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Feature request: Intelligent auto-tagging for notes created from Import Folders



Hi, I ran into an issue today while preparing for a business trip. I will be without a PC for a few weeks and using my iPad. (Internet access will also be limited.)


I have trip-needed documents in several folders on my work PC with (mostly) PDFs and .xlsx files, as well as a few other random formats (.pptx, .docx, .msg). 


My goal is to have all these documents easily accessible on iPad for my trip. I figured the best way is through the Import Folders function in Evernote Windows. I did this and got all the files into Evernote. These are all downloaded to my iPad as I utilize the "Download all notes" feature. So far, so good.


Here is the catch: Not all the files are intelligently named, since my coworkers and I rely on the folder system within Windows/Dropbox as well as Windows search (which looks inside .xslx, .docx, and .msg, and probably soon .pdf) to help us find what we need while on PC. So we just name many files with names like "Report.xlsx", "Model.xlsx", etc. 


When I do a bulk Folder Import into Evernote, the files are imported without any tags. So it is pretty difficult for me to find, say, my notes on Japan Company #1 since, while this file is titled "Notes.doc", so are 15 other files from my Folder Import. 


It seems that, with the latest Windows Beta (6.4), you guys are somewhat addressing this on PC Evernote client side  through built-in document search of documents like .xlsx.


However, I still think this would be a good feature: either a default or an option to simply tag all files by the immediate folder they were in. So my "Notes.doc" file that was imported from "Japan Company #1" folder on my PC would be tagged with a "Japan Company #1" tag in all of Evernote: in the desktop, iPad, Android, etc. clients. This would make my workflow much quicker + easier when trying to find documents on my trip on my iPad while preparing for meetings.





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Hi guys, thanks for the quick replies. I actually was under the impression that the search-within-Excel-doc feature had just rolled out on desktop Evernote only. Much to my delight, you guys are correct - it's available on iPad. So that dramatically reduces the need for intelligent folder-name-based auto-tags.


Chris - I do have a new notebook created solely for the trip. However as I am visiting 25-30 companies, organizing the files becomes somewhat cumbersome. I guess I could have created a notebook for each company, and done "Import Folders" 28 times. But that would have taken a few minutes  ;)


Yes, it seems like the last suggestion both Analyst444 and Chris have - to simply take a few minutes (maybe 10 minutes in this case) and tag or re-name the files manually - is the secondary answer, today. (The primary answer being "just rely on the in-document search function.") I still think that an optional "set the folder name as the document tag" would be pretty helpful and time-saving, though.

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Yes, with the Smart Filing feature, Evernote now automatically puts in some tags. It's a step forward, but not nearly enough. We need auto-tag rules, similar to Gmail's filters, to catch what Evernote doesn't seem to be able to "learn" on its own. Here's why.

In the 15 years I've used Gmail, I've built up literally hundreds of auto-tagging rules (Gmail calls them "filters" but it's the same concept). I've done this because it makes it easier to find stuff in Gmail. All the concepts below that apply to Gmail would also apply to Evernote, to make it easier to find stuff in Evernote.

Here are some categories of auto-tagging:

1) Subset/superset relationships. For instance, when a note from a teacher calls out the name of one of my kids, Gmail automatically attaches the label "family". When a note mentions "401k", Gmail automatically attaches the label "Investments". When I receive a newsletter than mentions one of my company's competitors by name, Gmail attaches the label "competitor". You get the point.

2) Related concepts. When emails come from venmo.com and include the words "you paid", Gmail applies the label "receipt". 

3) Synonyms. My siblings have nicknames and commonly misspelled names. Gmail looks at all these, and applies an appropriate label for the sibling. That way I don't have to search for every permutation of their name or nickname.

Here are some examples of where I go through Evernote and manually tag items. It's a pain. Auto-tagging would save me a lot of time.

1. Apply tag corresponding to notebook name. So for example, everything in my Marketing notebook gets the Marketing tag. Everything in the Career notebook gets the Career tag. And so on. I put notes into one of a couple dozen notebooks. But sometimes a note could go into one of two different notebooks. For example, my career is marketing. So, sometimes I'll use the web clipper to pull in something that could go into the career notebook, and sometimes it goes into the marketing notebook. But to find it later, I'll tag it both "career" and "marketing". That say, since everything has a tag, just search by tag.

2. Tag by person name. Do a search for various spellings of my coworkers names, with quotes, as in "John Doe" or (misspelled) "Jon Doe" or nickname "Doe". Then apply a tag "johndoe". This makes it quicker to find meeting notes for that person. Or an article that was referred by that person. 

3. Tag by content type. Quick, what's the advanced search operator to find all notes with a PDF? It's resource:application/pdf. Not the easiest thing to remember, right? So I'll select all notes, search for resource:application/pdf, and tag as "pdf". Much easier to find PDFs. I'll also search for "docs.google.com/document/", "docs.google.com/spreadsheets/", and "docs.google.com/presentation/", and tag those "google doc", "google sheet", and "google slides", respectively. 

4. Tag by synonym. I take notes for an activity I do, sailboat racing. One type of boat is called a Vanguard 15. But articles I pull in through the web clipper might refer to "V15" or "Vanguard 15". I search for both, and apply the tag "Vanguard 15".

5. Tag by superclass. Also in the realm of sailing, I'll put in articles on boats that are called Knarrs, J/70s (also written J70, without the slash), J/105s, (and, J105), and so forth. All of these are a type of boat called a keelboat. So I'll do all those searches and apply the tag "keelboat". In the realm of work, when I clip an article that contains the word "GDPR" or "HIPAA", I'll add the tag "compliance", again to make things easier to find.

6. Tag by related concept. Someday I'd love to race a boat to Hawaii, and I use Evernote to gather information I'll need to do those, since you're pretty much on your own in terms of packing food, surviving a gear failure (or worse, sunken boat), and so on. There are two main races, Pacific Cup on even years, and Transpac on odd years. They pretty much have the same challenges. When I use web clipper to pull an article with "Pacific Cup" in it, I apply the tag "transpac". Vice-versa when the article contains the word "Transpac". 

Yes, that's a lot of tagging. And I do even more. All to make it possible to locate notes among the thousands I have in Evernote. Hopefully this shows how auto-tagging would be useful.

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sb8636 - you have an interest problem.


Two work-arounds come to mind that you may want to consider.


First, do nothing special in regard to naming files or creating tags. You said that on your PC system(s) you and your workers use Windows search to look inside the documents for what you need. Once the documents are loaded into Evernote, you will be able to use Evernote to search inside the documents / notes the same way.


Second, while the documents are on the PC system(s) take the time to change the names of the documents to include information that will help you find the ones you need after you load them into Evernote. For example, the name of a document currently named "Notes.doc" currently inside the "Japanese Company 1" folder could be changed to "Notes - Japanese Company 1.doc".


I hope you feel one of these ideas works for you.



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Hi sb8636,


Whilst on face value the idea of 'auto' tagging seems a good idea, it does feel like it could go drastically wrong! I have a scenario in my head of many tags that I won't know what they were originally for in the future.


I wonder why you are not importing as you say using the 'Import Folders' feature, but bringing them into a new Notebook for your trip. it then becomes a fairly simple task - I would have thought - to tag the documents as you see fit? It will only be a few minutes work at worst, or am I missing something from your original request?


But, have you tried searching on your iPad for notes inside the documents? You will now find that you can search inside Word and Excel docs! All your problems solved!


Best regards




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