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andy4

mac (Archived) Too many notebooks

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I can no longer add any notebooks as I get this message:

The notebook 'Blah' could not be synched. Too many notebooks.

I didn't realize there was a limit.

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This is actually in the FAQ. There's a 100 notebook limit. It's a database limitation.

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When I started Evernote, I thought it would be great to use a lot of very specific notebooks, but after a couple weeks, I realized the error of my ways.

The tag and search capabilities are much more powerful.

So I went back and moved many of my notes into a short list of 5 very generic notebooks. I've got about 5,000 notes now, and it works fine for me.

Work

Home

Hobbies

Politics

Private (not sync'd)

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Agreed... with the tags feature, there is no reason anyone should have that many notebooks. Don't see this as a limitation of Evernote, but rather you need to rethink your organizational strategy... you are relying WAY too much on notebooks and that is not what they were really intended for. With most apps and services today, tags are the primary focus, as well as saved searches, etc.

I have been using Evernote for a while now and I have brought over ALL of my notes from Yojimbo and SOHO Notes and I have no problem finding them all. I have ONE online notebook simply called "jbardi's notebook" for syncing to the service and ONE offline notebook called "Local Drop Box" that I have set up as the default location for all new notes. After new notes are tagged I move them to the online notebook, or leave them in the offline notebook if I plan to simply delete them shortly after their use. My tagging is my primary means of finding any and all notes. If you use good tagging system, there should be no reaosn you can not find what you are looking for without wasting your time with a hundred notebooks. If you have reached the hundred notebook limit, then you might as well use tags because who can remember all of those notebook names for good sorting.

Here is an example of good tagging, for example, of a Receipt for a online birthday gift purchase:

receipt, amazon, for jimmy, from grandpa, birthday, gift, 2009

Now, if I want to see who I bought gifts for in 2009, I select the online notebook, click on receipt keyword, then while holding down the command key on the mac keyboard, I highlight gift and 2009

If I want to see what I bought for jimmy for his birthday last year so I don't buy the same thing, I highlight receipt, for jimmy, birthday and 2008, so you see, there is no better way to really dig down deep into thousands of notes to find exactly what you are looking for.

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Don't see this as a limitation of Evernote, but rather you need to rethink your organizational strategy...

Agreed. Relying so heavily upon notebooks/folders & sub notebooks/sub folders doesn't hack it when you have very many notes. Gee, did I put the text of the IM with my boss where we discussed going paperless under the IM folder or the "going paperless" folder? Well, I can tag it with both & then find it with whatever tag I search on.

And if you think about it, using tags really is no different than using folders/sub folders but is often met with the "We never did it that way before" argument.

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Thanks for all your advice. Looks like I need to a spring clean on my Notebooks!

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Sorry, I think that it is narrow design.

Maybe 100 notebooks is excessive, I use about 35-40, but the statement "you need to rethink your organizational strategy..." seems to come from a person who works a lot with their keyboard using acronyms and tags. Programmers seem to like acronyms, tags, abbreviations and such. (e.g. you are in this category if you love the Mac app called LaunchBar - good for you and your keyboard centric mode of navigation, but I bought my Mac for the GUI. There are also people who want to tag all their browser bookmarks instead of using drop down menus.... I'm impressed!)

But it seems to me, there is something redundant about having to tag text notes at all, e.g. why put 'airline', "Delta', or 'travel' in tag fields when simply searching should bring up the same results? Why should I have to implement tagging just to organize my notes? Why should I have to remember whatever words I used for tagging in the first place? The early Macintosh user interface guru Don Norman used to say: "Why should I have to remember things (i.e. commands, or in this case tags) that the computer already knows?" The only things I tag are pictures, drawings, sounds, etc. that are not searchable unless I give Spotlight, or Google Search some clues.

If I have organized my notebooks and notes I should be able to get to my information in two or three clicks, I prefer mouse (or finger) navigation, you may prefer keyboard nav. Why bet the company that everybody wants to be a tagger?

For example, I have dedicated a notebook to Travel, in it are notes for airline info, hotel info, car rental, recent trips, memorable sites, countries reports and restaurants. Since I didn't put six to ten tags on each note, I just click (tap) on the notebook and scan the notes. Since I have GUI, why do I need to use a keyboard?

While I'm on it, why have developers of note programs gone wild with geo-tagging notes? I have 850 notes, frankly there aren't three that I care where I was when the inspiration, quote, shopping list, or airline number was entered. How is the location relevant? Yes, I have geo-tagged about 30% of my 13,000 jpegs, so I do understand when I would want geo-tagging, but geo-tagging for the sake of a new note feature, when I can't even nest notebooks, is misplaced effort. And what product manager (or GUI guru) decided that the Geo-tag icon should take up valuable real estate on the iPhone note search screen, when frankly it isn't important 95% of the time (unless I'm the GPS challenged restaurant critic in their demo)?

This leads to my dilemma, Evernote has been the best note product for over a year on the iPhone - and I've lived by it, but finally SOHO got their act together and shipped NoteLife. It allows nested folders, but doesn't sync over the Internet. Evernote silently syncs things so I don't have to remember to, but if I'm in the third aisle at the local Costco, without WiFi or 3G coverage, it's not very useful that I know the information I need is up there in the cloud.... apparently, Favorites don't have auto sync, or I would make everything a favorite and would always have it with me - heck I've got 16GB!

It seems the tipping point might be that Evernote programmers have decided that its 'their way or the highway' i.e. use tags - no option for nested notebooks or folders.

I've been cheering for Evernote as the small startup since it showed up... please tell me 'nested something' is coming in 4.0 or sometime.... I'll wait!

:-(

JF

PS: even with over twenty years of keyboarding, I had about 30-40 typos in this note. That high percentage is frustrating in searching for keywords and tags. "Teh old mna an dteh sea" Google compensates by saying "Did you mean: 'The Old Man and the Sea" - and typing problems are magnified even more on the tiny iPhone keyboard.

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But it seems to me, there is something redundant about having to tag text notes at all, e.g. why put 'airline', "Delta', or 'travel' in tag fields when simply searching should bring up the same results?

You don't.

Why should I have to implement tagging just to organize my notes?

You don't.

Why should I have to remember whatever words I used for tagging in the first place?

See above. But, somewhere along the line, you need to remember something about the note. Because no matter what note taking tool you use, if all you can remember is "there was something I was thinking about and wanted to remember on some subject that I don't remember but I wish I could find that note" then it would seem to me that no note taking tool will be able to help you. Additionally, the information in the note would seem (IMO) to be pointless (and therefore not worth remembering/adding to your note taking tool), if you can't think of a single word that would spring to mind when looking for it at a later date.

Evernote programmers have decided that its 'their way or the highway' i.e. use tags - no option for nested notebooks or folders.

Um...well...it is their company. They've been very clear about their goals and there sure seem to be a lot of "back seat programmers" who seem to think they know more about how EN should/could work than the EN staff does. But unless you've lived it, it's very easy to say "EN could do this that & the other & if they don't, it's because they simply don't care about their customers & therefore they are jerks." At first blush, something may seem very easy to implement. But once you've dealt with that issue on various platforms and/or configurations, you may realize that it can present other problems. Admittedly, Evernote is not going the be the note taking tool of choice for everyone. Which is why there are other options.

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BurgersNFries

- This thread seems to say tags are THE way to organize, many replies emphasized not using a lot of notebooks

- If I wasn't clear, I tried to emphasize that some of the target users may prefer GUI navigation to tagging which requires using the keyboard instead of the mouse, a good program should make both user types happy.

- I didn't say I couldn't remember a single word in a note, why would you imply that? I said it is easier for me to click into a notebook and eyeball some information than pre-tag a note and then remember the tag and type it in again.

Gee, did I put the text of the IM with my boss where we discussed going paperless under the IM folder or the "going paperless" folder? Well, I can tag it with both & then find it with whatever tag I search on.

- In your example above you seem to say you would put at least two tags, "IM" and "going paperless" on a note that could have been found by searching for either term (or your boss' name)

And if you think about it, using tags really is no different than using folders/sub folders but is often met with the "We never did it that way before" argument.

First, you seem to preemptively dismiss people who don't see things your way with a rather old cliche "WNDITWB", how about some recognition that maybe, just possibly, a different way works better for some people who may not be exactly like you. Second, it is different, if I've imported or written notes in(to) a notebook, I don't have to tag every note with the notebook's name. If a note 'needs' a tag, why not just add the word to the text? It will get found in the search (and I don't have to make a binary decision to search tags or to search text.)

BTW: Do you tag (or keyword) your Word documents or Powerpoint documents? Or do you just let Spotlight collect all the words and do a single search?

I'm glad Evernote is Spotlight scan-able, I can often remember a phrase but not remember if it is in a note, email, ppt or doc file. I don't need to tag too many things and I only drag the 'important stuff' into EN for mobility. I wish the 'Spotlight Lite' on the iPhone scanned into EN or AB notes, etc.

L8R,

JF

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I rarely use tags because the search works so well, even in photos, however we are starting at work to assign notes to people for them to maintain and tags and saved searches would be great for that.

Evernote is a great program but we all have to remember that they have a finite number of resources. If they had 5,000 programmers 24x7 I'm sure they would implement every suggestion here that's not totally insane. Fact is that they don't so they have to choose the ones that fit their desires, the most customer's needs, and the most beneficial in the cost/payout equation. As a professional programmer I am well aware of the limited resources problem and it is a tough one.

Add to that the fact that a lot of their customers are, to be blunt, freeloaders - at least at first - makes it even more important that they pick and choose their tasks wisely. I fit the statistical norm quite well - I was a freeloader for about 8 months and got so much stuff in here I had to upgrade to Pro so I'm not finger pointing, just maybe finger painting the scene from their perspective.

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I rarely use tags because the search works so well, even in photos, however we are starting at work to assign notes to people for them to maintain and tags and saved searches would be great for that.

Evernote is a great program but we all have to remember that they have a finite number of resources. If they had 5,000 programmers 24x7 I'm sure they would implement every suggestion here that's not totally insane. Fact is that they don't so they have to choose the ones that fit their desires, the most customer's needs, and the most beneficial in the cost/payout equation. As a professional programmer I am well aware of the limited resources problem and it is a tough one.

Add to that the fact that a lot of their customers are, to be blunt, freeloaders - at least at first - makes it even more important that they pick and choose their tasks wisely. I fit the statistical norm quite well - I was a freeloader for about 8 months and got so much stuff in here I had to upgrade to Pro so I'm not finger pointing, just maybe finger painting the scene from their perspective.

Well said. Add to that that pretty much no matter what you do, it's going to peeve some users off. Da**ed if you do & da**ed if you don't. I've been writing software for over 30 years & I can honestly say if 95% of your users complain about how something works right now and you change it, you will always get that other 5% who will complain about the change. (Sometimes the squeaky wheel doesn't get the grease...you're just a squeaky wheel & people crank up the radio.) It's always good to make new changes integrate with the way things worked before, but sometimes that isn't feasible or possible.

When someone posts that the EN dev team should take note because of all the complaints about _____ (fill in the blank), you have to balance that with the fact that people are quick to complain and are normally drawn to a message board b/c of a complaint. But most people won't get onto a message board & say "I LOVE the way ____ (fill in the blank) works!" IE, I have absolutely no problems using ACDSee Photo Manager. The program works & works well. It's also pretty intuitive, once you get the hang of it. So I never go to their message boards. I probably should get on there & post something to the effect that I have used your software for two years, at least several times a week & love it. (I have over 15,000 images (13 gigs), so that program has made my life MUCH easier, when looking for a particular photo and I doubt I ever go more than 2-3 days without using it.) But I've not done that. IOW, for every complaint posted on the message board, there are probably several others who are happy with the way things are working but just haven't joined to simply post, "I'm happy." :)

I was drawn to the EN message board to learn how to use it to it's fullest extent. And I'm still learning. :D

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100 notebooks is too limited for some users. As an example, I run a small business with about 150 customers that we service. I want a different notebook for each customer. Each customer has different documents, different sets of photos, different sets of reports, scanned documents from ScanSnap, etc, etc, etc. We use evernote because a lot of this information is collected out of the office by cell phone and at different work sites. It is an easy way to synchronize everything.

Could I arrange it like?

Notebook: Photos

Tag: Customer 1

Tag: Customer 2

Tag: Customer 150

Yes, I could. But what a pain, and it doesn't flow well. When the customer calls, I want to have one notebook, with all of their different information in it so I can simply see all of their different reports, their different photos, etc. Notebooks work very well for my business, the customer almost always only cares about the most recent item, so all of the different notes, photos, and reports, are time-stamped.

I see the emails below that say everyone should organize Evernote with notebooks like: Work, Personal, Etc, Etc and then thousands of tags. That's fine for some, but it doesn't work for everyone.

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I think this thread should be renamed "Not enough notebooks."

I've introduced many of my clients to Evernote, and they are running into the 100-notebook limit. They typically make a notebook for each of their clients. When they hit 100, it's a problem.

I like the way iPhoto does it-- you make albums, and you can put albums into folders. I am sure that my clients would make great use such a feature if it existed in Evernote. I would too.

I've read the comments here that say "just use tags, they're better" but it seems to me that it's easier for the programmers to add folders to Evernote than for me to tell all of my Evernote-using clients that they can't organize things the way they want to.

I'm not asking for "sub-notebooks"-- that is different. I just want to put notebooks into folders. My hope is that the 100-notebook limit could be gotten around in this way, because a FOLDER that contained (let's say) 10 notebooks would count as ONE thing, not as 10. That's what I'm hoping for, anyway. It wouldn't have to have little "flippy" triangles to expose the contents of the folder-- that would not be necessary. I would gladly settle for double-clicking a folder to see the contents.

If the notebook limit was 100 notebooks per folder we'd be all set.

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I am one of those people who are visually orientated. Having the ability to visually see the subfolders (with their titles) in relation to the original folder is how I keep my work and thoughts organized when involved in a project. Additionally I am someone who has memory problems so I use the subfolders within a folder to help jog my memory of what I have on a particular topic. I look at the list of my “tags” and they are basically useless for me.

Another way to say this is that the way Evernote is designed in regards to its storage of information (the notebook and tagging process) is linear, whereas the folders within folders is dimensional. Probably a more accurate way to describe this is that one way is two-dimensional and the other is three-dimensional. Being a visual thinker three-dimensional representations work best for me.

I am new to Evernote and already am dependent on how easy it is to gather and store random notes, ideas, clip from internet, sync between my iPhone and my computer, et al. But I miss the flexibility to organize in a way that fits with how I perceive and work with information.

So, my vote would be to have it all, tags and notebooks within notebooks.

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Tags are not linear, either in their application, or by their presentation in Evernote. You can organize your tags in a folder-like way, at least in the Windows client and I am guessing for the Mac client as well. The organization is nothing more than visual (meaning that sub-tags of a parent do not inherit the parent tag for purposes of filtering/searching), but it's handy nonetheless. Evernote itself is demonstrably not strictly linear in its storage, since notebooks act like folders in a real sense. Use of tags is really non-dimensional, since they can cut across hierarchies; dimensionality is really not an apt metaphor in this case.

~Jeff

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