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Manual Sorting and the 'Design' Objection

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According to some on this forum, the lack of the rather obvious and simple manual-sort feature was a 'design' decision.

 

I doubt it's really that —it probably costs more to add, enact, and maintain a manual-sort algorithm— but if it's related to money/resources, you should consider adding manual-sort to the Premium Services. I'd pay for that in a heartbeat.

 

Anyway, even iTunes —configured for anybody from the most uninitiated to advanced-customizers— has this manual sort option within their playlists.

 

Just as iTunes would lose many users to another app that supplied the clear, obvious, and ultimately easily-satisfiable demand to arrange things as the user wants on the basic level, Evernote surely has and will (me included) lose users and good-reviews to other companies that include this basic option.

 

That's one of the main reasons I will not be renewing my Evernote Premium service this time around.

 

It's disappointing: as seen in the Beta online version, Evernote has gone in the direction of assuming that lessening options in and of itself offers peace of mind of a sort.

 

While minimalism does avoid overwhelm, you should acknowledge the deeper psychological truth: make options bigger WHERE REQUESTED — meaning that you make the environment minimalist, with small buttons that open up options if the user wants. This is the basic design attitude for all mac-inspired folks and I would've expected this from Evernote since they seem to be in that aesthetic camp.

 

This app no longer is useful for anyone who plans to use it for anything related to any sort of fluid and day to day prioritization, project, communication, or even just preferences that all can evolve quickly (the response that you have so-called 'workarounds' to codify every single note is absurd because each time things change as they do in real life we must re-code every time according to the newly-evolved priority levels)

 

Sincerely — Hopefully,

 

V

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Just wondering what a manual algorithm would be since manual, in essence, is not something for which one can create a formula.  Manual is more about remembering if anything I would think..

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Well, for tasks one does have the Reminders list which you can sort manually: 

 

Let's say you have 3 tasks:

 

  • Buy 2 kg of shrimp
  • Buy bananas
  • Buy paint

Besides the above alphabetical order I have come up with the following other combinations as possibilities for manual sorting:

  • Buy 2 kg of shrimp
  • Buy paint
  • Buy bananas

OR

  • Buy bananas
  • Buy 2 kg of shrimp
  • Buy paint

OR

  • Buy bananas
  • Buy paint
  • Buy 2 kg of shrimp

OR

  • Buy paint
  • Buy bananas
  • Buy 2 kg of shrimp

OR

  • Buy paint
  • Buy 2 kg of shrimp
  • Buy bananas

I can't think of any more combinations... but if we add a 4th item to that list, the options are quite overwhelming.

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According to some on this forum, the lack of the rather obvious and simple manual-sort feature was a 'design' decision.

 

I doubt it's really that —it probably costs more to add, enact, and maintain a manual-sort algorithm— but if it's related to money/resources, you should consider adding manual-sort to the Premium Services. I'd pay for that in a heartbeat.

Not sure where you get your software estimation skills from; the cost of either is very likely much less than the cost of maintaining a suite of native, OS-specific clients that are connected to the Evernote service. And even so, building a system whereby manual ordering is maintained in the face of note lists generated by general queries is almost certainly *more* complicated than building a system where those note lists are just pointed at a simple set of sort routines (using string compare, date compare, etc.). Certainly the UI for moving notes around is not any easier than just displaying the sorted sorted lists.

That's why this is most likely a design decision, and nothing to do with cost. But hey, as Frank notes, this is already implemented for Evernote Reminders in at least two Evernote clients that I am aware of. If they can do it for reminders they they could surely do it for notes in general, if they wanted to.

 

Anyway, even iTunes —configured for anybody from the most uninitiated to advanced-customizers— has this manual sort option within their playlists.

Not sure what you're saying here -- Evernote should be a music player too??

 

Just as iTunes would lose many users to another app that supplied the clear, obvious, and ultimately easily-satisfiable demand to arrange things as the user wants on the basic level, Evernote surely has and will (me included) lose users and good-reviews to other companies that include this basic option.

Source for that assertion?

Frankly, Evernote isn't a good fit for certain purposes, and it sounds like yours is one of them. But then again, they've never aimed to be all things to all people.

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Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies. My post was really unfounded and I am glad to have my software ignorance exposed for me, as unpleasant as it may feel at first.

Thanks again, and have a good Friday

V

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Hey, not everyone is a software developer, so how would you know? Things are not always as simple as they may appear from the outside in may realms of human experience. And none of the above was to say that a manual ordering feature wouldn't be useful to many Evernote users; it's certainly a valid request. 

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Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies. My post was really unfounded and I am glad to have my software ignorance exposed for me, as unpleasant as it may feel at first.

Thanks again, and have a good Friday

V

 

I have to disagree with your self-proclaimed ignorance here.  You, the user, asked for a feature that feels reasonable and cited another program you've seen which has that feature.  You also hazarded a guess that it would have a cost in time and resources.  No ignorance there.  In fact, it's a lot less ignorant than what I get from some of my users!

 

 

Anyway, even iTunes —configured for anybody from the most uninitiated to advanced-customizers— has this manual sort option within their playlists.

Not sure what you're saying here -- Evernote should be a music player too??

 

I thought it was obvious what V was saying: iTunes is program which has lists of things and is targeted at a broad range of users.  It has the feature V is requesting, which suggests that a program with lists of things CAN, in fact, provide manual sorting along with algorithm-based sorting and still be usable by both basic users and power users.

 

It's called an analogy, and it was a darn good one.

 

 

Hey, not everyone is a software developer, so how would you know? Things are not always as simple as they may appear from the outside in may realms of human experience. And none of the above was to say that a manual ordering feature wouldn't be useful to many Evernote users; it's certainly a valid request. 

 

Our job as software developers is not to say "you can't understand why this feature can't be done unless you're a developer".  Our job as software developers is to do the hard work to make it possible for the users to use our products in ways that make sense to them.

 

Besides, I still don't see anything implying that the OP thought this would be simple, other than the request for "a simple manual-sort feature", which I took to mean "simple from the user's perspective".  That request was almost immediately followed up with "it probably costs more to add, enact, and maintain a manual-sort algorithm", which is exactly the opposite of an implication that this will be simple from a programming perspective.

 

 

 

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Just wondering what a manual algorithm would be since manual, in essence, is not something for which one can create a formula.  Manual is more about remembering if anything I would think..

 
Exactly right - for each view, remember what the sort was: Creation Time, Update Time, ..., Manual Sort[list of ID's in the user's order, displaying new/unordered items at the end].  As a programmer, I can say that it actually does seem pretty simple to me.

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Well, for tasks one does have the Reminders list which you can sort manually: 

 

Let's say you have 3 tasks:

 

  • Buy 2 kg of shrimp
  • Buy bananas
  • Buy paint

Besides the above alphabetical order I have come up with the following other combinations as possibilities for manual sorting:

  • Buy 2 kg of shrimp
  • Buy paint
  • Buy bananas

OR

 

... snip ...

 

I can't think of any more combinations... but if we add a 4th item to that list, the options are quite overwhelming.

 

True, the combinatorics there are overwhelming, but I don't think it's relevant.  You never have to present all of those choices to the user, and you don't have to store or even compute them all.

 

For the UI, you give the user a list of items to be ordered and a way to move things up and down in the list.  Generally, that's up/down arrows and/or a drag capability.

 

Another UI option is to provide a pair of lists.  The one on the left has all items, and the one on the right has the items to display; the up/down arrows apply to the one on the right.  This UI option has the extra ability to let the user pick and choose which items will be included in the list, if that is desired.

 

As for the internal storage, you store the list of item identifiers in the order the user set.  As new items come in, append them to the list.

 

Voila, you've got manual ordering.

 

I should note that I've actually implemented this using both of the UI's I described above.  It's not actually very hard *or* cost-intensive.  Making it work on very large lists can be a usability challenge, but that's where the fun starts!

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Just wondering what a manual algorithm would be since manual, in essence, is not something for which one can create a formula.  Manual is more about remembering if anything I would think..

 
Exactly right - for each view, remember what the sort was: Creation Time, Update Time, ..., Manual Sort[list of ID's in the user's order, displaying new/unordered items at the end].  As a programmer, I can say that it actually does seem pretty simple to me.

 

Yeah, got that.  I was just thinking about the joy of a multiple notebooks, 25k+ notes, lists of notes from multiple notebooks, notes on multiple lists, etc.  Not the most complicated thing in the world but it could grow some hair....  Particularly if you want belts and suspenders should someone move, delete, modify  anything in the note that effects its search characteristics so that two that have been positioned end up in the same spot.  But perhaps I over complicate.  Bad habit of mine.   :)

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Well, for tasks one does have the Reminders list which you can sort manually: 

 

Let's say you have 3 tasks:

 

  • Buy 2 kg of shrimp
  • Buy bananas
  • Buy paint

Besides the above alphabetical order I have come up with the following other combinations as possibilities for manual sorting:

  • Buy 2 kg of shrimp
  • Buy paint
  • Buy bananas

OR

 

... snip ...

 

I can't think of any more combinations... but if we add a 4th item to that list, the options are quite overwhelming.

 

True, the combinatorics there are overwhelming, but I don't think it's relevant.  You never have to present all of those choices to the user, and you don't have to store or even compute them all.

 

For the UI, you give the user a list of items to be ordered and a way to move things up and down in the list.  Generally, that's up/down arrows and/or a drag capability.

 

Another UI option is to provide a pair of lists.  The one on the left has all items, and the one on the right has the items to display; the up/down arrows apply to the one on the right.  This UI option has the extra ability to let the user pick and choose which items will be included in the list, if that is desired.

 

As for the internal storage, you store the list of item identifiers in the order the user set.  As new items come in, append them to the list.

 

Voila, you've got manual ordering.

 

I should note that I've actually implemented this using both of the UI's I described above.  It's not actually very hard *or* cost-intensive.  Making it work on very large lists can be a usability challenge, but that's where the fun starts!

 

 

 

Hey Rob,

 

That was a tongue-in-cheek post. Was just pointing out that manual sorting for the Reminders list is an option.

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Our job as software developers is not to say "you can't understand why this feature can't be done unless you're a developer".  Our job as software developers is to do the hard work to make it possible for the users to use our products in ways that make sense to them.

 

Besides, I still don't see anything implying that the OP thought this would be simple, other than the request for "a simple manual-sort feature", which I took to mean "simple from the user's perspective".  That request was almost immediately followed up with "it probably costs more to add, enact, and maintain a manual-sort algorithm", which is exactly the opposite of an implication that this will be simple from a programming perspective.

 

Our job here on the user forum is whatever we choose make it. We're all users here, except for those who actually work for Evernote. That excludes me, and I think you as well.

 

Note that I never said what you have quoted ("you can't understand why this feature can't be done unless you're a developer"), and I hope that you weren't trying to put those words into my mouth. That's certainly not what I meant in any of what I wrote.

 

Well, while you were lecturing me about minutia, you sort of missed the points that I was trying to make: 

 

1: That software features may not be as easily implemented as people who are not developers may believe. And it's not that they "can't understand", but that they might not, until they learn a bit, if they're inclined. I'll hold that as self-evident. And I'm not avers to explaining tech stuff, if I can, and if asked.

 

2: That the reason that manual ordering of note lists in general is not in Evernote is probably not due to cost of implementation, which was a direct reply to an actual statement that Veemudy made ("if it's related to money/resources, you should consider adding manual-sort to the Premium Services"). 

 

Also note that I did point out a case where Evernote actually does offer manual ordering (reminders). That might suffice for some folks -- who wants to manually order a note database of thousands of notes anyways? But for the general case? I never said that they couldn't do it if they wanted to; I just don't think that they particularly want to. Why do you think it hasn't appeared?

 

By the way, for purposes of full disclosure, I actually have implemented something fairly similar to what's being asked: the ability for a user to order feature classes of discrete GIS sets for purposes of mapmaking. Not as clean as it may appear at first blush.

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Well, for tasks one does have the Reminders list which you can sort manually: 

 

Let's say you have 3 tasks:

 

  • Buy 2 kg of shrimp
  • Buy bananas
  • Buy paint

Besides the above alphabetical order I have come up with the following other combinations as possibilities for manual sorting:

  • Buy 2 kg of shrimp
  • Buy paint
  • Buy bananas

OR

 

... snip ...

 

I can't think of any more combinations... but if we add a 4th item to that list, the options are quite overwhelming.

 

True, the combinatorics there are overwhelming, but I don't think it's relevant.  You never have to present all of those choices to the user, and you don't have to store or even compute them all.

 

For the UI, you give the user a list of items to be ordered and a way to move things up and down in the list.  Generally, that's up/down arrows and/or a drag capability.

 

Another UI option is to provide a pair of lists.  The one on the left has all items, and the one on the right has the items to display; the up/down arrows apply to the one on the right.  This UI option has the extra ability to let the user pick and choose which items will be included in the list, if that is desired.

 

As for the internal storage, you store the list of item identifiers in the order the user set.  As new items come in, append them to the list.

 

Voila, you've got manual ordering.

 

I should note that I've actually implemented this using both of the UI's I described above.  It's not actually very hard *or* cost-intensive.  Making it work on very large lists can be a usability challenge, but that's where the fun starts!

 

 

 

Hey Rob,

 

That was a tongue-in-cheek post. Was just pointing out that manual sorting for the Reminders list is an option.

 

 

Dang!  I'm usually good at detecting those.  Sorry to misinterpret!

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Just wondering what a manual algorithm would be since manual, in essence, is not something for which one can create a formula.  Manual is more about remembering if anything I would think..

 
Exactly right - for each view, remember what the sort was: Creation Time, Update Time, ..., Manual Sort[list of ID's in the user's order, displaying new/unordered items at the end].  As a programmer, I can say that it actually does seem pretty simple to me.

 

Yeah, got that.  I was just thinking about the joy of a multiple notebooks, 25k+ notes, lists of notes from multiple notebooks, notes on multiple lists, etc.  Not the most complicated thing in the world but it could grow some hair....  Particularly if you want belts and suspenders should someone move, delete, modify  anything in the note that effects its search characteristics so that two that have been positioned end up in the same spot.  But perhaps I over complicate.  Bad habit of mine.   :)

 

 

I tend to under-complicate in my initial design pass.  Bad habit of *mine*  ;) .

 

On the other hand, having thought a bit more on this one, I think the major complication would be storage of all of the manual sorts, if a user happened to use a lot of them.

 

I don't think I'd allow combining search and manual in the same list, so I'd avoid the whole case of two things ending in the same spot.  I'm sure someone would eventually ask for that, but for the initial phase at least, just doing a basic "for list X of things of type Y, here's the order in which those things should show up" would probably cover the 80% case (following the 80/20 rule).

 

If someone wanted to do a manual sort of the "All Notes" list, I can see it being a UI challenge, even for my measly 700 or so notes.  But I'm primarily a UX/UI guy, so as I noted in my response to Frank, that's the kind of thing I most enjoy solving.

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Our job as software developers is not to say "you can't understand why this feature can't be done unless you're a developer".  Our job as software developers is to do the hard work to make it possible for the users to use our products in ways that make sense to them.

 

Besides, I still don't see anything implying that the OP thought this would be simple, other than the request for "a simple manual-sort feature", which I took to mean "simple from the user's perspective".  That request was almost immediately followed up with "it probably costs more to add, enact, and maintain a manual-sort algorithm", which is exactly the opposite of an implication that this will be simple from a programming perspective.

 

Our job here on the user forum is whatever we choose make it. We're all users here, except for those who actually work for Evernote. That excludes me, and I think you as well.

 

Note that I never said what you have quoted ("you can't understand why this feature can't be done unless you're a developer"), and I hope that you weren't trying to put those words into my mouth. That's certainly not what I meant in any of what I wrote.

 

Well, while you were lecturing me about minutia, you sort of missed the points that I was trying to make: 

 

1: That software features may not be as easily implemented as people who are not developers may believe. And it's not that they "can't understand", but that they might not, until they learn a bit, if they're inclined. I'll hold that as self-evident. And I'm not avers to explaining tech stuff, if I can, and if asked.

 

2: That the reason that manual ordering of note lists in general is not in Evernote is probably not due to cost of implementation, which was a direct reply to an actual statement that Veemudy made ("if it's related to money/resources, you should consider adding manual-sort to the Premium Services"). 

 

Also note that I did point out a case where Evernote actually does offer manual ordering (reminders). That might suffice for some folks -- who wants to manually order a note database of thousands of notes anyways? But for the general case? I never said that they couldn't do it if they wanted to; I just don't think that they particularly want to. Why do you think it hasn't appeared?

 

By the way, for purposes of full disclosure, I actually have implemented something fairly similar to what's being asked: the ability for a user to order feature classes of discrete GIS sets for purposes of mapmaking. Not as clean as it may appear at first blush.

 

 

You're right that as far as Evernote goes, I'm a user, not a software developer.  However, my focus in software development is User Interface, and so I tend to wear both hats pretty much all the time - when I'm designing and coding, I'm trying to think like a user to improve my product, and when I'm using a product (and in particular when I hit what I perceive as a flaw), I think like a developer to try to understand the product.

 

You're also right that you never said specifically what I quoted.  I was summarizing what I interpreted you as saying.  If that's not what you meant, I apologize.  As I'm sure you know, there are a lot of developers out there who have the attitude that users can't possibly understand what it is we do and why we make the decisions we make, and who think that users should adapt themselves to the software instead of the other way around.

 

Between my interpretation of what you wrote and the way V reacted, that's what I thought was going on.  As a UI designer/developer, I consider myself a user advocate and so I incorrectly hauled out my soapbox.

 

As for the specific points you raise in your response above:

 

1. Absolutely true.  It seemed to me that V was saying he (she?) did understand, in the suggestion to make the feature Premium-only, but you are right in general.  I'd go further and say that even within the developer community this is true - server developers often don't understand how complex a UI feature can be, and vice versa.  I know I've been guilty of this, as have my server counterparts.

 

2. Sad but true.  From what I've read since joining these forums, I suspect this feature isn't in EN because it doesn't fit the direction of fewer user choices/less user control.  That's a trend that is hot right now in general, and I hate it.  I'm more a fan of lots of user choices/control, with out-of-the-box defaults set up to make the new user's experience simple.  But that's another soapbox for another time.

 

I don't use reminders much, so I haven't explored that option as a way to have a manually ordered list of notes.  I know you're bringing it up as an example of where they've implemented something like this, not suggesting it as an alternative, but at the moment, it seems to be the only one.  And you're right - if I had a few notes I wanted to manually order, it might suffice.  But yuck!

 

 

One last note: I'm fairly new here, and probably should have looked around at some of your other posts before thrashing you.  If I had, I'd have seen that (as you note above) you do offer tech help, and you don't appear to have the attitude I first assumed.  I tore you down in public, so I would like to make a public apology as well: I'm sorry.

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@Rob: graciously put, and no harm, no foul. Thanks and welcome. For my part, I sometimes use a sharper tone that I probably ought, so I apologize for that coming through (it probably came across more in my first reply to Veemud, another gracious person). Folks with technical expertise are particularly welcome here, as they often have a better capability for helping others out, both with their problems but also with understanding how Evernote works.

 

Though I also have things that I think would be good to see in Evernote, I long ago abandoned any idea that they were going to implement every little bright idea I might have.  I'm happy to make suggestions when I think of them; I know that they do read everything here, but are balancing other concerns and have their own agenda, so after that I just move on (I do believe that they do value suggestions, but that's a far cry from implementing everything). Yes, I know that sometimes Evernote does things that are teeth-grindingly frustrating/annoying but...

 

...as it remains so darned handy to my work and personal life, I'm happy to stick around here and try to help people to use it better as it exists. The reminders thing is a case in point; I like to have some simple todo list functionality, particularly at work where I may have several tasks on my list at any one time. Reminders implement that pretty well; things that I care about in the near term go there where they're easily visible; when they're completed, they get moved to a journal notebook. I can add in debugging notes, screen caps, stray thoughts and they're all right there until I don't need them any more. They also respond to filtering, like any other notes, and that's handy too; I can drill down to a specific task if I want to. Works pretty well for me, and I can't think of anything else I'd really need there.

 

Hope that you'll find a reason to stick around too. Cheers.

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@Jeff - Thanks for the welcome (where's the smiley for "huh?  that's hard to parse!")

 

I'm pretty happy with EN overall, and plan on sticking around the product and the forums.  Certainly, the lack of manual sort is an annoyance rather than a showstopper for me, although I can think of a couple of notebooks where I'd use it if it were available.

 

The only thing really bugging me at the moment is the lack of comprehensive formatting options (especially named styles that I can apply with the click of a button).  I might check out an alternative product, but then again, I'm not sure whether I want to start climbing a new learning curve and take the transition hit.

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I tend to under-complicate in my initial design pass.  Bad habit of *mine*  ;) .

 

On the other hand, having thought a bit more on this one, I think the major complication would be storage of all of the manual sorts, if a user happened to use a lot of them.

 

I don't think I'd allow combining search and manual in the same list, so I'd avoid the whole case of two things ending in the same spot.  I'm sure someone would eventually ask for that, but for the initial phase at least, just doing a basic "for list X of things of type Y, here's the order in which those things should show up" would probably cover the 80% case (following the 80/20 rule).

 

If someone wanted to do a manual sort of the "All Notes" list, I can see it being a UI challenge, even for my measly 700 or so notes.  But I'm primarily a UX/UI guy, so as I noted in my response to Frank, that's the kind of thing I most enjoy solving.

 

Since this is a theoretical discussion, I don't quite know how search and manual could be separated from a use case perspective.  A user has set(s) of notes that are to be ordered, so how to get to that list of X things without a search of some sort whether it be single tag or expression,  Which leads to maintaining the context and manual sort of a context, which says a note could be manually sorted in some instances and not in others.  Therein lies the joy.  

 

Isn't this theoretical stuff fun particularly if you don't have to actually code for it, just pontificate about it!   :D

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Off the topic... Are myself and Wordsgood some of the only regular contributors here that are not programmers? It's tough running with the big dogs...

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Frank, there's enough dust on my programming skills it would take an archaeologist to find them!

 

You respond in two languages, now there's some Big Dog.

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Frank, there's enough dust on my programming skills it would take an archaeologist to find them!

 

You respond in two languages, now there's some Big Dog.

 

3 languages responded in thus far (if we're counting) :P ... with the help of iOS auto-correction for those characters and accents not easily found on my desktop keyboard. I feel somewhat skilled all of a sudden... although rarely called upon.

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Off the topic... Are myself and Wordsgood some of the only regular contributors here that are not programmers? It's tough running with the big dogs...

 

I don't know about anyone else, but I've always had a hard time keeping track of the various notes and scribbles I make when debugging a problem.  Since I've started with EN (around October 2014), I've gotten a lot better at that because I can keep a stream-of-consciousness note going on my second monitor.  I've found that if I use a handwriting-like font (Segoe Print works well) for my thoughts, Courier New for code snippets, and Times New Roman for documentation snippets and so on, and interject screenshots along the way, I can keep a good log of a debugging session, even a multi-day one.  (horizontal lines, auto-insertion of date and time are really good tools as well)

 

In fact, I've already been able to find an earlier problem that was similar to one I was working, and to extract the solution from my notes, which is something I'd never have been able to do with the mishmash of spiral notebooks and loose paper I used before.

 

My point is that EN is a great tool for programmers, so there may be a lot of us using it.  Toss in the fact that we tend to be "get under the hood" people who are used to going to forums for help (and to offer it), and I think it makes sense that you're seeing a lot of us here.

 

By the way, watch out - it's contagious!  If you wake up one day and find yourself thinking SnoozeButton.press() = sleep(5 * 60 * 1000), you'll know you're infected ...

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I'd like to second that welcome! Having more users willing to discuss Evernote's in and outs, and help other users where possible, is always a good thing. Having another user with tech skills who can translate "tech speech" into everyday language is especially nice.

So hi, Rob. Welcome aboard! It's a wee bit early, but this drink's on me...

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I'd like to second that welcome! Having more users willing to discuss Evernote's in and outs, and help other users where possible, is always a good thing. Having another user with tech skills who can translate "tech speech" into everyday language is especially nice.

So hi, Rob. Welcome aboard! It's a wee bit early, but this drink's on me...

 

Thanks, Words - I'll do my best to translate.

 

Now, where's the bar?

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+1 on the OP request.  -1 on people blaming the user for the request.

 

Manual sort is pretty much a no brainer.  It's the kind of feature that provides value to those who want it, and detracts not at all from those who don't.  And, unless the Evernote model is insanely awkward, it's an often-solved problem, and a trivial implementation.  Even with edge cases like people sorting filtered lists or multiple people trying to sort the same shared list manually on multiple devices at the same time.

 

By way of disclaimer, I am not a software designer or developer.  So I probably don't know what I'm talking about.  On the other hand, I lead an global team of over 100 designers and developers creating award winning cloud-based web and mobile applications, so maybe I do.

 

YMMV, haters gently ignored.

 

peachey

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Just wondering what a manual algorithm would be since manual, in essence, is not something for which one can create a formula.  Manual is more about remembering if anything I would think..

 

Actually there's an algorithm that will solve this problem, it just requires the addition of a CustomSortOrder field that can be input by the user.  I've actually used this approach on several occasions, and for the apps I was developing/maintaining it was pretty simple to implement:

  1. Add a numeric field and index to the database
  2. Add the CustomSortOrder field to the users data entry form
  3. Update the UI to add CustomSortOrder field

Of course, I realize that this is a bigger challenge to rollout across the many platforms that Evernote supports.  But by now they have updated the database structure several times.

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I just think of algorithms in terms of  mathematics and computer science, it's about creating a process.  I guess you create a flow chart decision tree that determined what number to apply, but I'm not sure that is what is being requested here.  I get the manual sort and why folks would want to have it, not quite an algorithm for me  But if we want to call that an algorithm, fine by me.

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I just think of algorithms in terms of  mathematics and computer science, it's about creating a process.  I guess you create a flow chart decision tree that determined what number to apply, but I'm not sure that is what is being requested here.  I get the manual sort and why folks would want to have it, not quite an algorithm for me  But if we want to call that an algorithm, fine by me.

 

Let's not get hung up on the name "algorithm".  What I posted is a process by which the user can specify the exact order of Notes to be shown in the Note list.

 

This provides exactly what the OP is asking for:  "simple manual-sort feature".

Maybe you were expecting something more visual like a drag-n-drop to reorder the Notes.  It could be done that way, but my way is much simpler.

 

I thought it was obvious, but maybe not.  

Let's say the user has a Search, Tag Filter, or Notebook that returns 10 Notes.

Normally these would be sorted by the std EN fields, Created Date, Updated Date, Title, etc.

But with a CustomSortOrder field on the Note Content panel the user can enter a number for each note that will be used to sort on.  

 

Let's say the Notes are currently sorted by Creation Date.

So, if the user enters "1.0" in the  3rd note, then "2.0" in the tenth note, and so on, incrementing by 1.0 until all 10 notes have a number, then when sorted by the CustomSortOrder the Note that was the 3rd note will now be the first listed note, and the tenth note second, etc.

 

Does this make sense now?

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Got it with the OP's original post, not a particularly complex concept even for my addled brain. Not sure what in the above would make anyone think I didn't get it. Anyway, my only point was some might not consider manual sort an algorithm. Fully off topic of manual sort for sure.

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An algorithm  is a procedure or formula for solving a problem.

 

My post described a procedure/process for solving the manual sort problem.

 

But, as I said above, let's not get hung up on semantics.  The solution is what is important, not what we call it.   ;) 

 

Point is that there is a potential solution that should be relatively simple to implement, as least in the systems/apps I have developed.  It is at least a good candidate.

 

I'd be interested in hearing from the OP and others who would like this feature if what I described would work for them.

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Not so much semantics as definitions.  What you described is a capability.  Use of that capability would be random and subjective by individual.  

 

And again, a capability that would solve the OPs issue I would think.

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Well, the debate over words continues, but maybe we can get back to the issue that the OP described.

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this is a forum composed of words, i'm afraid, and if you don't say what you mean and mean what you say, it's tough to have a conversation. i'm no expert in algorithms myself, but from my perspective, a manual sort would be manual. an algorithm implies interference using some kind of formula or perhaps an "ai" in evernote's usage.

my image of the process would be something like we see in scrivener. you drag each note around to wherever you want it. i don't really care how evernote handles this on the backend, as long as it doesn't interfere with the order i've chosen.

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this is a forum composed of words, i'm afraid, and if you don't say what you mean and mean what you say, it's tough to have a conversation. i'm no expert in algorithms myself, but from my perspective, a manual sort would be manual. an algorithm implies interference using some kind of formula or perhaps an "ai" in evernote's usage.

my image of the process would be something like we see in scrivener. you drag each note around to wherever you want it. i don't really care how evernote handles this on the backend, as long as it doesn't interfere with the order i've chosen.

 

Whether or not the process I posted is an "algorithm" or not is irrelevant.

However, GM, if you will google "algorithm" you will find that the definition of it includes both a broad definition ("procedure") and a narrow definition ("formula").

 

I am quite aware that the forums are composed of words, but unnecessary focus and debate tends to take the discussion off-topic.

 

There are many ways to implement a feature.  Perhaps many would like a visual, mouse-driven approach like you described in Scrivener.  But that is NOT the only approach.

 

A much simpler, manual approach is for the User to simply enter a sort order number for each Note.  Maybe not as elegant, but just as effective, and maybe a whole lot easier/quicker to implement.

 

This is really no different in objective than the request to be able to sort lines in a Note, where the user has entered the info to be sorted.

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this is a forum composed of words, i'm afraid, and if you don't say what you mean and mean what you say, it's tough to have a conversation. i'm no expert in algorithms myself, but from my perspective, a manual sort would be manual. an algorithm implies interference using some kind of formula or perhaps an "ai" in evernote's usage.

my image of the process would be something like we see in scrivener. you drag each note around to wherever you want it. i don't really care how evernote handles this on the backend, as long as it doesn't interfere with the order i've chosen.

GM, I think you hit on it (I highlighted the key sentence, with respect to the topic at hand, but I'm not saying what you said about meaning doesn't resonate either). There are a lot of unanswered issues with the so-called "algorithm" (I wouldn't call it such, and I doubt most folks who do this sort of stuff for a living would either, but whatever, maybe we should just call it a "rose"). Anyways...

 

* Manual entry of order number? How does that scale? Smacks of green-screen days, and guaranteed that this would be laughed at. A drag/drop approach does handle all of that without the user needing to deal with the underlying number (much like Reminders work, currently), and that's very appealing.

 

* Can different notes have identical order numbers? I'd probably say "yes", but it's a question that a designer would need to consider, in light of the fluidity of note display (different searches turn up different sets of notes).

 

* What happens if you mix shared notes in, and start dragging them around -- if they're read-only, can they be renumbered?

 

* How about if I have an ordered sequence in the current note filter, say 1-100, and I drag a note before #2? Does Evernote need to renumber all of the subsequent notes? What if the ordered sequence isn't in the current note filter?

 

* If you're not sorting by "Custom Order Number", is drag/drop of notes allowed (the implementation of Reminders doesn't allow it, currently)? How would you make sense of the new position if you allowed it, since you'd be dropping it into a location that's not in sync with the custom ordering? 

 

Oh, and this is a much different problem than merely sorting lines of text in a note. And there's much more to it than simply adding a new field to a note...

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Excellent!  I'm very glad to see us move on to the meaty technical issues.
 
Great questions.  Let's deal with them one by one.
 

* Manual entry of order number? How does that scale? Smacks of green-screen days, and guaranteed that this would be laughed at. A drag/drop approach does handle all of that without the user needing to deal with the underlying number (much like Reminders work, currently), and that's very appealing.


Not really.  It's no different than entering in the date (in YYMMDD format that GM likes so much) at the beginning of the Note Title so it will sort in date order.
 
Drag/drop would be great -- for dealing with small numbers of notes that all appear on the screen at once.
But if you have a larger number of notes, say > 40, and you want to move the notes at the bottom to the top, then you have to deal with dragging and scrolling, which doesn't always work well.
 
With a CustomSortOrder field, just go to the Note at the bottom, and enter a small number, like 1.0
 
But I certainly would not object to having both.
 

* Can different notes have identical order numbers? I'd probably say "yes", but it's a question that a designer would need to consider, in light of the fluidity of note display (different searches turn up different sets of notes).


Sure, and it's no problem.  Not much to consider really, just sort the Notes on CustomSortOrder and the Notes with the same number appear together.  The user can then, if he/she wishes, further edit the CustomSortOrder to further reorder those notes.
 

* What happens if you mix shared notes in, and start dragging them around -- if they're read-only, can they be renumbered?


Good point.  The simple version would not support read-only shared notes.  I'm not sure how many would actually have this use case.  It might be better anyway for  the owner to set the order.

IAC, drag/drop would have a similar issue.
 

* How about if I have an ordered sequence in the current note filter, say 1-100, and I drag a note before #2? Does Evernote need to renumber all of the subsequent notes? What if the ordered sequence isn't in the current note filter?


You are assuming that the user can drag/drop Notes.  That's NOT in my suggested procedure.

But, let's say you can.  That's why I used a numeric field, NOT an integer field.

With Drag/drop, Evernote could just assign a number between the two notes, like "1.5"
 

* If you're not sorting by "Custom Order Number", is drag/drop of notes allowed (the implementation of Reminders doesn't allow it, currently)? How would you make sense of the new position if you allowed it, since you'd be dropping it into a location that's not in sync with the custom ordering?


Clearly the user needs a way to sort "normally", like by Title, Created Date, etc.

So, my thought is that Evernote would NOT allow drag/drop unless the sort order is "Custom"
 

 

Thanks for the great questions, Jefito.  I drafted my procedure after only a few minutes of thought.

It's a concept, and like all concepts it need to be thought through, detailed, challenged, and tested.

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I guess I am not terribly excited about coming up with solutions for Evernote to implement this.

 

First, I don't think they are going to do it at this point, so it is difficult to get too enthusiastic about it. Second, I think they are the ones who get paid to come up with the solutions. I can only say that, as a user, I have no interest at all in entering numbers to move things around. If I have to renumber everything all the time, I'll just stick with changing the titles of notes. Or, better yet, use an app that is better suited to writing and research, which requires the sorting of data in a lot of different ways, some of which cannot be achieved by algorithms. 

 

If you wonder how effective drag/drop can be, I would encourage you to work with programs that have manual sorting and drag / drop functionality. I can assure you that moving around hundreds or even thousands of notes is a simple task. Obviously, the regular sort features, even the attenuated ones on the Mac, are wonderful. But, sometimes it's OK to do stuff yourself, and it isn't a failing in the app if it isn't "magically" done for me. If there is any magic, it ought to be in the backend, where they can figure out if they want to have a custom sort field or whatever.

 

If there is any meat in the conversation, I'd say it has more to do with the use cases. I've long felt that the most effective appeal to Evernote developers is to share your use cases so that they know what the problems are. I sometimes suggest solutions, especially based on my experience with other apps, but to be honest, I just want my problem solved, and I am not wedded to any particular approach.

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I guess I am not terribly excited about coming up with solutions for Evernote to implement this.

 

First, I don't think they are going to do it at this point, so it is difficult to get too enthusiastic about it. Second, I think they are the ones who get paid to come up with the solutions. I can only say that, as a user, I have no interest at all in entering numbers to move things around. If I have to renumber everything all the time, I'll just stick with changing the titles of notes.

Fine, if you don't think they (Evernote) are going to do it, then why waste your time here???

 

I would prefer that Evernote come up with the solutions, but, to be honest, I have not been that impressed with their solutions.

Work Chat is a great example of poor design, poor implementation.

 

Your statement of "If I have to renumber everything all the time" is ridiculous.  For the most part,  the "renumber" is a one-time event, perhaps needing a tweak from time to time.  One the user sets the order, he/she need do NOTHING unless new notes are added that need to be included in the order.

 

It's so funny, you see nothing wrong with changing the Note title to resort, yet changing it denies the user of sorting by descriptive title.  Changing a CustomSortOrder field has NO impact on the Title, and would not (or should not) affect the Updated Date field like changing the Title would.

 

If you wonder how effective drag/drop can be, I would encourage you to work with programs that have manual sorting and drag / drop functionality. I can assure you that moving around hundreds or even thousands of notes is a simple task.

You're right, I can't imagine reordering thousands of notes with drag and drop.  Please point me to an app that does this.

 

If there is any meat in the conversation, I'd say it has more to do with the use cases. I've long felt that the most effective appeal to Evernote developers is to share your use cases so that they know what the problems are. I sometimes suggest solutions, especially based on my experience with other apps, but to be honest, I just want my problem solved, and I am not wedded to any particular approach.

I think there are a lot of use cases that can benefit from user specified ordering:

  • Projects
  • Tasks
  • Procedures
  • Books
  • Documents

You seem to have missed my statement that I would have no objection to the addition of drag and drop.  In fact, I think it would be great to have both.

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Fine, if you don't think they (Evernote) are going to do it, then why waste your time here???

Hope.

 

Your statement of "If I have to renumber everything all the time" is ridiculous.  For the most part,  the "renumber" is a one-time event, perhaps needing a tweak from time to time.  One the user sets the order, he/she need do NOTHING unless new notes are added that need to be included in the order.

Then I am a ridiculous man who is constantly reordering paragraphs, sections, and chapters of work that I am writing. That is my use case, though, and apparently the use case of other writers and researchers.

 

It's so funny, you see nothing wrong with changing the Note title to resort, yet changing it denies the user of sorting by descriptive title.  Changing a CustomSortOrder field has NO impact on the Title, and would not (or should not) affect the Updated Date field like changing the Title would.

I am glad that you find my workflow amusing. Just to clarify, I don't like changing my note titles, but it is preferable to "Untitled" or some other auto-fill stuff, and titling a note for me with YYYYMMDD + keywords is a one-time thing that I am unlikely to repeat again for that note. Another field to enter data into would not be welcome.

You're right, I can't imagine reordering thousands of notes with drag and drop.  Please point me to an app that does this.

As mentioned above, try Scrivener.

 

You seem to have missed my statement that I would have no objection to the addition of drag and drop.  In fact, I think it would be great to have both.

No. I read it and disagreed. I've never found such numbering schemes (I am thinking of the old Netflix interface, for example) to be terribly pleasant. If you could point me to an enjoyable interface, I'd be glad to take a look.
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You're right, I can't imagine reordering thousands of notes with drag and drop.  Please point me to an app that does this.

As mentioned above, try Scrivener.

 

I don't have Scrivener installed, but I didn't see anything in their web site about drag/drop of thousands of Notes.

Please point me to the specific web page that states this.

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You're right, I can't imagine reordering thousands of notes with drag and drop.  Please point me to an app that does this.

As mentioned above, try Scrivener.
 

I don't have Scrivener installed, but I didn't see anything in their web site about drag/drop of thousands of Notes.

Please point me to the specific web page that states this.

If you're not willing to download the app and try it (free) or watch a YouTube video or something, I recommend you just take my word at it and let it go, because you already agreed you would like to see the feature.

Let me know what kind of manual sort interface you had in mind with the manual number changes, because I think at this point we are only in disagreement about this as something Evernote ought to develop.

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I don't have Scrivener installed, but I didn't see anything in their web site about drag/drop of thousands of Notes.

Please point me to the specific web page that states this.

 

If you're not willing to download the app and try it (free) or watch a YouTube video or something, I recommend you just take my word at it and let it go, because you already agreed you would like to see the feature.

Let me know what kind of manual sort interface you had in mind with the manual number changes, because I think at this point we are only in disagreement about this as something Evernote ought to develop.

 

 

Sorry GM, but I can't begin to imagine how drag/drop would be an effective UI for manually ordering THOUSANDS of records.

Furthermore, I can't imagine why anyone would want to do so.

 

From my perspective and experience of 30 years, most users would need to manually order only a relatively few number of records (Notes, files, todo lists,etc).  I'm thinking most less than 20 records, and 99% less than 100 records.

 

Less than 20 records, drag/drop should work fine.

Between 20-100, entering an order# is probably easier.

 

Take the EN Tag screen. If you have more than 50, for sure more than 100, tags, drag/drop of a tag on another to create/add to a tag hierarchy becomes a big challenge.  It would be far easier to just right-click on a Tag and select the Parent Tag.

 

I can see that you, and probably others, are having a hard time visualizing how easy it would be to use a CustomSortOrder field.

Since I have actually implemented this approach a number of times, I can tell you that it works quite well, and most users get it immediately, if not very soon, after seeing the interface.

 

The manual sort interface I have in mind is quite simple:

  • On the Note Content panel, ADD a CustomSortOrder field, like next to the Created Date field, but make it editable.
  • The CustomSortOrder is stored in the database for each Note.
  • The User filters the Note list by a Search, Tag Filter, or Notebook
  • The User changes the Sort Order to Custom
  • The User then selects each Note, and enters the CustomSortOrder, a numeric field (like 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, etc).
  • Notes that have a blank CustomSortOrder are listed AFTER those that do
  • Once the User has selected "Custom" as the sort field, Evernote automatically sorts the Note list in numeric (NOT alphabetic) order.
  • Most of the time, once the User has set the Custom order, it need NOT be done again.  Since the CustomSortOrder is part of the database record for each Note, it does NOT need to be re-entered unless the User wants to change it.

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Having just reread the above posts, I see a point of confusion.

 

Entering the CustomSortOrder is a one-time, or at least seldom needed, entry.  It is part of the permanent record of a Note.

So once you enter it, it stays there.

 

So, AFTER you have entered the CustomSortOrder for a Note, every time you choose "Custom" in the Sort by field, Evernote will use that value.  As I have said numerous times now, this generally make sense only when the User has done something to filter the Note list, like a Search, Tag Filter, or Notebook.  These filters generally result in reducing the Note list down to a small number.

 

Any Notes that have a blank CustomSortOrder would be listed below those that do.

 

Let me give you an example to clarify.

 

Let's say that you have a book, or a document, and you would like to see Notes for it order by chapter, or section.  So, you create a Notebook, or Tag, with a name that represents the name of the book/document, like "MyBook1".

 

As you create Notes for your book, you Tag them with "MyBook1", and enter a number into the CustomSortOrder field that corresponds to the chapter number, like "1.0"

 

After you have created several Notes, each one corresponding to a chapter, you do this:

  • Set Tag Filter, or Search box, to Tag;MyBook2
  • Set sort order to "Custom"

Now you see your book listed with each chapter in order, regardless of the Note Title, or the Created Date or the Updated Date.

 

Yes, there are other ways to accomplish this, like using Note Titles with "Chap 01" etc.

But what happens if you want to insert Notes within a  chapter/section?

If you have initially assigned each Note with a CustomSortOrder that corresponds to the Chapter number (like 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, etc), you can now assign new Notes with an order inbetween, like 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc), and they will automatically be displayed in proper order when you choose "Custom" for the sort order.

 

What if you want to create notes for a procedure and you don't want to change the Note Title (and thus the Updated Date)?

 

Hopefully this will give you a better picture of how CustomSortOrder could be used.

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"Funny"... "Ridiculous"... If I don't see the humor or absurdity tucked away somewhere here, this conversation must be way over my head ;-)

(I say that with trepidation and respect)

Whatever goes on behind the scenes, just give me an intuitive, practical and aesthetic interface that floats my boat.

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Went away for a day.  Wow.

 

No particular value add, just wow.    :rolleyes:

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Entering the CustomSortOrder is a one-time, or at least seldom needed, entry.  It is part of the permanent record of a Note.

So once you enter it, it stays there.

 

 

 

I think that works well when a Note resides in a single list/view, and would cover the case you described very nicely.

 

But for the more general case of setting a sort order for each view in the system, you run into potential conflicts between notes with the same CustomSortOrder and so on.  For example, consider doing some sort of crosscutting search that ends up with several chapter 4's, two tables of contents, and a Dolores.  You might want to custom sort those results just for that particular search.

 

In that case, you need a more general solution.  Internally, you can store a list of note ID's (I assume each note has a unique ID) with each custom-sorted list in the system, and then there are a variety of UI solutions for manipulating the custom sort for a given view.  I detailed a couple of them (both of which I've implemented in the past) in an earlier post in this thread here: https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/80104-manual-sorting-and-the-design-objection/#entry338631

 

Any solution is going to break down, though if someone wants to custom sort their All Notes view, or any view with more than [insert number here] items in it, where the number to insert is probably higher than a couple of dozen and lower than a couple of hundred, depending on the person and the cleverness of the UI.

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Any solution is going to break down, though if someone wants to custom sort their All Notes view, or any view with more than [insert number here] items in it, where the number to insert is probably higher than a couple of dozen and lower than a couple of hundred, depending on the person and the cleverness of the UI.

 

 

Good points Rob.  That's why I mentioned in my original post that it was designed for a more limited use case, where the user has performed some type of filter, like Notebook, Tag filter, or Search.

 

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see much value in a manual sort with no or broad filters that produce many, many Notes.  I do think there are lot of use cases where the user has filtered the Note list by a book, document, project, task, procedure, etc.  EN Mac does have a "relevance" sort, which is supposed to work like Google, I suppose.

 

I was purposefully trying to keep the system simple, which most likely limits the scope.

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Any solution is going to break down, though if someone wants to custom sort their All Notes view, or any view with more than [insert number here] items in it, where the number to insert is probably higher than a couple of dozen and lower than a couple of hundred, depending on the person and the cleverness of the UI.

 

Good points Rob.  That's why I mentioned in my original post that it was designed for a more limited use case, where the user has performed some type of filter, like Notebook, Tag filter, or Search.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see much value in a manual sort with no or broad filters that produce many, many Notes.

I do think there are lot of use cases where the user has filtered the Note list by a book, document, project, task, procedure, etc.  EN Mac does have a "relevance" sort, which is supposed to work like Google, I suppose.

 

I was purposefully trying to keep the system simple, which most likely limits the scope.

 

Thanks. I'm with you on the limitation idea (although I do worry with your solution about a note that appears in two different contexts, hence my alternate proposal).

 

I raised the All Notes spectre because (a) users are never satisfied (/rob looks around the forum with a sardonic grin) and ( b ) the company I work for deals in extremely high volumes of data, so I have been trained over the last several years to always think in terms of the worst case, data-wise.  In reality, I think designing a manual sort for the common case and either disabling it or caveating the heck out of it for lists of a certain size would be just fine.

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Thanks. I'm with you on the limitation idea (although I do worry with your solution about a note that appears in two different contexts, hence my alternate proposal).

 

I raised the All Notes spectre because (a) users are never satisfied (/rob looks around the forum with a sardonic grin) and ( b ) the company I work for deals in extremely high volumes of data, so I have been trained over the last several years to always think in terms of the worst case, data-wise.  In reality, I think designing a manual sort for the common case and either disabling it or caveating the heck out of it for lists of a certain size would be just fine.

Which brings us back pretty much to where we are right now: Reminders already can be displayed in user-configurable order.

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That doesn't relate.  This thread is about manual ordering of Notes, not Reminders.

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That doesn't relate.  This thread is about manual ordering of Notes, not Reminders.

It relates perfectly. Please show me an Evernote Reminder that is *not* a note. 

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You know very well that Reminders and Notes are two different things.  A Reminder is related to, or linked to a Note, but it is not a Note.

IAC, many people would not want to create reminders to manually order Notes.

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You know very well that Reminders and Notes are two different things.  A Reminder is related to, or linked to a Note, but it is not a Note.

IAC, many people would not want to create reminders to manually order Notes.

 

You really have no clue, do you? You cannot show me an instance of a reminder that is not a note. Period. I'm not guessing here. I'm not being stretching the definition of note. Every reminder is a note

 

In particular, the reminder part of a note is optional, so it's not the case that every note is a reminder (which is not the same thing as saying that every reminder is a note). But reminder information is attached only to notes, and not to anything else,  and it doesn't exist outside of a note. Every reminder is a note

 

From the API reference: https://dev.evernote.com/doc/reference/Types.html#Struct_NoteAttributes

 

Let me summarize the discussion for you:

 

* "We want manual ordering of notes!!!"

* "We could do it if we had a new field"

* "But there are messy details if we try to scale up"

* "Oh, but we'd only do it for small numbers of notes"

* "Oh, ok. Reminders can do that already."

 

Reminders are perfectly suited to the problem as it's evolved in this topic, and they are already implemented.

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We're clearly not going to get anywhere here, as I would say that it is you who "really have no clue".  Since you claim to be a software developer, I expected much more.

But it doesn't matter.  I don't really care whether you get it or not, and I have no interest in wasting my time trying to convince you.

So if you choose to believe that Reminders are Notes, go for it if that appeals to your ego.

Each person can decide on their own.

I'm done with this little, yet another, off-topic conversation that you like to have.

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We're clearly not going to get anywhere here, as I would say that it is you who "really have no clue".  Since you claim to be a software developer, I expected much more.

But it doesn't matter.  I don't really care whether you get it or not, and I have no interest in wasting my time trying to convince you.

So if you choose to believe that Reminders are Notes, go for it if that appeals to your ego.

Each person can decide on their own.

I'm done with this little, yet another, off-topic conversation that you like to have.

Your expectations are not my business, and your off-base nit-picking led to this little side discussion. Unfortunately, you picked the wrong nit.

 

This not my ego; this is Object Oriented software development 101 --  inheritance, in particular. I'm sure that WikiPedia could help you there, if you could even be bothered to read up on it. A Reminder "isA" Note, as it's put sometimes, in that context. That Reminders are Notes is Cold Hard Evernote Fact; it's supported in the API and data structure, and it's supported functionally. Everything you can do with a note, you can also do with a reminder; that's because Reminders are Notes. Right-click on a Reminder and see how well the menu matches up with that from a non-reminder note. A more appropriate name for Reminders would be ReminderNotes, but Evernote calls them Reminders. It's just a name.

 

This solves the problem in the small, to a fair degree, which is where the topic was tending.

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Who says we have to use "Reminders" as reminders? You can use reminders as the name suggests… Or you can think about it as a context. Both work well. If a note is not date/ time specific, the fact that it has been made a reminder packages it into what we call the "Reminder List". There are dozens of uses for these "simple" reminders. One such use could be to manually order your notes, in whatever shape or form they take.

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Reminders are just notes where information has been entered.into the reminder fields of the note.  There is no unique reminder entity.  Reminders as we see them are based upon functionality EN created using those fields.  Though the implementation is not as robust as one might like and does require some workarounds, but that is another topic.

 

If you don't believe it go to all notes in list view and enter reminderorder:* or the like in the search field.  The search explanation count should be the number of reminders created in EN and it will match the number of notes in list view.  Pretty much just notes.  If you go to snippet view the reminder count will be the open reminders and the note count will again be all reminders ever created.

 

So definitely possible to create drag/drop sortable lists in snippet view by using the reminder field and grouping the notes by tags or notebook   Personal preference if one would want to do it, but a workaround in existing EN to get the job done.  And the user controls the sets with the tag or notebook designations.

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Who says we have to use "Reminders" as reminders? You can use reminders as the name suggests… Or you can think about it as a context. Both work well. If a note is not date/ time specific, the fact that it has been made a reminder packages it into what we call the "Reminder List". There are dozens of uses for these "simple" reminders. One such use could be to manually order your notes, in whatever shape or form they take.

Right. I don't need reminders to make my computer go "beep" on a certain day, I use the reminders list as a kind of scoreboard for stuff that's due in the near-term. Some of my reminder notes dates (usually this week's tasks), others don't (and they float to the bottom of the list). I don't use the manual sorting, but it's there, and it works simply, by drag/drop. 

 

 

Reminders are just notes where information has been entered.into the reminder fields of the note.  There is no unique reminder entity.  Reminders as we see them are based upon functionality EN created using those fields.  Though the implementation is not as robust as one might like and does require some workarounds, but that is another topic.

Indeed. For a couple: they're subject to the caveats that I've listed up-thread, and in the Windows client, the Reminder list isn't available in List View. Oh, and the remindertime:day+1 thingy is an annoyance if you depend on search. On the other hand, they're simple, easy to use, flexible... and they're just notes, and you can manipulate them as such.

 

If you don't believe it go to all notes in list view and enter reminderorder:* or the like in the search field.  The search explanation count should be the number of reminders created in EN and it will match the number of notes in list view.  Pretty much just notes.  If you go to snippet view the reminder count will be the open reminders and the note count will again be all reminders ever created.

 

So definitely possible to create drag/drop sortable lists in snippet view by using the reminder field and grouping the notes by tags or notebook   Personal preference if one would want to do it, but a workaround in existing EN to get the job done.  And the user controls the sets with the tag or notebook designations.

I wouldn't deny that it's a workaround, but they seem pretty apt to the task if you can put up with the quirks. Again, I don't use the manual sort part of it, but I did give it a shot awhile back. I just prefer giving my handful of week's tasks a due date, and working from there. Easy enough to pull new ones in if need be, or change the due date if I don't get to a task.

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We're clearly not going to get anywhere here, as I would say that it is you who "really have no clue".  Since you claim to be a software developer, I expected much more.

But it doesn't matter.  I don't really care whether you get it or not, and I have no interest in wasting my time trying to convince you.

So if you choose to believe that Reminders are Notes, go for it if that appeals to your ego.

Each person can decide on their own.

I'm done with this little, yet another, off-topic conversation that you like to have.

Your expectations are not my business, and your off-base nit-picking led to this little side discussion. Unfortunately, you picked the wrong nit.

 

This not my ego; this is Object Oriented software development 101 --  inheritance, in particular. I'm sure that WikiPedia could help you there, if you could even be bothered to read up on it. A Reminder "isA" Note, as it's put sometimes, in that context. That Reminders are Notes is Cold Hard Evernote Fact; it's supported in the API and data structure, and it's supported functionally. Everything you can do with a note, you can also do with a reminder; that's because Reminders are Notes. Right-click on a Reminder and see how well the menu matches up with that from a non-reminder note. A more appropriate name for Reminders would be ReminderNotes, but Evernote calls them Reminders. It's just a name.

 

This solves the problem in the small, to a fair degree, which is where the topic was tending.

 

 

Technically, according to OO dev 101, it is true that Reminders are Notes.  They are even Notes with the extra attribute of being able to be manually rearranged, which makes them usable when someone wants to take a reasonably sized group of Notes and view them in a specific order.

 

By that same reasoning, though, Tigers are Cats.  They are even Cats with the extra attribute of being short-haired, which makes them usable when someone wants to have a pet cat that won't require their vacuuming their house frequently.

 

Neither strict application of OO principles applies, though, because of the OTHER extra attributes which exist for Reminders and Tigers and make them an unsuitable solution for the problem/requirements as stated.

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Technically, according to OO dev 101, it is true that Reminders are Notes.  They are even Notes with the extra attribute of being able to be manually rearranged, which makes them usable when someone wants to take a reasonably sized group of Notes and view them in a specific order.

Technically *and* behaviorally, in Evernote. Indeed, they do have the Reminder-y stuff tacked in; that's the way it typically goes with subclassing. As as we've noted before, doing manual order on a large scale is probably not a great way to go; "reasonably-sized" seems a fair assessment.

 

By that same reasoning, though, Tigers are Cats.  They are even Cats with the extra attribute of being short-haired, which makes them usable when someone wants to have a pet cat that won't require their vacuuming their house frequently.

Neither strict application of OO principles applies, though, because of the OTHER extra attributes which exist for Reminders and Tigers and make them an unsuitable solution for the problem/requirements as stated.

I've never claimed that Reminder notes solve the problem as stated. And we've previously discussed some difficulties with solving that problem. I think I've been pretty careful about offering reminders as a workaround rather than a full solution. At a guess, anyone waiting for the full-blown all-notes-individually-orderable solution is probably going to be waiting for a long time. For the interim, then, if reminders are potentially useful to the task, then users looking for manual ordering should be made aware of their capabilities. It may be enough for some.

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Technically, according to OO dev 101, it is true that Reminders are Notes.  They are even Notes with the extra attribute of being able to be manually rearranged, which makes them usable when someone wants to take a reasonably sized group of Notes and view them in a specific order.

Technically *and* behaviorally, in Evernote. Indeed, they do have the Reminder-y stuff tacked in; that's the way it typically goes with subclassing. [snip ...]

 

True. But I think that JMichael was trying to make the point that from the perspective of the average user, a Reminder is either an add-on feature to a Note ("Hey, I'd like to come back to this next week when I have some time") or a simple "Hey, don't let me forget this thing I have to do". Either way, I have to agree with him that it's not the first thing a user thinks of when they think "manual sort order", and perhaps not even notes in general. And trotting out technical definitions from Object Oriented Dev 101 in a user-oriented discussion is kind of not the best move.

 

 

By that same reasoning, though, Tigers are Cats.  They are even Cats with the extra attribute of being short-haired, which makes them usable when someone wants to have a pet cat that won't require their vacuuming their house frequently.

Neither strict application of OO principles applies, though, because of the OTHER extra attributes which exist for Reminders and Tigers and make them an unsuitable solution for the problem/requirements as stated.

I've never claimed that Reminder notes solve the problem as stated. And we've previously discussed some difficulties with solving that problem. I think I've been pretty careful about offering reminders as a workaround rather than a full solution. At a guess, anyone waiting for the full-blown all-notes-individually-orderable solution is probably going to be waiting for a long time. For the interim, then, if reminders are potentially useful to the task, then users looking for manual ordering should be made aware of their capabilities. It may be enough for some.

 

I suppose so, but I can't imagine actually using it myself - it's like using a screwdriver to pound in a nail.*

And I know if I offered such a bizarre quasi-solution or workaround to my users, I'd be slaughtered. I know you don't work for EN, so YOU aren't offering it to YOUR users, but even so ... Something feels wrong about focusing on such a weird solution, like it validates EN's choice not to offer a better one, when so many more appropriate options are being tossed around here instead.  If EN thinks we're OK with a workaround, they may not be motivated to do better.

 

Of course, they may not be anyway.  Which brings me back to /sigh.

 

 

*OK, forum software, you win.  I won't say "using a hammer to ***** in a Phillips Head *****."

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True. But I think that JMichael was trying to make the point that from the perspective of the average user, a Reminder is either an add-on feature to a Note ("Hey, I'd like to come back to this next week when I have some time") or a simple "Hey, don't let me forget this thing I have to do". Either way, I have to agree with him that it's not the first thing a user thinks of when they think "manual sort order", and perhaps not even notes in general. And trotting out technical definitions from Object Oriented Dev 101 in a user-oriented discussion is kind of not the best move.

Again, I never claimed that this is how other users might perceive reminders, or whether Evernote intended them as an alternate to full-on manual ordering. You should also note that I dragged out the OO stuff only when confronted by extreme obtuseness. But none of that changes the fact that reminders are indeed notes, and that fact shouldn't be treated as a mystical secret. I think that non-technical users have some shot at understanding, for example, that a spreadsheet is a file, and an MP3 is a file, and a JPG is a also file, and so on, but you can't play a spreadsheet in a video player. In an audience where there are a fair number of technically aware users, is it really a stretch to think that they'd be confused by reminders as notes? And if they are confused on that point, should we keep them so, or try to educate?

 

I suppose so, but I can't imagine actually using it myself - it's like using a screwdriver to pound in a nail.*

And I know if I offered such a bizarre quasi-solution or workaround to my users, I'd be slaughtered. I know you don't work for EN, so YOU aren't offering it to YOUR users, but even so ... Something feels wrong about focusing on such a weird solution, like it validates EN's choice not to offer a better one, when so many more appropriate options are being tossed around here instead.  If EN thinks we're OK with a workaround, they may not be motivated to do better.

 

Of course, they may not be anyway.  Which brings me back to /sigh.

I sure don't claim to have any sway over what Evernote chooses to design or implement; I doubt very much whether they'd take my proposing an admittedly imperfect solution to a user request as an excuse to make them change their plans in any way. The flip side here is that software engineering is not always bound to deliver the all-time perfect solution. Sometimes "good enough" is really good enough.

 

In the meantime, I'm happy to share what I've gleaned about how Evernote operates with other users here. I'm in the business of practicality in this respect (well, all computers, being finite contraptions are, really) since I can't change anything myself; beyond that, you never guess what users are going to want (sometimes they don't know or can't articulate it anyways), nor can you know when a cockeyed Gyro Gearloose solution might fill a particular user's need. I might not offer such a solution to *my* users either, but then again, I've been in this game long enough to have seen, and been delighted by a user finding a different use for some provided functionality that we, the designers/developers, had not foreseen or intended.

I really don't see any harm in offering up reminders as a workaround for this use case. Anyone who doesn't like it can wait around for the perfect solution; others can take it up and get on with their lives. Frankly, I'm a little surprised that nobody figured this out before I did (or maybe they did and I missed it); I sure don't use reminders that way...

 

Edit: "I'm a little surprised that nobody figured this out before I did" : actually, Frank got there before me, upthread. Credit where it's due.

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Rreminders work. So does the shortcut menu (the only manually sortable area in evernote). You could also stick numbers at the beginning of notes (01, 02, 03...). Numbers in the author field work as well. My personal solution is to make a "table of contents" and then cut/paste notes into the order I want.

Evernote developers have heard for years about the desire for this manual sort feature. They are generally averse to adding stuff, especially in the "sort" menu, which remains quite small in iOS, slightly larger on the Mac, and largest on Windows. The lack of cross-platform parity also makes it seem to me that they would be unlikely to add this, because they are obviously not focused on this area of the app.

Anyhow, it's all just speculation. The app is what it is, and these are the workarounds that we've developed. Hopefully, they help some folks achieve their goals, even if they aren't the most elegant or straightforward way of getting there.

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I've never claimed that Reminder notes solve the problem as stated. And we've previously discussed some difficulties with solving that problem. I think I've been pretty careful about offering reminders as a workaround rather than a full solution. At a guess, anyone waiting for the full-blown all-notes-individually-orderable solution is probably going to be waiting for a long time. For the interim, then, if reminders are potentially useful to the task, then users looking for manual ordering should be made aware of their capabilities. It may be enough for some.

Didn't mean to imply you were solving the problem specifically as stated.  I agree it is a very valid solution for someone wanting to manually organize different groups of notes even if the rose isn't exactly a rose.   :) .  

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Anyhow, it's all just speculation. The app is what it is, and these are the workarounds that we've developed. Hopefully, they help some folks achieve their goals, even if they aren't the most elegant or straightforward way of getting there.

I can tell you honestly that I use Evernote every working day and most other days as well. It does work for me, and for the most part, I don't find it either inelegant or byzantine. My workflow is simple by design, and maybe some other tool might do it better, but Evernote does it just fine.

 

Signor Ferrari: Suppose we ask Sam. Maybe he'd like to make a change.

Rick Blaine: Suppose we do.

Signor Ferrari: My dear Rick, when will you realize that in this world today isolationism is no longer a practical policy?

Rick Blaine: Sam, Ferrari wants you to work for him at the Blue Parrot.

Sam: Oh, I like it fine here.

Rick Blaine: He'll double what I pay you.

Sam quote: I ain't got time to spend what I make here

 

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Well, this thread has far past run its course for me.

 

It's been mostly a debate by those that don't even want, or at least rarely use, manual sort of notes.

It was derailed almost immediately when someone chose to pick on the OP's use of the term "algorithm", while completely ignoring the main issue the OP sought to discuss.  Few of us have perfect use of English, and even fewer are computer experts.  There is a lot of computer jargon in use today that has gone far past its technical origins.

 

Other than the OP, I'm not sure anyone who posted here really wants a more full-featured manual note sort, whether it be by algorithm or other means.

Maybe I missed someone, but if so, their voice got lost in the noise.

 

So, what's the point?  Much ado about nothing.

I think GM summed it up best:

 

Anyhow, it's all just speculation. The app is what it is, and these are the workarounds that we've developed. Hopefully, they help some folks achieve their goals, even if they aren't the most elegant or straightforward way of getting there.

 

 

From the First Post:

According to some on this forum, the lack of the rather obvious and simple manual-sort feature was a 'design' decision.

 

I doubt it's really that —it probably costs more to add, enact, and maintain a manual-sort algorithm— but if it's related to money/resources, you should consider adding manual-sort to the Premium Services. I'd pay for that in a heartbeat.

 

You guys feel free to carry on without me.  

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OK, I know I just said I'm done with this thread, but a new project has provided me with the opportunity to reexamine how I might best organize the project related notes in Evernote.

 

Old-Dog-New-Tricks.png

 

So, I'm sure you guys will really love this.  In the notion of "an old dog can learn new tricks", and making a public concession, I have found a good use for Reminders, not as in reminding me of a due date, but in pinning key notes at the top of the list.

 

So, by combining a new Notebook dedicated to this project, and creating Reminders (without dates) of key notes I need handy/quick reference to, I've been able to quickly setup a system that seems to work quite well.

 

With the Notebook selected, the list of project notes are shown and at the top of the list are the Reminders for that Notebook, which list my key Notes.

 

So, in the normal Note list, I can sort, filter, search the normal Evernote way.

Regardless of the state of the Note list, I can quickly reference my key notes just by one click on the Reminders line/button at the top of the Note list.   And, I can view the key notes (reminders) without a sort, which enables manual sort, or sort by date incase I do have some with due dates.

 

Do you guys get the picture?

 

There are number of lessons learned for all of us from this thread/experience, but I won't get into that.  Each of you can challenge yourself if you're interested in self-improvement.

 

My only hope is that this thread will ultimately be of some value to as many users as possible.

 

Hope you all are having a nice day.

 

Best Regards,

JMichael

 

P.S.  Since we need some heavy-duty project management tools for this project, I am not using Evernote exclusively for that purpose.  Rather Evernote is a project support tool.  The main PM tool I'm using is Apptivo.com, which is really much more than just PM, but has great PM tools, all at an very, very good price.

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Posted · Hidden by charboyd, February 26, 2015 - Forum Code of Conduction violation: Flame War
Hidden by charboyd, February 26, 2015 - Forum Code of Conduction violation: Flame War

Utterly predictable return after a melodramatic, whining, and blaming retreat. Yes, I think that we "get the picture" alrighty; it's still the same as it ever was. We had the picture on reminders long ago, but all we got was a fingers-in-ears, head-in-sand dance of denial. We got a load of passive-aggressive nonsense tossed our way, but I guess that "I won't get into that" is the catchphrase for the day. No, there were no lessons learned today, for anyone who's been around here for awhile. But hey, tomorrow's a new day, can't wait to see what the next tweet from Planet Wackamolia will bring...

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So, in the normal Note list, I can sort, filter, search the normal Evernote way.

Regardless of the state of the Note list, I can quickly reference my key notes just by one click on the Reminders line/button at the top of the Note list.   And, I can view the key notes (reminders) without a sort, which enables manual sort, or sort by date incase I do have some with due dates.

 

Do you guys get the picture?

I believe I have had the picture, it has been the point of what we have been discussing.  Glad the light bulb went off.   ;)   Really, no BS.

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5 hours ago, kih305 said:

So how are we going on manual sorting? Really letting themselves down without it. 

https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/15291-request-manual-sort-view-of-notes-in-a-notebook/?page=2#comment-432264

The situation has not changed: reminders in a reminder list may be manually ordered; notes in a note list cannot be manually ordered. No word from the Evernote powers on high that this is in the works.

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I found a work around. I'm witching to Scrivener. They now have an ios app so that base is covered - and very well. For web and mobile capture i'll still use evernote as an inbox. Scrivener has perfect manual sort, quick and easy nesting and then the outline view let's you auto sort all notes in any way. Amazing what a small crew can do vs a behemoth entrenched in plaque. I've used evernote since it was an evernote (the old toilet paper scroll). I'd love to keep using it but it's in no way helpful. Amazing for capture, terrible for use of that capture. 

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I almost thought this reminder trick was going to solve the problem. While trying it out, I stumbled quickly on the fact that reminders can only be attributed whilst using the mouse and giving not less than 4 clicks for each note that you want to sort. So as long as bulk attributing of a reminder to all these notes is not possible, this trick doesn't seem to do it.

Personally I would use the manual sort simply in a daily task management of max 10 items. In my try-out that was already way too much clicking and keeping attention on where to click.

But I hope I missed something, I'm curious :-)

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1 hour ago, Didgeridoo said:

Personally I would use the manual sort simply in a daily task management of max 10 items.

Manual sort isn't my thing, but I'd use the Shortcut section;

my Reminder section is filled up with .... reminders.  But it does accept a filter
I wish these sections had a hierarchy feature; like a parent entry "Task Management"

I use the copy-links feature to copy my current tasks into a task list in my daily journal
I adjust the sequence in this list as required for the day's priorities

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Yes the shortcut workaround would be doing it as well, if it not were for the missing feature of grouping them. Furthermore I don't trust them syncing well on the android app.

Copy-links look indeed like the least of all bads (unfortunately).

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