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erwinf

(Archived) Why the heck am I still using OneNote???

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I'm the IT VP at a midsized company, and frequently am asked for advice on different needs. I was recently asked if I'm still using OneNote, and had to pause to ASK MYSELF WHY I'm still using it...

I use EverNOTE A LOT - and recommend it ALOT - but haven't given up OneNote either. This is rather distressing to me - I HATE having my note repositories scattered in different places; slows me down when I try to remember where I saved something. I know I can use the wizard to migrate notes from OneNote - very nice, but the entry and usage itself still has features EverNote doesn't, which I'd love to see EverNote add...

1) Note organizational structure - folders, etc. Tagging in EverNOTE very nice, but I'd like to combine it with more structure still - perhaps let saved tag searches be saved as "folder" tabs, with embedded folder abilities?

2) Note section highlighting ("Tagging") - graphical icons for Star, Question, ToDo (EverNote has that - but can I remap it to the same hotkey as OneNote to make easier to remember?) Almost 30 tags, each with their own graphical icon, and easy keyboard shortcuts for the most used ones. Makes rapid, visual tagging while typing much easier

3) Tagged Notes Summaries - take those tags you made, and instantly create a full note "summary" with the most important elements you need

EverNote is always evolving, and has great features. If these could be added, I think I could give up OneNote entirely.

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I'm in exactly the same place you are. I'm an attorney with a large number of clients. I use evernote for my personal home/needs, and I use onenote exclusively in the office. I wish evernote could be my one stop, but the inability to create separate nested notebooks or sections per client, is really the killer.

In onenote, each client gets a section, and then each time I get a phone call, need to review a file, prep an exam, etc... it gets a new page in that client's section. Since it gets automatically date and time stamped, and prints with the section name at the bottom, I can instantly create a paper record of that note as needed.

Evernote absolutely wipes the floor with onenote on so many levels, not the least of which being it's online and mobile sync. Right now I use live mesh to backup my onenote folders and let me access them at home, but it's really inefficient.

If Evernote added the ability to organize separate and nested notebooks so that I could have for example:

personal (and whatever sub sections I wanted)

Work

Client 1

Client 2

I'd be completely converted.

I may be totally off base, but looking at previous builds of evernote, http://www.hermanboel.eu/images/software/evernote.gif we used to be able to do this?

Anyhow just my thoughts, and hopes that soon I'll be able to drop onenote altogether.

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Me too. Really loved OneNote but it's lack of cloud skills was making it hard to keep using. Moved all my data over to Evernote and really like it. But not being able to keep data in real containers lead to way to much looking around for things. That shot you linked to of the old Evernote client looks good (A little to many folders for me but thats just me.)

I could completely walk away from OneNote and get an Evernote Premium account if I could just have containers or folders or etc. Shoot I'd start pushing all my users to move to Evernote. We are OneNote whores around here. I have moved almost half our office to Tablet PC's and we are working towards being a company with less paper.

Please Evernote respond to us. could this happen? Or just a flat no? any answer is still an answer.

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We currently have three organizational metaphors to help you find your notes:

A flat set of "Notebooks". Each note is in exactly one Notebook (which means there is a strict one-to-many relationship between Notebooks and Notes).

A set of "Tags" that can be applied to an unlimited number of notes. (This means there's a many-to-many relationship between Tags and Notes). You can further organize your Tags by moving them under each other in a hierarchy, so you can hide and show the Tags you're manipulating at a given time.

A rich searching/filtering interface that includes the ability to save searches for re-use later. These "Saved Searches" operate sort of like smart playlists in iTunes ... when you click on the search, you'll see the notes that currently meet those criteria, not the ones that happened to match when the Search was created.

Also keep in mind that our basic text search capabilities give you a very quick way to find notes without pre-organizing them first. Via Google, I can find the page I want out of billions of web pages by just typing text into the search box ... without requiring me to pre-tag all of those pages. We think our search technology can offer you similar power for your own collection of a few thousand notes.

While we're certainly not ruling out further organizational metaphors, the current set of tools already exceeds what you get in a lot of comparable applications (e.g. Google Notebook). We need to balance the marginal advantages of adding more subtly-different organizational metaphors against the complexity that this creates for new users. We don't want to make a set of tools that are perfect for professors of Semiotics, but incomprehensible for the average first-time user.

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We need to balance the marginal advantages of adding more subtly-different organizational metaphors against the complexity that this creates for new users. We don't want to make a set of tools that are perfect for professors of Semiotics, but incomprehensible for the average first-time user.

That's actually great news.

Too many otherwise good softwares get bloated and unusable because they try to be everything to everybody. I hope Evernote will always strive for simplicity of concept and use.

Actually the concept of categories in former versions was a simple and powerful one... and I'm just curious why it's been put aside in favor of notebooks & tags (which by the way, is a good concept too).

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Actually the concept of categories in former versions was a simple and powerful one... and I'm just curious why it's been put aside in favor of notebooks & tags (which by the way, is a good concept too).

Categories could be assigned to multiple notes, and we kept this capability but changed the naming to "Tags" since that seems to be a more common thing these days.

Some of the advanced capabilities of the old Categories feature were on the wrong side of the "power vs. confusion" scale. In particular, "auto-Category" Filters were very hard to find in the UI and hard to explain to new users. (I have a couple of CS degrees from fancy schools and I had to ask for help from the Windows team lead to fully understand how these worked.)

We now separate "searching and filtering" operations into a explicit, top-level tool that's exposed at the top level UI as "Saved Searches". Saved Searches offer much more flexible filtering capabilities than the old Category Filters. Previously, you could make a Category that showed a date range, or that showed notes with a keyword, but not both. Now, you can build arbitrarily complex searches and then save them as a single Saved Search.

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Dave, you're still almost exclusively emphasising search for individual notes. Evernote is very (very) good at this. But most people who ask about this seem to me to be emphasizing the context of groups of notes, particularly for note *production*, ie. within their own projects (unless I'm just projecting my own use case onto others?).

If you deal with a pile of papers for a project, you'll arrange and re-arrange and stick them in folders and folders-within-folders 'till you get the organisation right. Evernote is still rather clumsy for this kind of thing, in my experience. And I really *have* put in the time to try because in most ways I like EN so much, and like the OP here I would prefer to keep all my notes in one app.

It's not all about searching, and it's not all about single captured notes, at least not for me.

Btw I'm certainly not a semiotics or any other kind of Prof; and Professor jibes are probably a bit passé now you have a President who can read (and even write).

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Thanks for the feedback, Crispin. Like I said, I'm not positive that we have exactly the right balance between power vs. complexity today, but that's our primary concern in moving slowly before making things more complicated. I.e. we're aiming to "first do no harm" in this case rather than just avoiding typing in code.

Making the wrong decisions on power user features can create a tool that's great for 2% of our users and a mess for everyone else. My favorite text editor is Emacs since I know every horrible key combination and editing mode by heart, but I wouldn't wish its learning curve on my worst enemy.

[...steering way clear of any political humor...]

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I.e. we're aiming to "first do no harm" in this case rather than just avoiding typing in code.

Making the wrong decisions on power user features can create a tool that's great for 2% of our users and a mess for everyone else. My favorite text editor is Emacs since I know every horrible key combination and editing mode by heart, but I wouldn't wish its learning curve on my worst enemy.

Yes, I can see that. Another aspect to all this is of course that every app shouldn't do everything. Using different apps for aspects of the same task or project makes interoperability one of the answers. You're doing great work in that respect with the API stuff. I'd love to be able to link zotero and EN items in some way.

[...steering way clear of any political humor...]

Wise. Though steering clear of politics is not easy today. Your Pres. inauguration is getting an unprecedented amount of attention here (Australia).

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You know, every time Dave gets deep into the thought process that goes on with the Evernote team, I come a little closer to coming on board. I really don't think Evernote will ever be quite the right tool for me to use to organize client notes and memos. I have hundreds of clients, and onenote suits that particular task perfectly, each client gets a section, each section has individual pages for individual notes that automatically date and time stamp, and print with the section title's name at the bottom for paper backup.

That doesn't mean that I don't use evernote for everything else. However, veering off the subnotebook/hierarchy subject for a second -

Assuming I have notes pulled up based on the filtering for a specific tag hierarchy, for example, recipes, baking... is there a way to allow for whatever new note I add to the bottom of this saved search to inherit the tags of the filter I am in?

I tend to be a very disorganized thinker, which is one of the reasons a tool like evernote is so fantastic in the first place... I feel like being able to automatically add tags to a new note based on what tags you have filtered for. Maybe this is unclear (I don't have evernote in front of me on this computer) but I think that would add a level of efficiency to adding new notes within a certain tag structure, without actually altering any of the metaphors.

The downside of this would be if you forgot to unfilter your results before adding a new note, it might inadvertently get tagged, so making this a selectable option might be the way to go.

Also, I apologize in advance if this feature already exists- I haven't played with the tags all that much.

By the way Dave, it's truly awesome that you're as responsive on these forums as you are.

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Have you tried creating a tag within a tag? This is a way to have more of a folder-level type of organization for your notes.

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is there a way to allow for whatever new note I add to the bottom of this saved search to inherit the tags of the filter I am in?

I tend to be a very disorganized thinker, which is one of the reasons a tool like evernote is so fantastic in the first place... I feel like being able to automatically add tags to a new note based on what tags you have filtered for. Maybe this is unclear (I don't have evernote in front of me on this computer) but I think that would add a level of efficiency to adding new notes within a certain tag structure, without actually altering any of the metaphors.

The downside of this would be if you forgot to unfilter your results before adding a new note, it might inadvertently get tagged, so making this a selectable option might be the way to go.

No, you can't do this with Evernote 3. In EN2.2, this was standard, back when tags were categories.

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Everyone is asking for sub-categories/sub-notes so why don't you just implement this?

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