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todd1611

(Archived) Effective use of tags

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I'm new to Evernote and I am wondering if anyone can tell me how to effectively use tags? I have never used tags before. Why not, for example, just place my keyword in the title of my saved note? Wouldn't this be the same as using a tag? Thanks for any help.

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hi todd. welcome to evernote!

there are three ways to sort things. the first one, naming, you have already thought about. i use a date + large->small information method. so, a note today might look like this: "111029 pending book orders" or "111029 receipt 79" plasma tv". putting the date on there sorts everything automatically in chronological order. sometimes you might remake a note, or combine them, and this will change the note "creation" date, so this is a handy way to keep things straight. i think it pays to be consistent with naming, whatever method you choose.

there are notebooks. this places notes in a certain location, instead of just leaving them floating around with all of the other notes. doing this is a good idea if you want to have the notes available offline, but otherwise, i suggest weaning yourself off of them if you have an addiction. they create a false sense of organizational omnipotence. if you have tagged well, there is no need to create a complicated folder tree and waste your time there.

tags are brilliant. think about taking all of the papers, files, tax returns, and other loose papers in your house, tossing them on the living room floor and still being able to go through them and find whatever you want in a few seconds. you could spend years dumping things into that pile, spending almost no time at all to organize it, and still be organized. pretty cool. the easiest way to get started is to take the names of the folders you have and just stick those to each note. over time, you'll probably develop a more refined system. you can always change the tag names.

so, why bother with tags if you already have good names for notes? well, naming your notes well will cut down on the need for as many tags, but i still recommend it as a kind of tool in your toolbox for refining your searches and pinpointing what you want. for example, instead of plugging in the word "receipt," which will pull up not only every note you have named with receipt, but every pdf, word file, or other item containing the word, you could use "tag:receipt" to find only the notes you have tagged this way. obviously, the same thing goes for "tag:pictures" or "tag:hawaii trip".

what about stuff named by someone else? when you email yourself a webpage, you can put "#webclipping" in the subject line and it will automatically be tagged that way. when you forward an email from your boss into evernote, you can put "#work" and have it tagged that way. the cool thing is that multiple tags will allow you to sort information more effectively. want to know about all of the emails from your boss that you have in evernote pertaining to projects x, y, and z? you simply type in "tag:work tag:email tag:project x tag:project y tag:project z". you may have talked about project z in some other context, like an email to a customer, but this way you can sort more precisely according to the categories you assigned. of course, you could search by entering the name of your boss in the search field, but what if he didn't put it in an email, used a different account once, or mispelled it typing on his smartphone? no worries.

in my opinion, the tags pretty much eliminate the need for folders and enable you to quickly file things away with a minimum amount of effort. in my case the worst part of organization is figuring out where something goes. once i've decided how to name and tag stuff, it all goes a lot more smoothly.

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tags are brilliant. think about taking all of the papers, files, tax returns, and other loose papers in your house, tossing them on the living room floor and still being able to go through them and find whatever you want in a few seconds. you could spend years dumping things into that pile, spending almost no time at all to organize it, and still be organized. pretty cool. the easiest way to get started is to take the names of the folders you have and just stick those to each note. over time, you'll probably develop a more refined system. you can always change the tag names.

That is probably one of the best analogies for tags that I have read, I haven't ever thought about it like that. Nice :)

Todd,

I personally think that initially it is hard to set up a tag/notebook system when you initially start and have only a few notes.

It is much easier to work out the best method for you when you have more notes, and as you keep adding you will probably rethink your system over and over again...so, get tagging :P

Come to think about it, I think I could probably rethink my method...bit of a mess at the moment... :(

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I'm new to Evernote and I am wondering if anyone can tell me how to effectively use tags? I have never used tags before. Why not, for example, just place my keyword in the title of my saved note? Wouldn't this be the same as using a tag? Thanks for any help.

It depends. I have the tags:

BNF

Mr. BNF

BNF's mother

medical

For notes pertaining to my mom's medical issues, I tag them "medical" & "BNF's mother". I can click on the medical tag & find all notes pertaining to everyone's medical issues. I can then narrow it down to me, my husband or my mom by selecting the appropriate tag.

Having said that, I tend to heavily rely upon keywords, too. Many keywords will already exist in your note. Say if I wanted to find all notes for my mother regarding Dr. Koss, I don't need to add a tag for Dr. Koss. The word "Koss" will probably already be in the note, but if it's not, then I add it - normally to the title. So the search to find all notes pertaining to Dr. Koss & my mother's health would be:

tag:mother, tag:medical koss

Also, I include misspellings as keywords. If I meet someone with the last name of Schaeffer, I will add keywords of Shafer, Shaffer so I don't have to remember exactly how their name is spelled in order to pull up their contact information.

Come to think about it, I think I could probably rethink my method...bit of a mess at the moment... :(

I think organizing, especially in Evernote, is one of those things that evolves over time. As you garner more & more notes, when you have a problem finding the right one, you realize what you could have done to make the search easier. So you create a new tag, add a different keyword or change the title of the note.

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@Scott

Thanks :)

@BNF

Yep. I started using EN on November 22, 2008. Since then I have changed stuff up several times as I discovered better ways of doing things, as EN got better, and as my life changed.

@Todd

The good thing about EN is that you can get started (as Scott said) without any organization at all, and there are no penalties. You'll be find. Enjoy :)

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