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It may seem like a childish question but

 

Why do I have to tag my notes?

 

Yes, I know it helps me categorize notes and a note can be in 2 or more categories (folders) at the same time but what is the final benefit of this?

 

I'm asking this because I find it much to difficult and time consuming to do all these:

- tag every note: writing the tags

- thinking of the names of new tags

- keep the order in tags

- control clicking and scrolling through hundreds (maybe thousands) of tags (when you search info)

 

...instead of just type the keywords whenever I need a piece of information.

 

The result is the same but without consuming so much time and effort by tagging every note.

 

Moreover, when you search information just by typing the keywords Evernote gives you notes with those keywords highlighted ;-)

 

Am I missing something?

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Yes. It allows you to categorize related notes, even if they don't contain the keywords that you might search on. In other words, it allows you to build structure into your notes database. Only you know what structures that help you to navigate your notes; so use tags to express those where other methods fail. Be thoughtful in your tagging, and don't tag just because you think you need to.

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Yes. It allows you to categorize related notes, even if they don't contain the keywords that you might search on. In other words, it allows you to build structure into your notes database. Only you know what structures that help you to navigate your notes; so use tags to express those where other methods fail. Be thoughtful in your tagging, and don't tag just because you think you need to.

Thank you for your quick response.

See? This is exactly what I cannot understand.

I only need to store and retrieve information quickly.

Why do I need a structure?

Why do I need to navigate instead of going directly where I need to?

You say "don't tag just because you think you need to".

How can I tag so I can get more than Evernote is already giving me?

How can a note not contain all the information I need to search for it?

I may be a bit lazy but right now reorganizing all my notes by tagging them doesn't seem to pay off.

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There are numerous posts on the forum relative to the pros and cons of tagging, using keywords, or just dumping stuff into EN.  It's kind of a pick what works best for you and what you want to do situation.  If you don't want to tag, nothing compels you to.  

 

I tag and I'll try to explain my logic.  My thinking is that the more notes I have the more I need a way to filter to the set of notes that I want to see in a search.  That and the the higher the probability some of my searches will return non-related notes as the note count grows.  Also, sometimes what I want to search on does not exist in the notes.

 

Specific example:  I store all statements in EN, whether they are from a utility, a bank, an insurance company, a brokerage, a credit card, wherever.  I tag each of these with the tag Statement and the name of the company, Xcel for example.  To date I have 2434 of these notes in EN.  So whenever I am looking for a statement I hit F5 (find in EN hot key), Shift - Alt - T (tag search), and then as much of Statement and the company name as I need to get the set of statement notes for that company.  

 

There are other ways to do this for sure, but I chose tags as opposed to keywords or saved searches.  I can remember Statement and the name of a company.  I apply the same logic to other things I store in EN, keeping my tags to a minimum, preferably ones that are intuitive, to me at least.  FWIW.

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There are a couple of other very specific cases for tags, as I have learned:

 

Keywords in irrelevant notes

One major reason I use tags is for subject-specific keywords. For example, I am working on a project related to food recalls and I have a lot of notes of recall notices. 

Odds are very good that EVERY recall notice will contain the word "recall" in the body of the text, so they would turn up in a search for that word. However, I have lots of other notes in Evernote that may also contain the word "recall" but are completely unrelated to a food recall specifically. 

 

Thus, if I want ONLY notes related to food recalls, I use the tag:recall search. 

 

To generalize the case a bit, one (of many) reason(s) I use tags is because sometimes keywords appear for very valid reasons in otherwise unrelated notes. 

 

Receipts

Another benefit of tags is highlighted by my situation with receipts. Now, it is possible to simply have a "receipts" notebook. But this isn't ideal. A flight itinerary you need in your Travel notebook is also a receipt, but it can't be in your travel notebook AND your receipts notebooks simultaneously.

Likewise, receipts for large household purchases need to be shared with my partner, so the "receipts" notebook doesn't work because it isn't shared (because my partner doesn't need to deal with all of my personal and work receipts, right?). 

 

So, ditch the "receipts" notebook, and use a receipts tag. Now, I have receipts in my "personal" notebook, my "work" notebook, my "household" (shared) notebook, and temporarily living in my "travel" notebook. If I want to see ALL of my receipts I search

tag:receipt

 

Or I can narrow it down using keywords

tag:receipt KLM

 

or by notebooks

tag:receipt notebook:household

 

Again, keywords wouldn't fly here because there may be false positives, or there may be receipts that don't contain the word "receipt" (they might use "invoice"... or nothing at all). 

 

You might want to check out this discussion:

The Benefit of Using Tags

It covers a lot of what has been discussed here, as well as some VERY valid reasons to NOT use tags and how to deal with that. 

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The fact is I have only 820 notes, I discovered tags, I read a few articles on tags and I feel like there is too much work to do just to create them and keep them in order.

 

I love EN because it makes my life easier by helping me store a lot of things (allost all of them). But things begin to pile up and my life is getting harder than before, because then I didn't know about EN. Now I need a system that provides power and control at the same time.

 

Now I understand that tags help you connect notes that have one particular thing in common, even if that thing is not contained in (all of) the notes. A tag can also represent an ideea, a feeling etc.

 

Thank you all for your answers.

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You will also find that tags help reduce the number of false hits you get searching on words in the text or the title - because you only tag things that you really want to include in that group of notes. For example, if you searched for "car part" you would get not only notes that contained a part for a car, but also those that mentioned being out for a drive in your car but part of the road was blocked. Probably not the best example, but I think you can get the idea. BTW, I have a lot more notes than you and have toyed with not tagging things - but end up going back and tagging those I have missed.

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Glad you are getting some inspiration.

 

Since you have a bit of a backlog, there are a few strategies to deal with it effectively. What works best depends on your exact context. I, for example, have a large number of notes that have no tags at all. Their title, contents, and notebook are enough to facilitate easy retrieval.

 

For some of your 820 notes, then, you might be able to get away without tagging them. 

 

For others, you might be able to tag them as you run into them. For example, if they show up as false-positives in a search, or fail to show up in a search you know they should show up in, then make a note of it, and tag them appropriately either right then and there, or at a convenient time in the near future. 

 

You might also have some that could relatively easily be tagged systematically. My Receipts situation was like this. I had a notebook full of receipts, and a few receipts scattered in other places. I just went in and tagged the entire contents of the "receipt" notebook with the "receipt" tag, and moved them to their appropriate notebook (Household, personal, work, etc). Then deleted the receipts notebook. For those scattered elsewhere, I usually could find them by other means (often "receipt" was in the title).

 

 

So, think about what tagging needs to, and can be, done now in an easy and systematic way (e.g., my "receipts" example). What tagging you can chip away at as it comes up (my second example), and what just doesn't need a tag at all. Then just work away at it. Start with the systematic stuff, doing as much as you feel like every day until it's done. Then do the random stuff. 

 

Tags are very useful, but don't feel inclined to tag everything for the sake of it. 

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See? This is exactly what I cannot understand.

I only need to store and retrieve information quickly.

Why do I need a structure?

Why do I need to navigate instead of going directly where I need to?

So you have 10,000 notes. Maybe you have some notebooks, say 20. So you have on average 500 notes per notebook. Are you telling me that you can "just go directly to where you need to"? Remember, not all notes contain text, and not all notes have category-style text that you might want to search for. If so, grand. You don't need structure.

But I'd bet that you really do.

 

You say "don't tag just because you think you need to".

How can I tag so I can get more than Evernote is already giving me?

If you want to categorize your notes (that's what tagging is, at heart), your notes might not contain the actual text of the category name. So you stitch a tag onto those notes, and they are readily found. Oh, and if a note contains to more than one category, that's fine, stick that tag onto to the note, and now you can find it independently of your other tag.

 

How can a note not contain all the information I need to search for it?

If the note's content doesn't contain the text that you might choose to search by -- easy example: a photo of your friend -- then you might choose to make it easily findable by adding a "Friend" tag. Or by putting it in a "Friends" notebook. Or by giving it some title that's suggestive of its category. Whatever suits you.

 

I may be a bit lazy but right now reorganizing all my notes by tagging them doesn't seem to pay off.

You should consider that tagging isn't actually organizing notes in terms of moving them somewhere else; tags are just labels that you can stick on notes that allow you to relate them to other notes with the same tag. If you don't think you have a need for this sort of stuff, then fine, don't then.

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IMHO, the biggest problem with tagging is that Evernote has taken away one of the most valuable features - being able to display only those tags that are used in the current notebook. If this was available, you could move a number of notes with a particular tag to your "Subset" notebook, then remove notes with tags that you are not interested in. You work on that small set of notes, then move them back to the previous notebook when you have finished with them. I used to use this capability a lot until it was taken away. Was a great way to make sure notes were tagged correctly, and reduce the number of tags by eliminating those that did not have many notes associated with them.

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IMHO, the biggest problem with tagging is that Evernote has taken away one of the most valuable features - being able to display only those tags that are used in the current notebook. If this was available, you could move a number of notes with a particular tag to your "Subset" notebook, then remove notes with tags that you are not interested in. You work on that small set of notes, then move them back to the previous notebook when you have finished with them. I used to use this capability a lot until it was taken away. Was a great way to make sure notes were tagged correctly, and reduce the number of tags by eliminating those that did not have many notes associated with them.

In the Windows client, you should be able to do something similar by:

 

* Selecting the notebook

* Clicking on the blue Tag icon in the Search control that appears at the top of the note list.

* Select the tag that you're interested in isolating on.

 

As best I can tell, the droplist presented gives a flat view of the tags used in the notebook that you selected (I'm guessing that a tree view would be desired by some folks, but hey).

 

If I had to guess, I'd say that the functionality that they removed was probably confusing to a lot of users, however useful it was to some. I know it caught me off guard more than once, and I knew about it. :)

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The fact is I have only 820 notes, I discovered tags, I read a few articles on tags and I feel like there is too much work to do just to create them and keep them in order.

 

I love EN because it makes my life easier by helping me store a lot of things (allost all of them). But things begin to pile up and my life is getting harder than before, because then I didn't know about EN. Now I need a system that provides power and control at the same time.

 

Now I understand that tags help you connect notes that have one particular thing in common, even if that thing is not contained in (all of) the notes. A tag can also represent an ideea, a feeling etc.

 

Thank you all for your answers.

You get it.  Just remember, there are a lot of opinions on this board, mine included :).  Do what works for you.  IMHO, really no right or wrong way to do things.  

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 Thanks Jefito. Often it seems there may be another way, but our brains have to be open to learning - Evernote doesn't often help by fully explaining the functionality of the interface! A new habit will be formed, however.

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Jefito, is there a way of doing "any:" in the way that you have suggested? For example, if I want to search for tags that are 2014 OR 2013, the only way I have been able to figure it out is to go to the "command line" search box. Thanks.

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Jefito, is there a way of doing "any:" in the way that you have suggested? For example, if I want to search for tags that are 2014 OR 2013, the only way I have been able to figure it out is to go to the "command line" search box. Thanks.

Nope, sorry. I don't see any way to do this. The tag selector seems to operate only in "all" mode (I tried setting it to "any" using the search explanation panel, but no go).

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I find the tagging system extremely useful, especially since we don't have sub-notebooks. I worked in a job for many years that included a vast paper (gasp) filing system that anyone (who were authorized) could look for copies of a document and quickly locate one without my help. To accomplished that I put copies in all the possibly relevent folders I could think of, with all copies being "tagged" with cross-referencing info back to the original. (Sounds very laborious I know, but it was back in the dinosaur age of MS software only, fax and Xerox machines. It wasn't so bad once I settled into a rythm.

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