo

Bare Bones Software’s solution to organizing your digital life. (November 7th, 2009)

Drag and drop to organize your digital tidbits in a logical way and find them again easily. Yojimbo 2 makes this possible in simple, but powerful program.

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: Bare Bones Software, Inc.

Price: $39.00 US

The Good

  • Simple, inexpensive, easy to use.
    Easy to enter data.
    Integrates with Spotlight.
    Powerful search and explore features.

The Bad

  • Wish the Drop Dock was available even when app isn’t open.

Yojimbo, Bare Bones Software's solution to organizing your digital life, provides a catchall place to file all those little bits of information that we all accumulate. Tidbits such as, notes, receipts, links, passwords, quotes (both the literary and financial types), bookmarks, graphics, and PDFs. Yojimbo 2 adds a number of enhancements, including a Quick Input window, enhanced tags, a new icon, and makes it easier to enter anything you want. After you enter items in Yojimbo, you can tag, sort into categories, label, and, of course, search for them. Yojimbo refers to this collection of data as your Library.

 Drop Dock

Main Library Window

Yojimbo comes with some 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. The category that I use the most is Serial Numbers; I keep all the serial numbers for my software in Yojimbo.

To add images or text, for example, to Yojimbo you simply just drag and drop. Yojimbo installs a small dock on the side of your screen, called the Drop Dock, and when your cursor moves over it, it slides out, and you can drop in the data. Yojimbo creates a new item of the appropriate type, either Image or Note. Yojimbo must be open to show the Drop Dock.

 Drop Dock

Open Customized Drop Dock

New Feature: Quick Input Panel

If you want to save something that's on the clipboard, you just press the F8 key, and the Quick Input window appears, pre-filled with the contents of the clipboard. You just add a title and press OK and the contents of the clipboard are saved in your Yojimbo Library in the appropriate folder. You also can drop images into the Quick Input Panel and tag, comment, and add labels to the content.

Quick Input Panel

Quick Input Panel

New Feature: Save PDF to Yojimbo

Yojimbo 2.0 also includes a Print to Yojimbo feature that makes it easy to put web pages, receipts, and other documents into Yojimbo. Under the PDF button in the print dialog, there is a Save PDF to Yojimbo item. Click that item and press the Print button. A dialog comes up and asks you to name the Yojimbo item, and adds it to your Yojimbo library.

Print Menu

Print Menu with PDF Options

New Feature: Tag Explorer System

After you have entered your data into Yojimbo, you can open up the Inspector and tag it. You can create as many tags, with whatever names and colors that you wish, and then associate any item with any tags. Since I do a fair amount of research on my ancestors, I have a tag titled Genealogy, which I tag notes, URLs, images that I find in my research.

Tag Explorer and Sample Tags

Tag Explorer and Sample Tags

The Tag Explorer, a welcome new feature in Yojimbo 2, lets you see which items are marked with particular tags. Unlike a search mechanism, which is top-down, the Explorer lets you see how your data is organized or, if you are like me, disorganized. First, you select the items that you want to explore, which could include your entire collection. Next, open Tag Explorer, which displays a list of the tags associated with those items in a panel on the side of the Yojimbo window. If you click on one of the tags, the collection shows just the items that have been marked with that tag. If you click on another tag, only those items shown associated with both of the tags display. This is a quick and easy way to search and investigate the relationship between tags and items in Yojimbo.

New Feature: Image Command

The final new feature worthy of mention is the addition of the Image command in the File menu. Now, when you want to drop in an image, you can bring up a special input sheet that lets you preview the image before you import it.

Image Menu and Input Sheet

Image Menu and Input Sheet

To keep your data secure from prying eyes, Yojimbo supports encrypting items in its database. The software automatically encrypts password items and you can encrypt other items manually. Yojimbo uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (US FIPS PUB 197) algorithm, with a 256-bit key (AES-256) to keep the data private. This makes it perfect as a tool in which to save your valuable passwords and serial numbers.

Yojimbo integration with Spotlight makes it easy search for items in your Yojimbo Library from the Spotlight menu on the right side of the menu bar. Yojimbo supports synchronizing of data via MobileMe, so you can have your collection on multiple computers and keep them all up to date.

Yojimbo 2.0 requires Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later, costs $39 (direct from Bare Bones Software). You can download a fully functional 30-day trial on the web site. If you use Mac OS X 10.4 or earlier, and already own Yojimbo 1.x, an update to 1.5.2 was released at the same time as Yojimbo 2, but it is no longer available to purchase.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Marshall Clow


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