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REQUEST: Change Search Grammar to Include Child Tags of Specified Parent Tag

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I made this suggestion in May 2012 as part of another thread. It seemed to be well received by a number of other users, but I never did see any response from Evernote. I am concerned that this request got lost in the other thread, so I am submitting it here.

Change Search Grammar to Include Child Tags of Specified Parent Tag

One change that would really help is to ADD to the Search grammar the provision to include all child Tags of the specified Parent Tag.

Example Search Expression: tag:Evernote+
The change is the + symbol at the end of the Tag name.

This would include all Notes who have a tag of the parent "Evernote" OR any sub-tag of "Evernote".

Assume I have a hierarchical Tag like this:

  • Evernote
    • Mac
    • Win
    • iOS
    • Android

Thus, if I have a note with only a tag of "Win", it would be included in the search for "tag:Evernote+".
Similarly notes with only a tag of "Mac" would be included.
Any note that has only a sub-tag of "Evernote" would be included.

I have shown a simple two-level hierarchy above. It is often useful to have a tag hierarchy of several levels.

This change would have minimal impact on the Evernote client:

  • The only impact is on the Search engine
  • No UI changes (other than to allow the use of "+" symbol in search expression)
  • No EN structure changes
  • No impact on those who don't want to use it
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I need this badly. Without this, tag hierarchies does not work well on EN.

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+1

Shouldn't tags and parent tags work just like notebooks and stacks? You click on a stack, you see all notes within the notebooks of that stack. Same should go for clicking on a tag parent.

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I don't think that tags and subtags should work just like stacks and notebooks; for those of us who use the tag hierarchy as a convenient organizational mechanism, rather than a strict classification scheme, having the behavior change to what's proposed would be inconvenient. That's not to say that having the ability to do what's proposed wouldn't be useful; I've actually proposed something similar awhile back, in the old forums in the form of UI behaviors relating to interacting with the tag tree and searches. Reference thread for this topic: http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/15173-shouldnt-selecting-a-parent-tag-search-child-tags/

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I could really use this. Might as well go all the way and say that notebook:"stack name+" should search within the notebooks of a stack too, which would also be terribly useful.

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I don't think that tags and subtags should work just like stacks and notebooks; for those of us who use the tag hierarchy as a convenient organizational mechanism, rather than a strict classification scheme, having the behavior change to what's proposed would be inconvenient. That's not to say that having the ability to do what's proposed wouldn't be useful; I've actually proposed something similar awhile back, in the old forums in the form of UI behaviors relating to interacting with the tag tree and searches. Reference thread for this topic: http://discussion.ev...rch-child-tags/

I'd say it's fine to let the tag behaviour as-is, but still enhance search to allow for searching for child-tags, as JMichael proposed. Definitely +1 from me!

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I'd say it's fine to let the tag behaviour as-is, but still enhance search to allow for searching for child-tags, as JMichael proposed. Definitely +1 from me!

Had you read the entire referenced thread, you might have noticed that it would appear that I am also in favor of enhancing the search grammar for child tags (post is http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/15173-shouldnt-selecting-a-parent-tag-search-child-tags/#entry74067):

However, I think my shift-click idea is a good one. The shift key wouldn't work as mentioned above because it's already used, but something like option-clicking I think would work great. It would be one of those features that no one need worry, care, or even know about unless they wanted to. It would just be another advanced search feature.

Oh, I didn't disagree with the idea, just wanted to point out that shift-click was already taken. I can see how you might also want to augment the search grammar via, say (and this is where Dave twitches offscreen :)), prefixing the 'tag:' modifier with a '+' sign: '+tag:MyTag' would search for all notes containing tag 'MyTag' and all of its children (and maybe its their children, etc.). Or something like that...

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Had you read the entire referenced thread, you might have noticed that it would appear that I am also in favor of enhancing the search grammar for child tags (post is http://discussion.ev...ags/#entry74067):

I'm sorry - didn't feel like reading the entire thread, and certainly didn't mean to offend you.

No problem. I know it's a long thread, just wanted to let you know that I have been in favor of this type of improvement to the search grammar (and a number of others) for quite some time. The discussion of searching taking advantage of the hierarchical structure of tags is not a new one; I think that this thread dates back to soon after hierarchical tags were introduced if I remember correctly, and there are some other good ideas there as well, making it pretty much worth reading, in my opinion

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Hello all,

I just added this very feature to BitQwik if anyone would like to help test it. BitQwik is a free natural language front end for searching Evernote that also supports mixed AND/OR logic searches and a host of other searches that Evernote can't do by itself. Note, BitQwik runs on Windows PCs. It can also run on a Mac that has Parallels, VMWare Fusion, or similar installed.

Here's an example. On my system I have the following nested tags:

parent

____child-A

________grandchild-A1

________grandchild-A2

____child-B

________grandchild-B1

________grandchild-B2

Note, the names are irrelevant. I'm only using these as an example.

If I do a search like the following:

Show me notes tagged with parent+

BitQwik knows to expand the search to include: parent, child-A, grandchild-A1, grandchild-A2, child-B, grandchild-B1, grandchild-B2.

If I do a search like this:

Show me notes tagged with child-B+

BitQwik knows to expand the search to include: child-B, grandchild-B1, grandchild-B2.

Here's a more complex example:

Show me notes tagged with parent+. Leave out notes tagged with child-B+.

This would result in a search results listing that included notes tagged with: parent, child-A, grandchild-A1, grandchild-A2. The tree belonging to child-B would be culled from the search results along with child-B because that's what we told it to do. Nested tags can be used freely with any other search condition. For example:

I want notes that are tagged with parent+ that I created last week or have the words football or Monty Python in the title.

Just to be clear. I am not describing the kinds of searches you can do with BitQwik. Those plain English sentences above are the actual queries and any equivalent sentence would do the same thing.

To state it more simply, BitQwik does all the complex operations above for you with nested tags and other search conditions without you having to worry about any of it or use any complex search operators or syntax. The only reason I went into the detail I did above was to describe to you the power of the internal search engine.

If you are interested in testing this new version just post a reply here. It will be made public in a few days after it's tested a bit. Thank you JMichael for the excellent suggestion.

-- roschler

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The new version in testing now also has support for Notebook Stacks. If you enter a Notebook Stack name in a query, BitQwik automatically detects it and ropes in all the Notebook in the stack into the query. For example:

Show me notes in my Catalogs notebook stack. Leave out notes in my Retail notebook stack.

As usual, Notebook Stack search conditions can be combined with anything else and it is all done with simple English sentences. If anyone wants to test just post a reply.

-- roschler

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Here is a workaround. It's not elegant, but it works.

  1. Hold down the Shift key (this is for Windows--I don't know the key on MAC)
  2. Click on the parent tag and then on each of the sub or child tags.
  3. Press control+F10 or use the View menu to Show Search Explanation.
  4. Change "Matching All" to "Matching Any." This will show you all the notes with any of these tags.
  5. Click the magnifying glass with a plus sign on the right of the search view bar to save the search.

The main weakness of this workaround is that you have to create a new search every time you add a sub-tag to a tag that you want to search.

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Was this feature ever added to Evernote? If not, are there workarounds that I could use to emulate the "tag:Parent+" search operator without creating a custom search each time? (As recommended by Peyton)

 

This would be extremely useful for me, and it's a mystery why Evernote wouldn't add something like this to their search operators.

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Was this feature ever added to Evernote? 

No.

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+1

 

This would be a huge addition for power users and wouldn't over-complicate things for users who don't want it.

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+1

 

This would be a huge addition for power users and wouldn't over-complicate things for users who don't want it.

 

Especially since many Parent Tags are simply placeholder tags under which to nest Children Tags. It would add another dimension to search, pretty much the way selecting a stack works. 

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just did a search on this request but couldn't find any information that EN has implemented it....am I missing it, or is if the case, mid 2015 we still do not have it??

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You are correct, still no inheritance of child tags in searches.

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My search system allows me to find the child tags of a specific parent tag.

I've been doing this for the past 6 years.

 

If I want to see all the child level tags for Government (Federal, State, County, Town), I search for:

tag:gov-*

 

https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/50676-feature-suggestion-option-for-nested-tags-to-filter-by-parent-tag/#entry251605

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Nice workaround if you want inheritance from parent to child tags.

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I use the same technique as @JBenson2, and it works quite well for 2 or 3 levels of tag hierarchy.  Beyond that tag names become quite long and are more difficult to select/assign.

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I don't need the functionality that much.  Two reasons; 1 - my parent tags tend to be aggregators (for example accounts or people) so the children aren't that related, and 2 - I don't care for the redundancy of the prefix, a personal thing.  So I have a couple of saved searches.  Definitely one of those whatever floats your boat things.  :)

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@Cal:  Interesting.  Almost all of my tags that are in hierarchies are closely related.

I suspect the same is true for JBenson2.

 

The redundancy of the prefix is a workaround.  That's why we would like to have the feature requested in this thread.   ;)

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Yup, a nice workaround for sure if that is how one uses tags.  I'm sure a parent inheritance search would be a boon for many.  :)

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In the meantime, we also have WorkFlowy  ;) ... a fabulous demonstration of how nested lists work in conjunction with tags. A sight to behold. 

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In the meantime, we also have WorkFlowy  ;) ... a fabulous demonstration of how nested lists work in conjunction with tags. A sight to behold. 

 

Not at all the same thing has having nested tags with inheritance.  

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Guys, I thought I had the answer from today's discussion...however, I seem to be struggling with the search syntax.....

 

I had already set up my parent tag (yes, mostly for quick view and aggregation of child tags)

 

I named the many child tags as followed:

 

graphics_activefit

images_activefit

installation_activefit

 

etc, etc, about 50 childs follow this format (it makes it easier for me to quick tag)

 

I've done my research for this project, and am now needing to quickly search for material which can be in several places.

 

However, now I am struggling with the search. I guess I would like to search on text within any tag with the suffice _activefit

 

I am not having luck, and it probably has to do with wildcards...I thought the following would work, but it doesn't  ---   tag:*_activefit [text]

 

Can it be done?

 

by the way, I only use one notebook and tag everything but I thought parent child would work for the purposes of this project...

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The phrase activefit needs to be the prefix.  Wildcard won't work on the front of the search.  So if you rename your tags by reversing activefit, tag:activefit* should do the trick.

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@bradsayers:
 

Using the technique that @JBenson2 described above, all of the "child" tags need to have the same prefix.  Suffixes won't work.

 

So, instead of:

graphics_activefit
images_activefit
installation_activefit

 

you would use:

activefit.graphics
activefit.images
activefit.installation
 
And then the Search box would be:
tag:activefit.*
 
Personally, I prefer short tags, even shorter prefixes.
So I would use "AF." as my prefix, giving:
AF.graphics
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Thanks csihilling and jmichael - all is working as it should be, as I have renamed the child tags accordingly...really appreciate everyone's help! Brad

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In the meantime, we also have WorkFlowy  ;) ... a fabulous demonstration of how nested lists work in conjunction with tags. A sight to behold. 

 

Not at all the same thing has having nested tags with inheritance.  

 

 

Of course it does. Absolutely. In fact, its exactly the same concept, considering that we're mostly talking about nested tags here in lieu of a nested notebook setup. 

 

The fact that someone is nesting tags relates more to nested (duh) structures/ hierarchies and what can be searched therein (as opposed to a "multiverse" of tags). You'll need to do some tinkering to see that what WorkFlowy has to offer in this area is way superior, especially when you throw tags in the mix. You have to tinker to believe it.

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@Frank:  We are discussing, in this thread, how tag search works (or we would like it to work) in Evernote.  That is much different than how you organize ONE document in a hierarchical manner.

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Thanks csihilling and jmichael - all is working as it should be, as I have renamed the child tags accordingly...really appreciate everyone's help! Brad

You are welcome.

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Thanks csihilling and jmichael - all is working as it should be, as I have renamed the child tags accordingly...really appreciate everyone's help! Brad

 

It is really @JBenson2 who deserves the thanks -- the idea/concept was his long, long, ago.

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Thanks csihilling and jmichael - all is working as it should be, as I have renamed the child tags accordingly...really appreciate everyone's help! Brad

 

It is really @JBenson2 who deserves the thanks -- the idea/concept was his long, long, ago.

 

Yeah, when Moby Dick was a minnow.  :)

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@Frank:  We are discussing, in this thread, how tag search works (or we would like it to work) in Evernote.  That is much different than how you organize ONE document in a hierarchical manner.

 

The ability that one has to zoom into any list within WorkFlowy's "ONE document organized in a hierarchical manner" is that you can go deeper into nested lists... which creates a breadcrumb navigation trail up until whatever child list one has accessed within the hierarchy. We're talking about nested lists, which work exactly like nested notebooks within Evernote stacks or a nested Windows/ Dropbox-like system. Exactly

 

My illustration is for WorkFlowy users who would naturally understand the illustration, which is 100% in line with this thread and is a picture of how we might all like nested tag search to work in Evernote. I think you may be drawing on your knowledge of outliners in general. WorkFlowy has a nested list feature that allows one to hone in on any list within a hierarchy as if it were a parent notebook with multiple children notebooks nested thereunder... and SEARCH from any level down that we wish. Also, once again, I do believe this is the exact same dynamic we are hoping to achieve with nested tags in Evernote - since the reason we nest them is to (in some use cases) visually mimic a nested notebook-type system - except that in Evernote we cannot search for "inherited tags" by filtering a parent tag - beyond the workaround outlined by yourself and @Jbenson2.

 

You'll need to expand your mind a bit (pun intended) and tinker with WorkFlowy as I suggested. It gives the exact results one would hope for with our proposed feature in Evernote... and far superior when one throws WorkFlowy tags into the mix on top of that. 

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@Frank:  This discussion is not about outliners in general.  It is very specific to TAG SEARCHING. 

WorkFlowy or any other outliner is not a viable alternative to what we are asking for. 

Can we please have the outliner discussion elsewhere?

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Yeah, when Moby Dick was a minnow.  :)

 

Anything for the last word?   :lol:

"Minnow"?   Maybe you meant fry or fingerling.

 

minnow or min·nows

1. Any of a large group of small freshwater fishes of the family Cyprinidae, widely used as live bait.
2. Any of various other small, often silver-colored fishes.

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@Frank:  This discussion is not about outliners in general.  It is very specific to TAG SEARCHING. 

WorkFlowy or any other outliner is not a viable alternative to what we are asking for. 

Can we please have the outliner discussion elsewhere?

 

Are you being serious? I put forth an illustration of how one would search a nested hierarchy of tags if it were implemented in Evernote. 100% on topic. What's really ironic here is that you think I'm primarily going on about an outliner. I'm not even primarily suggesting it as an alternative, which you might mistake my initial post to mean. I put Evernote through its paces and know full well that one cannot do in WorkFlowy everything that can be done in Evernote. Just the fact that you can only input text... 

 

We're not talking about a substitute for Evernote... we're talking more about dynamics and features. Through your subsequent responses (and my initial post was not targeted at you or anyone specific) you have not demonstrated an understanding of what I put forth. I acknowledge: THIS IS NOT AN OUTLINER DISCUSSION. WorkFlowy just happens to be an outliner. I am absolutely illustrating a tagging-type dynamic as it relates to what we try to imitate in Evernote through nested tags as merely a visual collocation - and added to that the ability to search from any part of a hierarchy down. If you're too lax to seriously consider what I'm saying and wrap your mind around it, you have no leg to stand on when it comes to asking me to take the discussion elsewhere.

 

I AM talking about tag searching through and through... but what you seem to be exhibiting is exactly the type of resistance to concepts as when Evernote newbies do not at first get that tags can replace a notebook setup. They do not at first comprehend the concept. Why should the reverse not apply here, except mirrored within a nested Notebook-type system with full tagging dynamics? I'm quite frankly (pun intended) surprised that you of all people don't get the simplest of connections that I outlined (no pun intended).

 

Don't shoo away what you don't get. Make an honest effort to understand it first and only then be oh so sure of yourself. 

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Yeah, when Moby Dick was a minnow.  :)

 

Anything for the last word?   :lol:

"Minnow"?   Maybe you meant fry or fingerling.

 

minnow or min·nows

1. Any of a large group of small freshwater fishes of the family Cyprinidae, widely used as live bait.

2. Any of various other small, often silver-colored fishes.

Naw. It's an old saying re something that has been around for a while.

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