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An Evernote newbie here.

I signed up for Evernote after seeing a demo video. This video left the impression that notes could be organized in an arbitrary hierarchy, and that was the feature that appealed to me. Thus upon signing up, I was surprised to learn that only a 3-deep hierarchy is permitted. Since then I have been casting around trying to see what experienced users use in place of hierarchy, and I'm not having much luck finding this out.

Let me give an example of how I would use hierarchy if it was available. At the top level would be "my life", with nodes for each of several social aspects of my life, and nodes for each project I was working on. Take a project node for a book I'm working on. Within this would be nodes for things like "salient points", "chapter ideas", "other books", etc. Within "other books" would be nodes for each one of a number of relevant books, within each book node would be nodes for each chapter of the book, within each chapter would be notes summarizing the chapter, etc., etc. Even this simple example is deeper than Evernote permits, and it is easy to see the need for even deeper levels.

So, how do experienced Evernote users represent "their whole life" (as many claim to do), with only 3 levels? What is used to substitute for the fact that our minds certainly divide our lives up into far more levels than that?

Suggestions solicited.

Thanks.

--Milton--

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An Evernote newbie here.

I signed up for Evernote after seeing a demo video. This video left the impression that notes could be organized in an arbitrary hierarchy, and that was the feature that appealed to me. Thus upon signing up, I was surprised to learn that only a 3-deep hierarchy is permitted. Since then I have been casting around trying to see what experienced users use in place of hierarchy, and I'm not having much luck finding this out.

Let me give an example of how I would use hierarchy if it was available. At the top level would be "my life", with nodes for each of several social aspects of my life, and nodes for each project I was working on. Take a project node for a book I'm working on. Within this would be nodes for things like "salient points", "chapter ideas", "other books", etc. Within "other books" would be nodes for each one of a number of relevant books, within each book node would be nodes for each chapter of the book, within each chapter would be notes summarizing the chapter, etc., etc. Even this simple example is deeper than Evernote permits, and it is easy to see the need for even deeper levels.

So, how do experienced Evernote users represent "their whole life" (as many claim to do), with only 3 levels? What is used to substitute for the fact that our minds certainly divide our lives up into far more levels than that?

Suggestions solicited.

Thanks.

--Milton--

 

Hi. Welcome to the forums.

 

Only one level for me.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=367

 

Other people use tags.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=437

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I use notebooks sparingly (though not as sparingly as GrumpyMonkey). About 15 in total. My organizational rules of thumb:

  1. Use notebooks only if you must. The use cases:
    1. For local notebooks on a desktop device. These are notebooks that are never synced to the cloud.
    2. For offline notebooks on a mobile device. These are notebooks that are always available on the mobile device, once synced, so long as device storage allows.
    3. For sharing a group of notes with others. I keep a separate account for use at work, but it's convenient to share some personal notebooks with my work account (e.g. my software development notebook), and vice-versa (for when I'm working at home)
  2. Use stacks as a convenience.
    1. For ad-hoc searching (since you cannot search designated multiple notebooks unless they're in a stack)
    2. For convenience in managing your notebook list: it's nice to keep the top-level list to a small number (10 or less, in my case) for less clutter; less-frequently used notebooks go in a stack that's normally kept closed.
  3. Use tags for everything else. Tags are great because they can be used to search across organizational structures (notebooks and stacks), and you can cross-categorize notes, which you can't do in a rigid hierarchy.

Evernote understands the traditional nested hierarchy model of organization, but they don't seem interested in providing it. They've opted for a scheme that's a lot more like GMail's. It works well for some folks, some others adapt to it, and it doesn't work at all for others. Personally, I don't miss it. I've traipsed up and down folder hierarchies for years, and truthfully, it's often wearisome. With Evernote, I can usually just describe what I want, and that narrows it down well enough to locate what I'm looking for. Not unlike the web, in some respects.

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I believe the answer was shown by jefito, but not explained. I suggest using the bullet points and/or numbering. They allow for hanging indents to organize these ideas, from the more abstract and 3D "stack > notebook > note" to a nice, concrete and 2D list. For instance, in an effort to plan for a novel, one might have something like this:

 

Legend:

 

  • Character Name
    • Purpose
      • Further Explanation
    • Bio
      • Further Explanation
    • Classification

 

The uses of these hanging indents are near endless, and have an almost unlimited application.

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I believe the answer was shown by jefito, but not explained. I suggest using the bullet points and/or numbering.

Ah, no, not really. I gathered that the original poster was interested in organizing notes in more complex hierarchies, not organizing note contents. That being said, there is a facility that's available: you can make a master note, and use it to hold note links to other notes in your note database. You can format the master note any way that you like, and an outline / bullet list would be a natural fit.

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Evernote's great searching functions, tags, and use of "key" words makes it possible (and efficient) to operate in a completely non-hierarchical world. However, that is a big conceptual leap for people who have spent the last 10-20 years only living in a hierarchical world. If you aren't ready for the big leap, then here is another approach that will move you a little in that direction.

 

Use Notebooks with Evernote. You can hierarchically put one Notebook "inside" another. In Evernote lingo, this is called "stacking". This gets you a 2-level hierarchy: Notebooks and Sub-Notebooks, if you will.  So, develop some Notebooks and put some "inside" others. For example, you could have a Notebook named "Projects". Inside that Notebook could be a sub-Notebook named "Write Book A" and another one named "Buy Another House". (All project names should start with a verb.)

 

Then, start creating Notes within one of your Sub-Notebooks. In the title of each Note, put "key" words like "salient points", "chapter ideas", "characters", "plot", and/or "setting".

 

If you don't like the idea of putting "key" words in the title of the Note, you can use Evernote's "Tag" feature as the place for the "key" words. - - - One of the great advantages of Tags is that it can relate Notes that appear in different sections of what you conceptualize as your hierarchy. That's something that an hierarchical structured tool commonly has a hard time doing / showing.

 

I hope you find these ideas helpful and applicable to your needs.

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So, how do experienced Evernote users represent "their whole life" (as many claim to do), with only 3 levels? What is used to substitute for the fact that our minds certainly divide our lives up into far more levels than that?

Suggestions solicited.

Thanks.

--Milton--

 

Milton, welcome to the wonderful world of Evernote.  It is a great app/system, and I'm sure you'll find it very useful.

But it can be very frustrating to those of us who think in hierarchical relationships.  If you must have a tool that can present information in an organized, hierarchical manner like one might need for a book, project, etc, then you will need to look elsewhere.  We've been requesting this for years now, and Evernote does not seem inclined to provide it.

 

Having said that, Evernote can still be very useful.  So you might experiment with it for a while to determine if it will work for you.

 

The main thing that would be provided by unlimited (or at least large) number of sub-Notebooks (AKA NB hierarchy) that cannot be provided by tags is the PRESENTATION of the notes in an arbitrary order.  Tags are great for searching, but the resultant list is rarely in the order one might like to read the notes.

 

While this does not replace having NB hierarchy, the relatively new feature of Evernote to create a "Table of Contents" is helpful.  If you select two or more notes you will be presented with a screen with a button to "Create Table of Contents".  This creates one Note with links to all of the selected Notes.  You could then reorder the links in the TOC note into the order you'd like.  This is great, but it presents the obvious problem of remembering to update the TOC note as you add new notes.

 

So, give Evernote a shot, feel free to ask as many questions as you'd like, and let us know how it's working for you.

 

EDIT:  Sorry, but I overlooked that you posted this in the iOS section.  The suggestion I made for using the "Table of Contents" feature is available ONLY in EN Win and EN Mac.  While the EN iOS client is great for viewing Notes and quickly creating short notes on the go, I think you'll find the desktop clients much more powerful and easier to use for content creation.

Edited by JMichael

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I believe the answer was shown by jefito, but not explained. I suggest using the bullet points and/or numbering.

Ah, no, not really. I gathered that the original poster was interested in organizing notes in more complex hierarchies, not organizing note contents. That being said, there is a facility that's available: you can make a master note, and use it to hold note links to other notes in your note database. You can format the master note any way that you like, and an outline / bullet list would be a natural fit.

You know, this is such an obvious solution...but it never would have ocurred to me had you not pointed it out!

Smacks her forehead. :)

Thanks Jefito.

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