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Intelligent Automatic Tagging

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Hi there, I know this topic has existed somewhere here, but I hope someone could help me out here, as Evernote may have since done a workaround.


My question for this perennial issue is - Is it possible to automate the tagging system with newly imported doc? If there is this solution, am I able to 'switch off' the auto tagging whenever I want?


Thanks very much for any suggestion here.



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  • 1 year later...

Dear Ash Goh,

dear gazumped


That is a great idea. There is a technology that can do this, and we are investigating this in one of our research projects.

The open source API Lucene offers this functionality with the class "MoreLikeThis" that can find similar documents the same way Evernote can suggest similar notes. In fact, MoreLikeThis is based on document keyword extraction using a simple tf*idf score. Thus, MoreLikeThis can extract the most distinctive keywords (=tags) from existing documents (=notes) by comparing them with the document index.


Automatic tagging is thus a very simple extension to Evernote that will be highly productive for us users.

Please include this in a future implementation.


Thank you,

Dr. Michael Kaufmann, Lucerne, Switzerland

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The Evernote Web clipper has what they call "Smart Filing" for notebooks and tags (which you need to activate in options):


"The smart filing option learns from your patterns to automatically fill out the notebook and tags for your clip based on your previous clipping behavior."


That's the extent of auto-tagging for now it seems.

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  • 10 months later...
  • Level 5*

Since Evernote has already developed/released the "Evernote Context" feature, it seems like using this to generate suggested tags and/or notebooks from within Evernote would be relatively simple.  The biggest missing piece is the UI.


BTW, DevonThink has this very feature, and it is quite powerful.

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  • 1 year later...

Yes, 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 (mispelled) "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", againn 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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