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Yojimbo 2 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £39
(about £23)

Yojimbo is an excellent tool for organising data on your Mac, but the lack of online access means there are better and cheaper alternatives.

Three and a half years have passed since Bare Bones unveiled Yojimbo, its application for storing and sorting information, images and files, so expectations for the new version were very high.

In the interim, similar applications extended from the desktop to the web but that isn’t the direction Bare Bones has taken with Yojimbo 2. Instead, the new version focuses on refining the already excellent desktop experience. Getting data into Yojimbo is easier, with more control over how that data is organised, while sorting and searching the data has become more flexible.

Where Yojimbo really excels is in storing information from all sources in a straightforward manner, with tags and labels to organise the data and support for Spotlight searching. That data can be simple text notes, images, web pages, bookmark emails, PDFs, serial numbers and passwords, all of which Yojimbo stores as items that can then be named, tagged and labelled.

It’s especially useful for storing data that needs to be secure. The application has built-in encryption, which is automatically applied to passwords once a master password has been set. However, it can also be applied to any other item with a single click, making it very easy to hide personal and sensitive information from prying eyes.

There are several ways of getting information into Yojimbo. Drag a supported item such as a PDF or image onto the Yojimbo icon in the Dock and it will automatically create a corresponding record. You can also copy items and create a new record in Yojimbo, and it will be automatically populated with the copied item.

A third option is the Quick Input Panel. Once activated by a custom shortcut, this is also populated by the contents of the clipboard, and it’s easy to then edit or change the information and apply tags before entering it as a new item. The new version also provides options to apply a label, append comments and flag the new item. Or you can drag information straight into the Drop Dock, which sits on either side of the Desktop. This pop-up, translucent window now lists existing tag sets, so that added items can be instantly tagged if required.

Tagging lies at the heart of how Yojimbo works. By applying common tags and labels to content from different sources, you can collate it and interrelate it in ways that aren’t possible using the simple folder structure of the Finder. Yojimbo 2 takes that one stage further, with a new Tag Explorer that makes it easier to find items with shared tags. There’s also a new combined tag and label editor, which lists how often each has been used and lets you delete redundant tags as well as merge multiple tags into one.

Unfortunately, all that depends on you tagging information when or after it’s added. While Yojimbo aims to make that process as easy as possible, it’s equally easy to forget or simply to not bother, and instead rely on manual organisation.ww

There are other limitations, too. While you can add some file types such as PDFs, images and web archives, most aren’t supported. To get round that, Yojimbo adds a Mac OS X Service to the PDF menu in print dialogs that enables you to save any printable document as a PDF in Yojimbo, but given that the software will link to emails stored elsewhere on the system, it should also be possible to link to any file in the Finder.

The biggest drawback, though, is the lack of online support. If you have a MobileMe account, you can sync data between Macs, but there’s no way to access that data if you’re using another computer or mobile device unless you stump up the extra cash for the third-party Webjimbo plug-in. Yojimbo is a great tool for collecting, organising and securing data, but it suffers from the absence of online and mobile access. New users should also consider alternatives such as Evernote and ShoveBox, while there’s no compelling reason to upgrade for existing users.

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