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Caipirinia

ANSWERED How to find and delete unused tags?

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How can I list and delete the tags, that currently have not be used in any note? Or does Evernote work like that - after a tag is removed from a note, if no other note has been tagged with the same tag, the tag automatically gets deleted?

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Moved to the General Discussions ForumScreen Shot 2016-12-19 at 5.12.10 AM.png

On my Mac, the use counts are listed for each tag

There is no automatic deletion
Every so often I do a review and correct entries manually

I use a hirarchy so all my tags are under parent tags.
This makes new tags stand out, for review
- valid entries get assigned a parent
- mispellings are corrected
- empty tags are deleted

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2 hours ago, Caipirinia said:

Or does Evernote work like that - after a tag is removed from a note, if no other note has been tagged with the same tag, the tag automatically gets deleted?

No, it does not work this way. If you create a tag, it sticks around until you explicitly delete it.

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It would be convenient indeed if the unused tags automatically disappeared.

As for now, every time you misspell a tag and and accidentally press enter, you have to manually go and delete that tag in the tags list, or else that faulty tag will be suggested every time you start writing the correct tag.

Hope there one day will be an option to change this behavior. 

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31 minutes ago, Hanky said:

It would be convenient indeed if the unused tags automatically disappeared.

That would be a terrible user interface choice. Say that you have a tag that lives on only one note; maybe it's "Todo", and you use it to figure out the your current task. You finish the task that corresponds to the note, wanting to start another todo task, so you remove the "Todo" tag, and... oops!! It got deleted, so you can't apply it unless you create it all over again.

Moreover, with that policy in place, you cannot set up a tag schema in advance; you always need to apply a tag to a note first. Beyond that, since tags are organized hierarchically, it's entirely likely that a tag might be used for organization purposes in the tag tree without ever being assigned to any note.

In general, Evernote does not automatically remove things unless you do request it explicitly. The only exception that I can think of is with Evernote stacks, which do disappear when you remove the last notebook from them. But stacks are special in Evernote, as they only exist if there's a notebook that references them. See the Evernote API ref, Notebook section. The relevant quote is: 

Quote

Notebooks can be grouped into stacks, which contain one or more notebooks, but cannot directly contain notes.

And also the Notebook section of the API: http://dev.evernote.com/doc/reference/Types.html#Struct_Notebook. There is no Stack object in Evernote; they only exist as a string field in a Notebook.

Tags, on the other hand, do exist as objects in the API (http://dev.evernote.com/doc/reference/Types.html#Struct_Tag), and there's no stricture that they actually be applied to a note.

That being said, it would be useful to have a convenient operation that showed how many notes a tag is assigned to. The Tags pane in the Windows client will show you note counts for your tags, but you still have to scan it by eye.

Edit: one thing you can do in the Windows client is to hold the Ctrl key down when you click on the Help menu item. This exposes a number of additional menu items, usually used for support purposes. One of them is "Delete unused account tags". This should do what you are looking for, but I'd caution you to back up your Evernote database first, in whatever way you do it normally. I haven't tried this, so I don't know what to expect.

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Hi @jefito thanks for sharing your thoughts, these are undoubtedly valid arguments.

From your description I realize that I use Evernote a bit differently. First of all I use the GTD method with 1-inbox, 2-next-action, 3-done [...] notebooks setup. This means I never use tags to indicate what actions "todo" etc but rather place the notes in different notebooks to keep track.

Also I practically never delete any notes as they are all eventually archived in the notebooks 3-done or 9-archive. This way once I used a tag it will live forever since I never remove tags from notes and rarely deletes any notes.  

So for me the option to auto remove unused tags would be practical. But it should definitely be a checkbox in the preferences, since it would not suit everyone. 

Thanks for the tip about the "Delete all unused tags" in the help menu, I read about this somewhere else, but I am also a little bit scared of using it.. ^^

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Just go to the Help menu with Ctrl + Click (Yeah, I know. How could someone create a secret menu like this one!)


Then: Delete Unused Account Tags

 

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On 2/15/2018 at 7:31 PM, luisotsm said:

Just go to the Help menu with Ctrl + Click (Yeah, I know. How could someone create a secret menu like this one!)

Then: Delete Unused Account Tags

Great tip for deleting empty tags, what about if I just want to list them?

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20 minutes ago, Don Dz said:

Great tip for deleting empty tags, what about if I just want to list them?

On a Mac, I can list my tags in a sequence of name or note count

1753552780_ScreenShot2018-10-24at16_19_43.png.ccfcbd89b6dbe4f15c574d2f5946f5d0.png

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47 minutes ago, DTLow said:

On a Mac, I can list my tags in a sequence of name or note count

Windows has several tag views, none of them sort just yet, but I checked Android, and note count tag sort is present, cool, was not aware, thanks.

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On 2/15/2018 at 7:31 PM, luisotsm said:

Just go to the Help menu with Ctrl + Click (Yeah, I know. How could someone create a secret menu like this one!)

The stated reason, back several years ago,  was that the secret menu was intended more for use under supervision of support folks. Some of these operations are potentially harmful, you know. But since it's more or less an open secret at this point, it should be documented. And caveated, precisely because they are potentially harmful.

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