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SahilC

Trying to replace the "folder" metaphor with tags

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Hello EN community!

 

So I'm trying to get out of the folder-subfolder mindset, because 1)EN doesn't have subfolders, and 2)tags seem to be more flexible.

 

The problem I'm facing is this: With the usual folder-subfolder hierarchy, when I open a folder, I get a list of all the subfolders within that folder. With tags, it isn't like that. I'd have to remember all the additional tags i need to filter further. I don't have the visual sense of what's inside the folder, or "tag".

 

This is especially a problem on mobile devices, where you can search for a tag, but you can't filter by two or more tags without going into search>advanced search>choose notebook>and find all tags. Even here, the tags are sorted alphabetically, not grouped! It's really  pain.

 

I'd appreciate any advice from you pros!

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Hello EN community!

So I'm trying to get out of the folder-subfolder mindset, because 1)EN doesn't have subfolders, and 2)tags seem to be more flexible.

The problem I'm facing is this: With the usual folder-subfolder hierarchy, when I open a folder, I get a list of all the subfolders within that folder. With tags, it isn't like that. I'd have to remember all the additional tags i need to filter further. I don't have the visual sense of what's inside the folder, or "tag".

This is especially a problem on mobile devices, where you can search for a tag, but you can't filter by two or more tags without going into search>advanced search>choose notebook>and find all tags. Even here, the tags are sorted alphabetically, not grouped! It's really pain.

I'd appreciate any advice from you pros!

IMO, this is why descriptive titles & keywords are helpful. Let's say I am wanting to look at my Cox cable bill from May of 2014. In EN, it's note title is "20140522 Cox", on my hard drive, I must drill down to:

V drive / Paperport / bills / 2014 / Cox

And then I can find the bill from May. But in Evernote, I simply run this search:

Intitle:201405* cox

And out of my tens of thousands of notes pops up the one that is my cable bill I'm looking for. Notice I'm not even selecting a notebook or tag.

Another example is that I have a lot of notes that serve as reminders for how to do something. They are tagged "tutorials" but some pertain to work related tasks & some pertain to things I do in my personal life. One such note contains the syntax & parameters I use to remotely reboot a unix computer. The note title is "how to reboot unix". Instead of drilling down through various folders on my hard drive, I simply search across all notes (not even selecting a notebook (EN does not have "folders") like this:

Tag:tutorials intitle:reboot unix

And my note is quickly found in the results pane because it's either the only one or there are only a handful of notes in the results pane.

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Hello EN community!

So I'm trying to get out of the folder-subfolder mindset, because 1)EN doesn't have subfolders, and 2)tags seem to be more flexible.

The problem I'm facing is this: With the usual folder-subfolder hierarchy, when I open a folder, I get a list of all the subfolders within that folder. With tags, it isn't like that. I'd have to remember all the additional tags i need to filter further. I don't have the visual sense of what's inside the folder, or "tag".

This is especially a problem on mobile devices, where you can search for a tag, but you can't filter by two or more tags without going into search>advanced search>choose notebook>and find all tags. Even here, the tags are sorted alphabetically, not grouped! It's really pain.

I'd appreciate any advice from you pros!

IMO, this is why descriptive titles & keywords are helpful. Let's say I am wanting to look at my Cox cable bill from May of 2014. In EN, it's note title is "20140522 Cox", on my hard drive, I must drill down to:

V drive / Paperport / bills / 2014 / Cox

And then I can find the bill from May. But in Evernote, I simply run this search:

Intitle:201405* cox

And out of my tens of thousands of notes pops up the one that is my cable bill I'm looking for. Notice I'm not even selecting a notebook or tag.

Another example is that I have a lot of notes that serve as reminders for how to do something. They are tagged "tutorials" but some pertain to work related tasks & some pertain to things I do in my personal life. One such note contains the syntax & parameters I use to remotely reboot a unix computer. The note title is "how to reboot unix". Instead of drilling down through various folders on my hard drive, I simply search across all notes (not even selecting a notebook (EN does not have "folders") like this:

Tag:tutorials intitle:reboot unix

And my note is quickly found in the results pane because it's either the only one or there are only a handful of notes in the results pane.

 

 

Thanks BNF! Great example.

 

But this is fine when you're searching for a specific note. What if I just want to see what are the options I have for tagging a note?

 

Fore example, I want to put NoteX in Notebook "Test". I want to tag it with "tag2". How am I supposed to know that I've already used "tag2" before? Or a variation of that, like "2tag", or "tag-2"? I really hope you get what I'm trying to say. 

 

I love how quick it is to search for something that you specifically know you want right then. But I can't find any way of getting a visual look at my organization.

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You might want to use the "tag prefixes" concept that JMichael explains here; I think that approach might meet your needs (or come close).

 

For a completely different approach to hierarchically organizing your notes into a tree outline, you might want to look at our TuskTools Treeliner solution.  That actually lets you operate in the folder-subfolder mindset with Evernote.

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Thanks @phils. Treeliner sounds awesome. When is it coming out, though? The video was made in 2012! 

The tag prefix suggestion by JMichael sounds great, too.

 

Just now, while using Evernote web clipper, I saved an article to a notebook. I wanted to add a tag to it. There is a tag that i usually use in this notebook, but I don't remember what it was. How am I supposed to remember that specific tag?

 

^this is the situation I'm talking about. Most of the time, the available tags for my usage are hidden to me. 

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Thanks @phils. Treeliner sounds awesome. When is it coming out, though? The video was made in 2012! 
The tag prefix suggestion by JMichael sounds great, too.
 
Just now, while using Evernote web clipper, I saved an article to a notebook. I wanted to add a tag to it. There is a tag that i usually use in this notebook, but I don't remember what it was. How am I supposed to remember that specific tag?
 
^this is the situation I'm talking about. Most of the time, the available tags for my usage are hidden to me. 

 

 

You could organise your tags in a hierarchical structure by clustering them into categories. Each category is defined by a "parent" tag of which the name can be in capital letters. The parent tag is never assigned to any note, but the tags that fall in a particular category can be dragged to the parent category & appear as "child" tags. The child tags are assigned to notes.

With this set-up you can easily see your options & determine which tag to assign to the note. As an example:

parent tag*: COMMUNICATION

                    child tag*: email

                    child tag*: sms

                    child tag*: call

 

* These words are not part of the tag names.

 

It is important to have a consistent nomenclature. Parent tags in CAPITALS, child tags in lower case letters, always use the singular for both types.

The categories you define are up to you, as are the number of categories. There will always be tags you cannot assign to 1 particular named category, so you could assign them to a category "INDEPENDENT" or whatever name you choose.

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Hi Sahil,

 

Treeliner was on the back burner for a time while I was engaged in some other projects, but is now a top priority and is now being distributed as we speak to beta testers on a rolling basis.

 

Yes, I understand your point in terms of the web clipper; that in particular is a case where you don't have the full Evernote interface available to you to see your full tag list.  I still think, though, that the tag prefix solution could help, yes?  At least you would only need to remember the beginning letter or two of the prefix, then when you type that, you'll see all of the tags that match.

 

Also, if you associate tags with specific notebooks as it sounds like you might, you could have the notebook name be the start of the prefix, so in your web-clipper example when you start typing the name of the notebook, you'd see the tags that you use in that notebook.

 

These aren't perfect solutions, for sure, but might help.  (Frankly, while some Evernote users definitely use tags, I'd say the shortcomings you're highlighting are one reason why I don't really use them for much myself!)

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Thanks @phils. Treeliner sounds awesome. When is it coming out, though? The video was made in 2012! 
The tag prefix suggestion by JMichael sounds great, too.
 
Just now, while using Evernote web clipper, I saved an article to a notebook. I wanted to add a tag to it. There is a tag that i usually use in this notebook, but I don't remember what it was. How am I supposed to remember that specific tag?
 
^this is the situation I'm talking about. Most of the time, the available tags for my usage are hidden to me. 

 

 

You could organise your tags in a hierarchical structure by clustering them into categories. Each category is defined by a "parent" tag of which the name can be in capital letters. The parent tag is never assigned to any note, but the tags that fall in a particular category can be dragged to the parent category & appear as "child" tags. The child tags are assigned to notes.

With this set-up you can easily see your options & determine which tag to assign to the note. As an example:

parent tag*: COMMUNICATION

                    child tag*: email

                    child tag*: sms

                    child tag*: call

 

* These words are not part of the tag names.

 

It is important to have a consistent nomenclature. Parent tags in CAPITALS, child tags in lower case letters, always use the singular for both types.

The categories you define are up to you, as are the number of categories. There will always be tags you cannot assign to 1 particular named category, so you could assign them to a category "INDEPENDENT" or whatever name you choose.

 

 

Thanks! That's a great idea, but doesn't specifically solve the problem I'm having with visualizing what to tag with when I'm creating the note.

 

Hi Sahil,

 

Treeliner was on the back burner for a time while I was engaged in some other projects, but is now a top priority and is now being distributed as we speak to beta testers on a rolling basis.

 

Yes, I understand your point in terms of the web clipper; that in particular is a case where you don't have the full Evernote interface available to you to see your full tag list.  I still think, though, that the tag prefix solution could help, yes?  At least you would only need to remember the beginning letter or two of the prefix, then when you type that, you'll see all of the tags that match.

 

 

Also, if you associate tags with specific notebooks as it sounds like you might, you could have the notebook name be the start of the prefix, so in your web-clipper example when you start typing the name of the notebook, you'd see the tags that you use in that notebook.

 

These aren't perfect solutions, for sure, but might help.  (Frankly, while some Evernote users definitely use tags, I'd say the shortcomings you're highlighting are one reason why I don't really use them for much myself!)

 

I think this might be the solution I'll have to use!'

 

One drawback of this is, if I want to use one tag for multiple notebooks, i'd have to start repeating. For example, a tag called NOTEBOOK1-computer, NOTEBOOK2-computer.

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@Phils Treeliner sounds nice but the video says Windows with possible other platforms in the future.  I would like something like this on Mac OS X.  What language are you developing in?  If it is VB.NET there is a cross platform language called Mono that is supposed to be comparable with VB, maybe you could check it out?

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Hi JimKn,

 

Yes, there have been multiple requests for a Mac version already!  As currently planned, next up after Windows are iOS and Android versions.  However, to do that I will be using Xamarin (formerly Monotouch/Monodroid) which is basically the technology you're referring to, and yes, they do have a Xamarin/Mac platform as well, which should make things somewhat easier.

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One drawback of this is, if I want to use one tag for multiple notebooks, i'd have to start repeating. For example, a tag called NOTEBOOK1-computer, NOTEBOOK2-computer.

Yeah, that's why I've never been a huge advocate for the hierarchical tags method. The only solution I've really found for this is to get to know your tags. I have a method to how I tag, limiting my word choices. I usually tag a very broad topic ( design , inspiration , tech , productivity ), I use howto for tutorials and tips, I have tags for major tech companies related to which I clip content, etc. So for example, I'd clip a guide on how to automatically forward Google Apps email accounts to other mail accounts as howto , tech , google , email . Very broad, but easy to narrow down. Then, when I'm on mobile, I just use the tag: search to combine things. For example, I could search tag:google tag:howto to get any tips/guides for managing Google services. Initially it was tricky to remember, but now I know my major tags inside and out and have no trouble recalling them.

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