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I'm looking for a software that enables me to manage a large number of notes, short tidbits of information, and to find back later easily the one I'm interested in. I should be possible to add easily and fast a new bit of information, and share it automatically between various computers.

I believe what I need is a note management program that has powerful tag management features. It should allows multiple tags for one item, automatically list all the items that correspond to a tag, show the list of existing tags, autocomplete tag name, have some features to organize tags hierarchically and/or by relation.

I think I'd prefer a webapp solution to a dedicated solution, but adding a note needs to be as lighweight and quick as possible. It sounds like wiki and blog software could be diverted for this use, but it seems to me adding a new element is too heavy, and the tag management feature probably not powerful enough.

So, what would you recommend ?

PS : I should have added :

  • I expected the Evernote and Onenote response, but didn't want to orient toward that being the response, and what would be interesting about them is advanced tricks about how to make the tagging workflow most efficient
  • I'm mostly interested in a detailed discussion of how the product can be efficiently used for that use case, and how powerful it's tagging feature is. If there's a step where I must create tags one by one before using them, that's a very bad point for me.
  • Meanwhile I saw workflowy ( http://blog.workflowy.com/how-we-use-tags ) and it sounds like this could be the answer I'm looking for
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8 Answers

You problem description is a subset of the features of Evernote In addition to what you describe, you can define and save searches that use multiple tags and boolean expressions, as well as straight text. You can snap photos and save them to Evernote, any text in the photos becomes searchable. There is a good web application, and native applications for most platforms. I use Windows, iOS, and Android versions, as well as the web interface. There is a web clipper that lets you grab web pages (or portions thereof) and add them as new notes almost instantly. Synchronization across platforms (wifi) has been very reliable.

You can sign up for a free account and try it. If you get a paid account, you get offline access to notebooks you choose on your portable devices.

The more I use Evernote, the more I find ways to use it.

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I use evernote and it seems that it has most of the tag features you're talking about. Click a tag and it shows you all the notes with that specific tag, you can further narrow down that list by selecting only notes in a specific notebook with that tag. Searches can be modified to look for only a specific tag in specific notebooks. Tags organized into groups and all.

As for it's "lightness", the program itself is fairly fast. You can copy and paste into it pretty quickly, and if you are collecting notes from the web the company has a web clipper add-on for firefox and chrome that does a pretty good job of analyzing the site for the specific article and adding it to Evernote. Even cooler, the web clipper will auto-tag it based on how you organize notes of that topic.

Update: I would also like to point out that I gave the Evernote answer before Dennis did.

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It sound limited in the multiple tags sections. tags/notebook intersection is not really multiple tags, and will never do other actually advanced things, like after selecting a tag, showing the other tags associated with the notes that have that first tag –  jmd Sep 7 '12 at 10:30
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I use Simplenote for the keeping track of tagged notes, and much more.

The main thing about Simplenote is that it uses plain text. This is at the same time a benefit and a drawback, depending on your own perspective and use cases. For me, using plain text (specifically Markdown) is a benefit: is it portable (including to other tools), ubiquitous, and future-proof.

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It sounds like Simplenote would be a good solution for you. It seems to meet all your requirements:

  • Webapp, with sync to a plethora of desktop apps and an iOS app.
  • Lightweight, plain text.
  • Entry is quick. Just click "+" and start typing (Some desktop apps are even quicker: just start typing).
  • Tags can be created ad-hock, as-needed.

It has a free iOS app and a number of desktop apps with which it syncs. I recommend the following:

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Absolutely this, because nvALTs way to search/create new notes is a killer feature IMO. I recommend nvALT, sync to simplenote and use Flick Note for Android (buy the premium version, the free version is sluggish because of the ads, the premium version works just fine). Also learn how to use markdown (also useful here on stackexchange, on reddit or Github). –  0x6d64 Mar 22 '13 at 22:35
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I could say I tried hundreds of them. However, none of them are enough and you have to use a combination of them. I personally use Workflowy as a primary productivity app but I have a special setup which I call it Workflowy Journal since I combined the idea of Bullet Journal with Workflowy.

You can read about it here: Workflowy Journal. With this setup I am able to manage all my reading, tasks and meetings in Workflowy. However, I use Evernote for storing some resources.

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If you have plenty of tidbits in assorted fashion I recommend you to use OneNote If your focus is to get searching to happen based on tags use Tabbles


What I do is, I create files either word or excel for each tidbit of information

  • Word for - small notes
  • Excel for - lists, steps etc.

Then I name these files very long, using all the keywords I can think of and place them in a pool under single folder.

If I have to recall all I do is use Google Desktop type in keywords that comes to my mind and in most probability I always get the file I am looking for 1st in search result.

But, If I still don't get it then I use more deeper search using Windows Grep

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Would like to know more about how tags in Tabbles work. Creating separate word/excel, with tag in title ? I like the low tech aspect, but editing very long title is seriously cumbersome, and I'll never see all the tag that exist, never will have an auto-complete, at the end this will impair the productivity –  jmd Sep 7 '12 at 10:06
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I advise you to use Comindware task manager which is a free tool which helps you to organize tasks easily and without any difficulty to share them. Also you can try graphic workflow and so on.

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and what about the tags ? –  jmd Sep 7 '12 at 10:07
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I've just randomly stumbled upon Zotero, and it seems it's almost exactly what I needed.

At the moment I really feel it's better than any of the solution that have been suggested already (if only it would run on my iPad too ...) :

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