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RobLewis

Feature Requests: star rating & notes field

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I would like to see 2 new fields added to the header for each note:

1. a "star rating" (1 to 5 stars as usual). I know others have suggested simulating this with tags like "one star", "two stars" etc., but this really doesn't permit things like searching for notes that have 3 or more stars (at least not cleanly). (Semantic note: zero stars shouldn't mean "this really sucks", rather "no star rating has been assigned")

2. a "notes" or "comments" field. Just a (searchable) text field where I can add my own notes about a clipped web page or whatever.

How about it?

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I am genuinely curious, not trying to be sarcastic. What are you rating with the stars? Are you rating some specific type of content (e.g. Restaurant, books)? I have a Journal program that allows you to rate entries with stars and I can't figure out what I'd use them for. Rating the quality of my writing?

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Perhaps shopping for a tv/car/house etc

The stars let you know where you stand as far as what items/places you liked more vs the others.

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I have a Journal program that allows you to rate entries with stars and I can't figure out what I'd use them for. Rating the quality of my writing?

Probably not. But rating the quality of someone else's writing? Definitely.

Example: I clip a lot of political and scientific articles, blog posts, etc. Some are better than others, and I'm much more likely to want to refer to them in the future. But there's no easy way to indicate this, as would be provided by a simple star rating.

I don't get why some people seem to have a problem understanding the usefulness of this. I guess it comes down to what you use Evernote for. It's been a standard feature of programs like iTunes and iPhoto for years, and I don't see a big conceptual difference.

(BTW, I use MacJournal too, and I've never used the star system there, either. That's because ALL my writing is "5-star" :-)

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I think that most people understand the utility. It's whether or not we feel that need a new mechanism that captures the functionality, or can use existing ones (e.g. tags).

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I don't get why some people seem to have a problem understanding the usefulness of this.

I don't think people are discounting the usefulness...just saying you can use tags (an existing feature of EN) to do this. (shrug)

(Sniped by Jeff..)

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OK, so I create tags "1 star", "2 stars", "3 stars" etc.

So I want to find all notes that have 3 or more stars. That means I have to search for notes having 3 or more stars with an expression like "tag:3 stars OR tag:4 stars OR tag:5 stars".

Contrast with something like "stars >= 3".

Which is more intuitive, user-friendly, etc.?

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OK, so I create tags "1 star", "2 stars", "3 stars" etc.

So I want to find all notes that have 3 or more stars. That means I have to search for notes having 3 or more stars with an expression like "tag:3 stars OR tag:4 stars OR tag:5 stars".

Contrast with something like "stars >= 3".

Which is more intuitive, user-friendly, etc.?

Make it a saved search & it's one click. That's pretty user-friendly, IMO.

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OK, so I create tags "1 star", "2 stars", "3 stars" etc.

So I want to find all notes that have 3 or more stars. That means I have to search for notes having 3 or more stars with an expression like "tag:3 stars OR tag:4 stars OR tag:5 stars".

Contrast with something like "stars >= 3".

Which is more intuitive, user-friendly, etc.?

Yes, I understood all of that before, and I never said that it's not as user-friendly, or whatever. On the other hand, you could try creating create five tags, say '$', '$$', '$$$', '$$$$', '$$$$$', and then if you want >= 3 stars, search for tag:$$$*. (don't have enough time to test this, and testing for <3 stars would not be nice).

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I have a Journal program that allows you to rate entries with stars and I can't figure out what I'd use them for. Rating the quality of my writing?

I don't get why some people seem to have a problem understanding the usefulness of this. I guess it comes down to what you use Evernote for. It's been a standard feature of programs like iTunes and iPhoto for years, and I don't see a big conceptual difference.

Actually, it's a huge conceptual difference for me or I wouldn't have had the question. I can see, once it's explained, why someone might want to rate things but I can't imagine ever needing to do it in Evernote. I make extensive use of ratings in iTunes but I've never used stars in iPhoto. As in Evernote, I use tags. In iTunes, I make use a lot of smart playlists to make automated selections from a terabyte of music. I don't use them for searching, really. It does seem to me that tags would work just as well for your purposes. I, however, love tags. It would make no difference to me if star ratings were added. I'd ignore them just like I ignore stacks. Not meaning to sound snarky or anything. I also don't understand why people like butter pecan ice cream. :)

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I, however, love tags.

I love tags too, and use them a lot where appropriate. But one of the lessons of modern software development is: don't force a UI element (like tags) into a usage that it's awkward and not designed for (like stars). The result is usually heartache.

In most people's books, Apple is the champ of human interface design. And in iPhoto, for example, they give you BOTH stars and tags (keywords). Each has appropriate uses. Yes, you can "sort of" make tags function like stars, but it's awkward and needlessly convoluted. As the uber-guru Alan Kay said, "Simple things should be simple (and complex things should be possible.)"

Keywords should identify something significant "about" the content of the item, not simply how much you like it (which is content-agnostic). That's what stars are for.

I'll shut up now.

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Keywords should identify something significant "about" the content of the item, not simply how much you like it (which is content-agnostic). That's what stars are for.

Tags are just labels and have no pre-ordained purpose (i.e., they need not be 'content-agnostic'; they're labels, not formal keywords) but can be used to serve some user purpose, including describing note content, whether you like or dislike a note, how a note plays into one's GTD schema, describing hierarchies, and so on. Sure, it's not great for all purposes, and it's possible that stars might be added (or re-added as in the case of iPhone) but for now, all we have are tags.

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All of this discussion has been about star ratings. But I also cited a need for a Notes field.

Guess what: the web clipper for Chrome already essentially has this! When you invoke it, there's an area where you can add a comment, which gets inserted at the top of the clipped note.

Couldn't we have this for the Safari and Firefox clippers, too?

(The Chrome clipper also has some kind of search facility that you can expand at the bottom of its window. Can somebody explain the use case for this?)

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All of this discussion has been about star ratings. But I also cited a need for a Notes field.

Guess what: the web clipper for Chrome already essentially has this! When you invoke it, there's an area where you can add a comment, which gets inserted at the top of the clipped note.

Couldn't we have this for the Safari and Firefox clippers, too?

(The Chrome clipper also has some kind of search facility that you can expand at the bottom of its window. Can somebody explain the use case for this?)

2. a "notes" or "comments" field. Just a (searchable) text field where I can add my own notes about a clipped web page or whatever.

Based upon your initial post, it seemed to me, you were requesting a completely separate note field (comparable to the title, updated date, created date, etc.) which seems a bit redundant to me. A note about a note?

The Chrome clipper note is nothing more than what you can do now. As you stated, it simply puts the note at the top of the clipped note. You can do this with any note. It's just the Chrome clipper allows you to enter it at clip time. If that's what you're asking for, you probably should have been more clear about the request.

As far as the Chrome search goes:

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The Chrome clipper note is nothing more than what you can do now. As you stated, it simply puts the note at the top of the clipped note. You can do this with any note. It's just the Chrome clipper allows you to enter it at clip time. If that's what you're asking for, you probably should have been more clear about the request.

Well, in fact I was thinking of a separate field. Which I think is the superior solution (call it "Comment", like the Chrome clipper does, if you don't like the idea of a note about a note. And yes, I can absolutely see the utility of a "comment" about a "note", especially when the note consists of a clipped article.) A separate field is better because it allows more fine-grained searching.

Still, I was willing to settle for inserting the annotation at the top of the clipped content (which I actually asked for a long time ago in a previous feature request). The problem with the way things work now is that the HTML formatting of the clipping makes it impossible to predict what your comment is going to look like. Try it yourself: clip a few web pages, then put the cursor at the top of the resulting note and type something. Sometimes I get great big text, sometimes tiny. Sometimes it's left-justified, sometimes it has no perceptible logic to the justification (starts 2/3 of the way across the window, for example). The font it will appear in is anybody's guess. In short, it's a mess. That doesn't happen with the Chrome clipper. I wish it didn't with the Safari and Firefox ones, either. That is, if we can't have a separate Comment field.

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A separate field is better because it allows more fine-grained searching.

Using accurate notebooks, tags, "keywords" and the powerful EN search engine already allows a very fine grained searching. Even a "comment" field about a note is redundant, IMO. I simply add my comments either to the note itself or the title. I have a search I run weekly. But of the results, I normally only need one. So I changed the title of the note to be more specific, so I can easily determine which of the five notes is the one I'm probably looking for. IE - add " - THIS RECIPE IS MY FAVORITE" or something similar.

Try it yourself: clip a few web pages, then put the cursor at the top of the resulting note and type something. Sometimes I get great big text, sometimes tiny. Sometimes it's left-justified, sometimes it has no perceptible logic to the justification (starts 2/3 of the way across the window, for example). The font it will appear in is anybody's guess. In short, it's a mess. That doesn't happen with the Chrome clipper. I wish it didn't with the Safari and Firefox ones, either.

I know. I've experienced this. But it's easy enough to add readable notes as outlined in this post. I try to simply add the word "keyword" to the comment field in the Chrome clipper in case I want to add anything later. If I forget & realize I need to add something to the top of the note, I do one of the options outlined in the post above. I agree if this option were added to the other clippers (which I don't use) that it would be helpful. But the bottom line is that it's simply utilizing the "note" field that already exists. No real need to add an entirely separate "comment/note" field for the note - the ability already exists. (shrug)

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Sorry, but those suggested "solutions" for adding a readable bit of text at the top of a clipped page are either (a) absurdly complicated (Export the note to an editor!? Create an extra new note and merge!?) or (B) only work with Chrome.

All I'm asking for is that the clippers for Safari and Firefox have the same capability that Chrome's does. You use Chrome exclusively. Good for you.

As for the usefulness of a Comment field, we'll have to agree to disagree. Stars too.

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Sorry, but those suggested "solutions" for adding a readable bit of text at the top of a clipped page are either (a) absurdly complicated (Export the note to an editor!? Create an extra new note and merge!?) or (B) only work with Chrome. .

Merging notes (listed as one of the workarounds) is far from overly complex and has nothing whatsoever to do with which browser was used to create the note.

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I'd like to echo the need/desire for a star rating for notes. I understand the arguments of those in this forum against such a feature, but the best thing about Evernote is that is (more or less) adaptable to individual user's need. If you see no need for stars, then don't use them. I use tags but don't find all that helpful. I use Evernote as my primary recipe box and for this purpose it is fantastic. But other apps that are specifically designed for keeping recipes almost always has a feature in which you can rate the recipe. After trying a recipe, I like to rate it according to how much I liked it. I can't imagine that this would be incredibly difficult to implement.

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If you see no need for stars, then don't use them. I use tags but don't find all that helpful. .

I doubt anyone here is saying they should not exist in EN. The point is that EN has stated "we tend to prioritize functionality that isn't largely redundant with existing capabilities" Since EN has always promoted tags as the way to organize the notes, the chances of "stars" being added is most likely low on the priority list, if it's on the list at all. (I have no insider info and could be wrong. Maybe stars are their current highest priority. But I doubt that stars are very high on the list.) So if you need a function similar to stars, you're going to have to adapt to tags, at least for now & probably for quite a while.

I can't imagine that this would be incredibly difficult to implement.

You really don't know how difficult it would be to add, unless you are intimate with all the EN clients.

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Just to add my two peneth'worth - Stars are just a visual shorthand for a Tag - and therefore I don't see why they cannot or should not be incorporated.

As I am sure many reading this can appreciate a visual aid is quicker and easier to spot than one tag amongst many.

I collect articles on technical subjects such as Excel and Access database, and often end up with many that cover the same subject - and therefore have the same tags - it would be helpful to be able to rate the articles for future reference, so I concentrate on those that I feel are well written and explain the subject well (4+ stars etc) and only refer to the other articles for snippets and more arcane information. This would be where a separate comment field would be useful (e.g. Paragraph 3 contains information on Append Queries - rest of article only of minimal interest) - although I think the addition of highlighter tools as used in other apps such as Diigo would be helpful here also.

I vote for star rating as a visual aid to help prioritise notes.

PS - i dont think this should just apply for MAC - this should be for all Evernote APPS

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As Jeff said, STARS are probably not high on ENs priority list.

You can accomplish anything you want with Tags. Also Stars may mean more "clutter" for some people, something EN wants to avoid.

Wern

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IMHO, never ever going to happen.

Oh, you never know. In some future decade in the "100 year company", Stars might just get popular, and Evernote will just drop them in there.

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Let's see:

--iTunes has Star ratings and a Comments field

--iPhoto has Star ratings and a Description field

I'm not aware of any major complaints about these programs for an excessively cluttered interface.

Plenty of other software has similar capability.

Really, what's the downside?

And no, tags do not take the place of Star ratings. Using the tags approach, doing a simple search like "notes with 3 or more stars" becomes an annoying kludge. Apple's Spotlight search tool understands Star ratings, too.

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I'm not saying there is anything wrong with it, although personally I wouldn't have any use for it.

But, based on my understanding and experience with the product I'd be pretty sure that this isn't something they wouldn't choose to implement. Of course, I could be wrong.....

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Really, what's the downside?

The downside is the usual thing: that it takes time and money to develop new features (particularly across 14 or so clients), and so each one must be evaluated carefully as to suitability for the users (clearly some folks want them) vs. how it hurts the product if you leave them out. See the article Minus 100 Points for a take on this.

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is it ironic that the article you point to has a Rate this article feature using stars? :)

I understand the issue of adding this feature to all the platforms, but its one of those that most people who have not or do not know how to perform more than the basic search will want - i personally do not know how to create a search that will find 'notes with 3 or more stars' - maybe an article or two on how to get the most out of what is available would help me here - and before you ask i have not done an extensive search of the support pages yet - my reason is that I believe that software that presents itself as being the leader in the field should just work and be intuitive - if is does support higher functions than easy to find links and support articles should be readily available to help all people of all abilities to make the most of them.

If you know of such articles on or off the Evernote website - please share.

Dave

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is it ironic that the article you point to has a Rate this article feature using stars? :)

Sorry, I've move past irony in my life. It's been a freeing experience...

i personally do not know how to create a search that will find 'notes with 3 or more stars' - maybe an article or two on how to get the most out of what is available would help me here - and before you ask i have not done an extensive search of the support pages yet - my reason is that I believe that software that presents itself as being the leader in the field should just work and be intuitive - if is does support higher functions than easy to find links and support articles should be readily available to help all people of all abilities to make the most of them.

Earlier in this very thread I posted a suggestion to simulate one aspect of stars in Evernote: http://forum.evernote.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=27511#p116345. You wouldn't find it in the support section because, hey, Evernote doesn't support the notion of stars -- if you want that in Evernote, you need to fake it, in this case using tags. Sorry, but the notion of 'intuitive' doesn't mean very much to me -- particularly in my post-ironic world -- well, it actually means 'familiar', in my experience, and since your notion of familiarity software evidently includes 'stars' in some form of another, while Evernote does not, Evernote will not in that respect be 'intuitive'. That being said, when you come to terms with what Evernote actually does, it seems to do it pretty well.

EDIT: Sorry if the above seems somewhat more cranky than usual; I posted it before I had my Breakfast of +1 Soothing. Short form:

* You can only simulate Stars currently, and it's a pretty clumsy method

* In my opinion, 'intuitive' almost always means 'familiar' with regards to software, and one person's notion of intuitive is often different from others'

* the linked article was meant only to illustrate one way in which a software developer begins the process of prioritizing features that make it into a product; that it uses a star rating was indeed ironic. :)

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Hi, I know this topic is a little old, but I'd like to reignite this feature request again.

I recently tried to use the suggested tag system in place of a star rating system.

It works well when you want to search for, say, #research with the additional tags of #3stars, #4stars, #5stars.

This simulates quite well the "greater than 2 stars" you find in itunes.

BUT, as soon as you add a second conceptual tag, say #research - plus #trains - with the #3stars, #4stars, #5stars --- now you get all notes tagged #research with those star tags, AND any notes tagged #trains with those star tags.

What you don't get is an intersection of just #research items tagged with #trains before the star tags are applied.

So, to me, this is proof that you can never replicate a star rating system with tags alone.

A true built in star rating system would be separate from tags. You could combine any amount of tags you want, say, #research, #trains, #unionpacific and still then request the notes to be rated "greater than 3 stars".

Unless Evernote expands their search language so that we can apply a search to a search. Otherwise, it's impossible.

Please prove me wrong, please pass on the "search code" needed to create a "union tag search" first of #research and #trains, and then apply the "inclusive star tag search" to those results.

I can't find a way to do it.

And I'm DYING for this feature!!!

Thanks,

David

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So, to me, this is proof that you can never replicate a star rating system with tags alone.

No-one's claiming that you can. Workarounds are being offered because they don't exist in most Evernote clients. There are others that you don't mention, like the Unicode character version: ★, ★, ★, etc. (you can do a search for "3 or more stars" using a search of: tag:★*). Since they're workarounds, they usually have drawbacks.

BUT, as soon as you add a second conceptual tag, say #research - plus #trains - with the #3stars, #4stars, #5stars --- now you get all notes tagged #research with those star tags, AND any notes tagged #trains with those star tags.

I don't understand the actual search that you are trying to express.

A true built in star rating system would be separate from tags. You could combine any amount of tags you want, say, #research, #trains, #unionpacific and still then request the notes to be rated "greater than 3 stars".

Well, sure, a true star system would be separate from tags. But you can combine 'star' tags with other tags; not sure I see what you're getting at here.

Unless Evernote expands their search language so that we can apply a search to a search.

'apply a search to a search' ???

Please prove me wrong, please pass on the "search code" needed to create a "union tag search" first of #research and #trains, and then apply the "inclusive star tag search" to those results.

Are you trying to do some sort of mixed AND/OR search? Something like ((tag:trains OR tag:research) AND tag:3stars), or something like that? Can't be done in Evernote's search language, in general (there are some specialized exceptions). And even if a separate Star system were implemented, and some new search term were added (say 'star:3' means 'notes with 3 stars', 'star:3+' means 'notes with 3 or more stars', etc.), you still can't express mixed AND/OR search expressions in the current search grammar (you'd wind up with something like: ((tag:trains OR tag:research) AND star:3+).

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Thanks Jefito for your quick response.

I didn't know about the unicode and wild card character support.

How do I actually enter unicode stars as a tag? I searched the knowledge base for unicode but nothing came up.

Thanks so much,

David

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Personally, I find anything beyond 3-4 "rankings" tend to get confusing. When using iTunes, I normally only use 1, 3 or 5 stars. 1 is for songs I never want to hear again. Five stars mean I like it. Three is for songs I like but may be something I wouldn't want to play when we have guests, such as songs with explicit lyrics. Trying to decide if I like a song but it only rates four stars instead of five starts to have diminished ROI. What makes one song I like deserve only four stars instead of five??? Having said all that, if I felt the need to rank notes (and I don't), I'd use something like good, better & best. Easy peasy.

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I just chatted with tech support, and there isn't any unicode support.

So I guess that was just hypothetical Jefito?

Thanks for your input.

And I'm glad we agree that replicating a star rating system using tags alone is not possible.

I'm adding my voice to the many that are requesting a star rating system.

Has anyone noticed that there's a star icon in the iPhone app? Tap on any note, you'll see it just to the left of the title.

So some programmer thought stars was a good idea at some point.

In the end, all these suggestions won't accomplish what I'm hoping Evernote will see as important: a way to isolate notes using tags, then sort them by a rating system.

If that were coded in, perhaps we could also get a "smart notebook" type of system like iTunes has "smart playlists".

Wouldn't you want to have an automatically updating "smart notebook" with all your "#ideas" that you've rated 5 stars?

Or I personally have tons of research articles that I tag like crazy with every cross reference point possible. But some of them get out of date, or just aren't as good as others.

So I'd like to be able to have a "smart notebook" that contains notes tagged with #research #software #evernote #uses and then specify "4 stars or greater".

With a star rating system I can do that.

Without one, I can't.

So I'm requesting that feature.

Thanks so much, Evernote, for having a place we can request features.

David

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Has anyone noticed that there's a star icon in the iPhone app? Tap on any note, you'll see it just to the left of the title.

So some programmer thought stars was a good idea at some point.

That is not a ranking system. That was the initial attempt at storing notes (not just the header info) on the iPhone. When you "favorite" a note on the iPhone, it downloads the entire note so you can access it when you don't have an Internet connection. "Favorites" were replaced with "offline" notebooks.

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I just chatted with tech support, and there isn't any unicode support. So I guess that was just hypothetical Jefito?

No, it's not hypothetical. I actually tried it before recommending it.

First, I looked up "unicode black star symbol" on the web, found this page: http://www.fileforma.../2605/index.htm, clicked on Browser Test Page to bring me here: http://www.fileforma...browsertest.htm, and mouse-selected a ★ character to theclipboard, and then used that to make tags in Evernote for Windows. Just to further test, I synced this to my Evernote Kindle (Android 2.3), and the tags synced over perfectly. Also checked it on the Web client.

For that matter, you could just as well use 's', or '!' or '$' or whatever, rather than the unicode star, probably easier to type, depending on your OS. Same principle..

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How about "s3" "s4" "s5" etc? Could a tag be compared >=s3 and <=s5 ?

I don't believe that you can do comparisons like that with tags; you're really doing text matching rather than text ordering.

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Thanks for that info. I appreciate your thoroughness.

What about the wild character search example you gave... Was that real as well? How did you enter it exactly?

I'd be happy to see if that can accomplish what I'm after.

Thanks,

David

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What about the wild character search example you gave... Was that real as well? How did you enter it exactly?

Um, I don't post here just to make things up.

Wildcarding works like you would think it would, more or less. Put a '*' at the end of a tag search (e.g. tag:sup*) and it would match notes with tags sup, super, supercalifragileisticexpialidocious, and so forth. You can also do that with normal text searches, but some clients (Evernote for Windows does) silently append the '*' to the end of any search text before doing the actual search, so you might not notice it.

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Hi Jefito,

Sorry, I just wasn't sure how to accomplish this with the black star unicode.

But I just tried it and it works perfectly!

Thank you.

I had been trying to do this with the s1, s2, s3, s4 example of burgersnfries, and that was not working at all.

Your approach was spot on.

I'm sorry I doubted you!

So, if Evernote is listening, this search with the wild card CAN replicate a star rating system quite well... My request would now be to include this approach in a newsletter as a tip or something, so that those with thick heads (such as myself) could benefit from it and stop pestering you with this feature request :-)

Again, just for future documentation incase someone hopes to accomplish this, Jefito's scheme is:

tags look like ★, ★★, ★★★, ★★★★, ★★★★★

----- (and you can get this ★ character at the link in Jefito's post above)

search looks like "tag: ★★★*"

result will be 3 stars and above. And if you include other tags, such as "tag:research" "tag:evernote" you'll get all your evernote research tagged 3 stars or higher. Very cool!

The only disadvantage I can see, compared to a built in star rating system, is that you can not sort a list of notes specifically by your star ratings.

But, you CAN create saved searches, which are quite close to smart lists, and that satisfies a big need of mine.

Jefito's other point is that, as visually cool as these black star unicode things are, they are hard to type, as you have to copy and paste them from a site. So you could accomplish this same type of rating system by making your rating tags with type-able characters like this:

$, $$, $$$, $$$$, $$$$$

and the searches like "tag:$$$*" for 3 and above

Hope that helps others, as it would have helped me a while ago when I searched for this.

Thanks again Jefito!

David

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I'd like to echo the need/desire for a star rating for notes. I understand the arguments of those in this forum against such a feature, but the best thing about Evernote is that is (more or less) adaptable to individual user's need. If you see no need for stars, then don't use them. I use tags but don't find all that helpful. I use Evernote as my primary recipe box and for this purpose it is fantastic. But other apps that are specifically designed for keeping recipes almost always has a feature in which you can rate the recipe. After trying a recipe, I like to rate it according to how much I liked it. I can't imagine that this would be incredibly difficult to implement.

I also use Evernote for recipes and a rating system would be very useful. I would like to sort by rating.

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I work on collaborative research projects for which Evernote is already proving very useful. I think adding a star rating column would be extremely useful especially when multiple users are looking over research articles to show, for example, how relevant particular articles are. I appreciate that tags can be used in meantime, though it is cumbersome. Star fields could also have a potential to show average rating and would help researchers see what kind of articles that they would need to get to contribute further to a project. A Notes field would be able to provide clarification for any rating. Just my two cents' worth.

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I'd like to this feature myself, though in my case on Window & Android. Let's call this my plea for all clients.

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PLEASE add a simple star (★) feature so we can star important notes. This is such a basic feature of many programs, extremely common for people to want to do, easy to implement, and NOT handled efficiently by using tags or reminders. Those are different features, used for a different purpose. PLEASE (and hopefully) thank you!!

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Using a star as a tag is a good enough workaround for me.

 

On the Mac OS, you can add a shortcut to the Black Star (★) symbol by using the 
SysPrefs > Keyboard > Text panel.  

Type your shortcut - I use Tex-style shortcuts like \star.
To insert the Black Star ★ in the 2nd column, open the "Emoji & Symbols" Panel (enable this menu item in SysPrefs > Keyboard > Keyboard), and double-click the symbol to be inserted.  Insert it in the 2nd column, to replace your \star or whatever you chose.

See the attached image for an example.

Mac OS keyboard - start shortcut.png

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