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(Archived) request: tag hierarchy, finally made useable


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I like the tag hierarchy functionality of evernote, and I still wonder how this can be really used on android in daily life? Maybe I miss something?

Imagine a 3-level tag hierarchy of only 5 items on each level. So lets try to tag one single new note. 2 clicks, and I am on the tag dialog - where I find a flat list of 5+5*5+5*5*5=155 items. Now, I've only got to scroll down some 30 screens to find my tag :-((?

If this tag setting dialog was hierarchically structured:

  • it would only take me 3 more klicks to tag (in this case)!
  • I would be able to find my tags quickly
  • I would be helped enormously keeping my tag structure clean - much less similar tags, lost tags, unstructured tags, etc...

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I find that beginning to type in the tag name will cause it to come up or at least a shorter lists of all tags that start with that same set letter (or numbers or symbols).

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@Candid: True, this helps. If you remember your tags. Which may become difficult after some time, if one uses evernote seriously (despite of downloading it from some "playstore" - what was its name again, google...? ;-))

Evernote did a great job in both ways (tags & folders), but some parts still look halfhearted to me. For tags, because of the limitations in structuring them as mentioned above. For folders (i.e. notebooks), because of the limitations of 200 (?) folders, which are easily reached when using them as the only structure.

(I know, I am an old-fashioned tag hater. Not for finding things, but for the unstructured ensemble they are pushing me to. You never know if you looked in every drawer when searching for something, needless to say cleaning up is a pain with tags. With a carefully handcrafted folder structure, strong software-side search capabilities and a good content indexing system, I do not need any tags!)

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  • Level 5*

There's already been way too much discussion (search the Forums) of notebooks ("folders") vs tags vs searching, with the added possibilities of detailed note titles, but with Evernote what you currently see is what you have to work with. In some use cases it makes sense to have hierarchies of tags, and this appears to be why Evernote have provided for 'stacks'. If you want to put [cups] and [saucers] under [kitchen] so they're easier to find, then good luck to you. Start adding [plastic] and [china] and you may be over-categorising...

If you have a 1,000 single tags and rely on the prompt to add the correct tag at note level, then you can do so. There are options to fit several working styles. I hate folders and hierarchies, because with a spaghetti tree of parent and child relationships you can bet it would take me longer to find any given tag than it does to assign it to a note by just typing the name.

A free-form structure does take some getting used to, but it does allow for each "nugget" of information to exist only once (good database practice) but to appear in lots of different locations - good for the sanity when trying to find things.

Evernote's search syntax is quite detailed and - despite a few quirks - hasn't 'lost' any information yet. I'm moving towards a few notebooks, a lot fewer tags than I have now and a good saved search library.

The thing is you're always learning and the notes I'm saving now are a lot better categorised than those I saved a year ago. The same will apply in six months, and I'm sure I'll have to go back through my notes over and over again to 'adjust' the content; that's both by blindly slogging through from one note to the next, and by looking at search results and wondering "what's that doing there...?"

If you wish your data to be loved and used, you're going to have to garden it and polish it as a part of daily maintenance. There isn't a 'correct' way to head, tag and file your notes, there's just the 'current' way that will do until you think of something better.....

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  • Level 5*

User jbenson2 has posted extensively on his system of creating and using a hierarchical tag system in Evernote. It appears to work pretty well for him. As gazumped indicated, though, this is a pretty thoroughly discussed topic, so perhaps a search of the forums might turn up information that can shed some light on how to use the current Evernote tag scheme more efficiently.

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