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(Archived) Searches with Special Characters in 3 Beta

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I have a whole bunch of keyword categories set up in 2.2 with "@" as a prefix. E.g., "@dead" for a deadline. In 3.0, a search for "@dead" finds all instances of "dead"--including the @dead notes but other notes as well. So it is not possible to set up "Saved Search" in 3.0 with the same effect as the 2.2 keyword categories I have.

I've tried other special characters like "!" and "+" and "#". None of them seem to work.

This is a conversion deal-breaker for me--at least as I'm thinking about it now. And I've been using EverNote since just about its birth, I think.

All the mousing around one has to do in 3.0 is also aggravating. It's not just the use of the mouse, it's all the different locations on the screen one has to reach to the simplest tasks, it seems to me.

Any thoughts?


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I've been complaining for a while about not being able to use "@" in saved searches. As you say, pretty much a deal breaker, especially for anyone who has trained themselves to insert keywords in order to make use of the old automatic keyword categories.

I also agree about the mousing - I complained when they first came out with the tag/delete/etc. icons on the main menu bar, instead of the menu bar for each note. It doesn't even save space, so I'm obviously missing whatever advantage they think they gain. All I know is that mousing is longer.

Plus, depending on where you click in the left panel, you get different behaviour, e.g., toggle on/off, select more than one saved search, etc. Most definitely not intuitive.

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Absolutely agree regarding "special characters".

I use @whatever all over the place (mostly after reading the EN experts in the forums and mimicking them).

It's quite useful.

Even if that was left as the "default behavior" (to not allow the special chars), surely there must be a way to "escape the special character" to say "hey EN, I really really really (no really) want to match exactly what I'm saying, including special chars".

If any of our (EN user) brothers and sisters are out there, please.... help a brother out.

Join us... and together.. we will rule the...

well,... just join us please.

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I haven't tried the beta 3 yet, but I do consider myself to be a power user of 2.2.1. I am absolutely dependent on EverNote 2.2.1 as my one-and-only (other than email) note taking and personal information manager, and I blow through the existing en 500 MB practical database size limit in a few months time. I echo the concerns that have been stated here about searches / categories / tags that are dependent on special characters like "@". While I'm not a true GTD person, I do use at least a dozen sort of "super categories" that all begin with the character "@", like "@WEEK of xx/xx/xx", "@Config DB", "@STAFF MTG", "@Weekly Update", "@Boss 1:1", "@Focus Item Blah", "@Deliver XX In 2008 Or Die" (actual category names changed to protect the guilty). These are mostly category keyword filter searches looking for "@FOO..." in the first line / title of the note. (In fact, I would like to be able to do regular-expression-like category filters that say: find only those notes *that begin with* with keyword "@FOO"...) However, in some other cases my @ categories are more like a saved complex search, looking for multiple keywords and phrases, in order to sweep up all the notes that have something to do with a particular area of concern or area of research.

For me, these @Tags supply something of a traditional folder-like structure within the anything-goes free-for-all of tagging. Don't misunderstand -- I do like the free-for-all, no-structure attributes of tags -- I sprinkle them liberally all over my notes. But I also need to be able to put some higher-level order to the blissful chaos of my personal "tag cloud". When I'm looking for something, I almost always start by clicking on one of my high-level "@" categories, then use category intersections and text search to further narrow down and find what I really want. For example, the "@" tags let me easily narrow down to a sequential list of the minutes from one set of weekly meetings, or to the To-Do lists in my "@WEEK of" entries, or to everything related to one particular project or research area.

And while this belongs in a different thread, I am also strongly dependent on links, both note-to-note and to external file or webpages.

So lack of support for searches on special characters like "@" in en3 would be a deal-breaker, or close to it, for me.

-- Joe Baron

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I didn't find this thread when I posted mine today, but I have the same issue with my tagging. I got a response today from a developer.

Case- and punctuation-insensitive searching is more friendly for most consumers, but we recognize that this breaks an existing usage pattern. With the current system, you can achieve the similar goals via:

  • Mark notes with "words" made up of just letters, numbers and underscores: "xxxHome" or "_home"

  • Assign named tags for categorization instead

We considered making "@" a "word" character for searching (like underscore), but this means that you wouldn't be able to find the word "whitehouse" in "president@whitehouse.gov", since the words would be "president@whitehouse" and "gov".

I don't agree with this functionality, but at least we're getting an explanation. I also feel that there should be a way to force a search for this sort of symbolic string.

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That's an interesting, if not quite satisfying answer. There are plenty of e-mail addresses with underscores in them as well.

Now there's the problem of conversion for the rest of us, because there is no global search and replace. And personally speaking, I'm not going to replace hundreds of keyword tags by hand.

Hmmm. Maybe there is global search and replace, come to think of it. Export a whole database to an XML file, replace all the "@"'s with "_" or whatever, create a new database, and import the edited XML file.

Maybe someone has already suggested this.



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Stupid. not MKaBlm, but the explanation that we users have to change hundreds, if not thousands of existing notes in order to fit exactly one, boundary, use case, i.e., the ability to find a word in an email address.

What about escaping the @ somehow, to force it to be a character in a search? What about using quotes or star to somehow find the whitehouse in the email address?

As I said, stupid. :evil:

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