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Future Suggestion...

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I searched around and really didn't not see a suggestion area, so please, if necessary move this post to that or contact me how to make a suggestion.


I have seen many topics in my research to before offering my suggestion. Often the same terminology is used over and over again, yet I understand the desire and I want to if possible clear it up with a more visual representation. (images attached)


I know many people using Evernote probably grew up using the Internet, computers and technology.... however it seems like Evernote missed the bus when it came to transitioning those older people who understand notebooks a different way.


Back in the day, prior to wide use of computers in the late 80's, people actually used physical notebooks.


Each Subject had it's own note book, but to clearly define and reference quickly in to categories, there where TABS, otherwise known as SECTION TABS or Dividers that separated the important areas that needed to be kept together.



  • College Class note book would be sub-divided in to Classes.  A tab/section for each class.
  • In the Medical World we would and still do have notebooks that are divided up in to areas of treatment or billing.  The Dividers make quick reference.
  • Attorneys are STILL using Notebooks with dividers.  A Case may have several sections with multiple supporting documents, so they would have a book case full of notebooks. Each notebook would have a point of offence or defence in a case, with the use of sub-dividers to illustrate or quickly have supporting statements with printed case law in those sections.


A More physical Example

  • In Many technical reference books, they use a printed tab on the page that as you thumb through the book quickly, it looks like it is moving down the pages.  So it made quick reference to a specific section mentioned in the index of the book
  • Even Bibles are printed in this fashion.


To put a finer point on it, even Microsoft's product OneNote goes a step further in having each Sub-Section divided in to even smaller subsections points, which Attorney's still do, Medical Billing Manuals still do and most over 45yo writing or putting together Business manuals will still do....


After all, paper is really not dead, but Evernote can help transition those born prior to 1965ish a better transition, especially since Evernote is awesome across ALL OS Platforms.


Evernote, please consider this request, it would bring you more customers and even all of those people taking the time to request this would be more loyal customers.  I know if you had this now in premium, I would have not hesitation to get it today and recommend it to those I know making the transition to technology, just so they can keep up with their kids and grand kids.  Even those over compulsive, OCD types would be stoked!


Thanks for taking the time to read and digest.




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Thanks for your comments.  There's been a bit of discussion here (!) about notebooks and sub-notebooks which (as far as I can gather) is what you're raising..  This is the area to make such suggestions,  but there have been no real signs Evernote is considering changing the notebooks and tags structure it has now.  If I got that wrong I'm sorry,  and please feel free to respond.  It's quite likely - I did my first computing in the 60's and the old brain's getting a bit rusty now.... 

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Why can't Tags serve where you want Tabs? Tags let you cross-categorize your content, inside or across note notebooks, in a way that Physical Tabs cannot do easily. Is there a need that Tabs would fill that Tags do not?

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Tags are based on memory, if you were like me and wore 101 hats at your job, you need to rely on visual cues, which tags can not do, but dividers would.


Dividers are quick cues to see in an instant a reference area with in a note book....the area you are focusing on at that moment.

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Are you saying that we, as humans who conceptualize, do not rely on memory? Do you need to look in a notebook before you have a conversation with someone on one of your many areas of expertise? My tag vocabulary is quite small, no more than 300 words, but the power is being able to combine them.

One thing against tags as currently implemented in Evernote is that there is now no easy way to see which tags are used in a particular context, e.g. a notebook. The old "Hide unassigned tags" facility did that, and there are a number of folks who want that back. With that in place, you'd have the ability to use the quick cues that you want. As it stands, though, if it's gross partitioning that you want, you could certainly do the job with stacks and notebooks, however.

Back to tags: the flip side of dividers such as you describe is that they are not always sufficient to categorize content well. Notes fit into multiple categories; a divider system requires that a note fit into exactly one category. Knowledge is ultimately not a hierarchical system; it's cross-connected, and partitioning systems just aren't flexible enough to describe that kind of structure.

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I was not speaking in generalities, Jefito.... but to answer your initial statement... YES.  People who want the most out of a meeting or negotiation will in fact reference their information in any form and not rely on their memory for facts, but use their memory as reference to link information, tagging.  Tagging, even in the mind will want to know where that exact and precise information maybe, under stress or urgency it has been proven over and over visual clues out surpass passing information, familiar or unfamiliar.  Sure tagging would work, to an individual, but how well is it communicated to another person of a different intellectual style or unfamiliar with a project or set of tasks?  Another example to that would be a procedure manual, contingency plan, even a book being written. Sure there are similar parts, but there is a more simple organization that requires more division for simplification. 


Not looking at or seeing other peoples styles of learning, needs or requirements is well, conceivably short sided when offering another perspective to enhance and make a product better for more people.


With that being said.... 


You can't and should not strive to please everyone all the time, but maintaining an open mind of flexibility makes a better product and service.


Jefito, Your response of of using stacks was addressed in my initial posts about the research I have done...I understand quite well how to use stacks and tags...


However your final statement in your response addresses a sniffleness in creativity and ingenuity.  Evernote could enhance both systems of visual (stacks, dividers, etc..) and references (tags) in the same system.  It's not hard to see.... let me give you an example... WikiPedia.  It is broken down, in a slightly different way, but all the same.  It uses categories (visual indexes) and hyperlinks, essentially tags to reference other areas of interests or similarities. Or the Internet itself... it's not categorized or tagged alone, it uses both.  Web Domains for Categories and Tags for hyperlinks to reference information from interest point to another one in another site. Even similar to the underlying Wordpress functions of notifying other Wordpress blogs to stretch the point. 


Gazumped, you got it right, you know what I am referring to and you probably understand the visual importance of such a system.  It should not be dismissed since we have computers... I mean we still use book markers, highlighters, etc... so why should dividers go away?


The thought I had would not destroy or disrupt the current design, but enhance it.  Offering dividers would allow people to implement them and not redo their current notebooks.  A simple right click to add a divider, done.  The tagging feature just gets extended to that functionality and viola, the best of both worlds and more flexibility, not to mention a more attractive and easier switch for those stuck in Microsoft's OneNote.  


The next stage would be a conversion from OneNote data.... but that's another subject altogether and for another day. I'd rather stay on topic. 

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Theorising is lots of fun, but the reality of Evernote is that I think it's highly unlikely that they will ever implement dividers. They have chosen tags and I'm pretty sure that's what they are going to stick with, at least in the short to medium term as they have fairly recently released major updates to most clients. They do not seem inclined to build out a large set of user settings/preferences/options.


Then it becomes a decision for you, can you adapt and use Evernote or not? If you can't or you don't want to then that's fine there are lots of other solutions available. If you can, well then hopefully you get a lot of use from Evernote.

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OK, so a few things:

I'm really not averse to users making features suggestions for Evernote, and I know that they welcome them as well. That being said, when they're made, it's sometimes interesting to tug on them a bit to see what's behind them or whether other existing facilities can perform the same or similar function (because sometimes that's sufficient to solve the user's problem). As I am myself a developer, my process is usually to try to generalize as much as possible, since because generalization often helps us to take advantage of underlying patterns and mechanisms that are common to specific use cases. Of course, you need to be careful not to over-generalize, but that's just part and parcel of the process anyways.

Oh, and by the way -- I still use physical notebooks. Every day. And yellow stickies. And Evernote. All of them every day. I'm old enough to remember Dobie Gillis on TV, and I don't just find much credence in the idea that people who grew up using notebooks can't figure out how to Evernote notebooks if they don't have tabs. That's just short-selling the remarkable adaptability of human beings in the continual process of interacting with the world in the face of changing technologies. As it is, tags (otherwise known as labels, categories or keywords) are also not unfamiliar to many people of a certain generation (they're just better when implemented by computers).

But anyways, I was curious about what the notion of tab dividers bring to the table. And when I thought about it, (extended commentary about the notebook / divider metaphor aside), what you seem to be proposing is really pretty much the same as the often-proposed and well-discussed concept of single-level subnotebooks. Functionally, I see no real difference: it's a mechanism for partitioning a notebook into discrete sets of notes. As to why Evernote as a company doesn't offer such functionality, I can't say. I can see why they'd be resistant to adding it at this stage, though: it's a change to the architecture of their system, and would require changes to their servers and all of their clients, and some care not to hose third-party applications that depend on their APIs. I have some ideas as to how they might go about implementing such a structural change (having perused their technical documentation), and that kind of stuff is fun to speculate on, but isn't really useful in this context; like Metrodon, I just don't think that such changes are forthcoming any time soon, if at all.

But the other part of what you're hitting on here is the visual aspect of divider tabs. I think that it's safe to say that some of the navigational aspects of the Evernote UI could be improved, and this might be one case. So given that subnotebook / divider thingies aren't really in the offing, what could be added to a notebook that might be analogous? I'd consider changes to the notebook tree to be the most likely; maybe a list of shortcuts that hang off a notebook (or stack) would work; the implicit context of such a shortcut could be that notebook (or stack) -- that fits in nicely with the search grammar. That would make your divider scheme do-able: just create a set of shortcuts that partition your notebook's note as a divider would (easily done with tags), and that would work as-is. For folks who just want notebook-specific filters (I believe that this has been requested), then this would suffice there, too.

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  • 2 months later...

Feature Suggestion: Hierarchical Tags (Ordered Lists) and Auto-Correction for Tags and more

Already posted in different forum section, under 
Tags into Hierarchy (i.e., Subject Tree or Folksonomy) and Shared Tag Hierarchy



I'm not sure if this would satisfy, but is definitely related (William may want physical separate and/or isolation...item can only exist in a single organizational unit at a time, choose your term: notebook, chapter, sub-notebook, etc.).  


P.S. We at least need nested tags in Android, esp. on mobile where ever touch counts.  Is there a dev roadmap of feature posted online?

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  • 4 months later...

I know that I am bumping an old thread here, but I would like notebook dividers also. Tags alone do not cut it.


If you use real world analogies, stacked notebooks are the equivalent of a book shelf, and tags are the equivalent of an cross volume index. The present use of tags does not work well for dividers. People have been keeping things in notebooks with dividers for years. There is no reason for Evernote not to continue with an effective paradigm.


I am sure it is a programming and/or structure problem, so here is a possible solution:


Allow scope on tags to only apply to a single notebook. So I would use a tag as a divider for my notebook, and I could display all tags related to that notebook. In the programming world this is called local scope.


For the coders out there, ever try doing complex programming when you can only use global variables? Why do you force me to categorize my info this way?

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Are you asking for something like this?


Shown in the screenshot above is a list of tags only used in the notebook called "dissertation"

For example, I could select the "recall" tag to display notebooks with the recall tag. If I open this tag list again, I'll get a list of tags associated with notes tagged with recall so I can drill further and select "fraud", which in my scheme will show only notes tagged "recall" and "fraud". At this point, there's likely to be no extraneous tags so the tag list will likely not show anything else once i've selected "recall" and "fraud" (though perhaps there'd be a few also tagged with CFIA or FSIS or something)


If I switch to my Household notebook, I can look at only the tags in the household notebook. Here I could select a tag like "ottawa062014" which was a trip made to ottawa with my partner. Then I could select "receipt" to show only those notes tagged both "ottawa062014" and "receipt". Even though I have notes tagged "receipt" in my dissertation notebook and my personal notebook, those won't show up because I'm limiting the scope to "Household" (similar but not exactly the same as if I had searched: notebook:household tag:receipt tag:ottawa062014)



Is this the kind of thing you are looking for? 

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If you use real world analogies, stacked notebooks are the equivalent of a book shelf, and tags are the equivalent of an cross volume index. The present use of tags does not work well for dividers. People have been keeping things in notebooks with dividers for years. There is no reason for Evernote not to continue with an effective paradigm.

Correct; tags don't partition your note set, unless you enforce that yourself. Notebooks do, and stacks are collections of notebooks; hence, in a bit different analogy, notebooks would serve as dividers of a set of notes contained in (the notebooks of) a stack. Remember, though -- we're in the realm of workarounds since there are no notebook dividers in Evernote; the next best thing is probably using tags (unless you want to go the Stack/Notebook route).


I am sure it is a programming and/or structure problem, so here is a possible solution:

Pretty much all of this is a programming/structure problem. :)


Allow scope on tags to only apply to a single notebook. So I would use a tag as a divider for my notebook, and I could display all tags related to that notebook. In the programming world this is called local scope.


For the coders out there, ever try doing complex programming when you can only use global variables? Why do you force me to categorize my info this way?

OK, so nobody's forcing you not to use tags that have global usage (even though in actuality they're available to any and all notebooks of yours), just like no compiler forces you not to use global variables (for the languages that support them). Truth be told, the tags == variables analogy is a little weak; tags are attributes that you can apply to notes, and not objects in and of themselves. They supply a vocabulary that allows you to describe note content, and having that vocabulary be available to multiple notebooks is really not a huge drawback; in fact it's useful in the general case: tags are made for cross-categorization, across notebooks and across other tag hierarchies. But even if you had notebook-scoped tags, they're still not necessarily dividers (because they don't partition unless you make them). Current situation is much like the global variables case: if you want scoped tags (or partitioning tags), you need to exercise some discipline yourself.

That being said, I understand the use case, and having tools to help with enforcement of rules like that would be useful for this one. The curious thing is that there is a case in Evernote today where tag use is restricted in a similar fashion. If you have a notebook shared to you with write privileges, you can tag notes in that notebook, but only with tags that already exist in that notebook. That being said, shared tags have plenty of problems themselves, and they aren't well handled in the clients that I use (Windows and Android), not to mention that -- silly me -- not only do I use tags globally across notebooks, I want to use them across shared accounts: Evernote doesn't handle this case very gracefully, sad to say.

So sure, add scoped tags to the fray (so long as you're not forced to use them), but don't forget, that then leads to further UI fun in an area that's already got problems: how to present these in the various lists/trees that tags appear. There'd probably be some fun in how they relate to the search language, though I'm not certain of that. I suppose that if you have scoped tags, then you can have the same tag name scoped to two different notebooks; now you're searching vs. a stack: do you need to disambiguate between tag "A" that's scoped to notebooks "1" and "2"? Would you want to?


Interesting stuff to think about (yes I am a programmer)...

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The only reason I brought up the concept of notebook (locally) scoped tags is to take what is currently available and work with it instead of introducing a new paradigm for dividers. The other advantage of using tags for dividers is that I can put my note into multiple sections within the same notebook (generally this is a bad idea, but there are times...)


Thanks to Unintelligentsia I now know more about filtering tags. I will have to play with this and see if I can put order to my notes. I am wondering if I should give each notebook its own unique tag to make life easier.


A side note:

One of the problems I had with the nested notebook concepts was losing the nesting when I did a notebook search. I now add a prefix to my nested notebooks so they will sort together in a search. 


I am thinking that my real problem is when I am saving things. It is easy enough to pick the desired notebook. It would be nice to see the tags filtered by the selected notebook, so that I could more easily reuse them. (Maybe I can. I have not researched this.)

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By giving each notebook its own unique tag, you defeat, somewhat, the purpose of tags which is to provide non-mutually exclusive links between notes across notebooks. 


For example, I have a "receipts" tag. I have notes tagged receipts in my "work" notebook, my "dissertation" notebook, my "personal" notebook, and my "household" notebook that I share with my partner. 


The beauty of this is that I can either use the little tag filter I have linked to above, or I can perform various searches.




will bring up EVERY receipt, which is handy if I can't remember whether it was in my dissertation or work notebook (those overlap often), or if I need to get an overview of all my expenses. 


tag:receipt notebook:dissertation 


will bring up notes tagged receipt in my dissertation notebook. 


If I had notebook-specific tags, I'd end up with a long list of receipt tags like:






which could easily become an organizational nightmare. 


Another case. I have a "lookup" tag for notes that contain a book or journal article or resource I need to track down/buy. Sometimes this is just casual/pleasure reading, so it goes in my Personal notebook. Sometimes it might be a dissertation related resource so it goes in Dissertation. 

The beauty of this is that I can then navigate to any notebook and use the tag filter or search for

tag:lookup notebook:dissertation [or whatever I want]

and bring up everything I need to look up that pertains to that context (personal, dissertation, work, etc). 


OR i can just search the whole database for 


and get a list of EVERYTHING I want to look up. If I had notebook specific look-up tags, to do the same search I'd have to use something like:

tag:lookup.personal tag:lookup.dissertation tag:lookup.work 


Which is a bit cumbersome. 


There are some tags that end up notebook specific by default. For example, the "recall" tag in my original post will not be found anywhere outside of my dissertation notebook because there is no reason for it to be anywhere else. 

That being said, the beauty of Evernote is that it is reasonably flexible and you can create a system that works for you. So, while I would caution against notebook-specific tags, if you find that is what works best for you, then GO FOR IT! 


I've changed my tag/notebook system up a fair bit over the years, in fact, the "lookup" tag is relatively new. I used to have a notebook called "lookup" and i'd tag notes with "dissertation" or "work" or whatever. But I found that was rather ineffective and redundant. Why have both a work tag and a work notebook. Why not switch the whole thing around and have a "lookup" tag and just put the notes where they belong? Making the switch wasn't too painful. All of this is to say, experiment, try out notebook-specific tags for a bit, and if you find they are cumbersome for you too, then transitioning to another scheme isn't too onerous. 



Good luck.

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