Evernote Tag Tips: In-Note Tagging By Adding The X

Lets Rethink Evernote Tags

Have you ever wondered what are the most common Evernote Tagging Tips, yet you never dared asking? After using Evernote for more than 3 years, I’ve encountered massive problems with tagging model. Currently in my database, I can find approximately 900 tags, and most of them have just a couple of notes in them, sometimes not a single one. This tagging structure comes from long term experience using the Evernote search, and from what I’ve realized using different systems for note taking,  I have came to conclusion that it works for other platforms as well. But that is a story for some other time. Right now I want to share with you two most important ways to tag, and currently I am using both.

The Tagging Models

With all the note taking apps, our capturing process leaves us weak when our systems get flooded with information that we can’t process and organize properly. I know this for a fact, because my Evernote database holds over 2300 notes stored over the course of 2 years, and it’s amazing that I still cope with it pretty well, thanks to notebooks.

# symbol

For a long time, I was a heavy user of tags, but eventually tags became obsolete, once you start using them too often. 2300 notes and 300 tags later, is there a reason to have any more additional tags? Quite the big number of those tags are used once or twice and never mentioned again.

So I am increasingly interested in taxonomy and organization of the curated and created content. But I find adding tags a daunting task and I wish there was something that would pull the tags from the content of the note.

Introducing the # – tag your social notes

So I wanted to try out something new. All you actually need to do is use the hash tag as Twitter users would use it, or even better yet, the # symbol that is recognized by everyone.

So whenever you use # in front of the word, it constitutes as your tag. It works awesome, because we never ever use any words with the # symbol, it’s rare occurrence that we use it that way. It’s more frequent to see the comet in the sky than # as a part of the legitimate non mathematical content.

I first opened myself to this idea when I wanted to implement native iOS Notes as my note taking system. The goal behind implementing the notes as a big part of my productivity system is actually spotlight integration. And it is quite possible that they can become my main note taking application in the next iteration of the Mountain Lion, where the Notes app will come out.

This kind of tactic will help you tag content instead of the note itself, which makes it more reliable to search. It won’t make it pretty for someone outside to read, but the fact remains, it’s the easiest way to add tags, without harassing yourself to add tag manually in the apps like Evernote and SimpleNote.

It’s increasingly hard to keep up with all the data that we produce, curate, download… Using the # tags within the content we curate can be a true bliss. It will save you time tagging, as well as time spent creating. As well as searching, because you can tag the specific areas of the note.

Adding the “X” at the end of the word

Hashtag model quickly became outdated for me, as with the advent of IFTTT, I’ve started importing all my tweets and app.net status updates into Evernote automatically. This prompted all those statuses showing up in my search. So I started avoiding using the pound symbol for my notes.

Pretty much anything that I will tag loosely, once or twice, or I don’t have time to tag, because I am using some external way of inputing notes (like Email, Drafts application or some other third party service), I will make sure to tag the content appropriately so I can easily access it later.

Let me share some of the examples I am using right now:

  • ideax
  • personalx
  • diaryx

Obviously you can change the letter x to any letter of your liking, but from my experience, this feels more natural, as there are not a lot of words that end with X. You are welcome to try letters to your liking. Mike Vardy is adding V at the end. Maybe capitalizing the tagging letter could also be beneficial if you are tagging just a particular part of the note.

Enclosing Notes On Tagging

You’ve just learn two ways to tag your notes, and why I’ve moved on to the newer one. This helped me tremendously simplify my tagging efforts, as I started trimming down the “native” (stock) tags, for the things that are truly important for me, and loosely using the X at the end of the word. Because of the nature of hashtags on Twitter, Facebook and App.net, I could easily access the content from social networks as well, because I’ve used their initial tagging structure. This helped me differentiate two types of tags, and simple ways of having the information available at my finger tips.


  1. says

    Great article, Bojan. I used this method two years ago (well, the “@” instead of “#”..”@” because this key easily falls under my hand when typing) to lower the number of EN’s tags. Unfortunately, as you said, “It won’t make it pretty for someone outside to read”. And that was my big problem when sharing notes with colleagues. Then, helped by the slowness of EN 5 on Windows, I migrated my personal data out of EN to DTP (and its fabulous search engine) and drastically lower my number of tags from 500 to less than 20. Now using nvAlt form simple text notes, I slowly get rid of tags….

  2. Mark says

    I guess this is over my head, I’m not what you would call a power user of Evernote (or any note taking system for that matter). What does this add to normal tagging functionality? Why is it necessary at all to append the tags with anything?

  3. JR says

    @Mark I am assuming you found this article through Lifehacker, which is the same way I stumble on to this page. Honestly it went over my head as well until I read through the Lifehacker comments. Lifehacker did a horrible and confusing job with explaining this.

    If I got this correct: While typing up your note, within the content of the note you are appending a ‘#’ or “X” to a word. Essentially that becomes the tag of the note. This is independent of using the tagging functionality built-in to evernote.