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Why I'm Sticking with Evernote


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I'm also an Evernote fan, and use it for the storage and organization of all my notes/documents  

I looked at TSW but converted to a Reminder based task management process

For me, Evernote's most impressive organization paradigm was the elimination of folder methodology.   
I'm a tagger with minimal notebooks.   
Basically tags cover everything, but Evernote has some special notebook features (sync'd'/local, private/shared, default, offline)

Evernote uses an enml format; basically html.  
This is text based and doesn't support "inline ink"   
Ink is supported via note attachments, and Evernote also implemented handwriting OCR for search indexing

The search feature is extensive   
I agree full Boolean is needed, and upgrades are needed for the indexing (special characters, stop words, full phrase, ...)

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1 minute ago, DTLow said:

I'm also an Evernote fan, and use it for the storage and organization of all my notes/documents  

I looked at TSW but converted to a Reminder based task management process

I'm a tagger with minimal notebooks.   
Basically tags cover everything, but Evernote has some special notebook features (sync'd'/local, private/shared, default, offline)   
For me, Evernote's most impressive organization paradigm was the elimination of folder methodology

Evernote uses an enml format; basically html.  This is text based and doesn't support "inline ink"   
Ink is supported via note attachments, and Evernote also implemented handwriting OCR for search indexing

The search feature is extensive   
I agree full Boolean is needed, and upgrades are needed for the indexing (special characters, stop words, full phrase, ...)

How do you do a reminder based process? I'd love to hear more about the workflow.

By inline ink, I just meant that I should be able to insert a handwritten drawing in a text note on desktop. In the current production version on Windows, you can only 'draw' on a separate "Ink Note" which doesn't accept text... Although on Android you can draw in a text note...

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1 hour ago, NewHero said:

How do you do a reminder based process? I'd love to hear more about the workflow.

This may require a new discussion topic, but I'll give an overview

An important requirement is date specific tasks    
Due date is supported in the Reminder feature   

Next actions are also important, supported by non-dated reminders    
Reminders also support a completion date/status

My current task list is generated by a saved search   
reminderOrder:* -reminderTime:day+1 -reminderDoneTime:*    
(all reminders, exclude future date, exclude completed)

Finally, the Evernote note list has limited presentation options (filtered, sorted)     
I take the list to a spreadsheet where I have more options for presentation

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17 minutes ago, NewHero said:

In the current production version on Windows, you can only 'draw' on a separate "Ink Note" which doesn't accept text... Although on Android you can draw in a text note...

I'm not a Windows user   
On my platforms, we don't have "Ink notes" , just notes with ink attachments

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Hi All,

I also actively use Evernote for organising ideas fo work, home and learning.  As noted above I see the tags and saved searches as key to organise ideas.   My most cherished feature is the ability to save searches based on key words not tags.  Looking at the competitors I also agree we don’t want Evernote to get too complex.  

In the future I want Evernote to be smarter and to be able to identify keywords that I type and then show me in a saved search these as a suggestion.  (Google does this with photos). I want to be able to review these topics. In a way the tool could act like a “reflection feature” you wrote down this week about “Australia, chemistry, energy etc”. Here is the collected ideas you wrote on those topics.  This would help me to reflect on an idea and build on it. For those studying think of it as at the end of the week Evernote reminds you of the key topics you learnt.  Evernote suddenly starts helping you learn.  Eventually Evernote could use AI and know more about me than me:)

Pls like this idea if you agree...I am deliberately writing it here to get user support first.

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10 hours ago, grantr said:

My most cherished feature is the ability to save searches based on key words not tags

What do you see as the difference between keywords and tags?

In my use, tags are applied at the note level (metadata), and keywords are specified as text within the note contents 
I use the tag list as a source for my keyword selection (Mac AppleScript)

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8 hours ago, grantr said:

My most cherished feature is the ability to save searches based on key words not tags.

If I'm understanding what you want this can be done today on Windows and the Mac.  As you type keywords, tags, or any search criteria the note list updates with the filtered view of notes.  You can then save that search string as a saved search for later use if you want.

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I've been using Evernote for over 11 years and David Allen's GTD methodology for even longer. I can't say that I am using my folders only for workflow and I could be more disciplined with my tags, but I have been a fan of tagging / labeling over foldering for over 20 years. I recently started a new job that requires Outlook and I can't install third-part apps to add tagging and it is driving me crazy. 

The one thing I disagree with, however, is that Evernote has never lived up to its promise of being a place to dump everything. The file size limit means I frequently am unable to file PDFs of technical manuals into Evernote.  I have to manage a separate personal reference filing system in Google Drive. I was excited to see Google Drive integration advertised, but it doesn't even work on the Web version of Evernote. 

I've used OneNote and Notion extensively for various work projects, and they are great apps, but have never met my needs as well as Evernote. If it were easier to migrate from Evernote to Google Drive / Keep, however, I would certainly test it, because I'm getting tired of having to manage references and materials in two locations. 

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On 5/17/2020 at 7:11 AM, grantr said:

Hi All,

I also actively use Evernote for organising ideas fo work, home and learning.  As noted above I see the tags and saved searches as key to organise ideas.   My most cherished feature is the ability to save searches based on key words not tags.  Looking at the competitors I also agree we don’t want Evernote to get too complex.  

In the future I want Evernote to be smarter and to be able to identify keywords that I type and then show me in a saved search these as a suggestion.  (Google does this with photos). I want to be able to review these topics. In a way the tool could act like a “reflection feature” you wrote down this week about “Australia, chemistry, energy etc”. Here is the collected ideas you wrote on those topics.  This would help me to reflect on an idea and build on it. For those studying think of it as at the end of the week Evernote reminds you of the key topics you learnt.  Evernote suddenly starts helping you learn.  Eventually Evernote could use AI and know more about me than me:)

Pls like this idea if you agree...I am deliberately writing it here to get user support first.

Have you tried the context feature in Evernote. It literally recommends 'related notes' based on the content of what I'm typing. Also, in the Web Clipper, you can add a widget to your Google searches so that when you search in Google it also shows related notes...

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/10/2020 at 3:49 AM, NewHero said:

Evernote is not primarily a tool for editing and formatting notes. It's not even really a to-do list app. It's a tool for creating your own, personalized system for being organized, from scratch. Evernote's killer feature is that it lets you get organized and stay organized. Nothing else comes close on that front for me.

@NewHero Wow... not sure how I missed this great narrative when it was posted, but thanks for putting together this well thought-out piece.  I couldn't agree more with the statement above!

For me, Evernote's strength is not as a note editor, but as a digital filing cabinet.  It is my GTD filing system for supporting documents, and it is an added bonus that it also operates as my GTD inbox and project organization.  Whenever I try to make it do more, I get frustrated.  Therefore, I use other services for tables (Google Sheets), editing documents (Google Docs) and ink (GoodNotes), then link or import those files into Evernote for storage/reference.  

Here is a short summary of my setup...

As a filing cabinet, the Evernote stack is the equivalent of the filing cabinet, and the notebook is the drawer or large expandable folder inside a specific drawer.  In my system, the individual notes are organized into "folders" within the notebook through the note title (I rarely use tags).  I typically start the note with a sub-topic that may be common among many notes in that notebook, then use a date (YY-MM-DD) and then a short descriptive title.  That way if I sort the notes in a note book by the title bar, it sorts the individual notes into their folders and sorts them by date.  I can then use the search for "intitle" to find whatever I need. 

For example, a typical note title is: Short Topic YY-MM-DD Longer Keyword Heavy Description of Note

(I have never been able to wrap my head around tags or make them work, so basically I view everything in the title of the note as a keyword/tag I may want to search.  I don't find it to be a limitation that a note can only go into one notebook, as I am used to the same limitation from prior use of a physical filing cabinet)

For the GTD project organization, I typically have one note for each project and start it with a "#" symbol so that it shows at the top of a notebook when sorted by title.  Then I add links to the important supporting documentation and use TODO lists to outline the various subtasks that need to be done for that project.  I then assign a reminder to the project note, and include the next few actions in the title.

For example, a typical note title for a project note is: #Project description: +Next Action > Future Action > Future Action" (with reminder set for today if it is active or future if I am waiting for something to do the next action)

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5 hours ago, aukirk said:

As a filing cabinet, the Evernote stack is the equivalent of the filing cabinet, and the notebook is the drawer or large expandable folder inside a specific drawer.  In my system, the individual notes are organized into "folders" within the notebook through the note title

As I mentioned above, Evernote dropped the folder methodology
There's no filing cabinet, drawers, folders; just a flat collection of notes

Evernote's organizational structure is based on the notebook/tag fields   
Some users emulate folders using the notebook/tag trees

>>I don't find it to be a limitation that a note can only go into one notebook

I find it to be a serious limitation, which is why I use minimal notebooks and focus on tags
We can restrict ourselves to a single tag per note

>>Therefore, I use other services for tables (Google Sheets), editing documents (Google Docs) and ink (GoodNotes), then link or import those files into Evernote for storage/reference.  

In addition, I find Evernote's note list limiting; we can only filter and sort
I export the note list to a spreadsheet for better processing options; for example budget/expense and task reports

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57 minutes ago, DTLow said:

In addition, I find Evernote's note list limiting; we can only filter and sort
I export the note list to a spreadsheet for better processing options; for example budget/expense and task reports

How do you export a note list to a spreadsheet?  Also, what do you mean by processing and how do you get any of the changes/notes made to the spreadsheet back into Evernote?

 

 

59 minutes ago, DTLow said:

As I mentioned above, Evernote dropped the folder methodology
There's no filing cabinet, drawers, folders; just a flat collection of notes

My reference to folders and drawers was as an analogy to the prior method of filing and saving material that myself and a lot of the world used for decades before the introduction of the concept of tagging or digital systems that make that possible.  I get that you and many others find that to be a great benefit, but I was just explaining my system and how I view Evernote as my digital version of the filing system I have used well before the existence of Evernote.

 

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3 hours ago, aukirk said:

How do you export a note list to a spreadsheet? 

I use scripting on a Mac (Applescript)   
Copy/Paste also works

>>what do you mean by processing421290167_ScreenShot2020-06-14at11_18_37AM.png.e19839359ad7226d68e98af506c1870b.png

Budget/expense reports   
- summarize by budget category   
- graphs/charts

 

 

Task reports   
- Tasks listed in a gantt timeline view568958488_ScreenShot2020-06-14at11_15_14AM.png.f047568c9ca69b934b7a70543e85d138.png

 

>>how do you get any of the changes/notes made to the spreadsheet back into Evernote?

It's a one way transfer, although the spreadsheets can be stored as note attachments 

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  • 7 months later...
On 5/10/2020 at 6:33 AM, DTLow said:

An important requirement is date specific tasks    
Due date is supported in the Reminder feature   

Next actions are also important, supported by non-dated reminders    
Reminders also support a completion date/status

I'm glad I found this thread. I just came back to EN after spending a couple of years in apple notes. I didnt realize how much I missed basic features of EN. I too use tags as my organization. So much more flexible than notebooks. 

As to reminders, I love this feature in EN. I'm interested in the above however. What are "non dated reminders?" How does that work? ...and when I complete a reminder, there is a completion date? I dont see that. That would be useful. ....and due date is just the reminder date correct? 

This is a list of what I missed about EN. I dabbled in Notion but think I would spend all my time tinkering. 

  • ability to change the creation date. Crucial for my journal if I forget to put the note in on the actual day something happened.
  • reminders in the app without having to use an outside task manager
  • tags structure, searchable tags
  • web clipper, of course
  • Shortcuts
  • Integration: the new version isn't great yet but since this is a main feature of EN I'm sure it will get better.
  • iOS note editor- color. Compared to Apple Notes? The new editor is a winner for me. 
  • Innovation / Focus: Sounds funny to say about EN right? But this is what EN does. With Apple, Notes is an after thought. A place holder. It doesn't even have tags.
  • I actually like the new version. There are some features missing I'm waiting for but I like it. I really like the implementation of dark mode and on my iPhone it looks really sharp. I have to like looking at whatever app I use. 
  • What I would like to see in the future? My main thing is beef up the reminders feature. repeating, snooze, repeat on completion date (example if I have a reminder that says change the A/C filter on Jan 3 but I dont actually do it until Jan 5, schedule 3 months from Jan 5 not Jan 3.)
  • Would like to see better security features. 
I REALLY hope EN follows through with what they are saying so I dont have to leave again. Since coming back I am already so much more productive than with Apple Notes. Thanks for the positive thread. Most of what is on the forum is depressing and negative. haha. 
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3 hours ago, silentquest said:

As to reminders, I love this feature in EN. I'm interested in the above however. What are "non dated reminders?" How does that work? ...and when I complete a reminder, there is a completion date? I dont see that. That would be useful. ....and due date is just the reminder date correct? 

The Reminder feature supports   
1. Flagging a note as a Reminder    
2. Optionally assigning a Reminder Date (hence dated and non-dated reminders)   
     Yes Reminder Date and Due Date are the same
3.  Flagging a note as Reminder Completed 

A note has three reminder fields; ReminderOrder, ReminderTime, ReminderDoneTime
These fields can also be accessed using the Search feature   
I'm using the Evernote Legacy product on a Mac and can access these fields using Applescript 

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Thank you. (using new version) Never noticed the No Date reminder option before. May I ask how do you use this? Also is there a way for me to see completed date/time for a task without AppleScript? That would be useful to me.

Thank you.

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15 minutes ago, silentquest said:

No Date reminder option before. May I ask how do you use this?

I use this all the the as part of my GTD processing (task management)    
I have task notes with no set due date, however I want to flag them as active

>>Also isthere a way for me to see completed date/time for a task without AppleScript?

Not directly, but you can use the search feature; for example search ReminderDoneTime:*

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@DTLow While your expertise clearly exceeds mine, I feel a kindred spirit here with your use of GTD and Due Date functionality in the legacy app (albeit on Mac; I'm a PC)  

I just wrote out my frustrations and was looking for the best place to post.  This thread feels right and particularly current.  I wrote as if I were chatting with @Ian Small and or the development team.  I'm hoping they'll see as well. Forgive me if this is not the right or best venue/thread to share this.

I have been a Premium Evernote user for roughly 10 years.  It took nearly that long to really fine-tune how I wanted to use my "external brain" (as Evernote used to bill itself).  It was comforting to know that 'nothing would drop' and that I could use powerful search tools to find ANYTHING that I'd saved in the app.  As I found and refined my Getting Things Done (GTD) approach, I became extremely reliant on the Due Date capabilities and augmented that with a link to my calendar using Cronofy.   I was and am happy as a clam with the functionality provided in Evernote for Windows v 6.25.1.9091 (309091) Public (CE Build ce-62.6.10954) and Evernote for Android v 8.13.3. It is my trusted system.
 
I participated in one of the early Betas for the Web app.  I also followed Ian Small's updates on what was being undertaken closely.  I understood and understand the need to make the platform 'agnostic' and easily scalable across multiple OS environments.  I applaud that effort.  However, it seems as though there were both a direction and decisions taken absent any real consideration of input from long-time, experienced users.
 
My 'show-stopper' is the absence of Due Date Functionality in Android, and presumably, new Windows versions.  I have the latest Android release on my Samsung Tab 6 lite so I KNOW it's broken, non-functioning there.  I WILL NOT update Windows nor my Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S9+) versions for fear of losing capability there.
 
Note on this screenshot the custom search "Due TODAY" (first shortcut).  [linked Google Photos screenshot ] This is my go-to, daily view.  Note that this task of "Document Frustrations" appears in what is in fact, a time-based sequence, and I'm approximately 18 minutes into the task.  This is the level of control I'm used to and expect on something as 'measurable' as the date and time.
 
On the web version, the All NOTES view provides a way to see today's reminders but only sortable by Title, Date Updated or Dated Created.  [linked Google Photos screen shot] As edits are made, the order changes but in no case, is the TO DO maintained or visible in strict due date/time order.
 
On Android, it's worse.  There seems to be no way to control the sequence.  I have reminders that are 10 to 20 years out and they are displaying at the top of the list!  [link to Google Photos screen shot] There's no sort option.  Only a View option to alternate the entire view between Small, Large, and Card as well as choosing whether to Show Images, Show body text, and/or Show tags.  On top of the painfully slow (10 - 20 seconds to resolve a page after a clip or search), this absent functionality makes the Android version as released completely useless and unusable for me.
 
I've taken the time to document this because it felt necessary to point out that Evernote's main functionality for most, I would imagine, is storing, remembering, and finding content. Removing the due date functionality makes it a glorified, searchable file cabinet and I believe there's already a fairly large competitor that has already done that, for free, for most.
 
Please stop and listen to the input you're getting from very frustrated, long time users who really want to see the product succeed and endure.  [Update: I just read your 10 DEC 2020 blog post and you've already acknowledged this failure.  Thank you.] The direction you're taking is mostly right. You're just not leveraging what long-time users are telling you as earnestly and as objectively as they can. I implore you to do more and to do better here.
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