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MaxLTV

mac (Archived) Lists in Evernote

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The only feature that stops me from switching to evernote is very poor handling of lists. For example, if I start typing:

1. The editor should be smart enough to start a list when it sees a paragraph starting with 1.

The editor is not smart enough to understand that this is a start of a list.

  1. Another issue is that if I start the list manually, like here, and want to add the nex level,

    1. the next level has the same number formatting as the current level, so there is no way to see which level you are on when dealing with longer lists. It would be more convenient if the next level was labeled with a letter or Roman numerals



      But I do need lists for writing article outlines or any kind of outlines in general... Adding those simple features and other list-handling things from common text editors would go long way.

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I am personally not a fan of these "autodetection" features; they drive me mad in word processors already.

Moreover, lists have much more fundamental issues as yet: for instance, what is really bad, Evernote does not recognise pure text lists as such. Example:

A

B

C

D

E

Copy this from, say a text editor. Because you copied a list from somewhere else and want to transfer it to Evernote. Then make an Evernote list item and paste. What happens is:

• A

B

C

D

E

not the obviously intended:

• A

• B

• C

• D

•E

To cut it short: getting lists in and out could be much better supported. This "recognising" "1." is, I believe, the wrong way to go. Much better would be a keyboard shortcut to start a list.

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This "recognising" "1." is, I believe, the wrong way to go. Much better would be a keyboard shortcut to start a list.

I agree. I wouldn't want Evernote automatically turning something I write into a list. Most of my lists are unformatted and I prefer them to stay that way. Additionally, there are keyboard shortcuts to begin formatted lists: shift+CMD+U for a bullet list and shift+CMD+O for a numbered list.

I do, however, agree with the OP that formatted lists could be improved with differentiating bullets and numerals per level.

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I just like the idea of typing away and formatting appearing by itself - almost never have to undo it in the products where it's implemented adequately (e.g., OneNote). Remembering keyboard shortcuts is a bit last century. Having to work with over a dozen of different products, each with different shortcuts/keyboards and some without keyboards, I just gave up. It's an easy task to program an algo that understands what text is a list and formats it the way I want it with 99%+ accuracy. I'm sure someone at Evernote is smart enough to figure it out - it's been done before.

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Syllogism

  1. Lists are incredibly useful for organizing information
  2. Evernote s**ks at handling lists
  3. Do not use Evernote to handle lists

The best list handling software I've seen so far is checkvist.

It has too many nice, well thought-out features to describe but I'll just mention

easy rearrangement of lists

  • easy control of list entry hierarchies
  • easy expansion and contracting of hierarchical list entries
  • easy and non-intrusive access to help text if you can't figure out how to do something
  • and many, many more

Note: I don't work for or have any connection to checkvist except as a customer. Like evernote they have free and paid accounts

and while I could probably get by with a free account, their cost (like evernote's) is so reasonable that I'm glad to support them.

I do get the impression that the team is just 1 or 2 folks programming away somewhere in northern europe and I really admire what they do.

Their only drawbacks are

  • they do not have an offline client
  • they only handle lists and while you can fit a lot into lists, there are many other forms of information

I may take that last statement back - evernote itself can be thought of as a list with notebooks being the level 1 entries and notes the level 2 entries.

Anyway - my suggestion is that checkvist and evernote merge. I'm not a big fan of corporate structure and I'm sure there would be some management and other style differences, but I think the advantages would be tremendous.

Effective management of information has been a holy grail of computing for a long time (remember Ecco Pro). I hope evernote and checkvist decide to join the quest (Monty Python references welcome).

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