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Evernote Support for Keys in Addition to Tags


davidmc41

Idea

I have found it useful to insert words with an underscore suffix that I have called 'keys' as a means of quickly finding notes of interest while at the same time reducing the number of tags. For example, when i create a note for a contact and the note represents the main contact information (for, say, Dr. Ralph Smith) I enter the last name as "Smith__". Should I have a note that includes a result from an office visit with Dr. Smith, I enter his name as "Smith_" with a single underscore. That makes it very simple to locate contacts for individuals or organizations. I do a lot of research on topics of interest and find that entering "key" names for topics, again to keep tags from becoming too numerous and thus unwieldy. My scheme works fairly well, but could be enhanced if Evernote provided some support for it. I think there are others who use 'keys' in a similar fashion, as would others, if they had the insight to do so. It would help if Evernote could support "keys", that is, treat any word that ends in one or more underscore character as a "key" and provide added support for "keys." I'll use an example to describe the support I have in mind. Let the typing of an underscore character signal that a key is being entered without actually entering the underscore at the beginning of the word (but suffixing it at the end of the word (end of a word determined by the space character). Then as a (key) word is typed allow a drop down list to display existing "keys" whereupon clicking any one would cause it to be entered, with the capability of any newly typed key would be added to the list. So typing _ would cause the next character to be viewed as beginning the name of a key, for example, "a" which would cause all keys beginning with "a" to be displayed. If the second character typed is "b" then the list would show all keys beginning with "ab" and so on. Any time a character is typed not corresponding to an existing key, then the new "key" would be recognized and added to the "key" drop-down list when the space bar is pressed indicating the end of the "key" word (or when an underscore suffix is typed). The implementation could automatically apply the underscore character, but I think it would be better to manually type the underscore and let the space indicate the end of the "key" word. This would permit the underscore character to be used within the "key" as may be preferred by the user. My Evernote file has about 4,000 notes and well over 200 tags, but using "keys" has help me enormously in focusing my searching to fewer notes to browse through in looking for the desired information. Having the number of notes to which a "key" has been applied (as for tags) would be very useful as well. I hope you'll give this suggestion serious consideration. Thanks, David McConnell (davidmc41@gmail.com)

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2 hours ago, davidmc41 said:

I have found it useful to insert words with an underscore suffix that I have called 'keys' as a means of quickly finding notes of interest while at the same time reducing the number of tags. For example, when i create a note for a contact and the note represents the main contact information (for, say, Dr. Ralph Smith) I enter the last name as "Smith__". Should I have a note that includes a result from an office visit with Dr. Smith, I enter his name as "Smith_" with a single underscore. That makes it very simple to locate contacts for individuals or organizations. I do a lot of research on topics of interest and find that entering "key" names for topics, again to keep tags from becoming too numerous and thus unwieldy. My scheme works fairly well, but could be enhanced if Evernote provided some support for it. I think there are others who use 'keys' in a similar fashion, as would others, if they had the insight to do so. It would help if Evernote could support "keys", that is, treat any word that ends in one or more underscore character as a "key" and provide added support for "keys." I'll use an example to describe the support I have in mind. Let the typing of an underscore character signal that a key is being entered without actually entering the underscore at the beginning of the word (but suffixing it at the end of the word (end of a word determined by the space character). Then as a (key) word is typed allow a drop down list to display existing "keys" whereupon clicking any one would cause it to be entered, with the capability of any newly typed key would be added to the list. So typing _ would cause the next character to be viewed as beginning the name of a key, for example, "a" which would cause all keys beginning with "a" to be displayed. If the second character typed is "b" then the list would show all keys beginning with "ab" and so on. Any time a character is typed not corresponding to an existing key, then the new "key" would be recognized and added to the "key" drop-down list when the space bar is pressed indicating the end of the "key" word (or when an underscore suffix is typed). The implementation could automatically apply the underscore character, but I think it would be better to manually type the underscore and let the space indicate the end of the "key" word. This would permit the underscore character to be used within the "key" as may be preferred by the user. My Evernote file has about 4,000 notes and well over 200 tags, but using "keys" has help me enormously in focusing my searching to fewer notes to browse through in looking for the desired information. Having the number of notes to which a "key" has been applied (as for tags) would be very useful as well. I hope you'll give this suggestion serious consideration. Thanks, David McConnell (davidmc41@gmail.com)

A different style.  I guess I don't get tags being unwieldy and a combo of tags and key words not being unwieldy.  Seems like you end up with the same number of identifying thingamajigs.  If it works for you, great.  Horses for courses.

Relative to your people example, my method is to create a tag for the important contacts, last name preceded by the equals sign, =.  I have about 25 of those tags.  Same basic concept - when I want to add a person to a note I hit F3 and start typing =lastname and typically get a hit after a few keystrokes.  Works for me since I prefer to keep things mostly in one flow which tags accommodate.  And my feng shui isn't impacted by funky names in the text of the note.  FWIW.

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10 hours ago, davidmc41 said:

It would help if Evernote could support "keys", that is, treat any word that ends in one or more underscore character as a "key" and provide added support for "keys."
... Let the typing of an underscore character signal that a key is being entered

I'm not sure about using underscore as a trigger; it's an interesting idea    
A double underscore might be better to eliminate misfires
On my Mac, I use a keyboard shortcut (command option T)     

As you pointed out, Evernote already provides support for Tags      
My work-around is an Applescript which accesses the Tag table, and inserts the "key"  (Tag) into the note contents

As to syntax; Smith__ works in some cases   
I mostly use tag_aaaaaaaaa

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In my opinion, Evernote doesn't need another parallel system of similar functionality to the existing tag system. Tags already do much of this sort of thing, at least in the Evernote Windows application: you get partial tag recognition with droplist suggestions in several parts of the UI (e.g. Filter by Tag: Alt+Shift+T). Moreover, tags, like keywords are metadata, i.e., not part of the note text: you don't need to edit the note text to add or remove them. And the postpended underscore just seems awkward and unfamiliar. As an alternative, I'd support the much more familiar '#' prefix to denote "on-the-fly" tags in the text of a note: that would require Evernote search to change so that the '#' character was used in literal text search, which it isn't currently (like most other special characters, including '$', '@', etc.), so that's a drawback there.

Curiously, the only special character that I'm aware of that is supported in literal text search is '_'. So it's a bit of a mystery to me why posfixed '_' is being used. A search term of _blah is probably going to be functionally better that blah_, and prefixed '_' lets you do a limited form of Boolean OR searches like _blahxyzzy_blahfubar, etc. using a search of _blah*. This is something you can do today in Evernote. Since prefixed '_' is relatively rare in English text, I could see having Evernote treat these as pseudo tags when typing in tag names elsewhere in the UI, but prefix '#' has a lot of currency in the online world these days, hence more familiar to more people.

Adding the proposed keyword scheme to Evernote would likely make entree to Evernote for beginners more difficult that the current "tags vs notebooks for organization" situation. My inclination would be to make the existing tags facility more powerful without losing its inherent simplicity. A new, separate keywords system would seem to muddy the waters, from my point of view.

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