• 0
steppencat

Best way to do a table or spreadsheet in Evernote

Idea

I often want to put notes in Evernote that are in some sort of table or spreadsheet format. I don't need to do any fancy spreadsheet stuff. Just raw data. The problem is I often don't know ahead of time how many cells I will need. And I often just need to add cells or tweak things. I've found the table tool included in Evernote to be completely worthless. I need to guess ahead of time how big the table is going to be, and when typing within the table, the formatting is just kind of...screwy.

Does anyone else have this problem? How did you solve it? It's actually something I do pretty often in the 3 years I've been using Evernote, I'm kinda surprised this isn't something that has ever been fixed or added.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post

67 replies to this idea

No need for Evernote to become a spreadsheet program.

There is an easy solution when you need advanced spread sheet capabilities.

Just drag an Excel spreadsheet into a note.

Share this post


Link to post

No need for Evernote to become a spreadsheet program.

There is an easy solution when you need advanced spread sheet capabilities.

Just drag an Excel spreadsheet into a note.

The problem is that I really don't need advanced spreadsheet capabilities. I just want to be able to do a table that I can change the size of later on.

My use case is that I work in quality assurance, and would like to be able to list some test case ideas in evernote. So I'd maybe be able to fix the width of the table (I'd want test case description, priority, pass/fail, and maybe a couple other columns), but I'd need to add more rows as i come up with new test cases. Seriously...who actually knows exactly how big of a table they will need ahead of time? I have been working in software for 12 years and can't think of one time that was the case.

I actually did know that I could drag a spreadsheet into Evernote, but in a sense, that's "too much". Now I suddenly have to have two programs open to do what I need to do. And if I'm going to do it in another program (e.g. Excel or Numbers), then I'm just going to save the file in my cloud file repository, rather than opening evernote and leaving it there.

Share this post


Link to post

The current Mac beta adds functionality for adding and removing rows and columns - nothing about fixing widths though.

Use the right app for the job, if Evernote isn't the right app then use Excel/Numbers/SuperCalc (!) and put it up in the cloud.

I use tables all the time in Evernote - when it is the right tool and I know what I want the table to look like (how many columns x how many rows).

Share this post


Link to post

Yeah we just added adding & removing rows/columns to the Beta, that'll come to GA soon

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post

The issue is width. I have a table now where one column is ridiculously narrow, and nothing I can do will fix it. Making other columns narrower is just leaving those columns with empty space, but the table isn't shifting like it should do. We need to be able to manually control the column width, perhaps by dragging the columns like in Excel. I don't need sophisticated features, but this is a very basic, simple feature. Adding/deleting rows is good--now we need some width control. Now that my table is screwed up, I have no way to fix it, other than an export if that would work, or simply retyping the entire thing.

Share this post


Link to post

The issue is width. I have a table now where one column is ridiculously narrow, and nothing I can do will fix it. Making other columns narrower is just leaving those columns with empty space, but the table isn't shifting like it should do. We need to be able to manually control the column width, perhaps by dragging the columns like in Excel. I don't need sophisticated features, but this is a very basic, simple feature. Adding/deleting rows is good--now we need some width control. Now that my table is screwed up, I have no way to fix it, other than an export if that would work, or simply retyping the entire thing.

Noted, but we are doing HTML tables though and it is just a huge pain. The issue is also display/edit on mobile clients *begin headache*

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post

The issue is width. I have a table now where one column is ridiculously narrow, and nothing I can do will fix it. Making other columns narrower is just leaving those columns with empty space, but the table isn't shifting like it should do. We need to be able to manually control the column width, perhaps by dragging the columns like in Excel. I don't need sophisticated features, but this is a very basic, simple feature. Adding/deleting rows is good--now we need some width control. Now that my table is screwed up, I have no way to fix it, other than an export if that would work, or simply retyping the entire thing.

Noted, but we are doing HTML tables though and it is just a huge pain. The issue is also display/edit on mobile clients *begin headache*

dlu, I think there may be a simple solution to the column width issue: Do NOT specifify any width in the HTML code

This will cause the HTML table to "autosize" based on the text entered in each cell.

A simple way to implement is to allow an entry of "0" for table width when the table is created.

If the user enters "0" you do NOT add any "width" attributes to the table/cell HTML tags.

I know this will work because I have created the HTML table with no "width" in another app and then paste into EN Mac or EN Win.

The autosize works fine in these clients as well as iPhone and iPad.

Share this post


Link to post
Do NOT specifify any width in the HTML code This will cause the HTML table to "autosize" based on the text entered in each cell. A simple way to implement is to allow an entry of "0" for table width when the table is created. If the user enters "0" you do NOT add any "width" attributes to the table/cell HTML tags. I know this will work because I have created the HTML table with no "width" in another app and then paste into EN Mac or EN Win. The autosize works fine in these clients as well as iPhone and iPad.

Thanks for the suggestion, played around with it but I'll need to get some time to run it through the gauntlet. It doesn't quite address the manually editable table widths though.

Share this post


Link to post

The issue is width. I have a table now where one column is ridiculously narrow, and nothing I can do will fix it. Making other columns narrower is just leaving those columns with empty space, but the table isn't shifting like it should do. We need to be able to manually control the column width, perhaps by dragging the columns like in Excel. I don't need sophisticated features, but this is a very basic, simple feature. Adding/deleting rows is good--now we need some width control. Now that my table is screwed up, I have no way to fix it, other than an export if that would work, or simply retyping the entire thing.

I just realized, you sorta can make columns wider. It's a workaround but type in some text (or even spaces) and the column will get wider.

Share this post


Link to post

The issue is width. I have a table now where one column is ridiculously narrow, and nothing I can do will fix it. Making other columns narrower is just leaving those columns with empty space, but the table isn't shifting like it should do. We need to be able to manually control the column width, perhaps by dragging the columns like in Excel. I don't need sophisticated features, but this is a very basic, simple feature. Adding/deleting rows is good--now we need some width control. Now that my table is screwed up, I have no way to fix it, other than an export if that would work, or simply retyping the entire thing.

I just realized, you sorta can make columns wider. It's a workaround but type in some text (or even spaces) and the column will get wider.

I see what you are pointing out, but that is kind of the problem; if you type text into one column, the column into which you are typing gets wider and the other columns immediately shrink in size to nearly nothing.

Putting text or characters in the other columns does re-widen them, but it is a bit of a weird work-around!

Is there any way of fixing the width of columns?

Share this post


Link to post

Is there any way of fixing the width of columns?

Welcome to the forums. Currently, nope. Sorry.

Share this post


Link to post

If fixed width cells are too much of a hassle (variable screen widths, different implementations) might I suggest a reasonable compromize would be to allow fixed proportions rather than specified widths? If I have four columns in a table, the logical distribution would automatically be 25%/25%/25%/25%. I should then be able to adjust the proportions manually (fixed width) or allow the tablet to resize based on content (current functionality).

In HTML, it's as easy as "width=25%". As long as the logic validates the total approximation to 100% (eg. 33%/33%/33% in a 3-column table) this should be trivial compared to autosizing.

Share this post


Link to post

In HTML, it's as easy as "width=25%". As long as the logic validates the total approximation to 100% (eg. 33%/33%/33% in a 3-column table) this should be trivial compared to autosizing.

Actually autosizing is the easiest case: When you don't specify a width the HTML engine does the autosize for you based on contents.

I would actually prefer this instead of a size of 100% for the table.

This colapses the table and table columns to fit the text so you don't have a lot of blank space like you do with 100%.

Share this post


Link to post

I am always sorting and sifting through lots of related information. My #1 wish is the ability to embed a spreadsheet or worksheet in Evernote and be able to sort on columns from within an Evernote notebook without having to open another software.

I would rather not have to attach a spreadsheet or open Open Office or Excel everytime I need to do this.

This is intuitively essential for me. I don't see how Evernote or other PIMs have no keyed on this.

I don't want to sift through/search through a multitude of notebooks when I could have most of what I need in sortable tables. Anyone else been needing this? I use Evernote for Windows but saw this post and wanted to add my two cents.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post

Yep, people are reading. Evernote employees only comment occasionally, though. Though this serves as a feature request, you can also submit the request through a support ticket if you want.

Share this post


Link to post

I agree that sometimes you just want a table in Evernote and not embed Excel.

In Windows, one workaround for column width is to have, say, a two column table,

and put in a continuous "underscore" of about 40-50 characters in the top or bottom

row of the table. That prevents one of the worst problems, that one column diminishes

to a half inch wide.

Share this post


Link to post

I've had the same issue. I'm tired of attaching Numbers documents to my notes just to get basic functionality. I still use Numbers documents when I want things to look correctly with images around tables, reflection, etc. especially if I want to password protect my data.

If anyone is interested, I'm working on a solution to the issue discussed in this thread. Basically I use AppleScript to go in and modify my EN 'tables' so additional functionality can be supported. The idea is to substitute what EN gives you with something more productive. It should work with other issues as well, including client-side encryption. I'm in rapid prototype mode right now so if anyone is interested in getting the app when I'm finished, let me know.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

David

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post

That sounds interesting David. If you get something together that can work with Windows/Android let me know.

Share this post


Link to post

I have just tried a 1 pixel width table and the net effect is adaption of all column width to the content of columns.

I guess this will become my default choice from now on..

That might be workaround to many of the requests.

Vincent.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post

Hum. Sorry there is one complication: autosizing is adapating to the longest word in a given column.

So it could be adjusted by using underscores or any non blanc character for ex. in title (no ideal but usable).

Share this post


Link to post

I've found the following work around to be a little less of a headache when creating tables for EN when using my iPad. Although I can write HTML/CSS code I'm not extremely fluent.

  1. I purchased "ByWord" from the App Store for $2.99 (July 2012 price).
  2. Byword provides for "MultiMarkDown" formatting, which is visually and syntactically much easier to work with than HTML.
  3. Help for creating tables is found here: http://bywordapp.com/markdown/guide.html
  4. To view the table created in ByWord select "Export via Email>Email as Rich Text" (ByWord for iPad has no built-in viewer)
  5. In the newly created email draft select the table now in the message body text and copy to the clipboard.
  6. Delete the email draft.
  7. In Evernote paste your new table.
  8. Also within ByWord, the a table can be exported as auto-generated HTML code and then further tweaked if desired. (I use Textastic to edit a new HTML file and then open in its built-in viewer.)

View the table I created using the example found in the ByWord Guide: https://www.evernote.com/shard/s228/sh/d10e9cf8-739f-408d-a60b-738a3c6ea342/c8e67dfb8d92964ad64cbe9759fed97d

Share this post


Link to post

I've found the following work around to be a little less of a headache when creating tables for EN when using my iPad. Although I can write HTML/CSS code I'm not extremely fluent.

  1. I purchased "ByWord" from the App Store for $2.99 (July 2012 price).

. . .

7. In Evernote paste your new table.

Sorry, but that is far too complicated and time consuming to use on a regular basis.

I don't see this as being a viable work-around.

Share this post


Link to post

Sigh, this seems so essential to me to be able to insert spreadsheets into notes and MOST importantly to be able to SORT on key column fields.

I have searched for a PIM with Android support that can do this forever.

It seems so important to keep track of information in an organized fashion.

I just don't understand why Evernote or some other PIM doesn't jump on this feature. I've seen in numerous other forums where other people are looking for the same thing as I am.

Sigh. Maybe someday.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post

I've found the following work around to be a little less of a headache when creating tables for EN when using my iPad. Although I can write HTML/CSS code I'm not extremely fluent.

  1. I purchased "ByWord" from the App Store for $2.99 (July 2012 price).

. . .

7. In Evernote paste your new table.

Sorry, but that is far too complicated and time consuming to use on a regular basis.

I don't see this as being a viable work-around.

I was really only passing along what works for me in certain situations when I want to insert a new table in EN while using my iPad. Some of your other posts seem to imply a proficiency with HTML code and tables. If so, great! As for me, creating tables in MultiMarkDown is more viable at this time, but not an end-all solution.

Cheers,

Paul

Share this post


Link to post

You can directly drag o pulling in your Excel into the note or else aftre creating an Excel you can paste it into ur Note but this will cause some format errors, which are really bad when the data is huge. If you are looking for a spreadsheet solution then check out Collatebox http://www.collatebox.com/instead of Evernote, u'll love it..

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now