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Nesting Multiple Notebooks / Creating Sub-Notebooks


cswsteve

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I too need the functionality of sub-notebooks. As a project management consultant I work for many companies and have clients under those companies who have various projects. Evernote has become significantly less useful without this ability. While your search capabilities are fast it is an extra step requiring time to go off task and search. Poor decision by the board! Evernote needs to become more in touch with your users.

This topic has been discusssed here at length. Please use the Search function.

In EN you can create STACKS which can hold notebooks. With Stacks you can probably accomplish what you want to do. You can read about Stacks here.

Thinking for some time on HOW you are going to organize your notes (and tags) is time well spent and will also help to find them later with ease.

BTW, not sure what you mean about "poor decision by the board". This is a users board. EN decisions are made by EN owners & top tier management. Not this message board. (Pretty standard company stuff.)

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The problem is, only advanced users would know to leverage their tags for nested organization. I have used Evernote for two years, and I have never used the Tags feature. "Tags" so broadly apply to different functionality in different applications and websites, that it is not an inherent given, for new Evernote users, how they should utilize their tags to their advantage. From a UX perspective, it makes sense that a user would think Evernote would have folders. Here we have an application that allows you to collect and create lots of individual pieces of content. Yes, it could be managed with a tagging system, but I'd argue that a new user would expect "Folders" to organize their content before "Tags."

My feeling is that Evernote wants people to get to know their usability style. They've created and defined a system using Tags, and people should learn how to use Tags. But there is value from a UX perspective in providing the features that users expect, rather than teaching them how to use your software. Build software that users already know how to use.

As a use case, I searched for and found this thread because I was confused why you could drag and drop Notebooks onto Notebooks to create Stacks, but not Stacks onto Stacks to create sub-Stacks. I was so sure (and excited) that I'd be able to do this, and then was surprised when I wasn't able to.

Why not make Stacks stackable? What confusion or disadvantage would it generate? Does it encroach on the functionality of the Tags system? I'd argue that it enhances it; I can't see any downsides to enabling this functionality. Have any usability surveys shown that users don't want or expect folders?

Not only that, but it would be wonderful to be able to share sub-Stacks. I love how in Dropbox or Google Drive (also repositories of content), I can create my own hierarchy of folders, and then share sub-folders. I would love to be able to have a "Clients" Stack, and then all of my clients' Stacks inside it. And then maybe Stacks inside those Stacks, to share with different departments in the company (Accounting, Sales, Marketing, etc).

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As a feature request, this area is pretty well known to the Evernote development teams. I am sure that they know all of the pros and cons. It's been requested/debated for as long as I've been coming to these forums, and probably longer. And who knows, maybe they'll deliver this type of feature someday; they don't tend to preannounce such things, though. So for now, at least, they've chosen the stack/notebook/note/tag architecture that they have. It's definitely usable, and not that difficult conceptually, based for the most part on common physical analogs:

A note is the smallest unit of Evernote content. You can store text (possibly HTML-based), images and attachments in a note.

A notebook is a named collection of notes. Each note belongs to exactly one notebook.

A stack is a named collection of notebooks. Each notebook can belong to exactly one stack.

Tags are labels that can apply to notes. A note can have an arbitrary number of tags, and a tag can be applied to an arbitrary number of notes.

Funny how we take concepts from the commonplace physical world (Notebooks of notes? Stacks of notebooks?) and try to make them something else when they are used in the less tangible world of computers, to the point of demanding that the new meanings are actually more "intuitive" than the familiar old meanings. This fact of modern-day computing UX didn't just spring up out of the ground; people had to learn how to use arbitrarily nested structures (folders, directories, what-have-yous), as well as many other computer idioms. And people can learn the above architecture; in fact, it's not too dissimilar from the ones used in other well-known, widely-used products -- how about GMail for a start?

BTW, I am not familiar with how ""Tags" so broadly apply to different functionality in different applications and websites" -- tags are almost exactly analogous to GMail "labels", Outlook "categories", and even the old fashioned concept of "keywords". It's even not far from categorizing file types via their file extension (e.g. ".cpp", ".txt", ".mp3", etc.). Tags are great because you can categorize across any organization hierarchy, which is incredibly useful in this age of large-scale collections of disparate data. If this sort of facility isn't a part of the normal user experience, it should be.

One thing: If Evernote wanted arbitrarily-nestable notebooks, then why did they introduce a new separate concept "Stack"? Why not have Notebooks behave like computer directories? The answer is, I think, that at the time, they didn't want that behavior. But now that they have stacks and notebooks, what would be the best way forward? Can a stack contain another stack? Can a notebook contain a stack? Can a notebook contain another notebook? What's most intuitive now that you already have a more complicated conceptual vocabulary?

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I have grown to be a huge fan of Evernote over the last several months but I agree with the OP and many others that this feature is needed. I dont use tags for organizational purposes, I use them for relational purposes. I'd like to see the nesting of notbooks added so I can orgainze my notes as I see fit. I agree that using tags is a nice workaround, but it is just that, a workaround. Evernote, please add this feature, its the only thing keeping Evernote from being perfect to me.

Those of you who think tags are a better solution:

I'd ask you what hurt it would be to have the additional flexability to have nested notebooks (more than one level deep). You would presumably still be able to use tags if you prefer, so why not support this additional flexability for those of us who prefer to organize differently than you?

Thanks,

Marshall

I couldn't agree more with everything you've said here. I too LOVE Evernote. Seriously, you all are doing great work here. Everything about this software is superior to and offers more than other note-taking apps - except for it's organizational aspects.

(Speaking to the folks at Evernote now):

While tags are useful, and some may find them better than the traditional nested notebook/folder method of organization, just read this thread and you'll find that many came into Evernote wanting the ability to nest and subnest their notebooks, but were forced to learn Tags. Every other set of documents, data, etc that I deal with are organized through the nesting of folders etc, and I don't want to have to learn a whole new paradigm just to use Evernote, which would mean completely going over all my many many notes from scratch. Is it really that big of a deal to add this functionality? I'd love to hear from a support person or, even better, a lead Evernote programmer, as to why this is evidently not even being considered. Would it break other functionality of the software? Would it make Tags less useful for those that desire this method?

To me this should be a no-brainer. If you want to keep all your customers happy, give them what they want. Don't try to force us to use a method that we aren't used to using and have no interest in learning. Many of us want subnested notebooks, and I'd love it if you'd re-consider your position and just add it.

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Don't try to force us to use a method that we aren't used to using and have no interest in learning. Many of us want subnested notebooks, and I'd love it if you'd re-consider your position and just add it.

No one is forcing you to do anything. This is a software app. It does what it does. IME, we often have to adjust our thinking/workflows to adapt to software b/c no app is going to do everything that everyone wants. If it works for you then great. Otherwise, don't use it. (shrug)

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Don't try to force us to use a method that we aren't used to using and have no interest in learning. Many of us want subnested notebooks, and I'd love it if you'd re-consider your position and just add it.

No one is forcing you to do anything. This is a software app. It does what it does. IME, we often have to adjust our thinking/workflows to adapt to software b/c no app is going to do everything that everyone wants. If it works for you then great. Otherwise, don't use it. (shrug)

OK. Good point. Maybe my words were a bit harsh. My apologies.

My point is simply - why not include both functionalities, thereby making everyone happy with minimal effort required on their part? What's the harm in that?

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Don't try to force us to use a method that we aren't used to using and have no interest in learning. Many of us want subnested notebooks, and I'd love it if you'd re-consider your position and just add it.

No one is forcing you to do anything. This is a software app. It does what it does. IME, we often have to adjust our thinking/workflows to adapt to software b/c no app is going to do everything that everyone wants. If it works for you then great. Otherwise, don't use it. (shrug)

OK. Good point. Maybe my words were a bit harsh. My apologies.

My point is simply - why not include both functionalities, thereby making everyone happy with minimal effort required on their part? What's the harm in that?

I can't speak to it but I'd guess it's a technical issue. EN lives on many platforms - that's their niche. That's what attracted many of us to EN to begin with. Personally, I've grown tired of migrating my notes from Sharp Wizard to Handspring to Palm. When I got my first iPhone is when I migrated from Palm to EN. I'm hoping I won't have to migrate from EN to anything else for a very long time, if ever. Seriously...how many apps live on all the platforms EN does? I suspect they may have restricted sub notebooks in order to make their app work well across all the platforms. This is all speculation. None of us who are only users can really say how easy a particular feature is to implement.

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It sure looks like the "experts" responding to these threads (or at least a couple of them) are refuting people posting and arguing against those posting, instead of giving info. Also, saying things like: it doesn't matter what a poster thinks??? Don't use it???

You (plural) sometimes give good info, but what's up with this?

How long ago did stacks come out? I don't think it was over a year or two ago, and It did not ship with the product originally, did it?

So, how can some people strongly state what Evernote is NOT going to do? Have a nice day!

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@ever111: did you actually read what BnF wrote? Plenty of information there,by my interpretation.

It sure looks like the "experts" responding to these threads (or at least a couple of them) are refuting people posting and arguing against those posting, instead of giving info.

Really? Provide a quote, please.

Also, saying things like: it doesn't matter what a poster thinks??? Don't use it???

Please provide a quote for that assertion.

So, how can some people strongly state what Evernote is NOT going to do? Have a nice day!

Please provide a quote for that assertion.

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jefito,

Did you not read the posts?

Did the posts show bad attitude? Just sayin. In particular, some posts in the sync thread a day or so ago, but in this thread...

There are others, but I think these three answer all of your points. Take it or leave it was also included.

I see that you were even quoted in the last sentence below. Interesting quote from a previous rebuttal, I suppose.

*The statements below are quotes from other poster(s), and not my opinion/attitude at all.*

Funny b/c it really doesn't matter what "Those of you who think tags are a better solution" think. What matters is how Evernote functions.

-------------------------------

No one is forcing you to do anything. This is a software app. It does what it does. IME, we often have to adjust our thinking/workflows to adapt to software b/c no app is going to do everything that everyone wants. If it works for you then great. Otherwise, don't use it. (shrug)

-------------------------------

The way EN has functioned since it's introduction in early 2008 up to & including today is no sub/nested notebooks. It doesn't appear this will change any time soon. As for me, I find EN invaluable and prefer to spend my time using as it is (and really, I've yet to find a use care where tags don't function similarly to sub notebooks) rather than boycott/protest a feature that may or may not ever appear. If an app works for me, great. If not, I go find one that will. As Jefito says, that's why there's chocolate & vanilla.

And if you think sub notebooks are so invaluable, why would you possibly need to try to get those who are ok w/o subnotebooks to support your request?

*The statements above are quotes from other poster(s), and not my opinion/attitude at all.*

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jefito,

Did you not read the posts?

Did the posts show bad attitude? Just sayin. In particular, some posts in the sync thread a day or so ago, but in this thread...

There are others, but I think these three answer all of your points. Take it or leave it was also included.

I see that you were even quoted in the last sentence below. Interesting quote from a previous rebuttal, I suppose.

*The statements below are quotes from other poster(s), and not my opinion/attitude at all.*

Funny b/c it really doesn't matter what "Those of you who think tags are a better solution" think. What matters is how Evernote functions.

-------------------------------

No one is forcing you to do anything. This is a software app. It does what it does. IME, we often have to adjust our thinking/workflows to adapt to software b/c no app is going to do everything that everyone wants. If it works for you then great. Otherwise, don't use it. (shrug)

-------------------------------

The way EN has functioned since it's introduction in early 2008 up to & including today is no sub/nested notebooks. It doesn't appear this will change any time soon. As for me, I find EN invaluable and prefer to spend my time using as it is (and really, I've yet to find a use care where tags don't function similarly to sub notebooks) rather than boycott/protest a feature that may or may not ever appear. If an app works for me, great. If not, I go find one that will. As Jefito says, that's why there's chocolate & vanilla.

And if you think sub notebooks are so invaluable, why would you possibly need to try to get those who are ok w/o subnotebooks to support your request?

*The statements above are quotes from other poster(s), and not my opinion/attitude at all.*

First, you do a terrible job of quoting. You don't even include the links.

Second, exactly what is untrue about what I've posted?

Third, you seem to be saying I have a bad attitude. My attitude is realistic. You can yammer all day long about what you think EN should/could do. But at the end of the day, it does what it does. So yes, if it works for you, then great. If it doesn't, you would be better served to find an app that does. If I said anything else, it would be misleading.

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Thanks for posting the requested quotes. So here's what you asserted.

It sure looks like the "experts" responding to these threads (or at least a couple of them) are refuting people posting and arguing against those posting, instead of giving info.

Here's your quote:

Funny b/c it really doesn't matter what "Those of you who think tags are a better solution" think. What matters is how Evernote functions.

You should note that "those of you who think tags are a better solution" (which itself is a quote from Vlaak, the original poster) actually refers to people like BnF, not people arguing for sub-notebooks. In other words, BnF is saying "It doesn't matter what I think, it's how Evernote functions". Did you misunderstand this?

So I'm not sure how this relates; this isn't arguing again people posting at all (if by this you mean "arguing that people should post"; your sentence is a little unclear). It's really an explanation that if you want to use Evernote well, you need to deal with the reality of how Evernote works today, not how you wish it would work, which is sensible advice. But there's nothing saying that people can't make suggestions. I saw no-one at claiming that suggestions are not welcome.

Here's what you asserted.

Also, saying things like: it doesn't matter what a poster thinks??? Don't use it???

Here's your quote:

No one is forcing you to do anything. This is a software app. It does what it does. IME, we often have to adjust our thinking/workflows to adapt to software b/c no app is going to do everything that everyone wants. If it works for you then great. Otherwise, don't use it. (shrug)

Again, sensible advice. If you use a tool (or any product, really), and it doesn't work the way that you want it to, then you're well-advised to use another on, or at least seek alternatives. How is that saying, at all, that it doesn't matter what a poster thinks?

Here's what you asserted.

So, how can some people strongly state what Evernote is NOT going to do? Have a nice day!

Here's your quote:

The way EN has functioned since it's introduction in early 2008 up to & including today is no sub/nested notebooks. It doesn't appear this will change any time soon. As for me, I find EN invaluable and prefer to spend my time using as it is (and really, I've yet to find a use care where tags don't function similarly to sub notebooks) rather than boycott/protest a feature that may or may not ever appear. If an app works for me, great. If not, I go find one that will. As Jefito says, that's why there's chocolate & vanilla.

I think that the relevant statement is "It doesn't appear that this will change any time soon". This sounds like an opinion to me, one that's based on over 4 years of observing Evernote's actions, and the evolution of Evernote's products. And that's really what we have to go on -- our own experiences and observations, as Evernote do not tend to release planned feature changes. BnF doesn't know whether they'll add them any time soon, of at all, I don't and neither do you.

I'm sorry, but I don't think that your quotes backed up what you claimed.

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Nested stacks would be useful also to me, indeed.

I started separating my "work" notebooks and "personal" notebooks creatindg two stacks. I like that I can see all the notes in notebooks in a stack just clicking on it, but now I need one level more of organization.

Hope to see this feature added somehow "soon".

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I have a seriously complex folder structure as a result which means I have to scroll through many folders to try to find the document I need.

Which is *exactly* why Evernote's recommended method of using tags is much more flexible than the nested folder system. IMO/IME, having to use nested folders is more & more of a limiting factor the more files/notes you have.

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While I understand why people want nested notebooks, I can see at least 2 potential issues with them:

1. You could, very easily, reach your notebook limit (250) by simply setting up your preferred system and not really have that many actual notebooks to use.

2. This stems from the first, but if you were to create a multiple level notebook system, with 10 levels for example. You would only be able to put notes in the last level of notebooks, because that is the way that notebooks work in Evernote.

This means that only the last level of actual notebooks and the one above are actually useful, the rest is not and this is what we have now, two levels.

Could this all be changed to make it work somehow? Would it? I can't say, just my thoughts.

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Given that there have recently been major updates to the Mac and iOS clients that do not contain this functionality I think it's pretty safe to assume that it won't be included in the short to medium term.

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meanwhile, back onto the subject of nested notebooks ...

I am more of a visual thinker and visual organization works best for me. That is why nested notebooks would appeal to me. I want to be able to organize my material without using dozens of Notebooks. Tags would be the logical solution, but tags seem abstract to me. Maybe I just don't get tags, yet.

I really love the updates to Evernote: the clean UI, shortcuts, and the navigation buttons. That said: I'd be interested in any ideas on how to make Evernote more "visual" - whether with a tags-based workflow, or using stacks, or (dreaming maybe) via an API to another app that looks and works more visually (such as all those tabs in OneNote, or the cork board in Scrivener).

Thanks in advance for any suggestions from experienced Evernote users.

- Eric

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I am more of a visual thinker and visual organization works best for me. That is why nested notebooks would appeal to me. I want to be able to organize my material without using dozens of Notebooks. Tags would be the logical solution, but tags seem abstract to me. Maybe I just don't get tags, yet.

Tags are not particularly abstract; they really are nothing more than labels that you can apply to a note: think category, or keyword, or even adjective. Tags are generally more flexible than notebooks because while a note belongs to exactly one notebook, a note may have more than one tag. So you can cross-categorize (i.e., categorize using more than one categorization scheme) notes using tags, whereas with notebooks, you are pretty much stuck with one categorization scheme.

So for example, if you were to wanted to categorize your books (one note per book), you might make be interested in categorizing by author, and by genre genre. Doing that strictly using notebooks wouldn't be all that great; do you have notebooks for each author, or for each genre, But some books have multiple authors, and some authors write in multiple genres. Instead, use tags, and you can apply author tags and genre tags as needed.

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According to the Evernote folks (Dave Engberg, I believe), stacks were added mainly for the ability to organize your notebooks in the UI. Working with a straight list of 100 (the limit then, now it's 250) wasn't that great. So in some sense, stacks are artificial (but then again, what part of Evernote isn't?? :)). At some point (can't remember exactly when), the ability to search against a stack using the stack: term was added to the search grammar. So in that sense, stacks are supported at a deeper level than the mere cosmetic.

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Uh, I think he means that he can see and arrange notebooks on his computer screen, and nest them. They take up a spot in perceived and visual reality, like putting things in a file cabinet and folders, instead of just going around the office, and marking the stuff with tags, then maybe having various lists of the tags that he can look at and search. Some have great spatial memory, not for lists. He said that was how he perceives things, and he might be really good at it. He said that tags seem to be abstract to HIM. By abstract, he means that they do not have a position in space that they occupy. They are not an object that can be positioned, etc. He did say that is how HE perceives it.

Windows had folders that nest, and that is what many people are used to, surely. Maybe it was wrong. Don't know.

So, tags give a way to cross reference items in all file cabinets and folders whether related or not, but many still want their file cabinets in a building of multiple offices, in an office area with multiple rooms, in a filing room with multiple cabinets, in a file cabinet with many folders, in a folder with many notes, and some of those notes are clipped together.. Spatial. The items exist in space. They have a specific location.

(By the way, I'm thinking that the folders we see in the UI, only appear to exist, as simulated by the UI, but they do APPEAR to actually exist.)

meanwhile, back onto the subject of nested notebooks ...

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Uh, I think he means that he can see and arrange notebooks on his computer screen, and nest them. They take up a spot in perceived and visual reality, like putting things in a file cabinet and folders, instead of just going around the office, and marking the stuff with tags, then maybe having various lists of the tags that he can look at and search. Some have great spatial memory, not for lists. He said that was how he perceives things, and he might be really good at it. He said that tags seem to be abstract to HIM. By abstract, he means that they do not have a position in space that they occupy. They are not an object that can be positioned, etc. He did say that is how HE perceives it.

Hey, whoa, funny thing about that. You can actually organize tags in Evernote, yes, in a hierarchical fashion. "Gettouttahere", I can hear you say. But it's true -- it may be a little-known secret in Evernote that you can do this, why they've only been in place for two or three years. Well who knew?? But yes, you can position them, in perceived and visual space. Sort of like... um, ... those things... you know.. like.. um... oh, yes. Folders! Those totally concrete constructs, folders, why, I can reach right out and touch them. Well you can do that with tags in Evernote, too, right? Right?

And now back to what I actually meant: the reason that I wrote what I wrote is that he did say this: " tags seem abstract to me. Maybe I just don't get tags, yet." I totally got that they are abstract to him. I took it as a sincere statement. That's why I offered several analogous concepts, across several disciplines, that he might be able to better hook onto mentally: labels (used by GMail, as well as having physical analogues), categories (Outlook), keywords (science and academia), adjectives (natural language constructs that all English speakers should be familiar with). And you can organize them visually and hierarchically in Evernote, just like folders in a file system.

But here's the bonus: you can do things with tags that you simply cannot do with notebooks. And that was the point of the simple illustration I included.

Windows had folders that nest, and that is what many people are used to, surely. Maybe it was wrong. Don't know.

Please feel free to point out, via quote, where I or anyone else said that folders were wrong. I doubt very much that you'll be able to.

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Thanks Jeff! That "stack:" term isn't in the search grammar docs. I implemented support for them the hard way by iterating through the Stack member notebooks in BitQwik, now I can go back and just use the "stack:" term. Much more efficient.

I think I figured that out when I did a filter on a stack, and then saved it as a saved search. Hope it helps with BitQwik! :)

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It will Jeff. Currently I make a list of all the Notebooks that are a member of a Notebook Stack found in a query and repeat the search (submit it to Evernote via the COM API) for each Notebook in the stack. Now I just have to use the "stack:" keyword. :)

-- roschler

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Tags isn't the same as nested notebooks. Nesting allows for creation of a virtual shelf of notes for a topic, college courses, outlinging stories or research etc..

It would be a very useful feature to have. And other products offer to, requesting it in our favorite tool (Evernote) isn't that odd. I would love to have the feature too.

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Yes, but I don't like them. I am using Tags as much as possible but find them less useful than nested folders. All I am asking for is one, just one, more level of nested folders. It will make EN so much more useful. Pleeease can I have them.. Pretty please... I am begging here..

Of course my bigger gripe is the lack of image editing. I am saving huge scanned images totally unnecessarily. It eats my expensive bandwidth, consumes my EN allowance and simply means that synching takes longer. It takes a long time anyway. I really have no need for 2Mb snap shots of things filling up my account. I would have through EN would be happy to have less server space taken up with redundant data.. This has surprised me from the start.

Thomas

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Yes, I think that most of us understand all of that. And it's a valid request, but Evernote chooses not to offer this feature. Please refer to the copious amount of discussion on the topic in the forums. And in the mean time, I'd suggest giving tags another look (and yes, you can nest tags).

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Nested notebooks is a long-standing request. Evernote has chosen not to offer it as a feature (though you can put multiple notebooks into stacks). For the time being at least, it would probably be better to try to come to terms with tagging as an organization tool.

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Some of my old files are stored in a complex folder structure on my external archival drive. Earlier this week, I had a bear of a time locating one specific file due the labyrinth of folders, subfolders, and nested folders.

It is so, so much easier to find stuff in Evernote using tags and structured titles. Even though I've got 20,000+ notes, I try to keep the number of notebooks down to just 7.

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Yes, but I don't like them. I am using Tags as much as possible but find them less useful than nested folders. All I am asking for is one, just one, more level of nested folders. It will make EN so much more useful. Pleeease can I have them.. Pretty please... I am begging here..

Asked & answered many times over. Advice is...

Nested notebooks is a long-standing request. Evernote has chosen not to offer it as a feature (though you can put multiple notebooks into stacks). For the time being at least, it would probably be better to try to come to terms with tagging as an organization tool.

Of course my bigger gripe is the lack of image editing. I am saving huge scanned images totally unnecessarily. It eats my expensive bandwidth, consumes my EN allowance and simply means that synching takes longer. It takes a long time anyway. I really have no need for 2Mb snap shots of things filling up my account. I would have through EN would be happy to have less server space taken up with redundant data.. This has surprised me from the start.

Thomas

Also asked & answered many times over. There are many workarounds so your huge images don't need to chew up your upload limit. (In a nutshell - edit before uploading.) Evernote is a cloud service. They really don't care if you add five copies of a huge photo of your dog. (It's not their job to care what you upload.) Their job is to store all five copies, if that's what you elect to do.

Nothing new to see here.

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... it would probably be better to try to come to terms with tagging as an organization tool.

We all have developed our workarounds but we should never stop asking for sub notebooks here in the forum. EN may have decided "for now" not to have this feature but if enough customers keep asking someday they may see the light.

Hughjc

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Using Evernote as it is, or finding another piece of software is needlessly restrictive list of the choices available.

Lobbying Evernote to support a feature you want is a perfectly legitimate choice. Nested Notebooks is an example of just such a feature, and lobbying for it's inclusion is perfectly reasonable.

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Lobbying Evernote to support a feature you want is a perfectly legitimate choice. Nested Notebooks is an example of just such a feature, and lobbying for it's inclusion is perfectly reasonable.

Nobody said that it isn't a legitimate action. However, you need to be prepared for it to take some time before they deliver such a feature (and they may never do so), and put up with a product that doesn't do what you want in the meantime. So in the here and now, you pretty much have only two practical choices.

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Then we disagree that option (3) lobbying for the inclusion of a feature and / or asking for support for a feature from other people isn't a "practical" choice.

As a new reader of the forums this thread certainly comes across as a strong defence of tags, to the extent that lobbying for a more traditional method of classification is being discouraged. You won't find the word "discouraged" or "wrong" or any explicit synonyms, but it's a matter of tone.

For the record, I am a long time advocate of tagging in other systems (GMail, RTM, various MP3 organisers, various CMS etc,) and carry that across to EN - and thanks for your pointer on nested tags. But the traditional nested folder abstraction has it's place, even if it's just a method to allow cautious users to gently transition into something more flexible.

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Then we disagree that option (3) lobbying for the inclusion of a feature and / or asking for support for a feature from other people isn't a "practical" choice.

Perhaps we disagree, perhaps I wasn't clear, but I don't think that we need to argue the point. It's certainly a valid choice; your opinions (including lobbying for nested folders) are welcome here, full stop.

As a new reader of the forums this thread certainly comes across as a strong defence of tags, to the extent that lobbying for a more traditional method of classification is being discouraged. You won't find the word "discouraged" or "wrong" or any explicit synonyms, but it's a matter of tone.

It's all a practical matter to me. You don't have arbitrarily nesting of notebooks in Evernote, but you do have tags. That's a fact.

And Evernote does understand that there are a number of people who want arbitrarily nested notebooks. They can't have missed the issue; there's plenty of forum discussion relating to the idea. But they have chosen not to deliver it to date. That's also a fact.

So in dealing with folks who lobby for nested notebooks (some of whom do not understand the expressive power of tags, some of who clearly do), I feel compelled to let them know that tags are what are available in Evernote, and they are really very useful. If they weren't, I wouldn't be using Evernote. As far as I am concerned, tags are how you do organization in Evernote, if you're doing explicit organization. If that's a defense (or 'defence'; vive la difference! :)), then so be it. Ultimately, I'd rather focus on how to use the tools that we have in hand today.

For the record, I am a long time advocate of tagging in other systems (GMail, RTM, various MP3 organisers, various CMS etc,) and carry that across to EN - and thanks for your pointer on nested tags. But the traditional nested folder abstraction has it's place, even if it's just a method to allow cautious users to gently transition into something more flexible.

Let's face it, if Evernote were to offer nested notebooks, how many of those 'cautious users' would actually make the transition? Not many, I'd guess; they'd just continue to use their familiar folders. GMail doesn't cater to that audience either, for that matter. And it's not just a matter of simply adding nested folders; there's a whole raft of underpinnings that would need to be changed across the entire Evernote architecture, plus a lot of UI changes that would need to be made across the range of clients. I don't see it happening any time soon, though obviously that's not my choice.

My guess is that Evernote, as a company (but who knows about renegade Evernote employees? :)), doesn't believe that it needs to offer nested notebooks to be useful.

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Hi Jeff,

To amplify your point, I have mentioned this before:

When selling expensive software, my customers would often ask for specific features and I explained that this was not a problem, But the price would go from £25K to about £250K minimum to get that feature!

The important issue is to look at software and adapt the way you work for that software. It will be 90% or hopefully more of what you want, but by adapting you can then increase that figure to as near 100% as possible.

Nothing of course wrong with asking for features to be added. Indeed we kept a list of what customers wanted and once a month had a meeting to discuss the merits of such changes which may or not have made it into the final production model.

Best regards

Chris

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@jefito @C6REW

I can't imagine any Damascene conversions to tags from folders on day 1, but you do need to experience EN's positives to trust it enough to abandon a comfortable idea. Getting a critical volume of existing data in there must be a significant factor.

I have a similar attitude to tools - nothing is ever perfect and if I wait for it to become perfect, I'll end up standing still. WRT your 90% remark, I am more often trying to persuade a customer not to part with their money on small impact / large effort features on the basis that [a] I selfishly won't find then interesting to work on, even if they are profitable and if they have money to spare for that, how about spending it on X instead, where X will have a large impact.

Which I suppose brings me to whether or not, given the depth of change you speculate is required, nested notebooks would give you anything that a bit of familiarity with tagging wouldn't? I think probably so.

If you can nest notebooks, you then have a more flexible and discrete method of offline notebook access / notebook sharing.

If EN allowed you to offline / share on the basis of a tag, that advantage would evaporate I suppose.

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The only stack I have is one for all notebooks shared with me.

Heh -- can't do that anymore, if you also include Business notebooks. Gotta keep those notebooks in their own corral.

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Our small business has been evaluating EN for Business as an alternative to Dropbox. EN has the advantage of handling more file types more easily, better searching, tags, etc., but Dropbox, which we use now, has the clear advantage when it comes to organization. We need to be able to organize our information at least one more level than EN seems to allow. As an example, our company develops formulations, each of which has many associated files and documents. Within EN we'd love to be able to create a folder called "Formulations" and then within this folder create a notebook for each formulation. Each formulation notebook could then contain all the associated documents for the formulation. As it stands now, each formulation is a notebook, all of which appear at the same level as every other notebook within the "Business Library" view. With hundreds of these, it gets cluttered.

Stacks are close, but they can't be shared. Stacks I create on my Mac don't appear in the Business notebook and vice versa.

I'm also concerned about the limitation of the number of notebooks, 250 I think, which is far too small for our use.

It would be great if EN had the ability to create some kind of organizational hierarchy beyond the klutzy and limited stack concept. Why not replace stacks with "Folders" or that could be shared and capable of handling thousands of notebooks each? Something like:

Business Library

- Formulation Folder

- Formulation notebook 1

- Formulation notebook 2

- Formulation notebook ...

- Client Folder

- Client notebook 1

- Client notebook 2

- Client notebook ...

- Presentation Folder ...

I understand that much of this can be accomplished with tags, but that's a hit or miss workaround when groups of people are expected to maintain a tagging system.

Thanks.

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This has been discussed at great length on here, it seems very unlikely that Evernote will develop a deeper folder structure paradigm. Evernote have decided that their product will utilise tags for organisation. If this model doesn't work for you, well then the product is probably not the right product for you.

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It would be great if EN had the ability to create some kind of organizational hierarchy beyond the klutzy and limited stack concept.

That's unfortunate. I assumed that EN addressed these limitations with the business edition. I think it's going to be a hard sell for all but the smallest and simplest business groups.

As someone who has used EN for over four years, has accumulated over 56,000 notes & uses EN in one form of another pretty much every waking hour (certainly every hour I'm on a computer), I find it odd (and naive) that some people refer to this as "klutzy" & "limited". The traditional nested folder concept is truly klutzy & limiting, especially the more files/notes you accumulate.

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Sharing Stacks I would imagine to be on the way at some point - there's no doubting the usefulness and it doesn't break from their selected model.

 

As to whether the current model is a limitation or not is just a matter of opinion, what is for sure is that it is the way that Evernote is currently architected and there has never been any indication that it is likely to change.

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The primary problem is not that EN for business doesn't support multiple levels of nesting, it's that it doesn't even support one level.  That's a joke and make it utterly worthless.  It's just too funny that after people begging for years just to get one level, that they bring out the business product and make it totally useless to 90% of the business population by not allowing even a single level of stacks for the business library.  I've been interested in using EN for our business for years as a shared knowledge base, just signed up for the business account, and it's worthless because you can't create stacks for the business library.

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The primary problem is not that EN for business doesn't support multiple levels of nesting, it's that it doesn't even support one level.  That's a joke and make it utterly worthless.  It's just too funny that after people begging for years just to get one level, that they bring out the business product and make it totally useless to 90% of the business population by not allowing even a single level of stacks for the business library.  I've been interested in using EN for our business for years as a shared knowledge base, just signed up for the business account, and it's worthless because you can't create stacks for the business library.

 

Hi. It is true that you cannot create stacks within the business library for other business members to see. You currently only have one level available there. However, you can combine notebooks as you would like within your own account, and make stacks at will. It would be best if we could have both (stacks in the business and personal library), but perhaps that is something they will roll out in the future. 

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Thanks, as you can see I was frustrated :).  I did see that individual users can have nested notebooks, but that's really no different than a bunch of people having individual accounts in the first place.  I was expecting that the business product would allow a company to set up a shared set of notebooks with a nested structure.

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To make matters worse, the "business library" is nothing but a "phony" link to a shared folder that just shows up under each employees notebook.  What I was hoping for was a simple non-confusing metaphor for employees, "personal notebooks" and "business library".  As it is, there is no clear differentiation for the employee between that which is private and that which is shared, because they all show up under their name either way.

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Maybe I misunderstand your meaning regarding personal and business notebooks, because I can see a very clear demarcation within my EN. For me this is one of the great successes of EN, providing business users with a private personal section which helps to integrate them into EN life.

Don't get me wrong there are still many features which I perceive as essential for business which are not currently available in EN. However my business is small enough to adapt for now whilst EN evolves. Of course the basic features for project control have to be there, and the principal of sharing is one of these. We now have suppliers and customers contributing to projects with direct input into EN, including uploading large files. Yes I have a wish list for improvements, like the ability to make a notes private so only company employees can see, but maybe this will happen one day.

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Maybe I misunderstand your meaning regarding personal and business notebooks, because I can see a very clear demarcation within my EN. For me this is one of the great successes of EN, providing business users with a private personal section which helps to integrate them into EN life.

Don't get me wrong there are still many features which I perceive as essential for business which are not currently available in EN. However my business is small enough to adapt for now whilst EN evolves. Of course the basic features for project control have to be there, and the principal of sharing is one of these. We now have suppliers and customers contributing to projects with direct input into EN, including uploading large files. Yes I have a wish list for improvements, like the ability to make a notes private so only company employees can see, but maybe this will happen one day.

 

Paulelias, have you looked at a web based project management system like TeamworksPM?  We use it for sharing projects, assigning tasks, attaching documents to projects, time tracking, billing, etc.  It also has features to allow clients outside of your company to access parts of projects that you give them access to.  It isn't a replacement for EN, but based on your comments you may find it useful.  If someone could merge the functionality of a TeamWorksPM with a truly business class EM, they would have a very useful product indeed.

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Hi Duane, welcome to the forums. Stacks are already 'enabled' in that all you have to do is drag one notebook on top of another in the left panel. Create a new notebook to be the stack parent if necessary and either drag and drop other notebooks into it, or right-click the notebook name and use 'add to stack'.

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Hi and welcome to the forums !

 

Yes, STACKS can be a bit confusing at first. As Gaz wrote, "they are already there".

To clarify: Go to "Notebooks" (left panel), right click and choose "create notebook".

Give it a name. Drag another of your notebooks onto it and voilà, you created a STACK.

Wern

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Hi everyone,

 

This is my first post, so please bear with me.

 

I'm using Evernote 4.6.1 on Windows 7 64 bit. I'm trying to create nested notebook stacks, but I haven't found any menu option that enables that function. Is it possible to do what I want to accomplish?

 

Thanks

Stacks cannot be nested & notebooks canot be nested. Stacks can contain notebooks but not other stacks. Notebooks cannot contain other notebooks or stacks. For more intricate organizing, you can use tags, descriptive titles and "keywords".

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Once again,  I am reminded - read the question with the grey cells switched on.  Burgers is (of course) absolutely right - birds nest,  but stacks don't!

I only added my post b/c I think it's unclear if OP is trying to make a stack or nest them. So I think your answer was very good & I only added mine in case OP is trying to make nested stacks. ;-)

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I agree. I would really like the ability to create several notebooks and then be able to put them within another notebook. It would help me tremendously.

There are no sub notebooks in EN. You can group notebooks by putting them into a stack.

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I would also like to request this feature. I am aware of using tags instead of folders, but folders work more naturaly for me and quicker.

I use EN A LOT, especialy for screen grabs. Having the ability to just put them in a folder would make life very easy!

It does not have to be a seperate notebook, just a folder will do.

From a development perspective, I am sure it cannot be too much effort.

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I would also like to request this feature. I am aware of using tags instead of folders, but folders work more naturaly for me and quicker.

I use EN A LOT, especialy for screen grabs. Having the ability to just put them in a folder would make life very easy!

It does not have to be a seperate notebook, just a folder will do.

How is any of what a "folder" gives you any different from what an Evernote notebook gives you, except for the fact that they are not arbitrarily nestable?

From a development perspective, I am sure it cannot be too much effort.

What makes you say this?
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Nested stacks would be AWESOME. I am a graduate student, and many of my colleagues agree, and would be far more apt to use evernote if this were an option. 

 

Acclaimed author, blogger, and businessman Michael Hyatt also advocates for nested stacks when he writes, "Note that I had to divide Work into several stacks, all with the prefix “Work.” This is simply because Evernote doesn’t currently allow the nesting of stacks. (Note to Evernote developers: please consider this as a feature request.)" http://michaelhyatt.com/how-to-use-evernote-if-you-are-a-speaker-or-writer.html

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Nested stacks would be AWESOME. I am a graduate student, and many of my colleagues agree, and would be far more apt to use evernote if this were an option. 

 

Acclaimed author, blogger, and businessman Michael Hyatt also advocates for nested stacks when he writes, "Note that I had to divide Work into several stacks, all with the prefix “Work.” This is simply because Evernote doesn’t currently allow the nesting of stacks. (Note to Evernote developers: please consider this as a feature request.)" http://michaelhyatt.com/how-to-use-evernote-if-you-are-a-speaker-or-writer.html

Given that nested stacks don't exist, and may never exist in Evernote (trust me, the Evernote folks do know that there are people who want them, but there's been no sign that they're interested in providing them; see Jacob Miller's posts above), I'd suggest that you try to come to some accommodation with tags. Tags are just like keywords for notes, and offer a fair amount of flexibility for organizing your notes. Even Michael Hyatt uses them: http://michaelhyatt.com/how-to-organize-evernote-for-maximum-efficiency.html.  Personally, I'd say that he's a little over-notebooked, but then again, he's famous, and I'm not. :)

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Fair. I'm trying that, but it's not the same--I like how Hyatt explains tags vs. notebooks as vertical vs. horizontal organization, and I guess it just makes more sense to me to nest vertically as opposed to horizontally, if that makes any sense. I am playing around with nesting my tags, though.... 

 

I guess I also am just curious about WHY evernote has no inclination to provide the capability to nest notebook stacks?! 

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I guess I also am just curious about WHY evernote has no inclination to provide the capability to nest notebook stacks?!

 

 

I don't know that they've stated 'why'.  But my guess is that it probably has at least a little bit to do with the fact that EN lives on so many platforms & devices.  First, there's the stability/compatibility issue.  Second, many times, folders are nested a lot of levels deep.  It's often a PITA to drill down to the folder you want.  OTOH, when you can just select a tag, it's much easier.  That's on a desktop computer.  It would be at least as problematic on a smaller device like a phone, if not more so. 

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I'm not sure that his conceptualization would work for everyone -- it's not how I do it anyways, though it might be useful to you.

 

Here are the salient details of the Evernote organizational structure:

 

Notebooks contain notes, and only notes. An Evernote note resides in exactly one notebook, so we'd say that notebooks partition your note database into discrete sets of notes. Notebooks are the primary structure for sharing, and the only organizational structure for local notes (non-synced notes on the desktop clients) and offline notes (notes that are cached on mobile devices for offline access).

 

Stacks are used to organize notebooks -- they are really intended to allow some structure for managing the 250 max number of notebooks. One other thing about stacks; while you cannot search more than one notebook at a time using the Evernote "notebook:" search term, you can search all of the notebooks in a stack by using the "stack:" search term.

 

Tags can apply to multiple notes, and a note may have multiple tags. Tags can be used to categorize notes across notebooks (hence across stacks as well), and across other tag classifications. That's what gives them a lot of flexibility. I don't think of them as vertical or horizontal. I think of them as keywords, or adjectives. 

 

I can't guess at Evernote's motivation (though obviously some Evernote employees want this type of facility) -- I can't remember them actually commenting about it here -- but it might be with an eye towards usability on mobile devices? Regardless, I tend to be pragmatic about it -- a nested notebook system just doesn't exist, and tags are flexible enough for me.

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Is it just me that finds the notebook layout page a bit hard to navigate?  It seems that I spend a lot of time searching for a specific folder (without using the search function).  When a master notebook is open, the gray sub notebooks blend in with the other notebooks that do not belong with a master notebook. A slight indent is the only differentiator. maybe there is a way to color code the folders to make it a bit easier to navigate. Just curious

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Strictly speaking there are no "folders" or Master Notebooks - there are just notebooks,  which can contain notes,  and for your convenience can be grouped in 'stacks' to make the notebooks easier to navigate around if you have several.  It should be possible to collapse stacks to hide notebooks,  but it's not possible (yet) to colour code them or change the font or style.

 

It would be a good option to have in due course...

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I use both nested folders and tags for different reasons. I'd love to have the ability to nest more than one. If there's a good reason not to, then why is there the ability to nest one?

There are no nested notebooks in Evernote. Notes reside in notebooks. Notes cannot reside in stacks. Stacks simply group notebooks. That's why stacks are called stacks instead of notebooks. ;-)

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Sorry, I guess I meant stacks then.

 

I think of tags as keywords to help find my notes (topic, category, author, geography, etc.), not a way to organize them. Here's how I think (and apparently many others who are requesting this):

 

a file cabinet (level 1) with

drawers (level 2 - notebooks) that contain

hanging folders (level 3 - stacks) and

folders inside those (what EN is missing) that contain

paper (notes)

 

I'd have the choice and ability to thumb through my drawers and folders to find what I need, or with the magic of tags or searching, I could find things that way.

 

A physical file cabinet is more limiting because in an electronic filing system you can normally nest to your hearts content. But for some reason, Evernote seems to be more limited than a physical file cabinet (except for tagging and searching, of course).

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But for some reason, Evernote seems to be more limited than a physical file cabinet (except for tagging and searching, of course).

Do you really not see the irony of this??? That is the strength of Evernote. And it's why descriptive titles, tags, keywords & notebooks are far better than restrictive nested folders/notebooks. Especially when you have a lot of notes.

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Nope. I don't see why it has to be one or the other when both would work even better. I don't see folders/notebooks as restrictive. Don't get me wrong, I love tags, but I can't rely on tags only to keep me organized. Why then do notebooks and stacks even exist then? If there's a hierarchy, why not extend it another level (or two, or ?). 

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Nope. I don't see why it has to be one or the other when both would work even better. I don't see folders/notebooks as restrictive. Don't get me wrong, I love tags, but I can't rely on tags only to keep me organized. Why then do notebooks and stacks even exist then? If there's a hierarchy, why not extend it another level (or two, or ?). 

 

Hi. I don't know why we can't have nested notebooks, but that is just how the system is set up. Look for posts by Dave (http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/1801-feature-request-nested-notebooks/?p=9002) for some of the thinking behind this. I am afraid I can only offer advice on the app that is, and not the app that could/should be. 

 

Tags, for most purposes, function exactly the same way as notebooks, so I don't see why organizing by tags is difficult. A search for tag:evernote or notebook:evernote will show you exactly the same notes, in exactly the same order. The only thing missing from tags is non-organizational stuff like the ability to share them, make them local, etc. 

 

In the end, though, if you are into hierarchies of information with lots of nested folders/notebooks or tags, then Evernote is probably not well-suited to your methodology. Evernote just isn't built for that kind of a system. Personally, I prefer the more "brain" like structure, but it probably isn't for everyone. 

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Look for posts by Dave (http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/1801-feature-request-nested-notebooks/?p=9002) for some of the thinking behind this.

Thanks for posting that link, GM. I don't recall ever seeing that & have Evernoted it for future reference.

I don't believe you BNF. I don't think it is possible for me to uncover something you haven't Evernoted already. Check your notes again :)

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I don't believe you BNF. I don't think it is possible for me to uncover something you haven't Evernoted already. Check your notes again :)

LOL!!! That was posted after I'd trialed the beta & decided EN was not for me. But before I'd returned to EN in Oct 2008. And apparently it was never linked to, in all the subsequent nested notebook threads. Or at least I don't recall seeing it, if it was.

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I don't believe you BNF. I don't think it is possible for me to uncover something you haven't Evernoted already. Check your notes again :)

LOL!!! That was posted after I'd trialed the beta & decided EN was not for me. But before I'd returned to EN in Oct 2008. And apparently it was never linked to, in all the subsequent nested notebook threads. Or at least I don't recall seeing it, if it was.

 

I will Evernote the fact that I found something on the forum that you did not know about. There is a first for everything!

 

By the way, I first joined Evernote in Oct. 2008 as well. My "Welcome to Evernote!" note is still there dated 10/28/2008. Fun fact: click on the girl wearing the "triple nerd score" t-shirt and you get taken to bustedtees (http://www.bustedtees.com/triplenerdscore#female). I wonder how much bustedtees paid to get an ad like this into everyone's notes, and I wonder when these ads stopped getting included in the first note.

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I am such a noob. My Welcome to Evernote is 10/28/2008. Looks like I was was experimenting with my new Dell Mini at the time. Mostly work stuff at the beginning, though within 3 weeks I had a LOLCAT, several XKCDs and some Rands In Repose columns. Plus ça change...

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I am such a noob. My Welcome to Evernote is 10/28/2008. Looks like I was was experimenting with my new Dell Mini at the time. Mostly work stuff at the beginning, though within 3 weeks I had a LOLCAT, several XKCDs and some Rands In Repose columns. Plus ça change...

 

Are you saying we joined the same day?

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I feel old now, looked back and I was on the beta program - got my account on March 16 2008, guess that explains why I am on shard 1.

 

Really I should get some sort of gift for having been a user for 5 years, something small like a Porsche. Where is that gbarry fella?

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I feel old now, looked back and I was on the beta program - got my account on March 16 2008, guess that explains why I am on shard 1.

 

Really I should get some sort of gift for having been a user for 5 years, something small like a Porsche. Where is that gbarry fella?

That trumps me. My account was created April 15, 2008. My fifth anniversary will be Monday!

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I think it's clear from this lengthy discussion that some folks think and would like to organize more in hierarchical (outline format) ways, some folks not.  One way is not right and the other wrong, just different ways of organizing and visualizing data.

 

I'm one of those who prefers a hierarchical outliner approach and believes it has value, and for that reason, there is TuskTools Treeliner, now in beta. 

 

And yes, I'm currently dealing with the exact issue Dave mentioned in that 2008 post, i.e. the complications of shared vs. non-shared data in an outline.  It's solvable, but not easy or straightforward, and I think Evernote is in many ways right to keep their design focused on being easy and straightforward.  It's one of the reasons that they are now at 50 million users and growing, whereas other products like Ecco Pro (IMO the best PIM ever created), which tackled the complexity of outlining, did not succeed.  There were other reasons as well for Ecco's failure - this isn't the place to get into that discussion - but one of them was its relatively steep learning curve (as compared to Evernote).  Every time you add a feature to a software application - even if you make it an optional feature, like Evernote could do with more of a hierarchy - you increase the amount of potential factors that a new user must mentally consider in learning the application.  The simplicity of Evernote is one reason they have been so successful.

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Hey, and everything that Evernote lacks provides a market opportunity, right? Anyways, thanks, Phil, for helping to make Evernote a stronger candidate for those who want more than the Evernote product itself provides. Hope that it works out well for you.

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Hey, and everything that Evernote lacks provides a market opportunity, right?

 

Yup, definitely!  (Wait till you see what TuskTools will be doing with reminders and due dates :)

 

On that note, what's so great about Evernote the company is their commitment to third-party development.  It's a lot stronger than many software companies.

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