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BurgersNFries

organization How I use tags to replicate nested folders

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(Exiting stage left...since I partially got sucked into yet another tag vs notebooks/folders discussion...) :P

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(Exiting stage left...since I partially got sucked into yet another tag vs notebooks/folders discussion...) :P

every discussion is really one about tags and notebooks, right?

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every discussion is really one about tags and notebooks, right?

Either that or highlighting... :P

...or security...

...or due dates...

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I have found the problem with organizing via Tags is the number of tags required starts to grow out of control

The Tag list length becomes unwieldy

Why force users into tags and only one layer of note book nesting ?

Why not allow what users want , Tags and Multiple Note Book Nesting ?

Thanks

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I have found the problem with organizing via Tags is the number of tags required starts to grow out of control

The Tag list length becomes unwieldy

In my opinion, the same can be said for multiple levels of folders.

In either case, folders or tags, it requires developing some structure by the user.

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I have found the problem with organizing via Tags is the number of tags required starts to grow out of control

The Tag list length becomes unwieldy

Thanks

Over-tagging doesn’t really exist. The problem is not too much information or too many Tags for that matter.

Over-relying on a flat or hierarchical list of tags is the real problem. Or in other words - failure to filter tags…

The problem is filter failure.

You can't really solve it by imposing more sophisticated rigid organizational schemes. It might make sense in the beginning, but it’s not a viable solution to the issue of information management over the period of your whole life. It’s just a temporarily solution.

"The basic fact that order often hides more than it reveals has sometimes itself been hidden within the art and science of organizing our world." - David Weinberger.

"The solution to the overabundance of information is more information."

Rely on a good filtering system, i.e. have the system which allows to filter efficiently on the way out. 

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Rely on a good filtering system, i.e. have the system which allows to filter efficiently on the way out.

I found the negative search in Evernote to be helpful in filtering notes and looking for nuggets of information.

For example, I was looking for an email from my Discover credit card regarding a large purchase notification last year.

I searched for:

tag:Discover
-
tag
:payment

And found all Discover non-payment notes.

If I wanted to narrow the search down to just last year, I would add a date range including an additional negative search.

created:20110101
-created:20120101
tag:Discover
-tag:payment

p.s. By the way, for the people who have seen my previous posts, my actual tag names are:

tag:com-cc-Discover -tag:per-payment
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jbenson2,

Thanks for the tips on searching with negative tags -tag: tag_name.

Your other posts on searching using multiple tags are also useful (using any: tag_name1 tag_name2)

Also thanks also for such quick replies to you and May.

Some note and book structure is useful.

Consider an example,

I'm in a Work meeting with a a dozen colleagues.

Each has to report a list of the previous work's activities.

I have maybe 5 items to discuss quickly.

It is far easier to have an ordered list of sets of work to report than to have to do 5 different searches.

Yes I realize that I can create a set of "tick box" activities to report within one note.

But its awkward to hold all the graphs needed in the one note.

Especially when you can't resize the images (graphs for example) within an Ever-note note and the note viewing area is reduced by the other competing windows.

BTW, CTL-Enter to open a note into a separate window doesn't work from within the note itself, It only works from the search result window.

Its an odd limitation to impose on the user.

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Some note and book structure is useful.

All of the considerations that you offer have been discussed at one time or another in the forums, and are known to Evernote. Nested notebooks are not in the offing any time soon.

Relevant to your example: if you know ahead of time what topics will come up in your meeting, then tag them specially for the meeting with a single tag (there's nothing saying that this tag cannot be temporary). Then you can just search on that tag (or better still, use a Saved Search), and you get quick access to the relevant notes.

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I'm in a Work meeting with a a dozen colleagues.

Each has to report a list of the previous work's activities.

I have maybe 5 items to discuss quickly.

It is far easier to have an ordered list of sets of work to report than to have to do 5 different searches.

An alternate suggestion:

Copy the 5 items and supporting data into workflowy.com, (which supports nested bullet points), and print a hard copy.

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A hierarchy is easily represented in EN through tags. The issue is representing a poly-hierarchy i.e. one child tag with more than one parent tag.

When using folder hierarchy, in Windows for example, the issue of poly-hierarchy representation is solved through shortcuts. You don't have to duplicate one particular file to have it in 2 different folders, you just have it in one folder and create a reference to it, i.e shortcut, within another folder(s).

I am a teacher and I have this constant debate with myself about the best way to store my lesson plans. Every year, I teach the same content and my courses keep the same prefixes. However, my lesson plans do change, and the academic year changes, as well.

To (well) organize my lesson plans, a poly-hierarchy is needed.

If EN opts for "association", or what May called "networked", structure, then, imho, I think that the offered ability to nest tags is confusing.

Since we organize ideas (and other stuff) through both associations and hierarchies, I think EN should offer this flexibility in both tags and Notebooks.

One may say: "well, finding notes through search when they are tagged is easier". I say: "since EN search is powerful, you could still find your notes within Notebooks."... "you can still tag you notes that are inside a Notebook hierarchy.

The issue of tagging a note with all parent and child tags can be solved with this simple app called Taggy. I know it's available for OSX but not sure for other platforms.

Otherwise, I am grateful for such a neat program.

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@BurgerNFries

How do you tag your example

Cars --> Car A --> insurance policies --> Car A insurance policy

repairs --> repair documents here

license/tags --> license/tag info here

Car B --> insurance policies --> Car B insurance policy

repairs --> repair documents here

license/tags --> license/tag info here

Wouldnt that look similar to this:

Jeep --> insurance policies --> Jeep insurance...

another car

BMW --> insurance policies --> BMW ins...

so insurance policies would have to replicate folder 2 or even more times, and we can have only one tag named "insurance policies". Please help

Thanks

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@BurgerNFries

How do you tag your example

Cars --> Car A --> insurance policies --> Car A insurance policy

repairs --> repair documents here

license/tags --> license/tag info here

Car B --> insurance policies --> Car B insurance policy

repairs --> repair documents here

license/tags --> license/tag info here

Wouldnt that look similar to this:

Jeep --> insurance policies --> Jeep insurance...

another car

BMW --> insurance policies --> BMW ins...

so insurance policies would have to replicate folder 2 or even more times, and we can have only one tag named "insurance policies". Please help

Thanks

Using the example, I would apply the tag "insurance policies" to all insurance policies. Then I'd apply the BMW tag to the BMW policy, the Jeep tag to the Jeep policy & the home tag to the homeowner's policy. To find all the Jeep insurance policies over the years, I'd search on the tags "insurance policies" and Jeep.

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Please Evernote can we have just one more folder level... Just one. Tags are all very well but they are confusing and require maintenace. I just spent ages trying to explain them to my wife who then just said "what's wrong with normal folders".

All I want is one more level.. Just one. Please make this my Christmas present.

(Ooops sorry, I forgot that Evernote call folders "notebooks" for some reason I have never figured out. I have folders in my office full of documents and notes)

Thomas

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I came here looking for hierarchical folders (ie "nested notebooks" or whatever's your favorite term). A lot of the data in my head is organized that way, or at least it's easier for me to think that way. The tags help me to make associations between data, and I can see how some people are satisfied that that's all they need. I'll ask people not to reply with "well, I don't need that, and don't expect it in evernote", even if it's true. I'm still expressing what I'm hoping for.

Sure, hierarchical, directory structures (eg on hard drives) are limited to looking physically like a tree, and tags add necessary meta-connections (or shortcuts). But visually, in my head, all that tagged data just looks like one big bowl of soup, unless I can somehow at least see its most significant structure, which is what nested folders help me with. Partly because there's a lot of context that's inherent in the structure (or at least in "my" structure). Parents matter, but not to tags, unless you complicate the tags with prepended codes, or something. (Sorry, I shouldn't say "unless you complicate the tags", because I'm really describing how I think, not you. We don't want to limit each other's preferred ways to visualize data, right?)

So just saying my piece here, because I've read the whole thread, and I really hope that at least some people don't consider this as "beating a dead horse". Hierarchical organization, despite its limitations and even if tagging is the best/primary method to categorize data, helps me

.

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well my brain is thoroughly scrambled now... whats a Tag? -- LOL 

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Hi, 

 

I had been using Evernote for eight years to simply add hand written notes from a tablet as I was taking notes.  Over the last two years I have been using Evernote  more extensively since I have it on every device and use it in almost every part of my life... especially work. 

 

I have been wrestling with 'how to organize, tag, and search' my notes.  I have wrestled the same topic when it has come to files on my computer or files in Outlook.  

 

I really appreciate everyone's helpful opinion here.  I have picked up a lot of information/ideas from all the questions and answers on the topic.  

 

Thank you! 

Tim  

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A hierarchy is easily represented in EN through tags. The issue is representing a poly-hierarchy i.e. one child tag with more than one parent tag.

When using folder hierarchy, in Windows for example, the issue of poly-hierarchy representation is solved through shortcuts. You don't have to duplicate one particular file to have it in 2 different folders, you just have it in one folder and create a reference to it, i.e shortcut, within another folder(s).

I am a teacher and I have this constant debate with myself about the best way to store my lesson plans. Every year, I teach the same content and my courses keep the same prefixes. However, my lesson plans do change, and the academic year changes, as well.

To (well) organize my lesson plans, a poly-hierarchy is needed.

If EN opts for "association", or what May called "networked", structure, then, imho, I think that the offered ability to nest tags is confusing.

Since we organize ideas (and other stuff) through both associations and hierarchies, I think EN should offer this flexibility in both tags and Notebooks.

One may say: "well, finding notes through search when they are tagged is easier". I say: "since EN search is powerful, you could still find your notes within Notebooks."... "you can still tag you notes that are inside a Notebook hierarchy.

The issue of tagging a note with all parent and child tags can be solved with this simple app called Taggy. I know it's available for OSX but not sure for other platforms.

Otherwise, I am grateful for such a neat program.

 

Datal, 

 

As I am a teacher educator who encourages his student teachers to use Evernote, I was curious about your polyhierarchy (one child with multiple parents) problem.

 

This may be an example of where notebooks and tags could work nicely as a team.  Couldn't you keep all of your lesson plans and resources for current a course in a notebook for the year (or semester, etc) and tag each note by topic with an implied hierarchy:  Physics.Mechanics.Velocity?  

 

You could then look across several years using your  topic tags, but keep your eye on your current lessons and handouts in a single course notebook. 

 

My students developed their (first) unit plans last semester and turned them in to me in notebooks that I shared with them.  By titling each lesson and handout in numerical order, the lessons were organized very well:

 

01 - Lesson 1

01.1 - Handout

01.1 - Presentation

 

etc.  (I did not teach them the tagging thing because I did not want to overload them.)

 

Have you already tried this approach?  What has worked better for you? 

 

Jay

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Both of these situations can be replicated in Evernote by using these tags:

  • insurance policies
  • car A
  • car B
Car A insurance policy is tagged "insurance policies" and "car A". Searching on those two tags will give the same exact results as if I had the documents stored in sub folders on a hard drive. I don't even need to apply a "car" tag

The reason tags are much more flexible than sub folders is because let's say the policy is for both cars. To use sub folders, I'd need to have two copies of the document - one in the Car A sub folder & one in the Car B sub folder. But with tags, I simply have the one document & use all three tags, "insurance policies", "car A" and "car B'. When I want to find the insurance policy for Car A, I still just search on ""insurance policies" and "car A".

 

 

... or one could put all car documents into a "Car" notebook (or tagged as such)... or a miscellaneous notebook for warranties, insurance, etc (and if you really need, make sure that there is something logical in the note title by which to locate it in a global search... or else some unique keywords somewhere in the document (Yay for OCR!) or even adding something like #insurance somewhere in the note body).

 

While I love tags and tagging and leverage it every day, I have noticed something interesting: Many people have wonderfully laid out hierarchical/ nested tag systems (exclusively for desktop clients), and even with every note in their entire system tagged, I swear, literally more than 80 percent of their tags only "house" between zero to three items. Which tells me that most likely these notes do not need to hog a whole tag category. I'm talking about power users who have viral blog posts, displaying their very lean lower tier nested tags. All that effort when they could bundle together most of their tags and consolidate them into a broader tag category or even a notebook. 

 

BurgersNFries... just saw your (Posted 12 December 2011 - 12:47 AM) post here... seems like we think along similar lines. A bit of GrumpyMonkey simplicity and logic, plus moderate use of tagging where it really is useful and less notebooks with broader categories  ;)

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... or one could put all car documents into a "Car" notebook (or tagged as such)... or a miscellaneous notebook for warranties, insurance, etc (and if you really need, make sure that there is something logical in the note title by which to locate it in a global search... or else some unique keywords somewhere in the document (Yay for OCR!) or even adding something like #insurance somewhere in the note body).

You said it yourself, though -- it could all be put in a Car notebook, OR a Warranties notebook, OR an Insurance notebook... but not all. Tags let you add "car" and "warranty" and "insurance" and not ever have to fuss over it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

 

Many people have wonderfully laid out hierarchical/ nested tag systems (exclusively for desktop clients), and even with every note in their entire system tagged, I swear, literally more than 80 percent of their tags only "house" between zero to three items.

That's a really interesting and specific percentage -- I'm curious as to where you get your numbers ;)

 

I do have to say, though, that I had a firsthand experience with nested/hierarchical tags failing completely, so I don't use them. I find it much easier to just have a flat tag list and go from there. When you start to have too deeply of hierarchical tags, they become notebooks, in essence. For example, I tried the whole "tv.doctorwho.10thdoctor" hierarchical method, and it was all well and good... until I read a book featuring the 10th doctor. Well, phooey! I categorized it under TV! But it spans both! Dumped the hierarchical stuff and now just do "tv" "book" "article" "doctorwho" etc. And, I only add tags once I need them. Sure, some of my tags currently only house a few items, but I know down the road they'll get filled out a bit more, and I enjoy the convenience of it being one click away. Not to say hierarchical tags don't work, but with my brain, it's just easiest to rapid-fire simple keyword tags and have more of them, than fewer tags but more specifically organized. Every once in a while I'll go through and clear stuff out, and currently I have somewhere between 100-150 tags I can use simply and easily.

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Hey Chirmer,
Haha, I'm looking for the next opportunity to use, "Easy peasy lemon squeezy." I do hope it comes across with masculine undertones though. As in: I tag them with, "WalkingDead", "blood&guts" and "post apocalyptic"... easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Anyways, I was thinking more in the direction of it being easier to pop the note into one notebook as opposed to using multiple tags (especially for logically connected stuff)... since it is quicker to change the notebook than give it 2 or 3 tags. Less tapping, you know. I mean both ways give us a drop-down menu, so it's similar in that sense... You could see a tag as a notebook if you wanted to. So in that case I was thinking more along the lines of adding one tag as opposed to 3.

I think your tagging rationale lends itself more to spontaneous and free thinking. True, and you will be able to find what you're looking for later... However, if you're like me, you won't remember what you've tagged as what, and so I like to browse through a more limited set of tags. Tagging might be a sort of fly-by-the-seat-of your-pants kind of thing (for some), whereas notebooks require that you give it some forethought because of the "limitations". This is not a notebook vs. tagging thing... But I was more getting at not going wild with tagging to the point where you don't even use them. If you don't nest your tags I guess it really doesn't matter how many you have... And if it's a spontaneous thing, then at least you don't have to think too hard every time you need to tag. Some people have a system where there must be a logical set of multiple tags applied to each note. They might be slowing down their archiving process.

As to where I came up with that percentage... Maybe I'm overreaching, but take a look at the lower level tags here: michaelhyatt.com/evernote-tags.html . To be fair, I assume that maybe the system has recently been set up and it is in place for future notes... and will in fact end up with many more notes under each tag.

I find it interesting... Don't you find that the dynamic is sort of different when you approach tagging from the perspective of popping (dragging and dropping) a note into a nested tag hierarchy vs tagging a note from within the note itself? Like tagging vs bagging. Both have their merits... But in a big way, the first perspective is very similar to notebooks, especially because a note might not be tagged with all of the ascending parent tags under which it falls (you would have to tag them one by one). Certain tags simply act as placeholders (and I'm not talking about having zero notes in these marker tags). It's more for visual effect... for mapping stuff. One may consult the nested hierarchy just as they do notebooks within stacks. I know that's a simplistic view and doesn't even cover a small part of what tagging is all about... But even within tagging there are many perspectives to consider. Like... Are you just trying to mirror notebooks within notebooks within notebooks through a tag-based system, where you can collapse the nodes/branches you want? Fair enough. Nothing wrong with that. It's super useful. Plus you can view any combination of tag together in one context through the search syntax. You can't view multiple notebooks in one context, unless they're in the same stack... but you get all the notebooks in a stack. Anyways...

Anyways, I'm not too passionate about it either way. I don't favor one system over another... I find it a stimulating mental exercise. Maybe I have too much time on my hands!

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Hey Chirmer,

Haha, I'm looking for the next opportunity to use, "Easy peasy lemon squeezy." I do hope it comes across with masculine undertones though. As in: I tag them with, "WalkingDead", "blood&guts" and "post apocalyptic"... easy peasy lemon squeezy!

 

Heh, good luck with that! Though, I think I first heard it on Spongebob, so it's not like I'm speaking from any sort of high ground ;)

 

I think your tagging rationale lends itself more to spontaneous and free thinking. True, and you will be able to find what you're looking for later... However, if you're like me, you won't remember what you've tagged as what, and so I like to browse through a more limited set of tags. Tagging might be a sort of fly-by-the-seat-of your-pants kind of thing (for some), whereas notebooks require that you give it some forethought because of the "limitations". This is not a notebook vs. tagging thing... But I was more getting at not going wild with tagging to the point where you don't even use them. If you don't nest your tags I guess it really doesn't matter how many you have... And if it's a spontaneous thing, then at least you don't have to think too hard every time you need to tag. Some people have a system where there must be a logical set of multiple tags applied to each note. They might be slowing down their archiving process.

 

How I tag does tend to sit between spontaneity and organized chaos, because I have the freedom to add a tag on the fly without having to set it up into a preordained hierarchy, but I don't tag willy-nilly. I'm fairly strict about how I tag. For example, if I were to clip something from this forum thread, I'd probably (depending on what I save) tag it "evernote", "productivity", "howto". Nothing exorbitant. I do have a logic behind how I tag stuff, but it's not nearly as complicated as the example you link. I do have a bit of hierarchy, but only two levels for the most part (very few instances of three). I have super general topic tags, like "design", and then keywords sorted under each of these. I find it's more than enough for finding the content I'm looking for. That screenshot gives me anxiety just looking at it :D

 

I find it interesting... Don't you find that the dynamic is sort of different when you approach tagging from the perspective of popping (dragging and dropping) a note into a nested tag hierarchy vs tagging a note from within the note itself? Like tagging vs bagging. Both have their merits... But in a big way, the first perspective is very similar to notebooks, especially because a note might not be tagged with all of the ascending parent tags under which it falls (you would have to tag them one by one). Certain tags simply act as placeholders (and I'm not talking about having zero notes in these marker tags). It's more for visual effect... for mapping stuff. One may consult the nested hierarchy just as they do notebooks within stacks. I know that's a simplistic view and doesn't even cover a small part of what tagging is all about... But even within tagging there are many perspectives to consider. Like... Are you just trying to mirror notebooks within notebooks within notebooks through a tag-based system, where you can collapse the nodes/branches you want? Fair enough. Nothing wrong with that. It's super useful. Plus you can view any combination of tag together in one context through the search syntax. You can't view multiple notebooks in one context, unless they're in the same stack... but you get all the notebooks in a stack. Anyways...

 

Personally, I've never even considered dragging and dropping onto tags :D I type ~100wpm so I add my note, click in the tag box, and type away. It's much faster for me to quickly input all of my tags this way. Most notes have 2-5 tags, with very few over 5, and it takes me maybe 2 seconds to put them in? I'm not exactly sure. It'd probably take two seconds to drag/drop a note onto a single tag, so it's not a very useful option for me. I can definitely see how it'd be used to mimic the feeling of dropping into a folder/Notebook, though.

 

I also work in a library, which has massively impacted my use of Evernote. It's a great parallel, actually. Libraries worldwide run their digital catalogs via metadata, which is essentially a tagging system. It allows for adding multiple authors, multiple topics, multiple multiple multiple. It makes it very, very easy to find stuff via search and sorting. But items can only be shelved in one location, which is similar to the Notebook sorting method. It's very difficult to head out to the shelves to find a book, because as patrons run into frequently with nonfiction material especially, a productivity book could be with self-help, or business, or finance, depending on the book's topics and priority. It's a VERY ineffective way to find what book you're looking for because while an item fits in many different places, it can actually only physically sit in one, so you can potentially waste time looking in many places before you find the right one. It's why a vast majority of libraries heavily push searching the online catalog, finding the item's shelf location, and then going and getting it, versus saying, "Well, the Self-Help is here, the Technology here, the Productivity here... it's bound to be in one of these places." I find this sums up the tag/Notebook argument perfectly. 

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[For example, if I were to clip something from this forum thread, I'd probably (depending on what I save) tag it "evernote", "productivity", "howto". Nothing exorbitant. .

FWIW, if I were clipping this thread, I would use no tags, set the title to the same thing as the subject line & add the keyword Evernote (sometimes it's just faster, easier to add a keyword that may already exist than confirm it exists in the note). But when searching, I'd use

Evernote nested tags

If too many results were found, I'd try to refine by using

Evernote "nested tags"

If further refining were needed, I may remember the word 'replicate' was used & add that. Actually, if I remembered the word 'replicate' was used, I'd add that from the get go b/c that would most likely refine the search quite a lt.

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[For example, if I were to clip something from this forum thread, I'd probably (depending on what I save) tag it "evernote", "productivity", "howto". Nothing exorbitant. .

FWIW, if I were clipping this thread, I would use no tags, set the title to the same thing as the subject line & add the keyword Evernote (sometimes it's just faster, easier to add a keyword that may already exist than confirm it exists in the note). But when searching, I'd use

Evernote nested tags

If too many results were found, I'd try to refine by using

Evernote "nested tags"

If further refining were needed, I may remember the word 'replicate' was used & add that. Actually, if I remembered the word 'replicate' was used, I'd add that from the get go b/c that would most likely refine the search quite a lt.

 

That's how I title my notes, too - changing the title, or appending it, to add keywords if the title doesn't make sense. I still tag it, though, so that if I click say, my "evernote" and "howto" tags, I can pull up all of my Evernote tips in one go.

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On the old board, there used to be several, extensive threads that showed how tags replicate nested folders. I don't think they got migrated to the new board.

This is one thing many people new to Evernote have a problem with - the lack of sub folders. IMO (and apparently Evernote's), tags can replicate nested folders but are much more flexible.

Tags replicate nested folders this way. I have two insurance policies. One is for car A & one is for Car B. On my hard drive, they may be stored like this:

Cars --> Car A --> insurance policies --> Car A insurance policy

repairs --> repair documents here

license/tags --> license/tag info here

Car B --> insurance policies --> Car B insurance policy

repairs --> repair documents here

license/tags --> license/tag info here

Or maybe I store them this way so that all my insurance policies (home, life, auto, medical) are stored in the same folder:

Insurance policies --> Cars --> Car A --> Car A insurance policy

Car B --> Car B insurance policy

Health -- > husband

wife

children

Both of these situations can be replicated in Evernote by using these tags:

  • insurance policies
  • car A
  • car B
Car A insurance policy is tagged "insurance policies" and "car A". Searching on those two tags will give the same exact results as if I had the documents stored in sub folders on a hard drive. I don't even need to apply a "car" tag

The reason tags are much more flexible than sub folders is because let's say the policy is for both cars. To use sub folders, I'd need to have two copies of the document - one in the Car A sub folder & one in the Car B sub folder. But with tags, I simply have the one document & use all three tags, "insurance policies", "car A" and "car B'. When I want to find the insurance policy for Car A, I still just search on ""insurance policies" and "car A".

 

Yes I use tags and sub folders - for genealogy - I have a Genealogy Document Photo stack label then under that stack is a notebook for legal, birth, death, military, photos, cemetery, etc

 

With each of those notebooks say Birth are a number of notes that have a picture/pdf of a birth certificate then I use the tags for assigning peoples names to this note so like you have one copy of the note and it is tied to 1-5 people

 

Letters notebook with notes for each letter which can have information on it for 20 people so there are 20 tags for that one note

 

I do wish they would add a feature to make the tag window bigger when you have a lot of tags and scroll bar this using cursor key and moving to the right is cumbersome and I would like to see the whole picture not just 3 or 4 tags at a time

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I feel that tags create another level of categorization for the same information which is categorised through Notebooks. Technically the search feature can perform search inside the note text and tags also so relevance of tags on the basic of search is minimum.But when you categorise your notebooks by giving the name, the notes are at the same time can be presented in different categorization by looking through the tags.You can optimally create Notebook stack for your office and home

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