Starting right with Tagging
Tagging notes in Evernote is the “secret sauce” to having a great sermon prep system. When you have collected thousands of sermon illustrations, tagging will be the one thing that helps you narrow the returned note results from a search query. It is easier to start tagging when you start this process than it is to go back and add the tags later. Trust me, I know from experience.
A tag is a short description added to a note. It can be one word or a short phrase, but you want to keep it short. A note can have multiple tags and is not limited to just being tagged under one description. This is great for those quotes or illustrations that can be applied in several different ways.
For example, the quote from GK Chesterton that we added during the last post can be tagged prodigal, home, or man. We will add these tags to this quote later on in this post. But first let’s talk about structuring our tags.
How to nest tags
Tags in Evernote can be nested. Similar to how we created a stack with the notebooks, more than one tag can be placed together to create groups.
To see all of your tags, navigate to the tag section by clicking the tags link on the left sidebar of Evernote. The same way that we create a note or notebook, we create a tag by clicking the +New Tag button. Name the new tag “>quotes”. I add the > character to place the tag at the front of the alphabetical order, It also acts as a visual cue to let me know that there are items nested under the tag that have to do with quotes. This tag will not be used on any notes, it would become a little redundant to have a note with a quote in the notebook titled quotes also be tagged with quote.
We are going to use this tag to nest together all tags applied to notes added to our quotes notebook inside of the sermon prep stack. Create another tag using the same process. Now name this one “prodigal”.
Hint: Add a special character to the name. It will make searching and tagging easier later. I add a / to all quote tags. My tag looks like this /prodigal.
Grab the new tag “prodigal” to drag and drop it onto the “>quotes” tag. Bam! Nested tags.
Steps for creating and nesting tags
- Navigate to tags
- Create new tag and name it “>quotes”
- Add another tag, name it “/prodigal”
- Drag and drop “/prodigal” onto “>quotes”
My Tag Structure
How I write my tags, and the structure I have created.
- !prodigal “!” for illustrations because it resembles an upside down I.
- /Prodigal “/” for quotes because it was under my pinky finger.
With the structure you can use it, adapt it, improve it, or scrap it. Now we move to adding the tag to the note we created that has our quote on it.
Tagging our quote
Navigate to the sermon prep stack under the notebooks tab, select the quote notebook we put the Chesterton quote in. Tags can be added in the bar near the top of the note viewing window. Start by typing the /. You will notice that Evernote gives you possible selections. You can finish typing /prodigal or choose it from the list. When you have a bunch of tag options this added bonus will come in handy for choosing which tags you want to use on a note. Congratulations you have tagged the note.
You can also add any new tags like the ones I mentioned above – home, or man – in the tag bar. But you will need to add them to the nested tag by dragging and dropping under the tags tab. Next we are going to look at the search bar. Search is where Evernote becomes really powerful. But don’t make the mistake I made. I skipped tagging when I started out adding illustrations. My thought was because search is so awesome why should I spend time tagging my notes. I have learned that tagging and search are meant to work together.