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Tell me what the purpose of EverNote is again?  Isn't it to get organized?

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Tell me what the purpose of EverNote is again?  Isn't it to get organized?

A couple of years ago when I started using EverNote I assumed that some of the limitations were due to a learning curve on my part, but now I'm seeing them as intrinsic to EverNote. I've complained previously.  

These problems include:

  • Only one level of nesting is possible (Notebook Stack and Notebook). You have more flexibility by just setting up a file structure in the cloud and storing files there directly, bypassing EverNote completely.  This is a crazy limitation for software that I'm paying for monthly.  This is something that hasn't improved in the last 3 years.
  • When you select a notebook stack you see the full set of notes in all notebooks within that stack. The first impression is that it's showing notes at the level of the stack, not all notes in all notebooks within the stack.  If you're trying to get organized you want to go through the files and place them in different notebooks. However if you drag or move a note to a notebook, the screen refreshes and the note appears again. Unless you open the note there is no way to see what notebook the note is in. This makes it impossible to clean up and refine where notes are filed. Here again, it's easier with a file structure, making me wonder again what the purpose of EverNote is if you're left with just a pile of random notes that can't be conveniently filed where they belong.
  • Oddly enough you can move a note to a notebook, but there's no way to tell what notebook a note is in unless you open it. In other words, when you move a note you don't know if you're just "moving" it to the same notebook it's already in.

 

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Hi.  Respectfully,  if Evernote doesn't work for you,  why are you still using it?  Despite its 'limitations' it does very well for a large number of people who may have different needs.  A lot of others have decamped to OneNote because that does 'folders'.

Regarding Evernote though -

  • The notebook hierarchy thing - you bought a scalpel;  don't use it for hammering nails.  There's a nested tag thing which is kind've a substitute,  but if you really really must have folders,  look elsewhere.
  • Stacks contain notebooks,  not notes.  It's pretty easy to move notes to notebooks if you use the desktop app - there's a list in the left panel.  Less easy in mobile,  but that's a screen size issue.
  • And moving notes - depends on which app you're using,  but every note shows which notebook it's in,  and the same place is usually a dropdown from which you can select any other notebook.
  • As to organisation,  I have around 34k notes,  97% of which are in one notebook.  The exceptions are shared notes,  work in progress and local notebooks for my bank stuff.  I can find most things with some thought and a quick search - using a phone number,  location,  date,  customer number or some such to isolate the note(s) I need.

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Like I said when you select a stack in the left pane, in the right pane you see all notes in all notebooks within the stack. I'm using the desktop app. Because the abbreviated views of notes (basically the title and first few lines of the note) does not say which notebook they are in, there's really no way to clean up. 

For example I have a stack called Politics with multiple notebooks. The right pane says at the top, "Viewing 117 notes in Politics", which kind of says it all (i.e., stacks do contain notes, or at least EN seems to think they do). It is showing all notes in all notebooks in the stack. The notes do not say where they are located unless they are opened.

Your idea of not filing anything and assigning tags instead is a possibility. I see tags though as an additional step.  

Since the main alternative is OneNote, obviously that's where this question is leading. 

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1 hour ago, suobs said:

Tell me what the purpose of EverNote is again?  Isn't it to get organized?

I use Evernote for the storage and retrieval of my data
It does this function very well

Some people confuse "getting organized" with filing their notes in a folder/subfolder/subfolder/subfolder

>>Only one level of nesting is possible (Notebook Stack and Notebook)

That's true.  This is not a "a crazy limitation"
For a hierarchal organization structure, Evernote uses Tags

>> there's no way to tell what notebook a note is in unless you open it.

Personally, I use top list view58b2f6528724f_ScreenShot2017-02-26at7_36_23AM.png.e433ecc5ccd152a61b7646530a4e14ba.png
You can see there are columns for notebooks and tags

 

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Maybe I'll give EN one more try with a tags approach . . .  Re someone's question about why have I kept paying for it?  Really only because it lets me put stuff from various sources in one place for later reference. It's been an ongoing problem that it seems almost by design to resist all efforts to organize the mess!  For example, I would say that the capability to create stacks with nested notebooks was an incipient attempt to implement the kind of hierarchical organization I'm talking about, that was just never followed through on.

In the past, frustrating as it is, I've tended to deal with it by using Search to find what I'm looking for. The pile is now getting just too big for that.

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55 minutes ago, suobs said:

Maybe I'll give EN one more try with a tags approach . . .  

Familiarize yourself with the concept of pseudo-notebooks - using tags to provide all the hierarchical structure you need. Once you do, there's a good chance your use of notebooks will mirror @gazumped's and many other heavy EN users on this forum. For example:

  • a synchronized Inbox
  • a synchronized main notebook
  • a local notebook for sensitive/confidential info
  • shared notebooks as needed

This use of notebooks is broken down by data access as opposed to by note content. 

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4 hours ago, tavor said:

Familiarize yourself with the concept of pseudo-notebooks - using tags to provide all the hierarchical structure you need

@suobs,

I agree with @tavor that pseudo notebooks (which use tags) can go a long way to providing the organization needs that we would like to see in actual Notebooks.  Here's a better reference:

Using Tags as Pseudo Notebooks 

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@suobs

Some folks see the world in a hierarchical fashion, some in a relational fashion.  Some folks have one notebook and no tags, some have max'd the number of notebooks and a gazillion tags.  EN has opted, for whatever reason, not to add deeper layers of notebook nesting.  I have no issues at all with others desiring a hierarchical structure with notebooks, but this request has been active for as long as I have been using the tool

For those of us who don't necessarily need a hierarchical structure, EN works very well.  I am very comfortable with tags and searches and few notebooks, 32k notes and climbing and I can still find things in "no notes".  I don't have that sense of disorganization, I do feel organized.  But again, that's me.

 So if you really, really need a pure hierarchy, and no problem with that, EN may not be your tool.  

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1 hour ago, csihilling said:

Some folks see the world in a hierarchical fashion, some in a relational fashion

Some, including me, see the world in many different "fashions" (or ways of being organized), and like to take advantage of all of them.  It is not an exclusive, one or the other. Did you mean "categories" instead of "relational"?  Relational databases (like the one Evernote uses internally), have long had parent/child relationships (one-to-many) with as many child tables (and "sub-tables") as you'd like.  Some of us recognize that some entities naturally lend themselves to a hierarchical relationship, like families (parent/child), projects (project, sub-project, tasks), etc.

Tags were designed as a way of categorizing things, in a many-to-many relationship.  So tags are not containers, whereas Notebooks are containers.
It really is too bad that Evernote has not seen fit to provide full support for both.

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Relational as in 3rd normal form, tuples, and the like.  

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12 minutes ago, csihilling said:

Relational as in 3rd normal form, tuples, and the like.  

Well, I'm sure that clears things up for some. :rolleyes:  Somehow I  doubt very few people who use Evernote think of their world view in that fashion.  LOL

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Ah, they just don't realize it!  it's so natural!  Like side list view.  ;)

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1 hour ago, csihilling said:

Ah, they just don't realize it!  it's so natural!

Natural?  Perhaps to you, but not to most.  I don't see it as helpful to most in deciding on an organizational strategy.

Most people readily understand parent/child (because they are part of one), and folder/sub-folder (because every computer uses this), so it is only natural that they look for Evernote to support this organizational arrangement, without limitations (like their experience).

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Ah well, never been a hierarchical thinker when it comes to data.  Horses for courses.  :)

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OK, that sounds like a lot of buildup implying that EN is optimized for tag-based organization.

But right now I'm in the web version. It shows a list of notes in the left pane, and when I click on one it shows the note on the right.

I am NOT seeing an easy way to assign a tag to a note. There is a little grayed out thing that lets me type a new tag but no way to choose an existing tag. Hardly a "relational" database approach as someone called it if you can't see what's being related. Unless I'm missing something there's really no way to go through my notes and easily "file" them away to make them easily accessible in the future.

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17 minutes ago, suobs said:

I am NOT seeing an easy way to assign a tag to a note. There is a little grayed out thing that lets me type a new tag but no way to choose an existing tag.

On the web platform, start typing a tag name 58b461c7470e9_ScreenShot2017-02-27at9_27_54AM.png.a6a3bca676b138202306629df5170ffc.png
and a drop down list shows matches for selection

Other platforms have different UI features

edited: Image is from Safari on a Mac

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Hmmn.  Drop downs don't seem to be happening for me in Firefox 52.0b9 (that's a beta so it might be my version).  What I see is this..

58b460e866972_ScreenClip4.png.7ee19ecd387e6a628aa7dce9b57cc96e.png

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If there is a dropdown or autofill function it's not working in IE, Chrome, or Opera.

So to go back to my original point, EN seems designed around being a box you throw notes into. Lots of strange gimmicks for creating cool-looking notes but rather iffy (possibly inadequate) attention to ways to file/name/label/nest/tag/classify notes so they are grouped logically and can be found again.

The jury's still out for me but I'm still not seeing tags as a solution.

1000 + existing notes and there appears to be no convenient way to organize them. 

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33 minutes ago, gazumped said:

Drop downs don't seem to be happening for me in Firefox 52.0b9 (that's a beta so it might be my version).  What I see is this.

 

19 minutes ago, suobs said:

If there is a dropdown or autofill function it's not working. 

@gazumped, in your example image, you weren't adding a tag. What happens if you click on the + and start typing

@suobs, what device/browser are you using

No guarantees, and I'm not a web user usually.  All I can say is, it works for me

>>So to go back to my original point, EN seems designed around being a box you throw notes into.

Actually thats what appeals to me; compared to a box where I have to file each note in a folder/subfolder/subfolder/subfolder

fwiw    If I couldn't use tag lists, I'd still use EN and rely on the search feature

My current workflow is to dump collections into my @Inbox Notebook, and later process the notes on Mac

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For platforms see edited version above. Actually about 30 minutes after starting today IE started doing the autofill. Don't have the other computers with me. But there's no way to see a comprehensive list of all preexisting tags? 

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19 minutes ago, DTLow said:

>>So to go back to my original point, EN seems designed around being a box you throw

My current workflow is to dump collections into my @Inbox Notebook, and later process the notes on Mac

That's my workflow too. To be organized later (aka procrastination). The problem arises when it turns out they can't be filed.

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11 minutes ago, suobs said:

But there's no way to see a comprehensive list of all preexisting tags? 

On my Mac/Safari I have a Tags button in the sidebar that shows me a comprehensive list58b46c5d62316_ScreenShot2017-02-27at10_11_44AM.thumb.png.11f035799704baa3854de207b83104d7.png

 

>>aka procrastination

I don't see it that way; having an inbox is efficient
(thats what all the procrastinators say) :)

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16 minutes ago, DTLow said:

@gazumped, in your example image, you weren't adding a tag. What happens if you click on the + and start typing

Nope - if I click on the + all I get is a text field.  Don't know why.  I'm sure it worked before.  Like you though I don't use the web unless I have to.

In general:  it's far easier to organise in the desktop app.  Amongst many other things I keep book details forinstance and the tags look like this - (the B_ prefix is so I get a drop down for books...)

See the sidebar for a tag list -

58b46bbb6ae43_ScreenClip5.png.952f1abde3d014c9e8567cb6a708d0a5.png

And the note for a drop down..

58b46bd12a8e2_ScreenClip6.png.5e7a8a2abf49e4be4f5d24a9d6e62bee.png

(That's a work-in-progress:  there's lots more book notes to tag!)

5 minutes ago, suobs said:

But there's no way to see a comprehensive list of all preexisting tags? 

Depends on the context.  The tag icon in my previous post goes to a full list.  There's a tag page on the desktop too.  You can manage tags in style on the desktop.

 

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I do too. But clicking a tag doesn't apply it to the note, it just takes you to the notes with that tag.

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18 minutes ago, suobs said:

I do too. But clicking a tag doesn't apply it to the note, it just takes you to the notes with that tag.

A screen shot might help.  It sounds like you are in the search area selecting a tag for a search, not the note area..

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1 hour ago, suobs said:

OK, that sounds like a lot of buildup implying that EN is optimized for tag-based organization.

Not sure I would say optimized for tags per se, but not optimized for folders for sure, hence nested notebooks being so often requested.

Folks optimize EN to their own use case.  Some don't use any tags or many notebooks at all.  A simple view of the EN tools for organization are stacks, notebooks, tags, note title conventions, and the search engine.  Mix and match.  It are what it are at this point.

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44 minutes ago, csihilling said:

A screen shot might help.  It sounds like you are in the search area selecting a tag for a search, not the note area..

Search area huh? :-) Here you go

image001.jpg

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You have the tag view open in the middle panel.  Click on the note in the right panel and you should see the New tag icon in the note header area.

ScreenClip.png.1e1bf011a26af91c3be7284cb2d18a83.png

I switched over to the new web version to get the screen shot.  I had forgotten how much I don't like that UI.

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Now we're going in circles. That doesn't give the full list. To use the full list of tags somebody said  to use the icon on the left side and I said that doesn't let me apply the tags to the note, clicking on a tag just takes me to the notes with the tag. Then somebody asked for a screenshot. Doesn't resolve the problem of choosing from the full list of tags to apply to a note.

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Okay,  I don't use the web much and definitely don't use the new web UI.  You can drag a tag from the left to the note in the old version, don't think you can in the new UI.  So having that tag window open will only let you find the tag, then you have to remember when you type it into the note header area.  Unless someone with more new UI experience knows better.

Don't know if you have issues with downloading the desktop client, but it has so much more function and ease of use.  Well worth the effort.  

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28 minutes ago, csihilling said:

Don't know if you have issues with downloading the desktop client, but it has so much more function and ease of use.  Well worth the effort.  

+1 

Desktop client >>>>> web client. Last time I used the web client was a couple of years ago. It's ok for adding or reading a note, but it pales in comparison to the Windows app. I certainly wouldn't be trying to organize my notes using the web client.

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Installations of software not an option. I assume that's one of many reasons for having the web app? Public computers, work computers, etc.

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6 minutes ago, suobs said:

Public computers, work computers, etc.

Right, and the web app is good enough to create and review notes. Managing/organizing a database of notes is much easier to do in the desktop app. 

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3 hours ago, suobs said:

But right now I'm in the web version.

Unless you have a compelling reason to do otherwise, I highly recommend using the EN desktop (EN Win, EN Mac) versions.

Both the web version and mobile versions fall far short of the features and capability of the desktop versions.

As mentioned above, in either of the EN desktop versions:

  • Assigning Tags:  Click in the Tags area of a Note to assign a tag.  Start typing and it will show you a matching dropdown list.
    • In EN Win, you can use the "Assign Tags" popup (CTRL+SHIFT+T) to see, search, select tags to assign
  • View Tag List:  Goto menu View > Tags to see the complete list of your Tags

There are many videos available to help you understand and use Evernote Tags. You might do a search on "Evernote tags video" to see many choices.  Here is one produce by Evernote:
10 Organizing with Tags in Evernote: Windows 

 

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3 hours ago, tavor said:

Right, and the web app is good enough to create and review notes. Managing/organizing a database of notes is much easier tBTWo do in the desktop app. 

That strikes me as a severe limitation. I'm sure organizing is easier with the desktop app. But EN is a system, right? Which includes desktop, mobile, and web apps? Isn't that one of their selling points, access anywhere?  The problem with being forced to use tags if all parts of the ecosystem are not really set up to work efficiently with tags is that under some circumstances you're just plain stuck.

Thanks for the EN #10 link. It's interesting but  it really seems like only one (admittedly clever) application. It doesn't present a complete picture of how tags would replace hierarchical organization. 

 I'm still experimenting but at this point tags still seem like a workaround, not something that was by design. 

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21 minutes ago, suobs said:

That strikes me as a severe limitation. I'm sure organizing is easier with the desktop app. But EN is a system, right? Which includes desktop, mobile, and web apps? Isn't that one of their selling points, access anywhere?  The problem with being forced to use tags if all parts of the ecosystem are not really set up to work efficiently with tags is that under some circumstances you're just plain stuck.

Doesn't strike me as a severe limitation. I guess it boils down to how many people use the mobile and web apps the way I do - i.e., for basic note entry and review of existing notes, vs how many users are trying to organize their notes using these limited apps.

Every piece of software has limitations and more feature requests than the developers can practically address. If the company figures that most EN users have a desktop or laptop, and the web and mobile apps are perfectly capable of basic note creation and review of existing notes, trying to match the feature set of a desktop app (where devs have much greater control) in a web app is a tall order, especially in light of all the other (more pressing) priorities.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to EN incorporating more of the desktop features into the web or mobile apps, but I think there are bigger fish to fry. YMMV.

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5 hours ago, suobs said:

Thanks for the EN #10 link. It's interesting but  it really seems like only one (admittedly clever) application. It doesn't present a complete picture of how tags would replace hierarchical organization.

The video wasn't intended to provide that.  See Using Tags as Pseudo Notebooks for details on "how tags would replace hierarchical organization" using normal Notebooks.

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On 2/28/2017 at 1:14 AM, JMichaelTX said:

The video wasn't intended to provide that.  See Using Tags as Pseudo Notebooks for details on "how tags would replace hierarchical organization" using normal Notebooks.

Thanks for the link. It thoroughly explains the unwieldy workarounds needed to deal with EN's lack of any serious ability to organize notebooks and notes. The thread is interesting in that it sounds a lot like this thread, with lots of people complaining that tags are not really adequate for organizing notes. The tag approach is counterintuitive, time-consuming, and aggravating and most people don't seem to like it.

That said, the dispute has been going on so long that it's pretty clear that EN as a company is either unable or unwilling to implement hierarchical organization, so we're pretty much at endgame. It's not going to happen. What's more frustrating is that EN is not even optimized to work efficiently and effectively with tags. You say to switch to the desktop app (also kind of clumsy) when organizing notes but that's not always possible. See the examples cited above - if you want to "file" notes quickly while using the web or mobile apps, you're out of luck.  This strikes me as a generalized unwillingness on the part of EN to ever make EN organization-friendly.  The focus instead is on gimmicky gadgets.

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21 minutes ago, suobs said:

The tag approach is counterintuitive, time-consuming, and aggravating and most people don't seem to like it.

Not sure how you arrived at this conclusion re: "most people". 

I'm glad EN emphasizes the use of tags, which are more powerful and flexible than notebooks. 

Intuition as it relates to fields like tech are often rooted in how things used to work (which itself is often rooted in tech limitations at the time). Now that I'm reoriented toward tags, it seems much more sensible and intuitive to use tags for organization and use notebooks to differentiate notes based on access (i.e., online notes vs sensitive local-only notes, shared notes, etc.) and not by content.

When I think back to my old Outlook folders vs my tagged Gmail, it's a no-brainer!

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55 minutes ago, suobs said:

You say to switch to the desktop app (also kind of clumsy) when organizing notes but that's not always possible.

The platform differences is one of the problems with this discussion
When I point out Evernote's futureset, I'm referring to the Win/Mac platforms. 
Honestly, I consider the other platforms to be companion/supplementary.  They can not stand on their own.

So I could jump on your statement "is either unable or unwilling to implement hierarchical organization"
But I guess the statement is true, since your point of view doesn't include the win/mac platforms

>>The tag approach is counterintuitive......

If instead of calling it TAG, supposing they called it FOLDER
Would the feature be more acceptable to you?

This still doesn't solve the lack of hierarchy on your platform

>>and most people don't seem to like it

I don't know the numbers, but I can say I like organizing my data using tags
I will never go back to the folder/subfolder filing method

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Explain this to me. If EN is serious about making it straightforward to organize notes with tags, why don't they publish a concise help guide to doing so, instead of relying on a third-party forum thread where the methods are interrupted by 36 pages of questions, comments, complaints, jokes etc? They should provide clear instructions for filing both existing and new notes in all three apps using tags.  I just don't think  EN as a company takes it seriously. I would go a step further and say I don't think they're even aware of the failings. Their apps are simply not optimized for working with tags. Since tags are really the only option for filing, you would think there would be a concerted focus on making it easy to use tags efficiently in all of the apps. Tor people like me, who accumulated lots of unfiled notes and now want to organize them, whether with tags or nesting, we're now discovering that it's not feasible using some of the apps. That strikes me as absurd. It turns out if I want to file existing notes using tags I basically need to get to a computer with the desktop app installed. As someone said in the first response to my original thread, it's sounding like OneNote is the better option for organizing.

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1 hour ago, suobs said:

The tag approach is counterintuitive, time-consuming, and aggravating and most people don't seem to like it.

No computer interaction is intuitive; we don't come from the cradle knowing how to operate them. However, at a base level, tags should be pretty familiar as a language or vocabulary for describing your notes. If you know adjectives, you should be able to figure out basic tagging.

On 2/27/2017 at 7:30 PM, suobs said:

 I'm still experimenting but at this point tags still seem like a workaround, not something that was by design. 

Tags have been part of the Evernote experience for rather a long time, and the then CTO considered them to be an essential piece in organizing your notes. They work for lots of people. But if they don't work for you, then why fight it? Other solutions are out there...

24 minutes ago, suobs said:

As someone said in the first response to my original thread, it's sounding like OneNote is the better option for organizing.

Yes? Have you actually tried it for yourself, or are you going to depend on other Evernote forum users to figure that out for you too?

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2 hours ago, jefito said:

Yes? Have you actually tried it for yourself, or are you going to depend on other Evernote forum users to figure that out for you too?

Let's try to keep it professional guys. I don't see comparing EN to its main competitor as something you should get defensive about. I have been trying it, haven't tried OneNote yet. I do hesitate to go full bore on tags until I see all the shortcomings. For example searching seems like a weird way to find a filed note, especially because it finds every note with the search term, not necessarily on topic. 

The larger point is that EN depends almost completely on tags for filing, but the EN web and mobile apps clearly are poorly suited for working efficiently with tags. There are tedious extra steps, no way to select from a  list of existing tags, and/or awkward micro-mini popup windows that strike me as afterthoughts. Everyone on this thread seems to acknowledge that.  The solution (!!) I've been given is to go to a computer with the desktop app installed to do your filing!

Given the "rather long time" EN has been around and the frequency of complaints about tags in this forum (even on the threads you folks have been directing me to), I think it's a reasonable conclusion that EN just doesn't care to improve that aspect of their product. 

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1 hour ago, suobs said:

Let's try to keep it professional guys. I don't see comparing EN to its main competitor as something you should be defensive about.

I'm not defensive about OneNote; if it works for you better than Evernote does, then you should use it. I tried it; the import process was pretty much broken for my note database (if I recall correctly, they handle tags in two different ways, both stupid), and I wasn't particularly impressed with its organizational/search filtering capabilities. Horses for courses. People here have been sincerely trying to help you use Evernote better; you seem to respond mainly by complaining about Evernote (it's badly designed, tags are unintuitive and Evernote doesn't care about them anyways, ya da...), then conclude by dropping a casual crack about how OneNote is probably better, when it seems clear that you really don't actually have a clue as to whether it is or isn't. That's professional?

1 hour ago, suobs said:

For example searching seems like a weird way to find a filed note.

???

How else would you find it, if you had a note database of 1000's of notes? Sure, in a file system, you can do a depth-first traversal of your folder tree, but that's rarely a good alternative to a search of some kind.

1 hour ago, suobs said:

The larger point is that EN depends almost completely on tags for filing, but the EN web and mobile apps clearly are poorly suited for working efficiently with tags.  Everyone on this thread seems to acknowledge that.

Evernote depends on both notebooks and tags for organizing your notes (and to a much lesser extent, stacks). Notebooks have their uses (partitioning your notes for sharing, offline use, etc.); tags have their uses (categorization). I use a pretty simple tagging scheme, no tag-prefix-hierarchy scheme, they're not pseudo-notebooks, and  I use tag hierarchies only to organize tags, not my notes. Maybe for that reason, the differences among the desktop, mobile, and web clients are not such a big deal to me. Your mileage may vary.

Granted that mobile applications typically face problems replicating desktop UIs for many applications, Evernote included. I use the Evernote Android client, but mainly as a read-only application, not much in the way of content creation. Works pretty well for me -- I could see room for improvements in search, but it's not that onerous in my case. But I can multi-select notes and re-tag or re-notebook. That's pretty much powerful enough for me; it may not be for you.

I use the web client very rarely; again, it seems fine for my simple scheme, but it's not up to the usability standard of the desktop, nor even the Android client in some respects. I'd likely have some difficulty using it for my day-to-day as a replacement for the Windows client, which is a shame, as there's a segment of users who don't have the option of using the desktop application (e.g. Linux or Chromebook users). If that's your only option, and you want to have a non-trivial organizational scheme, then Evernote may not be for you.

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4 hours ago, suobs said:

Their apps are simply not optimized for working with tags.

Their apps may note be optimized for you I'm sensing.  Tags work great for me, nested notebooks would not.  That doesn't mean I'm against EN adding nested notebooks.  I wouldn't use them.  Horse for courses again. and I am probably being repetitive.  

For me its all about finding things not storing things, so that's how I set up my EN.  I have just under 400 tags for 32k notes in 5 notebooks of merit, nesting only for organization, none of that hierarchical tag stuff.  So with a combination of tags and text or saved searches I can pretty much find anything on the first pass.  Quickly, independent of platform.  YMMV..

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From my point of view,  based on years working with Adobe Lightroom (Evernote and LR share the same type of database) I too have mixed feelings, respectively a relatively  clear view what tags do and where ease of application invites usage and at the same time why tags do not substitute folders and subfolders. 

The first thing all proficient and experienced data storage tutors drum into learners is to accept and adhere by structured data filing. Operating systems work by that principle, software applications, too, and by logic so do personal files.

20,000 personal notes/files stored in one folder on your machine would be hell to work with for a human being. Same amount of notes/files are handled with ease, provided folders and subfolders are employed. Dumping everything into one big pot inevitably requires renaming at some time or other because operating systems work by and apply the rules of unique alpha-numerical file names.

The tagging systems as used for audio, picture files, properly applied follow certain rules and are indispensable for some users/applications and of no consequence to others. Tags provide descriptive  information on content of file, obviating tapeworm-length file naming, are great for virtual collections, playlists, even data statistics, but do not replace folder and subfolder storage. 

When it comes to Evernote, tags are meant to replace the filing structure of folders and to include the normally used descriptive portion. As Evernote is basically a self-contained database application even a stick in the mud, as old myself, can accept the one pot idea for WIP.  However, the difference for the user in applying tags, controlling them and building up nested tags, between working with Evernote and Adobe LR make me wonder why user-friendliness as a criterion is neglected by Evernote. For LR users not a must use feature, neither for mp3 users but for Evernote long-term storage users a key feature. 

Of course one can adopt a certain attitude of never looking right or left, in other words, ignore how others develop and redesign their software for the sake of user friendliness.  I am not speaking up for myself as tags play no great role in most document formats. But I do see and understand the points raised by users again and again.

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I think that most, if not all, of us understand that Evernote has chosen, for reasons known only to them, not to provide a full Notebook organization capability analogous to computer folders.  And they have refused to provide this in spite of a multitude of requests over many years to do so.

So, Evernote has failed to provide a feature that some of us would like to have.

For some this might be a deal-breaker, and they will have to go elsewhere to find this feature.

For others, perhaps most of us who want the feature, it is NOT a deal-breaker.  We like and enjoy the many great features that Evernote does provide, and we have learned to live with, or workaround, the lack of a full Notebook organization.  However, we see the value in this feature, even if others do not.  We see having this feature would materially, perhaps greatly, improve and/or streamline our use of Evernote.  It might even enable new solutions, or uses of Evernote, not possible today.

So, even though we've been told no a "thousand" times, we still hold out hope for this feature, and we continue to ask for it.  One never knows for sure what the future will bring, whether or not the future management of Evernote might have a change of mind.  Or, if a competitor might someday provide the same feature set of Evernote, but also have a full Notebook organization capability.

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2 hours ago, JohnLongney said:

20,000 personal notes/files stored in one folder on your machine would be hell to work with for a human being. Same amount of notes/files are handled with ease, provided folders and subfolders are employed.

I have 10,000 notes in a single Notebook/Folder and have no problem accessing my notes

Folders/Subfolders are no guarantee of being hell free

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5 minutes ago, DTLow said:

I have 10,000 notes in a single folder and have no problem accessing my notes

Good for you.  Many of us would find that abhorrent, and totally unusable.

With that many, search is your only option.  If you don't know what to search for then you generally need to browse.  By breaking those 10,000 files down into well organized subfolders, I can still search, but now I also can easily browse, and at no cost.

I use macOS Spotlight all the time, and I am amazed at how quickly it can find a file, or an EN Note, from anywhere on my Mac.  It is near instantaneous.  But IF I don't remember some keywords in the file name, it either doesn't find what I need, or it finds way too many.

I still have an archive of folders/files of stuff from the 1990's (for some reason).  Occasionally I'll need something from those files, but I'm not sure what the file name is.  I always try Spotlight first, but then I often have to resort to logical browsing.  I am always amazed that when I go through the logical process of where I would file it  by folder, I can usually find the parent folder quickly, starting at the top, and drilling down the folder hierarchy.  Then, all I need to do is just visually scan a few files to find the one I want.

But that's just me.  YMMV.

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14 minutes ago, JMichaelTX said:

With that many, search is your only option

Search is not my only option
I have a highly structured Tag organization

For example:  

  • Tags  Insurance & House work as well as Folder   Insurance/House
  • As  an added benefit, I can also use Tag Vndr_xxxxx  (My insurance company)  to give me an alternate access route

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11 minutes ago, DTLow said:

I have a highly structured Tag organization

Are you referring to your macOS files, or Evernote?

For macOS, it seems to me that adding/tracking tags for files is much more difficult that using folders/subfolders.  AFAIK, the Mac does not support hierarchical tags.

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1 hour ago, JMichaelTX said:

Are you referring to your macOS files, or Evernote?

For macOS, it seems to me that adding/tracking tags for files is much more difficult that using folders/subfolders.  AFAIK, the Mac does not support hierarchical tags.

Both actually, but the discussion is on Evernote's Notebooks and Tags.
I edited my post to say Notebook/Folder
My backup includes a single folder in the Mac OS with all my notes

I structure my tags for both hierarchy and no-hierarchy  
I use a prefix structure in addition to parent tags

You're right about Tags being supported better in EN than the Mac OS

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1 hour ago, DTLow said:

Both actually, but the discussion is on Evernote's Notebooks and Tags.
I edited my post to say Notebook/Folder

While some users do use the term "folder" when they mean "Notebook', you know better.  When you incorrectly use the term "folder", it misleads and encourages others.  Please help us encourage everyone to use the proper Evernote terms.

Regardless, my point still is still valid:

1 hour ago, JMichaelTX said:

With that many, search is your only option.  If you don't know what to search for then you generally need to browse.  By breaking those 10,000 files down into well organized subfolders, I can still search, but now I also can easily browse, and at no cost.

With Evernote we cannot have hierarchical Notebooks, so we are denied this browsing option.

Yes, we can somewhat model this using tags ( see Using Tags as Pseudo Notebooks  ), but it is not the same.

 

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7 hours ago, JMichaelTX said:

so we are denied this browsing option.

Here's browsing on my Mac via the taglist in the sidebar58ba6a9eb361d_ScreenShot2017-03-03at11_19_23PM.png.f6e7c46849104df00827880f82c92cbc.png

CommonPlace
       > NoteTypes
               > Type-Reference
                         > Ref-Quotes


I'm thinking browsing by a Notebook hierarchy would look similar

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I get how the tag approach works. It's not my preference, but I get it. The problems are that organizing with tags in the mobile or web apps is not up to speed. It's kind of dicey even in the desktop app.

This problem with tags in general comes out most clearly when using your existing tags (shown nested below in Tag VIew from a post in

EN-Mac-6.3-Pseudo-NBs.png

For example in the first screenshot above when selecting a tag to apply to a note you would see ".NB.Business" and ".NB.NetSuite" as discrete tags at the same level, one near the top of the alpha list and the other much further down. There's no flag to tell you whether they are nested under other tags or each other or are at the same level. Worse, without scanning the entire list there's no way to know there's already the tag you need nested for example under ".NB.Business" or if it's somewhere else or if it doesn't even exist yet. ".NB.YB" would be way down the list and it's not clear if it's nested under another tag. Unless you have your list memorized it's chaotic and is certainly not amenable to staying organized if you don't use the structure every day.

"Flat" is the perfect word for it. If I'm filing using tags I haven't used in a couple of years, there's also no visual cue of where to look, made worse if the list is long. It's the old "where did I put it?" problem but compounded by the fact that you don't see the hierarchy when you file a note, so you don't get guidance of where you should put it when you file the note.  

Sure there are endless sub-workarounds that might involve typing a complete nested structure into the name of every nested tag but now you're getting ridiculous.  Isn't that what computers are for?  

If there are suggestions in this post, they are:

  1. Fix apps so they work properly to choose tags easily and efficiently
  2. An ability to create "parent tags" so that starts a title for nested tags so when you nest another tab the name reflects the name of the parent tag so they sort together, without having to type the structure into the name
  3. Fix apps to show tag nesting structure when selecting a tag to apply to a note

 

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And here's yet another technical issue uncovered trying to use tags.  I created a number of "notebook tags" of the form ".NB.xxxx" in desktop version early this morning and applied them to a number of notes. I have synced repeatedly over the last several hours. However, the new tags don't appear in the web app or the web clipper when trying to select from the list of existing tags to apply to a clip or existing note. Unless it takes 8 hours to synch, that's about the third major issue in the last few weeks with the web and web clipper apps.. 

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And to clarify again, these are not generic complaints about tags, which I understand. They are complaints that EN forces users to use tags but doesn't fully support them in their apps.  There are four apps (web, web clipper, mobile, and desktop) and although desktop is best, none of them are well-suited to conveniently apply tags to new or existing notes or to help keep them organized.

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@suobs, I think you are making valid points here. I think it boils down to prioritization for them. If most of their userbase is using mobile/web apps to do the kind of note manipulation you're talking about, then this is a high priority. If however, most of the userbase uses mobile/web apps for quick note taking or note retrieval and save the more 'heavy lifting' reorg stuff for the Mac/Win apps, this drops way down the priority list.

Apart from the user demand, there are the technical issues. I certainly don't expect a mobile spreadsheet app to match MS Excel in Windows. 

As to why they don't relent on notebooks, I suspect (pure speculation) it's because they want to encourage the use of tags, and if they give people the option to use notebooks, most new users would default to notebooks simply because that's what they're used to and then find themselves hemmed into all the limitations of notebooks. 

In any event, this thread isn't going to move the needle. Better to submit a feature request re: tag functionality in web/mobile apps and hope that lots of others feel the same way and upvote the request.

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27 minutes ago, tavor said:

As to why they don't relent on notebooks, I suspect (pure speculation) it's because they want to encourage the use of tags, and if they give people the option to use notebooks, most new users would default to notebooks simply because that's what they're used to. 

Actually I have a theory on that. Someone on another thread claimed EN has 100 million (?) users, and therefore tags must be fine.  My take is that most users don't use any form of organization, or maybe only the limited notebook structure that's available. For them EN is just a box to drop things into. The newest stuff is on top of the pile, easy to find, and some of the older stuff can be found by searching.  When they upgrade it's because they need more space for the growing pile.

My point is that the reason EN doesn't relent is not because they think tags (and the dismal abilities of their apps to deal with tags) are the best possible, better than nested directories, or even adequate - it's because they see they can sell the product and cloud space without addressing the issues of the relatively small number of users who want precise organization capabilities.

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13 minutes ago, suobs said:

Actually I have a theory on that. Someone on another thread claimed EN has 100 million (?) users, and therefore tags must be fine.  My take is that most users don't use any form of organization, or maybe only the limited notebook structure that's available. For them EN is just a box to drop things into. The newest stuff is on top of the pile, easy to find, and some of the older stuff can be found by searching.  When they upgrade it's because they need more space for the growing pile.

My point is that the reason EN doesn't relent is not because they think tags (and the dismal abilities of their apps to deal with tags) are the best possible, better than nested directories, or even adequate - it's because they see they can sell the product and cloud space without addressing the issues of the relatively small number of users who want precise organization capabilities.

I disagree. They knew at the outset that search trumps browsing, and that's where they put their focus. Why browse through layers of notebooks/folders when you can search?

Giving people unlimited notebooks and notebook nesting keeps them stuck in browsing mentality. Search is a scalpel and cuts right to the info you're looking for.

IIRC, way back in Yahoo's early days, they employed a directory structure. Then Google came along with search and ate Yahoo's lunch.

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How do you choose the search term?  

How do you find things that are related (you would have put them in the same folder) but that do not have the search term anywhere in the note?  Are those notes just permanently lost?

What about all the notes that do turn up in a search because the the search term is in the text of the note, but really are unrelated to the topic? As an analogy, when I do a search in Google I get lots of unrelated hits.

Organizing saved files should mean you can refine what belongs in a category so related things are in the same place.

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4 minutes ago, suobs said:

How do you choose the search term?  

How do you find things that are related (you would have put them in the same folder) but that do not have the search term anywhere in the note?  Are those notes just permanently lost?

What about all the notes that do turn up in a search because the the search term is in the text of the note, but really are unrelated to the topic?

As an analogy, when I do a search in Google I get lots of unrelated hits. Organizing saved files should mean you can refine a category so related things are in the same place.

. . . and we have gone full circle. The answer to most of your questions is tags.

Had Evernote given me unlimited notebooks, I would have defaulted to it since that's what I was already familiar with. Now that I understand how to use tags effectively, if they gave me unlimited notebooks, I wouldn't change a thing about how I organize my notes. So thank you Evernote, for giving me a gentle push in the 'right' direction.

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5 minutes ago, tavor said:

and we have gone full circle. The answer to most of your questions is tags.

Had Evernote given me unlimited notebooks, I would have defaulted to it since that's

And again the point is, as I said a few minutes ago, not that there is something intrinsically wrong with tags.  It's that you're forced to use tags but the EN apps are unable to deal with tags effectively. 

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:) Ah but they've heard it already via incident reports. I keep getting referrals to this forum.  Even so I'll try sticking one of my posts at that link..

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1 hour ago, suobs said:

Unless it takes 8 hours to synch, that's about the third major issue in the last few weeks with the web and web clipper apps.. 

Something weird here
Using the web app, you are directly updating the Evernote servers
Syncing on the other platforms is very quick
- My Mac is set for every 5 minutes, or I can trigger a manual sync

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45 minutes ago, suobs said:

How do you find things that are related (you would have put them in the same folder) but that do not have the search term anywhere in the note?

What would you call the folder?

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55 minutes ago, suobs said:

How do you find things that are related (you would have put them in the same folder) but that do not have the search term anywhere in the note?  Are those notes just permanently lost?

Personally, I use a structured approach to my note titles
- I would never leave a note with "Untitled"
In effect, you could say I use tags/keywords in the title 
For the most part, I confine my search to intitle: 

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1 hour ago, suobs said:

relatively small number of users who want precise organization capabilities.

At some point you might want to recognize that for some tags are a very precise organization capability.  Not for everyone as is obvious from this and other threads.  EN has opted not to incorporate nested notebooks for those who want to organize that way..  So ask away for nested notebooks, maybe EN will respond at some point.

But, I don't see the benefit in implying one method is superior/inferior to the other.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.   

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3 hours ago, suobs said:

Fix apps so they work properly to choose tags easily and efficiently

Windows application, Tag Picker control: quick way to filter your notes down by tags:

  • Click on tag picker (or Alt+Shift+T), start typing: you get a list of tags that match that contain that string (or have that prefix, if you want to configure it that way). Select one.
  • Activate tag picker, you now have a list of tags that are used by the notes in the current tag filter (which contains the first tag you chose): select another one
  • Activate tag picker; you now have a list of tags that used by the notes in the current tag filter (which contains the first two tags you chose): select another one
  • Lather, rinse, repeat
4 hours ago, suobs said:

An ability to create "parent tags" so that starts a title for nested tags so when you nest another tab the name reflects the name of the parent tag so they sort together, without having to type the structure into the name

Way too specialized bit of functionality for most people; I would nevr use this, though I have tag trees, so it would need to be an option. Plus, how do you present these tags in a non-tree list -- with the common prefix? Without it? Existing alternative, Windows client: Tools / Options / Navigation: "Automatically select child tags". When enabled, if you add a tag with children to a search filter, then its children are also included, regardless of their names, so you don't need to do the repeat-the-tag-name-prefix rigamarole to do searches that reflect the tag tree. Even better would be to extend the search language to be able to allow for this type of filter when you want to use it, rather than depending on a user option.

4 hours ago, suobs said:

Fix apps to show tag nesting structure when selecting a tag to apply to a note

How? What's the UI? Is tag nesting always of interest? (hint, it isn't to me).

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9 minutes ago, jefito said:

How? What's the UI? Is tag nesting always of interest? (hint, it isn't to me).

I would want to go to a main tag (say History) and see what nested tags are already available under it to be selected (e.g. WWI, WWII, Gulf). If you're nesting tags, that should be of interest before you choose a tag or create a new one. 

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10 minutes ago, jefito said:
4 hours ago, suobs said:

An ability to create "parent tags" so that starts a title for nested tags so when you nest another tab the name reflects the name of the parent tag so they sort together, without having to type the structure into the name

Way too specialized bit of functionality for most people; I would nevr use this, though I have tag trees, so it would need to be an option. Plus, how do you present these tags in a non-tree list -- with the common prefix? Without it? Existing alternative, Windows client: Tools / Options / Navigation: "Automatically select child tags". When enabled, if you add a tag with children to a search filter, then its children are also included, regardless of their names, so you don't need to do the repeat-the-tag-name-prefix rigamarole to do searches that reflect the tag tree. Even better would be to extend the search language to be able to allow for this type of filter when you want to use it, rather than depending on a user option.

Seems to me that's where nested tags lead inevitably.  But the only way to do it and have clear selections when you choose tags is to type the path in the name of the subtag.

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14 minutes ago, jefito said:
4 hours ago, suobs said:

Fix apps so they work properly to choose tags easily and efficiently

Windows application, Tag Picker control: quick way to filter your notes down by tags:

  • Click on tag picker (or Alt+Shift+T), start typing: you get a list of tags that match that contain that string (or have that prefix, if you want to configure it that way). Select one.
  • Activate tag picker, you now have a list of tags that are used by the notes in the current tag filter (which contains the first tag you chose): select another one
  • Activate tag picker; you now have a list of tags that used by the notes in the current tag filter (which contains the first two tags you chose): select another one
  • Lather, rinse, repeat

Not seeing tag picker and Alt-Shift-T has no effect.

Windows isn't so much the problem anyway. It's choosing a tag, especially one that's nested in other apps.

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2 hours ago, csihilling said:

At some point you might want to recognize that for some tags are a very precise organization capability.  Not for everyone as is obvious from this and other threads.  EN has opted not to incorporate nested notebooks for those who want to organize that way..  So ask away for nested notebooks, maybe EN will respond at some point.

But, I don't see the benefit in implying one method is superior/inferior to the other.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.   

I'm really arguing for hierarchy, not necessarily via folders. A lot of folks seem to want it, including a lot who set up tags hierarchically (e.g. the Pseudo Notebooks post, which is where I started). Even EN seems to acknowledge the problem - why else would they have come up with nested tags?  It's just that with both notebooks and tags they seem to have partly addressed the problem without really finalizing the solution.

The fact that users want hierarchy keeps getting minimized by tag fans (and vice-versa I'm sure)  My point is that if you want hierarchy then you need nesting of some kind, and if EN wants us to nest tags instead of sub-notebooks they should follow through and make the software completely suitable for working with tags (including the non-desktop apps).. 

Maybe a side note but my initial hesitation to experiment with tags was because I sensed exactly what happened this morning would happen. I quickly ran into a wall, meaning the limitations of EN's ability to deal with tags quickly became evident.  

Nesting tags is pretty cool, but you can't see the hierarchy when you select tags - which strikes me as a no-brainer that anyone nesting tags would want. It's like creating a directory structure on a computer but not being able to view it while you're working with it.

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3 hours ago, suobs said:

What about all the notes that do turn up in a search because the the search term is in the text of the note, but really are unrelated to the topic? As an analogy, when I do a search in Google I get lots of unrelated hits.

Usually the result of a poor initial search. Refine it...

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13 minutes ago, suobs said:

Nesting tags is pretty cool, but you can't see the hierarchy when you select tags - that strikes me as a no-brainer that anyone nesting tags would want.

I can actually see my tag hierarchy when selecting tags (sidebar on my Mac) 
but for the most part, I just start typing the tagname and select from the dropdown list

For example, start typing "colour", and select "colour-red" tag.  
The downside to this is I have to remember the prefix; I can't just type "red"

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25 minutes ago, suobs said:

Seems to me that's where nested tags lead inevitably.

Not necessarily so. If you feel the need to create a folder-like hierarchy so you can browse up and down, then sure. Not everyone does this, at least I don't. Tags are a vocabulary to me, and I know my tag vocabulary, just like I know my music vocabulary or my development vocabulary, or my just-plain-everyday-getting-around-in-the-world vocabulary. I don't really care that much how they're ordered, or nested; in fact, I rarely open up a view of my tags. I aim to use tags to cut down my search space to a small set of notes; then my eyes can take over.

I'd rather spend my time organizing my notes than organizing my tags.

28 minutes ago, suobs said:

Not seeing tag picker and Alt-Shift-T has no effect.

Windows isn't so much the problem anyway. It's choosing a tag, especially one that's nested in other apps.

How is choosing a tag a problem? Don't you know your own tags?

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4 minutes ago, jefito said:

Usually the result of a poor initial search. Refine it...

Good grief man! Refine it?  So you're fine with a trial-and-error, multiple-try process just to locate a related set of notes without extraneous notes? The idea is to simplify the query process, not complicate it!  

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37 minutes ago, suobs said:

I would want to go to a main tag (say History) and see what nested tags are already available under it to be selected (e.g. WWI, WWII, Gulf). If you're nesting tags, that should be of interest before you choose a tag or create a new one. 

Almost wholly not of interest to me. I don't work that way. I nest tags to clean up the tag list, but I don't depend on the hierarchy for searching. If it did matter to me, I'd just go to the tag tree in the left pane or the tag pane of the Windows client.

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2 minutes ago, suobs said:

Good grief man! Refine it?  So you're fine with a trial-and-error, multiple-try process just to locate a related set of notes without extraneous notes? The idea is to simplify the query process, not complicate it!

Yep, seems obvious to me. Refining it by adding a new term is stupidly simple, and not complicated in the least. You have used web search before, haven't you?

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4 minutes ago, jefito said:

How is choosing a tag a problem? Don't you know your own tags?

I know it's a shameful thing, but no I don't know my own tags. There are too many and most I use only rarely.

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1 minute ago, jefito said:

Yep, seems obvious to me. Refining it by adding a new term is stupidly simple, and not complicated in the least. You have used web search before, haven't you?

We're getting into an excellent sarcasm mode here, which is the highest form of wit!  

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2 hours ago, suobs said:

Good grief man! Refine it?  So you're fine with a trial-and-error, multiple-try process

Searching for "house" gets a zillion hits
A more refined search is "house" "Washington" 

This works, but I still prefer tags/notebooks

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1 hour ago, jefito said:

Yep, seems obvious to me. Refining it by adding a new term is stupidly simple, and not complicated in the least. You have used web search before, haven't you?

But why would you want to do that?  The whole idea in this discussion is classification. Strikes me as ass-backwards. For that matter I could go back to Google and repeat the original search that turned up the pages that I saved to EverNote . . . and bypass EN entirely. 

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3 minutes ago, suobs said:

We're getting into an excellent sarcasm mode here, which is the highest form of wit!  

Less a matter of sarcasm than disbelief that I actually need to defend the utility of search refinement to someone who purports to know how to fix Evernote.

Sorry, but if you don't even know your own tags, then you have too many tags. Traipsing up and down a tag tree probably won't help all that much...

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22 minutes ago, suobs said:

I know it's a shameful thing, but no I don't know my own tags. There are too many and most I use only rarely.

I think you just identified part of your difficulty with tags.

But it seems clear you have less interest in actually learning how to use tags effectively than in griping, so carry on.

As an aside, in the time you've spent on this forum complaining, you could have ported all your notes over to OneNote and been in unlimited notebook nirvana instead of still stuck in tag hell with us.  ;)

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51 minutes ago, DTLow said:

This works, but I still prefer tags

Let me just clarify:

  • I am using EverNote to hold notes.  I think that's reasonable
  • I am trying to classify the notes individually and group them logically so they can be found easily and in some cases, browsed (for example the gazillion news articles I have saved). To do either I need some way to identify and group them.
  • Although I started a week ago as a member of the Evil Folder-Monger camp, I have started using tags. So I am a good guy now. You can relax.
  • I was happy to find that EN has the ability to nest tags, apparently endlessly. Which strikes me as a good thing, altho some of you seem to be arguing against this functionality, which I should point out already exists. 
  • One main issue now is why it is not possible to see how the tags are nested when I am selecting a tag for use. Unfortunately I do not have the full list and nesting structure memorized. 
  • The other main issue is why the non-desktop apps can't be made to work with tags better.

 

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13 minutes ago, suobs said:

But why would you want to do that?  The whole idea in this discussion is classification. Strikes me as ass-backwards. For that matter I could go back to Google and repeat the original search that turned up the pages that I saved to EndNote . . . and bypass EN entirely. 

How is search refinement not a process of classification? Classification is a way of dividing up a domain into smaller and smaller sets of related objects. Do you really need to classify so minutely that your sets have cardinality 1? I don't. Getting to 7 + or - 2 is usually good enough for me, though I don't need to be rigorous about it.

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16 hours ago, suobs said:

My point is that if you want hierarchy then you need nesting of some kind

Check, and EN has deemed not to add that to the tool, to date.  If you are comfortable in a non-hierarchical world, EN works very well with tags.  So if not having a strict hierarchical structure is important to someone, EN may not be the tool

You can use tag nesting for structure, but for me tag nesting is more about tag organization, People parent tag with all people as child tags for example.  I view notebooks as a physical construct and tags as a logical construct.  Notes only live in one notebook, but they can live in many tags.  So I can create "folders" on the fly by performing tag searches.  

Classic example is insurance and statements.  I can have a tag for each insurance company, each asset, and the tag statement.  I can create a "folder" for all insurance information from Farmers by searching that tag, all statements for Farmers by searching two tags, and all statements for Farmers for 123.Main.Street by the three tag search.  Not hard to find want I am searching.  And I don't get a hernia remembering the tags.  And after 8 years I don't add many tags any more.  My use case anyway.

Again, no issue for me if EN adds hierarchical notebooks, just saying tagging isn't a bad method for some, it's even preferred.  Doesn't make it best though.

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16 hours ago, suobs said:

Maybe a side note but my initial hesitation to experiment with tags was because I sensed exactly what happened this morning would happen. I quickly ran into a wall, meaning the limitations of EN's ability to deal with tags quickly became evident.

Out of interest what was the wall?

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5 minutes ago, csihilling said:

Again, no issue for me if EN adds hierarchical notebooks, just saying tagging isn't a bad method for some, it's even preferred.

Count me as the preferred method, but also no issues with Evernote adding the feature

Of course my experience with Evernote implementing hierarchy is that
- it's implemented on the desktop platforms; then web; and doesn't make it to the mobile platforms
So. users end up with the same issues as tags - lack of hierarchy on their platforms

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