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(Archived) Why Use Tags?



Hi, everyone,

I'm a happy Evernote user for years and a premium customer for about a year. For the first couple years I diligently assigned meaningful tags to all my notes. I kept up with this until recently when I finally realized that I never use the tags after assigning them to the note. The truth is that OSX's native search (Spotlight) is so good that I seem to be much more successful with desktop searches than by selecting tags in the Evernote UI.

Obviously some of you like tags a lot. Can you tell me what I am missing? What are your use cases for tags that makes them better than a good desktop search? I am very interested to hear of tricks I may not be aware of.

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I only use a very few tags as I depend on meaningful titles and search in the main.

Where I do find tags useful is in grouping items that aren't obviously linked....

For example, when my daughter started university we received a ton of paperwork/emails/website to visit. All of this was added to Evernote and tagged 'university', now I can easily search for and view all the items that are related to this topic no matter how they are titled and where they are stored. Now you could say that I could just store all of these notes in a single notebook and just look in there...But, a number of the notes cross different 'boundaries' and so could be filed in a number of places - for example, her insurance documents, healthcare docs for when she travels with uni etc etc.

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I use my tags for finding multiple items that are grouped together, not for individual files. I have a tag for each student and each skill, so I can pull out all the artifacts for a student or all the artifacts for a particular skill.

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After delving into Evernote a few years ago, I realized I was overtagging. I do tag for items similar to Metrodon's example. Another similar example is a software app I've been using for many years has had name changes pretty much each time it evolves. Also, I was not diligent in how I typed the name. So I have a "Neatreceipts" tag that I use for references to Neatreceipts/Neat Receipts/Neatworks/Neat Works/Neatco, so I don't have to search on all the variations. And since 'neat' is a real word, using 'neat neat*' doesn't refine the results sufficiently.

OTOH, I have used ACDSee Photo Manager for years, too. I do not use a tag for references to that since ACDSee is a unique term & I always spell it the same way. Searching on ACDSee finds only references to the Photo Manager app.

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Tagging is perhaps the most useful feature in Evernote for me.

It not only allows me to sort and organize stuff like research topics, but it allows for quick retrieval of similar notes (i.e. Receipts from a certain store).

-- Sent from my HP TouchPad using Communities

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Thanks all for your thoughts.

Of the comments everyone made the most obvious use case for tags is "any content that was not entered by hand". Usually when I create a note by hand--typing during a meeting or when watching a presentation--I name the note helpfully. In those cases my desktop search is very good.

But when content comes from other sources this fails. Content emailed to Evernote, web clipped, Tweeted, added via drag-and-drop. Any of these might lack good note titles or could have existing titles (such as from web pages) that are not consistent with how I organize info. Tags would be good for this.

I did a bit of searching after reading this thread. I am now certain that I am way underusing Evernote. I really need to figure out a way to get rid of old receipts and old printed class notes. I don't have a scanner but think that a scanner, a simple process of uploading the images, and tags might be a good way to keep important financial records indefinitely.

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