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(Archived) Tags - tell me why I should use them.



If Search looks everywhere, what is the advantage of using tags?

For instance, I scan a Best Buy receipt and put it in a note. I would title that note "Best Buy receipt for scanner 10/12/2011." All the search terms I would use to find this note are in the title so why add tags? It seems like an additional layer of clutter.

I do understand the concept of using category tags rather than notebooks but I'm not there yet. I find it unnerving to see just a pile of notes. I am frustrated by having to choose "All Notes" before searching for items so the 'No Notebook' concept is beginning to look better and better.

I just can't wrap my mind around tags vs. note title/content. I must be missing something. Thoughts?


I'm a premium user, love Evernote and tell everyone about it but am still trying out different organizational strategies.

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You might find this thread helpful.

I find it unnerving to see just a pile of notes.

I suppose, but you might find that disappears once you've clicked a tag and suddenly you're back to a smallish pile. If it helps, it's all the same database. ;)

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  • Level 5*

One great reason to use tags instead of just full text search, is to limit, or filter, the notes found by a search.

After you have thousands of notes, you will find that many notes may contain the word you want to search for, but is using that word in a way you don't intend.

Let's take "Family" as an example.

If you apply a tag of "Family" ONLY to those Notes about YOUR family, then a Search with tag:Family returns ONLY those Notes.

A full text search for "family" would return many notes that have "family" in the text, but have nothing to do with YOUR family.

In fact, a Note about YOUR family may not even contain the word "family".

So, tags are a method of filtering, or categorizing your Notes to greatly improve the Search results.

If you do a search on these forums you will find many discussions about how to use tags.

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I have also thought about using only simple search-words in my notes, but one advantage of real tags is that you can rename them in all notes at the same time in one single step if this should be necessary.

Example: Sometimes things get a new name for the same product (OpenOffice→LibreOffice / Word for Windows→Word / ISIS→Arcor→Vodafone). In this case you have only to rename the tag and find all corresponding notes like before.

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  • Level 5*

Tags are just another facility for finding your stuff, i.e., turning your grand pile of undifferentiated notes into something organized and searchable. There's no prescribed way of using them: I use them like adjectives that describe note content, much like the related concepts of keywords or labels, etc. Other people use them to hierarchically organize their notes.

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JMichael - THAT makes a lot of sense. Brett Kelley talks a lot about his hierarchical system of tags. After reading that, I started to over-think tags and thought I had to have a system but I like Jefito's use of tags as general adjectives. The ability to change these tags across multiple notes helps, too.

I currently have a notebook & stack structure but there is always a note that can or should live in more than one notebook. I have about 10 notes that are simply links to notes in another folder. Tags will help eliminate that.

You've given me a better understanding. Thank you. (Now...the wonderful task of tagging all my untagged. Yay. :P)

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The vast majority of my notes are untagged. But some that are all related to some thing (like a project) share the same tag. I can then search within that tag. It is especially useful for interdisciplinary projects/topics that span more than one notebook.

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  • Level 5

If Search looks everywhere, what is the advantage of using tags?

One example of tags over search:

Half of my notes in Evernote are political web clippings.

Search for Obama will pull up notes with Michelle Obama.

Search for "Barack Obama" does not pull up notes with President Obama

Search for "President Obama" does not pull up notes with Barack Obama

But my tag for "Obama Barack" find all notes for the President and not his wife.

Same logic applies to Hillary Clinton.


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