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HOWTO: Best way to do a table or spreadsheet in Evernote

table spreadsheet evernote

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#1 steppencat

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:04 PM

I often want to put notes in Evernote that are in some sort of table or spreadsheet format. I don't need to do any fancy spreadsheet stuff. Just raw data. The problem is I often don't know ahead of time how many cells I will need. And I often just need to add cells or tweak things. I've found the table tool included in Evernote to be completely worthless. I need to guess ahead of time how big the table is going to be, and when typing within the table, the formatting is just kind of...screwy.

Does anyone else have this problem? How did you solve it? It's actually something I do pretty often in the 3 years I've been using Evernote, I'm kinda surprised this isn't something that has ever been fixed or added.

#2 jbenson2

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:09 PM

No need for Evernote to become a spreadsheet program.
There is an easy solution when you need advanced spread sheet capabilities.
Just drag an Excel spreadsheet into a note.

#3 steppencat

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:36 PM

No need for Evernote to become a spreadsheet program.
There is an easy solution when you need advanced spread sheet capabilities.
Just drag an Excel spreadsheet into a note.


The problem is that I really don't need advanced spreadsheet capabilities. I just want to be able to do a table that I can change the size of later on.

My use case is that I work in quality assurance, and would like to be able to list some test case ideas in evernote. So I'd maybe be able to fix the width of the table (I'd want test case description, priority, pass/fail, and maybe a couple other columns), but I'd need to add more rows as i come up with new test cases. Seriously...who actually knows exactly how big of a table they will need ahead of time? I have been working in software for 12 years and can't think of one time that was the case.


I actually did know that I could drag a spreadsheet into Evernote, but in a sense, that's "too much". Now I suddenly have to have two programs open to do what I need to do. And if I'm going to do it in another program (e.g. Excel or Numbers), then I'm just going to save the file in my cloud file repository, rather than opening evernote and leaving it there.

#4 Metrodon

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 10:20 AM

The current Mac beta adds functionality for adding and removing rows and columns - nothing about fixing widths though.

Use the right app for the job, if Evernote isn't the right app then use Excel/Numbers/SuperCalc (!) and put it up in the cloud.

I use tables all the time in Evernote - when it is the right tool and I know what I want the table to look like (how many columns x how many rows).

#5 dlu

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 06:59 PM

Yeah we just added adding & removing rows/columns to the Beta, that'll come to GA soon
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#6 SkiloverLA

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 12:25 AM

The issue is width. I have a table now where one column is ridiculously narrow, and nothing I can do will fix it. Making other columns narrower is just leaving those columns with empty space, but the table isn't shifting like it should do. We need to be able to manually control the column width, perhaps by dragging the columns like in Excel. I don't need sophisticated features, but this is a very basic, simple feature. Adding/deleting rows is good--now we need some width control. Now that my table is screwed up, I have no way to fix it, other than an export if that would work, or simply retyping the entire thing.

#7 dlu

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 01:47 AM

The issue is width. I have a table now where one column is ridiculously narrow, and nothing I can do will fix it. Making other columns narrower is just leaving those columns with empty space, but the table isn't shifting like it should do. We need to be able to manually control the column width, perhaps by dragging the columns like in Excel. I don't need sophisticated features, but this is a very basic, simple feature. Adding/deleting rows is good--now we need some width control. Now that my table is screwed up, I have no way to fix it, other than an export if that would work, or simply retyping the entire thing.


Noted, but we are doing HTML tables though and it is just a huge pain. The issue is also display/edit on mobile clients *begin headache*
If you have a serious issue with Evernote, you can submit a support request here. Evernote employees read the forums, but it is not run by customer support or a way to directly get customer support.

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#8 JMichael

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 07:02 AM


The issue is width. I have a table now where one column is ridiculously narrow, and nothing I can do will fix it. Making other columns narrower is just leaving those columns with empty space, but the table isn't shifting like it should do. We need to be able to manually control the column width, perhaps by dragging the columns like in Excel. I don't need sophisticated features, but this is a very basic, simple feature. Adding/deleting rows is good--now we need some width control. Now that my table is screwed up, I have no way to fix it, other than an export if that would work, or simply retyping the entire thing.


Noted, but we are doing HTML tables though and it is just a huge pain. The issue is also display/edit on mobile clients *begin headache*


dlu, I think there may be a simple solution to the column width issue: Do NOT specifify any width in the HTML code

This will cause the HTML table to "autosize" based on the text entered in each cell.

A simple way to implement is to allow an entry of "0" for table width when the table is created.
If the user enters "0" you do NOT add any "width" attributes to the table/cell HTML tags.

I know this will work because I have created the HTML table with no "width" in another app and then paste into EN Mac or EN Win.
The autosize works fine in these clients as well as iPhone and iPad.

#9 dlu

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 05:18 PM

Do NOT specifify any width in the HTML code This will cause the HTML table to "autosize" based on the text entered in each cell. A simple way to implement is to allow an entry of "0" for table width when the table is created. If the user enters "0" you do NOT add any "width" attributes to the table/cell HTML tags. I know this will work because I have created the HTML table with no "width" in another app and then paste into EN Mac or EN Win. The autosize works fine in these clients as well as iPhone and iPad.


Thanks for the suggestion, played around with it but I'll need to get some time to run it through the gauntlet. It doesn't quite address the manually editable table widths though.
If you have a serious issue with Evernote, you can submit a support request here. Evernote employees read the forums, but it is not run by customer support or a way to directly get customer support.

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#10 dlu

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 05:39 PM

The issue is width. I have a table now where one column is ridiculously narrow, and nothing I can do will fix it. Making other columns narrower is just leaving those columns with empty space, but the table isn't shifting like it should do. We need to be able to manually control the column width, perhaps by dragging the columns like in Excel. I don't need sophisticated features, but this is a very basic, simple feature. Adding/deleting rows is good--now we need some width control. Now that my table is screwed up, I have no way to fix it, other than an export if that would work, or simply retyping the entire thing.


I just realized, you sorta can make columns wider. It's a workaround but type in some text (or even spaces) and the column will get wider.
If you have a serious issue with Evernote, you can submit a support request here. Evernote employees read the forums, but it is not run by customer support or a way to directly get customer support.

Check out our Knowledgebase.
View our User Manuals here: Mac or Windows
Check out the Getting Started Guide
Still need help? Submit a support request here.

#11 grunblit

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:58 PM


The issue is width. I have a table now where one column is ridiculously narrow, and nothing I can do will fix it. Making other columns narrower is just leaving those columns with empty space, but the table isn't shifting like it should do. We need to be able to manually control the column width, perhaps by dragging the columns like in Excel. I don't need sophisticated features, but this is a very basic, simple feature. Adding/deleting rows is good--now we need some width control. Now that my table is screwed up, I have no way to fix it, other than an export if that would work, or simply retyping the entire thing.


I just realized, you sorta can make columns wider. It's a workaround but type in some text (or even spaces) and the column will get wider.


I see what you are pointing out, but that is kind of the problem; if you type text into one column, the column into which you are typing gets wider and the other columns immediately shrink in size to nearly nothing.

Putting text or characters in the other columns does re-widen them, but it is a bit of a weird work-around!

Is there any way of fixing the width of columns?

#12 peterfmartin

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:22 PM

Is there any way of fixing the width of columns?


Welcome to the forums. Currently, nope. Sorry.
Using Mac version 3.2.0 beta 1 on OSX 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard), web occasionally, and Chrome clipper (and Windows once upon a time).

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#13 Frank P.

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 02:05 PM

If fixed width cells are too much of a hassle (variable screen widths, different implementations) might I suggest a reasonable compromize would be to allow fixed proportions rather than specified widths? If I have four columns in a table, the logical distribution would automatically be 25%/25%/25%/25%. I should then be able to adjust the proportions manually (fixed width) or allow the tablet to resize based on content (current functionality).

In HTML, it's as easy as "width=25%". As long as the logic validates the total approximation to 100% (eg. 33%/33%/33% in a 3-column table) this should be trivial compared to autosizing.

#14 JMichael

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 01:04 AM

In HTML, it's as easy as "width=25%". As long as the logic validates the total approximation to 100% (eg. 33%/33%/33% in a 3-column table) this should be trivial compared to autosizing.


Actually autosizing is the easiest case: When you don't specify a width the HTML engine does the autosize for you based on contents.

I would actually prefer this instead of a size of 100% for the table.
This colapses the table and table columns to fit the text so you don't have a lot of blank space like you do with 100%.

#15 whipsharpie

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 06:06 PM

I am always sorting and sifting through lots of related information. My #1 wish is the ability to embed a spreadsheet or worksheet in Evernote and be able to sort on columns from within an Evernote notebook without having to open another software.
I would rather not have to attach a spreadsheet or open Open Office or Excel everytime I need to do this.
This is intuitively essential for me. I don't see how Evernote or other PIMs have no keyed on this.
I don't want to sift through/search through a multitude of notebooks when I could have most of what I need in sortable tables. Anyone else been needing this? I use Evernote for Windows but saw this post and wanted to add my two cents.

#16 peterfmartin

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 08:32 PM

Yep, people are reading. Evernote employees only comment occasionally, though. Though this serves as a feature request, you can also submit the request through a support ticket if you want.
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#17 brucequinn

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 12:13 AM

I agree that sometimes you just want a table in Evernote and not embed Excel.

In Windows, one workaround for column width is to have, say, a two column table,
and put in a continuous "underscore" of about 40-50 characters in the top or bottom
row of the table. That prevents one of the worst problems, that one column diminishes
to a half inch wide.

#18 David33409

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 04:22 PM

I've had the same issue. I'm tired of attaching Numbers documents to my notes just to get basic functionality. I still use Numbers documents when I want things to look correctly with images around tables, reflection, etc. especially if I want to password protect my data.

If anyone is interested, I'm working on a solution to the issue discussed in this thread. Basically I use AppleScript to go in and modify my EN 'tables' so additional functionality can be supported. The idea is to substitute what EN gives you with something more productive. It should work with other issues as well, including client-side encryption. I'm in rapid prototype mode right now so if anyone is interested in getting the app when I'm finished, let me know.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

David
Give before you get. When you get, pay it forward. You make a living by what you get....you make a life by what you give. - Sir Winston Churchill

#19 whipsharpie

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 06:35 PM

That sounds interesting David. If you get something together that can work with Windows/Android let me know.

#20 vboudry

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 08:32 AM

I have just tried a 1 pixel width table and the net effect is adaption of all column width to the content of columns.
I guess this will become my default choice from now on..

That might be workaround to many of the requests.

Vincent.





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