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Want to be able to see my entire Notebook setup - can I?


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I have created many notebooks and stacks.  I am in the process of rationalizing my organizational structure across all of my applications/file structures and management.  In Evernote in particular, I want to simplify my structure, as it is over-engineered imo.

To rationalize and simplify I really need to look at the organizational structures from each app side-by-side.  I could do this if I could a) copy the file structure list and drop into a separate document (such as excel), with each app getting a column for its current list, or b) use snagit to capture the full scroll of the file structure list, then convert to text and drop into an excel file as above, or c) print out each file structure list and do a manual rationalization. 

I can't seem to do any of the above with Evernote, either in the Windows desktop app or on the web app (I'm not even going to bother looking on iOS).  I can't highlight text in the Menu window to do a); the Evernote sidebar window isn't a "true" window and so snagit will only catch a scroll on the Note, not the sidebar, so b) isn't working; and I can't find a way to print for c) (which would be an inferior option anyway).  

Am I mistaken?  Is there any workaround other than manually retyping my whole file structure (or taking a dozen screenshots of each visible section of the org list) into a doc for the comparison/improved management & productivity?  Can the sidebar function as a true window of copyable/scrollable/printable text?  

(I've run into a similar issue when trying to edit/manage my tags, though in that case I think I was able at least to get the full list to show enough to snag an unwieldy image, but that leaves me still with a very manual streamlining process and I haven't faced it yet.)

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I reflect the hierarchy in my naming standard   
For example; !Budget, !Budget-Housing, !Budget-HousingRent, !Budget-HousingUtilities

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2 hours ago, DTLow said:

I reflect the hierarchy in my naming standard   
For example; !Budget, !Budget-Housing, !Budget-HousingRent, !Budget-HousingUtilities

Yes, I did that...but I guess perhaps I wasn't clear about what I want to do. 

I want to make all of my files structure/organization the exact same in all of my applications/programs (Evernote, Windows drive, cloud drives, ClickUp, everywhere I keep information or manage projects).   Because I have a lot of stack/notebooks (or their equivalents in other applications), and because I use a lot of applications, it is not easy to compare all of the current file structures and decide what the master structure I will apply across all applications should be. (I expect all of them to change , in large or small ways, but the key point is I want to see them all side by side.)

In order to see them all side by side, I need to be able to put each application's list of stacks/notebooks/equivalent titles ("Index") into a single place to compare all of the applications' Indexes against each other.  The simplest way to do that would be to put each application's Index into a spreadsheet or table (such as in Excel, but could be Word or any other similar program).

For Evernote, I have considered multiple ways to get the Index to Excel:

  • export the text of file structure (the titles of each stack/notebook) to another format, or
  • copy & paste the text of the file structure into another format, or
  • see the entire file structure in a non-nested window that a screenprint application (I use Snagit most often, but any would be fine) could scroll-screenprint then extract the text from, or
  • (last resort) print out to lay one Index physically next to the others.  

So is it possible to do any of the above with the Index in Evernote, or am I going to have to manually retype or write down my entire file structure by hand ini order to look at it next to the others? 

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12 hours ago, Athena13 said:

I can't seem to do any of the above with Evernote, either in the Windows desktop app or on the web app (I'm not even going to bother looking on iOS).  I can't highlight text in the Menu window to do a); the Evernote sidebar window isn't a "true" window and so snagit will only catch a scroll on the Note, not the sidebar, so b) isn't working; and I can't find a way to print for c) (which would be an inferior option anyway).  

Evernote has never been great at allowing you to export anything to do with the organisation of notes whether it's stacks, notebooks or tags. The only possible way would be to hack the sql database on your hard drive. You would need some significant sql and regex knowledge to do it but it looks as though it is all there.

Obviously this is potentially risky and I would certainly work on a copy and not the live database. Only attempt it if you know what you are doing etc etc. For me the relevant database is here (with user number replaced with XXX):

C:\Users\Mike\AppData\Roaming\Evernote\conduit-storage\https%3A%2F%2Fwww.evernote.com\UDB-UserXXX+RemoteGraph.sql

I sucessfully extracted a list of tag names without organisation quite easily. Getting it with the hierarchy would have been much more challenging.

I agree that it shouldn't be that hard and it would be nice if there was a way of extracting it simply.

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@Athena13 Beside the technical aspects, for me this would be hell on earth. It is not only creating the structure, it adds a permanent stress keeping it up.

My strategy is different:

Mac & on iOS folder structure are all the same, synced through iCloud. Works perfectly, automatically. When I create a new folder, it is everywhere, when I move it, it moves on all devices etc.

In EN I would never duplicate a folder structure by stacks & notebooks. And notebooks have a different meaning here: A part of them control  access, by sharing and unsharing. My main instrument in EN is tagging, combined with OCR and search.

Maybe think your grand unifying project over again …

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On 8/31/2021 at 2:24 AM, PinkElephant said:

@Athena13 Beside the technical aspects, for me this would be hell on earth. It is not only creating the structure, it adds a permanent stress keeping it up.

My strategy is different:

Mac & on iOS folder structure are all the same, synced through iCloud. Works perfectly, automatically. When I create a new folder, it is everywhere, when I move it, it moves on all devices etc.

In EN I would never duplicate a folder structure by stacks & notebooks. And notebooks have a different meaning here: A part of them control  access, by sharing and unsharing. My main instrument in EN is tagging, combined with OCR and search.

Maybe think your grand unifying project over again …

Thanks, and good food for thought.  

My laptop is a Windows machine.  I basically save anything created in a Microsoft app to OneDrive (and backup to a harddrive and additional cloud drive).  But I like to collect research/create notes/etc. in Evernote.  Also organize bookmarks/sync bookmarks in Chrome and Safari.  Beyond that, I like to set and track goals and projects within the same structure (currently use ClickUp & sometimes Todoist, and pen & paper).  I'm currently trying to set at least a baseline consistency across all platforms.  I recognize that it requires some manual upkeep to keep it all perfectly in synch, but I have just been looking for a way to extract the structures I have previously set up in all these different places at different time so that I can rationalize and compare/make editing decisions.

I've come around to embracing tags through my work with Evernote and rely on them in goals setting and tracking as well as in Evernote, but it's not so useful in more traditional file structure environments.  Plus,  even where I do use tags, I don't want to have to remember what the tags are that will capture or explain  a whole subject matter, so I like topical notebooks in addition to thematic tags (plus tags that would correspond to topics, especially where multilayered as one of the earlier comments mentioned - e.g. "Budget - Planning," "Budget - Actual," etc. would be unwieldy.  So though rationalizing tags across apps is  a secondary priority/future intention, right now I was just hoping that EN would allow me to get a full view of the topical index I myself created (aka stacks and notebooks), rather than having to split my screen and retype a structure I already created in Evernote, just so I can streamline it and replicate it across apps.

Control access is not an issue for me, as this project is about my personal knowledge management system, not one that will involve anyone else.

It's frustrating not to be able to get a bird's eye view of how I have organized my own files in Evernote all on one screen/be able to export or c&p my own structure.  (And i know it's not just Evernote; I had to find a utility to  do the same with the Windows file directory (fortunately, there does exist such a thing, free, even).

::sigh::

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On 9/3/2021 at 6:06 PM, Athena13 said:

I had to find a utility to  do the same with the Windows file directory (fortunately, there does exist such a thing, free, even).

Isn't it bonkers that there is still not a built-in function for this in Windows?!

So I was messing around with your ask and I agree there doesn't seem to be a way in the EN desktop client to copy the notebook structure. (Note that I'm still on the legacy client - not v10). However, I did try the following in the web version using Chrome:

1. Click on the Notebooks icon until the flyout menu appears. 

2. In the white space to the right of "NOTEBOOKS" and above the "Find a notebook" button, right click and then select "View page source". (I chose the right click location on the screen specifically to make sure page source would capture all the notebook data.)

3. When the source tab opens, CTRL-A to select all the text and then throw it into Excel or Word. It appears that each stack will appear in one or two cells with all the notebooks in that stack listed. At this point the data is UGLY and will probably take some patience to clean up, but still might be better than your other options. Here's the raw data for my joined notebook stack (I shortened the result a bit for space):

listLinkedNotebooks: ["{\"2\":{\"str\":\"MAYO\"},\"3\":{\"str\":\"mayo-christopher\"},\"4\":{\"str\":\"s74\"},\"6\":{\"str\":\"public\"},\"7\":{\"str\":\"374d25d3-0b30-4a67-926a-a62a43ec279d\"},\"8\":{\"i32\":102874},\"9\":{\"str\":\"https://www.evernote.com/shard/s74/notestore\"},\"10\":{\"str\":\"https://www.evernote.com/shard/s74/\"},\"11\":{\"str\":\"C) Joined Notebooks\"}}","{\"2\":{\"str\":\"2014 Calendar Templates\"},\"3\":{\"str\":\"missrspink\"},\"4\":{\"str\":\"s122\"},\"6\":{\"str\":\"2014calendartemplates\"},\"7\":{\"str\":\"a41ce8eb-9efc-4246-80de-51fca8c2c24b\"},\"8\":{\"i32\":102875},\"9\":{\"str\":\"https://www.evernote.com/shard/s122/notestore\"},\"10\":{\"str\":\"https://www.evernote.com/shard/s122/\"},\"11\":{\"str\":\"C) Joined Notebooks\"}}","{\"2\":{\"str\":\"Evernote SMLC\"},\"3\":{\"str\":\"cholton51\"},\"4\":{\"str\":\"s142\"},\"6\":{\"str\":\"evernotesmlc\"},\"7\":{\"str\":\"285eacec-fe29-4d5d-94a3-6c64ab8a17fe\"},\"8\":{\"i32\":102876},\"9\":{\"str\":\"https://www.evernote.com/shard/s142/notestore\"},\"10\":{\"str\":\"https://www.evernote.com/shard/s142/\"},\"11\":{\"str\":\"C) Joined Notebooks\"}}","{\"2\":{\"str\":\"Going Paperless\"},\"3\":{\"str\":\"jamietr\"},\"4\":{\"str\":\"s51\"},\"6\":{\"str\":\"goingpaperless\"},\"7\":{\"str\":\"446a974c-47e4-4f19-ae3a-760a1be70a29\"},\"8\":{\"i32\":102877},\"9\":{\"str\":\"https://www.evernote.com/shard/s51/notestore\"},\"10\":{\"str\":\"https://www.evernote.com/shard/s51/\"},\"11\":{\"str\":\"C) Joined Notebooks\"}}","{\"2\":{\"str\":\"Shared Templates\"},\"3\":{\"str\":\"jamietr\"},\"4\":{\"str\":\"s51\"},\"6\":{\"str\":\"sharedtemplates\"},\"7\":{\"str\":\"f2dd029f-4b4c-4bb0-b13b-af9ed8aac50c\"},\"8\":{\"i32\":102878},\"9\":{\"str\":\"https://www.evernote.com/shard/s51/notestore\"},\"10\":{\"str\":\"https://www.evernote.com/shard/s51/\"},\"11\":{\"str\":\"C) Joined Notebooks\"}}"

The BOLD RED is the notebook name and the BOLD BLUE is the stack name that it's located in. I threw the data into Excel, deleted the cells that did not have the notebook/stack data in them, then threw the remaining data into Word and used the search feature to find "C) Joined Notebooks". 

Depending on your notebook organization, it might be quite a pain to parse out the notebooks and stacks. Also note that local notebooks won't appear here because (obviously) they are not synced to the web so if you have any of those you'll need to handle them manually. 

My notebook structure is pretty simple:

-- Stack -- A) Personal Notebooks (with 8 notebooks in it)

    All the notebooks in this stack use naming convention of 01 Notebook Name; 02 Notebook Name; 03 Notebook Name, etc. so I can force a specific alphabetic sort order. 

-- Notebook -- B) LOCAL - Temp

-- Stack -- C) Joined Notebooks (with 9 notebooks in it)

If you have lots and lots of notebooks and stacks, one thing you could possibly try is renaming all your notebooks with a specific code that you could then search on to make it easier to find them in the page source results. For example, you could do TEMP Notebook1; TEMP Notebook 2; TEMP Notebook 3 and then you'd search for TEMP and parse the data every time it finds TEMP. However, if you have a ton of notebooks this might be more trouble than it's worth! Alternately, if all your notebooks are in stacks, you could search for each stack name and go from there. (Or temporarily create stacks for purposes of this project, then move/clean up your notebooks back "wherever" once you decide on your final structure.) So...it looks like you can get the raw (ugly) data and then cleaning it up depends on your preferences and skill level in working with the results!

Hope this helps and good luck!

 

9/6/21 Edited for missing close parenthesis. B)

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4 hours ago, freyja313 said:

However, I did try the following in the web version using Chrome:

Brilliant! Why didn't I think of that rather than messing about with the sql database. You have basically reduced it to a very simple web scrapping problem. I saved the html page and extacted the notebooks in one line of code using the css style ("#qa-NOTEBOOK_TITLE"). Job done. Not so straightforward for tags but certainly works for notebooks.

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@Mike P thanks for the kind words! This is the great thing about hive mind because you took it further than my tech expertise would allow me to go. I could definitely see tags being super pesky especially if a person has a lot of nested tags.

A little trick I've used in the past when trying to clean up and organize tags is to create a new temporary "holding " tag and tag ALL (yes, all) my notes with that tag (similar to what I mentioned in my post above about temporarily renaming notebooks). As I clean up notes, once I'm satisfied they're tagged correctly I remove the "holding" tag from the note and eventually wind up with zero notes with that tag once the project is complete. Although here too, if you have lots and lots of notes or a propensity to tag individual notes with, say, more than five tags, it could be a rather time consuming endeavor! I haven't done this particular task in a long time so I can't remember my exact methodology but it was probably a combination of extracting a list of all notes with their tags into Excel*, searching by tag(s) in the Windows client and/or sorting notes by tag(s) in the Windows client. I try to keep my tag list somewhat reasonable too and *try* to avoid nesting as much as possible, plus reviewing my tag list every so often. If there's a tag that has less than ten notes, I try to see if I can re-tag those notes to another existing tag and get rid of the lesser-used tag. After using EN for so long, I've learned that having an excellent note title naming convention makes all the difference and can relegate tags to a less important organizational role since I can rely on the robust search feature to find what I'm looking for. So for me, tags have become like a sub-notebook of sorts. Of course, my project now is fixing a bunch of note titles. I have, um, rather a lot of "Untitled notes". 🥴 

*To that end, WHY in the Windows client can I go into Top List or Side List view, click in the list and CTRL+A to select all notes, then CTRL+C to copy that list, then paste the list right into Excel but I CAN'T do that with tags, notebooks, or anything else I can select in the left navigation pane of the client?!?!

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