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dmetalious

(Archived) Evernote Almost Worthless

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On first glance, Evernote looks like it has everything one needs to compile and store useful information.

But as one who has used various notebook applications for many years, it took little time to see Evernote's fatal flaw, at least for power users: It has no way to organize notes into a directory tree.

For light users, this is fine. But for power users, who will use the application for years, without a directory tree within which to organize one's data, so one can actually find it again among thousands of notes, years later, that data might as well not exist.

Search and tags are no replacement for having your notes organized properly. This is not just a feature. Evernote is incomplete, without this OPTION.

I'm sorry, but it is somewhat surprising to see such a quality product in so many respects lack such a fundamental and essential feature. I hope that a correction can be made asap.

In conclusion, Evernote needs to allow users to create Notebooks inside of Notebooks ad infinitum. This allows notes to be stored in a hierarchical structure.

Please hurry. I need Evernote.

Thanks

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Search and tags are no replacement for having your notes organized properly. This is not just a feature. Evernote is incomplete, without this OPTION.

To be honest, I think the tag implementation in Evernote makes it possible for you to mimic the hierarchy of a folder structure, and folders are therefore not needed. I suppose that you're aware that you can make a tag a "child" of another tag by dragging it on top of the other? Also, you can drag one or multiple selected notes on to a tag, just like you would drag an item into a folder in the OS X finder/Windows explorer.

The advantage is that you are not forced into deciding whether a note belongs in one folder or the other – in Evernote you can assign two or more tags to it, and it effectively rests in several places (DEVONthink on the Mac has similar functionality).

I have a notebook for each project/activity that I use Evernote for, and I use tags to have a nested, folder-like structure to sort my notes by topic and content. This way, I get a more "three-dimensional" way of organising my information that a simple folder structure would fail to do.

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The advantage is that you are not forced into deciding whether a note belongs in one folder or the other – in Evernote you can assign two or more tags to it, and it effectively rests in several places (DEVONthink on the Mac has similar functionality).

This "limitation" keeps popping up in these subnotebooks vs. tags threads but I'm not sure why. EN 2.2 allows a note to belong to as many categories (subnotebooks) as I care to assign it. Simply drag the desired categories from the sidebar list and drop them into the note header and you're done. Plus the parent\child relationships in the hierachy are maintained once they're created making it unnecessary to build them over each time.

Just my 2 cents that don't make a dime's worth of difference....

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In 1995, there was only a small number of web pages on the Internet, so people tried to organize them by manually creating hierarchies (like Yahoo!) that you would click through to find individual web pages.

As the Internet grew, this became unwieldy, and companies like Google realized the better solution was to build really smart and simple tools for Searching instead of manually categorizing. Now, I can open google.com and type a few words into a simple search box and find my desired web page out of the billions on the Internet.

In retrospect, it seems that simple "flat" organizational schemes are good for finding things in a small set of documents.

Browsable organizational metaphors like hierarchies are ok for finding things when your set of documents gets to be medium-sized (e.g. a few thousand).

And very large data sets (e.g. all of the notes you might take through your entire life) are better suited to a good Search system.

So we certainly appreciate the feedback, but I actually think that it's more important for us to come up with better and better ways to Search and Filter your notes, rather than coming up with more elaborate alternate schemes for you to manually organize notes in to buckets (in addition to the list of notebooks and unlimited hierarchy of up to 10,000 tags per account).

That's why we do things like interactively updating the list of notes as you type in the search box on Mac and Windows, and why we have so many options under the "Attributes" panel on the left to help you narrow down your set of notes. And why any arbitrary set of search/filter criteria can be Saved to a Saved Search that you can execute again later.

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Dave,

Thanks for the thoughtful response. I appreciate your perspective. Is it safe to say subnotebooks will not be in Evernote's future?

Bob

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But for power users, who will use the application for years, without a directory tree within which to organize one's data, so one can actually find it again among thousands of notes, years later, that data might as well not exist.

Speaking from my own first hand experience, I disagree The more files/info you have, the more limiting a folder/sub-folder system is. An example I think most people can relate to is photos. When you get your first scanner, you may put photos of your brother Dennis in a folder photos/family/Dennis/ But then you have a photo of your brother Dennis & your brother Todd. You don't want to put it in photos/family/Dennis/ or photos/family/Todd so you put it in photos/family That works for a while. Then you get a digital camera that allows you to take hundreds/thousands of photos on your trip to "back home" with Dennis & Todd & their families. No way you're going to divvy up those images (too much time), plus you want to identify them so you know they were from the "back home" trip of 1994 instead of the "back home" trips of 1996, 1998, 2000, etc. So you load the photos into a folder /photos/family/backhome/1994, /photos/family/backhome/1996, /photos/family/backhome/1998, /photos/family/backhome/2000. Or maybe you preface all the file names "Back Home 1994". But then you want to find a photo of Dennis "back home." You don't remember which year, so you have to dig around all the photos in all the "back home" folders. Eventually, after you have thousands of photos, you realize you need to be able to TAG those photos with "Dennis". That way, if you want to find all photos of ONLY Dennis, regardless of where they reside on your hard disk or the file name, you can quickly find images of only Dennis.

In retrospect, it seems that simple "flat" organizational schemes are good for finding things in a small set of documents.

Browsable organizational metaphors like hierarchies are ok for finding things when your set of documents gets to be medium-sized (e.g. a few thousand).

And very large data sets (e.g. all of the notes you might take through your entire life) are better suited to a good Search system.

I agree & I guess it's hard for many people to wrap their head around the concept. As someone mentioned in another thread, maybe it's a kung fu journey. Maybe it takes outgrowing a folder/sub-folder system for some people to fully appreciate the power of tags, keywords & searches.

As for me, the title would be "Evernote...priceless!" :)

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In 1995, there was only a small number of web pages on the Internet, so people tried to organize them by manually creating hierarchies (like Yahoo!) that you would click through to find individual web pages.

As the Internet grew, this became unwieldy, and companies like Google realized the better solution was to build really smart and simple tools for Searching instead of manually categorizing. Now, I can open google.com and type a few words into a simple search box and find my desired web page out of the billions on the Internet.

That analogy is a bit of a stretch.

People don't just use google to navigate the internet, they use the web site's own directory, which is like a subnotebook, as well as bookmarks, which are like notebooks.

Once you get to the Evernote forum, you have the equivalent of subnotebooks, the general section, the 3.1 section, or the 3.5 section.

You don't just get a list of every post on the same screen.

Additionally, far as I know, people still tend to use sub directories on their computers.

Plus, 3.5 search is kind of slow with my large database.

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Speaking from my own first hand experience, I disagree The more files/info you have, the more limiting a folder/sub-folder system is.

I agree & I guess it's hard for many people to wrap their head around the concept. As someone mentioned in another thread, maybe it's a kung fu journey. Maybe it takes outgrowing a folder/sub-folder system for some people to fully appreciate the power of tags, keywords & searches.

As for me, the title would be "Evernote...priceless!" :)

Leaving the programming challenges of sub notebooks aside for the moment, what I find a little frustrating about these endless sub notebook discussions is that each camp seems to only see a single solution, tags OR folders. Why not tags AND folders. I love the tags and I love folders, its how I organize my 15,000 photos (Folder: Place/USA/Florida/Miami) inside that folder are photos with keywords (read tags) to further refine the search potential (architect, detail, garden, sunset, etc).

While I find your claim of becoming an EN sentient being elevated to a higher level only mildly pompous, I do agree wholeheartedly that sub folders or not, Evernote is priceless.

Hugh

I am still the unenlightened grasshopper when it comes to just tags but I have really tried and they just are too unstructured (maybe that is the EN mantra).

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Thanks for the thoughtful response. I appreciate your perspective. Is it safe to say subnotebooks will not be in Evernote's future?

Not necessarily, but this would require engineer-months of work across our product line to implement correctly, and offers only very minor differences from an existing feature (hierarchical tags). If we never even had notebooks, we'd probably get fewer complaints than the current solution which has one hierarchical metaphor (tags) and one non-hierarchical one (notebooks).

So far, we've had a hard time prioritizing those months of work over other, more pressing, needs. I.e. we could either spend months producing this redundant organizational feature, or fix 100 bugs like black-screen-on-resume, minimize-to-system-tray, full-sync-on-iphone, etc.

But we do hear all of your feedback, and appreciate the input.

Thanks

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Not necessarily, but this would require engineer-months of work across our product line to implement correctly, and offers only very minor differences from an existing feature (hierarchical tags). If we never even had notebooks, we'd probably get fewer complaints than the current solution which has one hierarchical metaphor (tags) and one non-hierarchical one (notebooks).

So far, we've had a hard time prioritizing those months of work over other, more pressing, needs. I.e. we could either spend months producing this redundant organizational feature, or fix 100 bugs like black-screen-on-resume, minimize-to-system-tray, full-sync-on-iphone, etc.

But we do hear all of your feedback, and appreciate the input.

Thanks

Dave,

Thanks for still another thoughtful and forthright answer. I can relate to having a full plate and everyone wanting something very different and right away. I, for one will let the matter rest. I'm pretty sure all the meaningful cases have been presented. I think folks on both sides of the argument are a little too adamant their view is the (only) right one and it's pretty clear there's not going to be a meeting of the minds. Sometimes its just a matter of perspective.

Thank you,

Bob

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I think folks on both sides of the argument are a little too adamant their view is the (only) right one and it's pretty clear there's not going to be a meeting of the minds.

I'm not claiming tags are the only way to go. But common sense would dictate that given the number of squabbles about sub-notebooks that exist on this board, that there must be a valid reason for them (sub-notebooks) to not be implemented in EN. If you have a tech background, you'd have to appreciate the EN team must deal with various operating systems and that's not an easy task - trying to make the EN experience as consistent as possible across many platforms. (I know many people don't care about that. But it's EN's niche (IMO) & what makes EN so indispensible, to me. But more importantly, that's the direction they chose. It is, after all, their company.) So it's reasonable to "assume" sub-notebooks complicate that task with very little (if any) return on investment.

Given that, I do realize it takes a bit of adjustment to let loose of notebooks. But I'm gravitating that way, since I'm coming to terms with the fact that a good search "program" will yield quick, accurate results across multiple locations whether they are hard drives/folders/notebooks/etc. I'm still amazed by Dave's minimalistic approach to tags/notebooks (viewtopic.php?f=30&t=12253&p=48795&hilit=tags+notebooks#p48795 - and I'm guessing he's got a hefty number of notes in his database). But I also know that a couple of days ago, I needed to find an email from my manager. Out of my 12,000+ notes, I was able to find the email in a matter of seconds...and that note doesn't even have any tags. I just searched all notes & used the relevant (and fairly unique) search terms of datto & usr & five emails popped up. Very easy to find the particular one within a matter of another few seconds.

Anyway, the main point of this post is that since it doesn't seem like sub-notebooks are going to be available any time soon, if the EN approach (available across many platforms) is important to you, then it's probably more productive to accept that, adapt & move on.

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I think a lot of the sub notebook versus tag disagreement (discussion) would disappear, ok it may never go away, but it would greatly reduce, if tags were truly hierarchical where the parent/child relationship was maintained instead of the flat system we currently have. Then tags could be used by the sub notebook crowd to pretty much obtain what they want and the tag crowd would get an easier way to enter levels of tags (selecting the child tag would automatically select all the parent tags up the chain).

I appreciate the structure change that would be required to implement sub notebooks and I fully understand and appreciate Evernote's position. Implementing a true hierarchical tagging system might be a reasonable middle ground and a less daunting programming task.

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So we certainly appreciate the feedback, but I actually think that it's more important for us to come up with better and better ways to Search and Filter your notes, rather than coming up with more elaborate alternate schemes for you to manually organize notes in to buckets (in addition to the list of notebooks and unlimited hierarchy of up to 10,000 tags per account).

That's why we do things like interactively updating the list of notes as you type in the search box on Mac and Windows, and why we have so many options under the "Attributes" panel on the left to help you narrow down your set of notes. And why any arbitrary set of search/filter criteria can be Saved to a Saved Search that you can execute again later.

I am really worried about entirely focussing on the philosophy above because I have concerns about it for the desktop version (in my case windows) and am totally horrified by it for the mobile versions (in my case, soon to be iPhone). Here's my real-life usage scenario where I think that Evernote totally misses the target.

I have carried a PDA everywhere with me for 11 years now, since my first Palm V in 1999. (In the rest of this email I will expand the definition of PDA to include today's smartphones.) I use my PDA extensively for business meetings where I type notes directly into the PDA during the meeting rather than into a paper notebook (this was a real curiosity for people in 1999, at least in Europe, and could be a great ice-breaker at difficult meetings). The consequence of this was that many times a week a question would come up in a meeting, for instance maybe Ford in the UK would ask something about a typical software deployment of the software I was selling and, rather than give them a generic answer, I could call up my notes from my last meeting with a Ford division in Germany and tell them exactly who they could talk to there and how many licenses they had deployed. The issue here is, knowing that I want to get to something very specific (my most recent meeting with Ford Germany), how quickly can I get there. In this case I would suggest that search is horribly inefficient.

To get to my meeting note by browsing the hierarchy then let's imagine that EN in the iPhone has added a button at the top of the screen (alongside the browse-by-location button) that takes the user into a browse by tags screen and let's also assume that some of the suggestions to do with tag inheritance options have been implemented. Now let's assume that I have tagged my meeting notes with Business, Meetings, Ford and that the title is something like "Ford Germany Meeting - 10-Oct-09". To get this note on screen I tap the top icon, tap "Business" which then takes me to the next level down, I then tap "Meetings" to take me to the next hierarchy, I then tap "Ford" and then select the meeting I want. That's a total of 5 taps and all but the first tap would be on large targets (assuming this followed the iPhone look and feel for browsing hierarchies). Admittedly there might well be some scrolling, especially when I get to the list of companies that I've had meetings with, but for me at least this wouldn't be too bad and a letter bar at the right would help there.

How would you do the above scenario with search (on the basis that I can't remember the date of my last meeting with Ford or the name of the guy they need to speak to without looking it up - that's why I'm trying to access the note in the first place)? I'm assuming that I'd need to use the keyboard and start typing stuff into the search box so straight away I'm tapping on smaller targets. I had a quick look at the documentation (I couldn't find any iPhone PDF so I looked up the search semantics in the Windows 3.5 user manual) and that led me to believe that my access to the note would involve tapping the search box and then typing "tag:Business tag:Meetings tag:Ford" and then selecting the Ford meeting that I want. I make that a total of 37 taps (more if the ":"s need a shift or other state change on the keyboard to get to them) which compares very badly (to say the least) with the 5 taps of browsing a hierarchy.

Admittedly the above is worst case and everything to do with Ford is probably business (although maybe not because my private car is a Ford) but even if we say that I just need to search on tags Ford and Meetings that's still 24 taps vs 5 so still pretty horrible.

I can see the value of powerful search and would use it on many occasions but it's not the optimal route to a note in all cases and maybe I'm peculiar but, for me, most of the data I need would be more easily accessed by hierarchy browsing than by search. I make this claim on the basis of doing this in real life, pretty much every day of every week (apart from holidays), for the last 11 years of my career. I can and do search notes but most of the time I browse the hierarchy. Please, please Evernote, find a way to give us both hierarchies and search.

- Julian

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I have three Premium Evernote accounts. I also have 10 employees and 15 consultants/partners that I actively manage. I would like to buy premium accounts for all of them. This is definitely the most significant issue limiting me from a greater deployment.

While Evernote is great, the idea that Evernote should keep everything flat is simply ridiculous. Take the advertisement examples where people describe using Evernote: create a notebook for a home improvement project, notebook for a particular class for a student, research on a upcoming trip, etc, etc......do you actually think it is possible to keep this under 100 notebooks in just a few years????? Let alone....how can I possibly use a notebook for each customer or each project for business users.

The comments that are made about it would be better to eliminate sub-notebooks and leave just hierarchical tags...that is almost true...you would be better off eliminating tags and just having hierarchical noteboooks. Most people want a top level hierarchy by project, class, topic, etc....and then a great search tool to go across them.

Can I store information in the same way with hierarchical tags...essentially yes. However, it is WAY more work! In addition, we use a number of different tools: ScanSnap, EyeFi, sharing.....all of these items are folder base.

The top 2 improvements for high-end, premium, paying users are as follows:

-Allow for more notebooks in the short-term, nested notebooks in the longer term

-Provide an option to go over 500 mb for at least a particular month. For instance, for people that elect that premium^2 option, charge $15 for an extra 500mb. This would allow all users to do the occasional big project upload and it would allow the super premium users (lots of photo uploads for instance) to pay a significant amount more for that service.

We know that you get a ton of feature requests. But the sub-folders and 500 MB hard-limits are not about features....they are fundamental choices that make one say, I love Evernote, but it is not sophisticated enough to grow with me and my employees over time.

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... This is definitely the most significant issue limiting me from a greater deployment.

...

The comments that are made about it would be better to eliminate sub-notebooks and leave just hierarchical tags...that is almost true...you would be better off eliminating tags and just having hierarchical noteboooks.

...

Can I store information in the same way with hierarchical tags...essentially yes. However, it is WAY more work!

I'm glad to see more and more people speaking up about the need for some tools to aid in organising and viewing EN data in a hierarchical fashion but I disagree fundamentally with the idea of getting rid of tags. The way to go is to keep tags because the existing tags, as implemented in EN, give all functionality needed to implement the semantics of a hierarchy.

The real issue here is the final comment that I quoted above, i.e. it is WAY more work. It is not way more work because of tag per-se, it is way more work because EN does not provide any user interface tools that help the user to create a hierarchy using tags. If EN provided the necessary tools then the user could create folders and sub-folders (and sub-sub-sub-... folders) within notebooks and browse around these hierarchies to their heart's content without ever needing to concern themselves with the fact that EN was actually adding potentially lengthy(ish) strings of tags onto each of their notes and dynamically generating and submitting complex tag-related search terms to move around the hierarchies. This could all be completely hidden from the user and it would look to the user as if he/she was using some sort of file explorer application just like browsing through file directories in windows explorer or something.

The advantage of using tags for the hierarchy is (a) EN needs to change nothing in their basic database search semantics, and (:lol: for power users that understand what is going on (and it's really not that complicated) they can cut across the hierarchy if desired by using explicit tag-related searches (e.g. if I have folders "Business/Travel" and "Personal/Travel" then by doing a search "tag:Travel" I will return a list of notes that is the union of the contents of those two subdirectories).

- Julian

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Julian,

Your points are valid. I am not saying get rid of tags by any means. My main point was responding to the only Evernote employee....a flat tool is not enough. The Google example is simply mis-applied. If I really always want to be flat, I would just do a Google search...I would never ever need an Evernote web-clipper, bookmarks, etc....the approach suggested is simply impractical.

Flat is great for finding things you don't know about. I (and most others) need a hierarchy to categorize and group our own knowledge base. Do I want to put by Math 101 and English 101 lectures notes in the same folder? Do I want my business meeting receipts and personal receipts in the same folder...absolutely not. And no, I do not believe a tag is appropriate for separating the content in either of these two examples no matter how sophisticated the tag system is.

Thanks,

Andy

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Flat is great for finding things you don't know about. I (and most others) need a hierarchy to categorize and group our own knowledge base. Do I want to put by Math 101 and English 101 lectures notes in the same folder? Do I want my business meeting receipts and personal receipts in the same folder...absolutely not. And no, I do not believe a tag is appropriate for separating the content in either of these two examples no matter how sophisticated the tag system is.

I'm puzzled by this. Perhaps I am missing something, but why not just tag your Math 101 lectures with "Math101", and tag your English 101 lectures with "English101"? To find your Math 101 lectures, just select the "Math101" tag, and just those lectures appear. If you have a lot of tags, such that the Tags list gets long, then you can organize a tag hierarchy: make a "Lectures" tag, and drag your "Math101" and "English101" tags onto that tag. Now you can navigate your "Lectures" tag to find your subtags. One potential down side to this: notes tagged with your "Math101" and "English101" tags do not automatically inherit the "Lectures" tag. I'm not sure whether I think that this is a problem for me or not.

~Jeff

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Flat is great for finding things you don't know about. I (and most others) need a hierarchy to categorize and group our own knowledge base. Do I want to put by Math 101 and English 101 lectures notes in the same folder? Do I want my business meeting receipts and personal receipts in the same folder...absolutely not. And no, I do not believe a tag is appropriate for separating the content in either of these two examples no matter how sophisticated the tag system is.

I'm puzzled by this. Perhaps I am missing something, but why not just tag your Math 101 lectures with "Math101", and tag your English 101 lectures with "English101"? To find your Math 101 lectures, just select the "Math101" tag, and just those lectures appear. If you have a lot of tags, such that the Tags list gets long, then you can organize a tag hierarchy: make a "Lectures" tag, and drag your "Math101" and "English101" tags onto that tag. Now you can navigate your "Lectures" tag to find your subtags. One potential down side to this: notes tagged with your "Math101" and "English101" tags do not automatically inherit the "Lectures" tag. I'm not sure whether I think that this is a problem for me or not.

~Jeff

I don't get it, either. Tags function exactly like sub-notebooks/sub-folders. It may take some time to adapt to the idea, but with tags & EN's powerful search, you can put many of your notes in a single notebook & still quickly pluck the one or two you're looking for in seconds. And you can even pull a range of them, if you want to browse them.

Regarding auto tagging of parent tags, if you have the following folders on your hard drive:

c:\pictures

c:\pictures\SanDiego2000\

c:\pictures\SanDiego2001\

c:\pictures\Miami\

You can't click on c:\pictures in Explorer & find all the photos in the sub-folders. You have to drill down to find them. If you don't recall if a photo is in SanDiego2000 or SanDiego2001, you may have to look in both folders, if the first guess isn't right. This is how the tags work in EN. OTOH, you have the ability to tag the parent tag, too. I can understand why some people may want the parent tags auto populated/maintained upon the child tags. But the whole idea that tags are not equal to subnotebooks simply befuddles me. In another thread, I kept asking for specific examples where the results of using sub-notebooks would differ from the results of using tags & not one example was provided. Only theories about why they differ.

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I don't get it, either. Tags function exactly like sub-notebooks/sub-folders.

* * *

... the whole idea that tags are not equal to subnotebooks simply befuddles me. In another thread, I kept asking for specific examples where the results of using sub-notebooks would differ from the results of using tags & not one example was provided. Only theories about why they differ.

I know. I am really starting to believe that if EN simply removed notebooks from the UI and renamed "tags" to "folders" or "categories" then all of these people would be happy. They just don't like the term "tag," and the fact that notebooks exist at all makes people focus on the shortcomings of notebooks. So get rid of notebooks and rename tags. Everybody's happy.

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The tag crowd keeps forgetting that tags, as nice as they are, aren't treated the same way as notebooks by the product itself. Getting completely away from the argument about tags vs. categories vs. folders vs. directories, there are some significant differences between Evernote tags and Evernote notebooks:

1. You can set a notebook to be local, synced or shared. Can't do that with a tag.

2. You can auto-import notes into a notebook. Not into a tag.

3. You can have the notebook automatically assigned to a new note, e.g., working feverishly on Math101, I want all my notes to be considered "math101", without having to go *back* and handle them again. Can't do that with a tag, unless you hack the registry.

4. You can choose a default notebook. Not a tag.

Tags are great, but you always have to go back to your notes in order to attach them. I liked the EN2.2 categories (auto-categories) and the current notebooks because I can set things up so that certain information goes directly to certain notebooks. I never have to look at it again, until I'm searching for it. If I were to just use tags, I'd have to use the concept of an inbox where everything goes, and then I have to re-handle every note in there to tag it properly. I'd much rather just create the note once (by typing, clipping, emailing, sending to a folder) than handle it twice.

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I don't get it, either. Tags function exactly like sub-notebooks/sub-folders.

* * *

... the whole idea that tags are not equal to subnotebooks simply befuddles me. In another thread, I kept asking for specific examples where the results of using sub-notebooks would differ from the results of using tags & not one example was provided. Only theories about why they differ.

I know. I am really starting to believe that if EN simply removed notebooks from the UI and renamed "tags" to "folders" or "categories" then all of these people would be happy. They just don't like the term "tag," and the fact that notebooks exist at all makes people focus on the shortcomings of notebooks. So get rid of notebooks and rename tags. Everybody's happy.

Your point is valid for a single level of folders. Google mail is a great example of this. I suspect that most users really think that their inbox is a separate folder but this is not the case at all of course, emails in the inbox live in the same flat database as the user's archived emails, it's just that they have the tag "inbox" attached to them. What helps create this illusion however is that gmail provides UI tools (the "Archive" and "Move to inbox" buttons) to create the illusion for the user that stuff is moving between folders.

The issue comes with multi-level hierarchies where it's not as transparent as simply renaming tags to folders because at that point the user needs to expend some effort in mapping folder semantics across to tags in terms of correctly tagging notes with multiple tags to reflect where they are in the hierarchy and generating the correct search terms to display the contents of a "folder".

I'm in total agreement with you guys (Dan7000 and BurgersNFries) regarding the fact that tags, correctly used, give 100% coverage of folder/sub-folder semantics but for me that isn't enough. I really want some extra UI tools to allow me to graphically create multi-level hierarchies (implemented by attaching the appropriate tags to the notes) and to give the impression of browsing the hierarchy. It's these UI tools where EN provides almost nothing right now and they're really not that complex to implement.

- Julian

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In another thread, I kept asking for specific examples where the results of using sub-notebooks would differ from the results of using tags & not one example was provided. Only theories about why they differ.

Just because you can perform a certain action with a certain tool doesn't mean it's the best tool for every job. I can join two boards together with a hammer and some nails. Does that mean that a hammer and nails are the best and only way to join any two objects together?

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In another thread, I kept asking for specific examples where the results of using sub-notebooks would differ from the results of using tags & not one example was provided. Only theories about why they differ.

Just because you can perform a certain action with a certain tool doesn't mean it's the best tool for every job. I can join two boards together with a hammer and some nails. Does that mean that a hammer and nails are the best and only way to join any two objects together?

But if you can't prove one way works and another way doesn't then it's just the beer talking. The whole tags vs sub notebooks isn't a right/left brained,my way is better than your way thing. I even get Julian's "just give me a better UI" thing. But the bottom line is tags/notebooks, the results are exactly the same. It seems to me people are really either bickering about parent tags not being auto populated/maintained and/or the UI (Julian, who demonstrated it very eloquently). But I'm willing to concede this whole tags/sub notebooks if someone can actually prove that the results of a sub notebook method will provide different results than a tag method. But of course it can't be proven b/c tags function exactly the way sub notebooks do.

Only better. :)

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People aren't saying that you can't achieve the same end result with tags. They're saying that being limited to a flat file is a major pain. Let me try a different analogy. Let's say I need to be in Birmingham next week for a meeting. I can get to Birmingham from Atlanta by driving due west on I20. It's about 150 miles. I can also get to Birmingham from Atlanta by first driving to Chicago then to Birmingham. That's about 1,500 miles. The end result is the same; I end up in Birmingham. Does that mean that the two routes are equivalent?

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People aren't saying that you can't achieve the same end result with tags.

Actually, some of them are. Using your analogy, it's as though Evernote is saying you must fly to Birmingham from Atlanta & some people are saying "I'm afraid of flying, so I can't go to Birmingham."

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The tag crowd keeps forgetting that tags, as nice as they are, aren't treated the same way as notebooks by the product itself.

Though I am evidently part of the 'tag crowd' (maybe more accurately, the 'tag-enabler crowd'), I never said that tag support doesn't need work. Your points, which I've snipped, are well-taken. Given the apparent fact that folders are not going to be available in EverNote, we are left with tags and notebooks as our organizational tools. Since tags are here to stay, making tags more convenient to work with (auto defaults, send to tag, etc.) and making them work well with notebooks is a reasonable expectation.

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Using your analogy, it's as though Evernote is saying you must fly to Birmingham from Atlanta & some people are saying "I'm afraid of flying, so I can't go to Birmingham."

Twisting someone else's argument and replying to the twist doesn't really help your story.

Perhaps you should start a How I use Evernote thread. I'm serious. Once others see, in detail, how you manage your notes, it might be dead obvious why you're convinced flat tags are sufficient to do anything anyone would ever need to do in Evernote. For my part, I'll continue to drive due west (even though I'm not afraid of flying), and use EN2.2. From what I've seen of 3.5 the only thing I'm missing is the ability to see pdfs inline.

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Using your analogy, it's as though Evernote is saying you must fly to Birmingham from Atlanta & some people are saying "I'm afraid of flying, so I can't go to Birmingham."

Twisting someone else's argument and replying to the twist doesn't really help your story.

Ah, so if you don't have anything valid to say, you accuse them of twisting your argument. :)

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To be honest, I think the tag implementation in Evernote makes it possible for you to mimic the hierarchy of a folder structure, and folders are therefore not needed.

Except for the fact that tags in Evernote represent one of the most horrifically awful implementations of metadata management I've ever encountered in software. Managing them is a clumsy and buggy affair (I've posted examples of this on many other threads). Until this is completely overhauled, I don't think these suggestions that tags are a substitute for sub-notebooks hold water AT ALL.

I'm with the original poster. I've been a paying customer for over a year, but until something gives on this front, I'm really seeing the limits of Evernote in my future. Either sub-notebooks need to be added, as there seem to be dozens of threads calling for on the forums, or tag management needs significant improvement. I understand from the podcast that tag management is being looked at for the roadmap this year, so I'm eager to see what Evernote delivers.

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One thing that I've not seen a comment on is the issue of not being able to have duplicate tags. If I try to create a structure like so:

Customer-1

Meeting Notes

Customer-2

Meeting Notes

When i create the second Meeting Notes tag, I get a message indicating that tag names must be unique.

IMHO, I only search for my keys when I don't know where I placed them. Putting them in a common place (sub-notebook) means that I spend less time searching.

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One thing that I've not seen a comment on is the issue of not being able to have duplicate tags. If I try to create a structure like so:

Customer-1

Meeting Notes

Customer-2

Meeting Notes

When i create the second Meeting Notes tag, I get a message indicating that tag names must be unique.

IMHO, I only search for my keys when I don't know where I placed them. Putting them in a common place (sub-notebook) means that I spend less time searching.

The tags-as-hierarchy metaphor doesn't lend itself very well to this situation -- tags exist in a flat space, devoid of structure, so having duplicates would be impossible. However, there's a pretty easy way to handle the situation with tags (at least for the desktop, which is what I use): to find meeting notes for Customer-1, Ctrl-click on the 'Customer-1' tag and then on the 'Meeting Notes' tag, and you should see a list of notes that meet your criteria.

There's an equivalent method using the search box: type in tag:"Customer-1" tag:"Meeting Notes".

I don't have a snappy metaphor for searching for your keys in this way. I do know that tags would allow you to handle the situation where both Customer-1 and Customer-2 were present, though.

~Jeff

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Thanks for the hint on the search using tags Jeff. I'm new to the Evernote community and am at this point lovin' the experience. I access my data from XP, Win7, Mac OS/X and the droid and really enjoy having all of my data in one place regardless of the client. There's usually more than one solution to developing an organizational structure and sometimes compromises have to be made until we can have our cake and eat it too (long term goal). There is alot of potential here and I'm sure that the continued discussion will lead to better solutions for all. Thanks again.

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Thanks for the hint on the search using tags Jeff. I'm new to the Evernote community and am at this point lovin' the experience. I access my data from XP, Win7, Mac OS/X and the droid and really enjoy having all of my data in one place regardless of the client. There's usually more than one solution to developing an organizational structure and sometimes compromises have to be made until we can have our cake and eat it too (long term goal). There is alot of potential here and I'm sure that the continued discussion will lead to better solutions for all. Thanks again.

Glad to be able to help. I am fairly new myself and feeling my way. I think a lot of folks are having difficulty with the tag paradigm mainly because they're just not used to using them. I don't think that they're any more or less natural at organizing information than are folders; they're just different, and more importantly, they're what we have right now and for the foreseeable future. Good luck with your explorations.

~Jeff

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On first glance, Evernote looks like it has everything one needs to compile and store useful information.

But as one who has used various notebook applications for many years, it took little time to see Evernote's fatal flaw, at least for power users: It has no way to organize notes into a directory tree.

For light users, this is fine. But for power users, who will use the application for years, without a directory tree within which to organize one's data, so one can actually find it again among thousands of notes, years later, that data might as well not exist.

Search and tags are no replacement for having your notes organized properly. This is not just a feature. Evernote is incomplete, without this OPTION.

I'm sorry, but it is somewhat surprising to see such a quality product in so many respects lack such a fundamental and essential feature. I hope that a correction can be made asap.

In conclusion, Evernote needs to allow users to create Notebooks inside of Notebooks ad infinitum. This allows notes to be stored in a hierarchical structure.

Please hurry. I need Evernote.

Thanks

I would have to completely agree. I'm coming from onenote and I feel like my notes are completely unorganized. Tags don't help much. There is no way to separate personal notes from work notes which means I can't even show my notes during a presentation like i do with onenote. It would be a little more helpful if the tag list only showed tags for the selected notebook.

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I would have to completely agree. I'm coming from onenote and I feel like my notes are completely unorganized. Tags don't help much. There is no way to separate personal notes from work notes which means I can't even show my notes during a presentation like i do with onenote.

Have you tried tagging your personal notes with "Personal", and your work notes with "Work"?

It would be a little more helpful if the tag list only showed tags for the selected notebook.

I think that this was requested recently. Seems like a good idea.

~Jeff

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I'm still in the camp that says that they serve similar but subtly different purposes. With notebooks, I can create a definite relationship with my data. With tags I can create an ad-hoc (or virtual) relationship independent of the notebook. There is some union between the functionality, but there is some difference and benefit for both. To add to the functionality, I have given some of my notebooks prefix names like per- for personal and wk- for work which has allowed me to get around some of the unique name requirement. But I have some data that has not been tagged. Does anyone know how to search for data without tags?

Thanks,

Bill

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I too am a former OneNote user. I would like to see encryption more robustly applied, especially preventing the web stored information from being viewed.

But I primarily wanted to make two suggestions which should help those who want "more structure" to their notebooks.

The first is to auto apply all parent tags when I apply a child tag. If you don't want a particular tag, you can delete it. For complex hierarchies, this is easier than having to apply several tags every time.

The second is to allow sorting on tags, following the hierarchical structure established by the user.

These two changes should solve most people's "I need multiple notebooks and multiple folders" issues and should be relatively easy to implement..

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It would be a little more helpful if the tag list only showed tags for the selected notebook.

+1 for this. This makes total sense, and I think it should be a basic part of the software. If I'm in notebook X and there are zero notes for a certain tag, then why even show the tag? It's crazy to wade through all your tags and try to figure out which tags have notes in them in that particular notebook. I'm not sure about the Windows version, but on the Mac it doesn't even give a COUNT for how many notes with a tag exist in a particular notebook.

One solution is to make a tag for every notebook and then use subtags under it. But that seems like an awfully redundant device that should be built in. I'm sure this has been brought up before, and it will probably be ignored. I filled in a ticket asking Evernote if there's any chance this could ever happen and nobody even replied. I've found Evernote useful to a point, but I definitely have my eyes open for something better.

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