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John_H67

Notebooks & Tags to organize the stuff I do

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I'm fairly new to Evernotes and have been reading through the forums to try and work out how to best use it for my situation. 

My main use will be to organize the things I do at home/leisure plus keep all the documents that I seem to need to keep my life running. So I made a list of things that I think I want to organize:

  • Things I do - Webclips, Project Notes, todo lists ect
  1. Fishing
  2. IT/Electronics Stuff
  3. Sailing/Kayaking
  4. Carvaning
  5. Gardening
  6. Woodwork/Metalwork
  7. Home Repairs/Improvements
  8. Holiday Planning

 

  • Documents - Stuff I want to keep/track/refer to
  1. Copies of important documents like insurance, wills, certificates etc
  2. Tax related documents
  3. Bank statements/Superanuation
  4. Receipts and Warranty info for stuff I buy
  5. Manuals for Stuff I buy
  6. Bills & Subscriptions

So in terms of Notebooks and tags, I was thinking of having three Notebooks

  • Inbox
  • Things I do
  • Important Documents

And then create a heap of tags for everything.  But I will be manning using an iPad to manage all this and from what I can tell, having too many tags on iOS will make things a bit hard to manage.

Any recommendations on how I should tackle this?

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You could also use notebooks, especially if you wanted to put your interests in separate areas. For myself, I find it helps to do that so I can browse a category like a hobby. On the other hand, some categories l know I will never browse so they can get lumped into one notebook. I also have some notebooks that I know will exist only for a limited time. 

If I had your list, I'd probably put 1-4, 6  and 8 on your first list in their own notebooks. Then I'd create a household notebook that would hold 5 and 7 on that list as well as everything on the second list. 

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On April 7, 2016 at 9:47 PM, John_H67 said:

I'm fairly new to Evernotes and have been reading through the forums to try and work out how to best use it for my situation. 

My main use will be to organize the things I do at home/leisure plus keep all the documents that I seem to need to keep my life running. So I made a list of things that I think I want to organize:

....

So in terms of Notebooks and tags, I was thinking of having three Notebooks

  • Inbox
  • Things I do
  • Important Documents

And then create a heap of tags for everything.  But I will be manning using an iPad to manage all this and from what I can tell, having too many tags on iOS will make things a bit hard to manage.

Any recommendations on how I should tackle this?

For subject classification, I use only tags, not notebooks
- It eliminates the question of which notebook to use if a note matches multiple criteria
- I use notebooks for the purposes of Sharing and Local notes

The iPad has some limitations from the desktop platform.
- You can't arrange tags in a hierarchy.
- Tagnames get truncated when displayed; you probably don't want to use a long tagname like "Insurance-Car-Ford"

I organized my tags and identified them with ! @ ? prefixes
For example !What ?Who @Where 
- When you start typing a tagname, this restricts the dropdown list of selections
  For example, shart typing ? and you get a list of your Who tags
- In the long list (heap) of tags, to indicate section breaks
  For parent tags I use        ? Who?   ! What?  @ Where?
  - The space forces it to the top of the section
  - The emoji makes it stand out

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The fewer notebooks the better in my view, so your original set up or something like @Candid should do the trick.  Don't go crazy with tags, try to create ones that will be easy to remember to winnow down a search and then rely on the search bar to zero in to 10-20 notes.  Set your tags up with the view as to how you will search.  EN is about the finding not the storing.

Not sure how you plan to get the documents loaded, but if you are going to use a scanner you will probably have to use a desktop version of EN to accomplish that.  If you do, consider putting your confidential notes in a local notebook that then won't sync to the cloud.  Those notes won't be available on your iPad but won't be in the cloud either.  Your call as to how confidential the documents, how often you would look for them on the iPad, and the level of risk you want.  Also, the desktop is an easier place to do any kind of mass maintenance and note moving.

In any case, start slowly, see how it feels, and make adjustments as you go.  A benefit of EN is that It isn't hard to adjust your strategy as you go relative to tags and notebooks.  For example, you could start with your three notebooks, decide you like @Candid's process better and simply create the notebooks and then move notes based upon the tags you created.  Good luck!

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7 minutes ago, csihilling said:

Not sure how you plan to get the documents loaded, but if you are going to use a scanner you will probably have to use a desktop version of EN to accomplish that.  If you do, consider putting your confidential notes in a local notebook that then won't sync to the cloud. 

I use a cheap scanner/printer for Evernote on my Mac computer.

On my IPad, I'm satisfied using the camera as a scanner.  I find it works quite well.

An alternative to local notebooks is encryption.  My preference is the encrypted pdf  format.

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1 hour ago, DTLow said:

On my IPad, I'm satisfied using the camera as a scanner.  I find it works quite well.

Fine for low volume work, but if the OP is going to do any amount of catch up scanning I would recommend using the desktop for that..

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Hi, John_67. Welcome to the Evernote Forum.
 
In your opening sentence, you say you want "to try and work out how to best use it [Evernote] for my situation". I sense that most new Evernote users start out with the same intention. I think that is the wrong idea. I believe that most new users aren't going to have a very good idea what is a "good" way, much less the "best" way, to use Evernote until they use it for at least 25 hours. --- To encourage you that you don't need to initially figure out the "best" way to organize your material in Evernote, recognize that it is easy to completely change your structure at a later point in time by changing the Notebook for a large number of Notes "in mass" / "in bulk".
 
Never the less, let me offer some ideas for you to consider as to how you organize / structure the information you put in Evernote.
 
I think there are 3 importance issues to address:
  1. Where are you going to put a Note? That is, what Notebook will you assign it to?
  2. How fast will you be able to find it at a later time when you need it?
  3. How will you recognize what a Note on a list of Notes is about and whether it is the one you want without having to read much of it?
 
I think there are 4 practices that a new Evernote user can adopt that will help mitigate these issues.
 
Practice #1 - Initially forget Tags. --- Using Tags adds a level of complexity that will require some extra administrative work (time) and cause some confusion. (The 3rd practice below largely (but not entirely) eliminates the need for Tags, particularly for new Evernote users.) 
 
Practice #2 - Use few Notebooks. (One is very practical.) --- A large portion of the knowledgeable and experienced Evernote users believe that fewer Notebooks are better than a lot of Notebooks. Using few (even just one) Notebooks is effective because of how powerful the Evernote search function it.
 
Practice #3 - Standardize the structure / syntax of the Title of your Notes. --- What does that mean? Here is an example of a structure I use to a large degree even now. --- Each Title would look like this: Aaaaaaaaaa - Bbbbbbbbbbb Ccccccccccc Ddddddddddd, where Aaaaaaaaaa is 1-2 words that define the subject matter of the Note and the words after the dash provide additional detail about the contents of the Note. (If you adopt this practice, you can effectively operate with just 1 Notebook. The Aaaaaaaaaa would have been the name of a Notebook if you had actually created several to many Notebooks.  For example, using such a standardized structure for Titles, if you wanted to see just the Notes for a given topic (like Gardening), just type that keyword into the search box. 
 
Practice #4 - Create an additional Notebook named "InBox". --- Any Note that Evernote captures automatically (that is, you did not create it from scratch) should go into this Notebook. (It should be defined in Evernote as your "default" Notebook.) --- You should handle this Evernote "InBox" the same way you should handle your email "InBox". That is, your goal is to have zero items in it. Periodically (preferably once a day), check to see what is in your Evernote "InBox" and (1) assign it to the appropriate Notebook and (2) standardize the Title. --- The benefit of having an "InBox" with Evernote will not be fully recognized until you use some of the advanced features of Evernote, but developing the habit of working with it from the beginning will be valuable.
 
I hope you feel that my response and ideas are helpful to you in defining your initial structure for using Evernote.

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6 hours ago, Analyst444 said:

Practice #3 - Standardize the structure / syntax of the Title of your Notes. --- What does that mean? Here is an example of a structure I use to a large degree even now. --- Each Title would look like this: Aaaaaaaaaa - Bbbbbbbbbbb Ccccccccccc Ddddddddddd, where Aaaaaaaaaa is 1-2 words that define the subject matter of the Note and the words after the dash provide additional detail about the contents of the Note. (If you adopt this practice, you can effectively operate with just 1 Notebook.

Wouldn't want to confuse keywords with tags.  ;)

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9 hours ago, Analyst444 said:
Practice #1 - Initially forget Tags. --- Using Tags adds a level of complexity that will require some extra administrative work (time) and cause some confusion. (The 3rd practice below largely (but not entirely) eliminates the need for Tags, particularly for new Evernote users.) 
 
Practice #3 - Standardize the structure / syntax of the Title of your Notes. --- What does that mean? Here is an example of a structure I use to a large degree even now. --- Each Title would look like this: Aaaaaaaaaa - Bbbbbbbbbbb Ccccccccccc Ddddddddddd, where Aaaaaaaaaa is 1-2 words that define the subject matter of the Note and the words after the dash provide additional detail about the contents of the Note. (If you adopt this practice, you can effectively operate with just 1 Notebook. The Aaaaaaaaaa would have been the name of a Notebook if you had actually created several to many Notebooks.  For example, using such a standardized structure for Titles, if you wanted to see just the Notes for a given topic (like Gardening), just type that keyword into the search box. 

@Analyst444, sorry, but I have to disagree.  IMO using keywords in the Note Title is far more complicated, and harder to maintain, than using Tags.

@John_H67, IMO Tags are one of the most powerful features of Evernote, and you would be missing a lot if you don't use them.

When you want to assign a keyword (for use in Searches later) to a Note, you have two basic choices:

  1. Tags
  2. Words in the Note Title

One very powerful feature of using Tags, is that you can easily change the Tag name, making the change in one place, the Tags View, and it immediately is reflected in ALL Notes.
Whereas with keywords in Note Titles, you would have to change each and every Note separately.

  • "keyword" -- Why Not Use Evernote Tags?
    • Using keywords in the Note Title is an attempt to classify or label the Note in the same manner that Evernote Tags do.
    • However, manually typing the "keyword" in the Title looses most of the advantages that Tags offer:
    • Tags eliminate typos and spelling errors since you are always selecting from a list.
    • Tags allow you to consistently use the same Tag when there might be several alternatives (e.g., "Auto" vs "Car", "Folder" vs "Notebook".
    • Tags allow you to quickly search/select Notes by clicking on Tag in the Tag list, or selecting a Tag on the Favorites bar
    • Searching/finding Notes by Tag is very easy in the mobile EN Apps like EN iPhone/iPad. You don't have to remember what tag was used, or how to spell it.
    • Tag names are easily changed, whereas it would be a real chore to change the "keyword" in all Notes that it is used.
    • By entering "keywords" in the Title, you loose the benefit of a descriptive Title that you can sort on.

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@JMichaelTX I don't, per se, disagree with your view and points you made. However, I make a big distinction between a very knowledgeable and very experienced Evernote user like you who has a very large Evernote database and a new user as  @John_H67 characterized himself. - - - There have been too many times that I have read about new Evernote users getting confused and frustrated trying to figure out how to use it and sometimes (frequently?) just abandoning it. - - - The mechanics of Tags are effective as you state in your post, but my sense is that they are conceptually confusing to new users. I was promoting to  @John_H67 and have promoted to other new users the "walk before you run" tactic.

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2 hours ago, Analyst444 said:

The mechanics of Tags are effective as you state in your post, but my sense is that they are conceptually confusing to new users.

@Analyst444, I agree with starting slow and simple.

But I disagree that using tags is more confusing, more difficult, than using/search for keywords in the Title.  From my experience of having visited many, many web sites, blogs, forums, etc, almost all of  them use tags now days.  I think tags are very common, and should be easily understood by most users.

The Evernote UI is much, much simpler to assign a tag, to filter on a tag, and to search using tags that it is in figuring out what keywords to put in a Note title, and where to put them.  That is compounded by if the user changes their mind, which is very likely in the early days, it is much harder to go back and change Note Titles.

Changing tags is breeze.  

A huge feature for me is the tag auto-complete, auto-suggest.  This keeps me from making typos, misspellings, and use of synonyms.  When you are typing a Note Title, you are own your own.  IMO, typos are highly likely to occur.

Checkout these videos:

evernote tags

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The "mechanics" of operating a VCR or DVR are straightforward and very well-defined. However, some people are not able to "conceptually" apply them.

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9 hours ago, Analyst444 said:

However, some people are not able to "conceptually" apply them

Unfortunately, there will always be some people unable to grasp even basic concepts.  We should try to help these people as much as we can, but we should not dumb-down our systems to accommodate these few.  I'm not sure I have yet seen an Evernote video that is really outstanding, that can take a user from zero to reasonable usability quickly.  Of course, that is probably too much to expect in a 5-min video.  Evernote does produce an excellent set of videos that all new users would be well served by viewing:

Getting Started with Evernote by Evernote

 

Mac:

 

Windows:

Users also have to take responsibility for their own learning, and not expect immediate results.  Fortunately, with the Internet there is a multitude of learning resources, much of it free.

Let's look at software that uses tags:

  • MS Windows
  • Mac OS X
  • GMail
  • Outlook
  • Most of the social media web sites and apps
  • Evernote
  • OneNote
  • Most Internet forums (like this one)
  • Most blog sites

Here's an interesting read:
Tag (metadata) -- wikipedia

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