I frequently get asked by colleagues, friends, and family what apps (web, desktop, and mobile) I use to organize my work and life. So, I’m going to make a concerted effort here to blog a series on my personal and professional information management workflow. I say “workflow” instead of “system”, because no single tool meets my needs. It’s also an evolving workflow, because my toolbox and my process changes as new/better apps come out, or as new features and functionality are made available in current apps. And (sadly), it’s still a bit of a manual workflow, because these apps don’t always sync together in an automated process.
This fourth post explains how I get Notebook Stacks to work on my iPad. Not familiar with Evernote?…check out last week’s introduction to Evernote.
Evernote Stacks are one of the handiest features of both the free and premium versions of Evernote. They allow you to create nested or grouped Notebooks (a parent Notebook with sub-Notebooks in it) to better organize your Notes. I have eight Notebook Stacks into which the bulk of my Notes get organized: Work, Personal, Volunteering, Tech, Research, Food, Crafts, and Discipleship [we librarians love to organize stuff!]. If you aren’t sure how to create or organize Notebook Stacks, read this short tip sheet.
Although Notebook Stacks have been around for almost two years, this feature still is not supported on the iPad app. It is supported in the desktop apps for both Mac and Windows, and in the iPhone app — just not iPad. This continues to be one of the biggest complaints and feature requests on the Evernote user Forums.
Maybe it’s just the librarian in me, but I don’t get all the fuss. There’s a very easy workaround that I’ve used for about a year and half now.
I give each Notebook Stack grouping a consistent naming convention, and use the naming convention as the first part of every sub-Notebook name — like a prefix. For example, in my “Work” Notebook Stack, I have the following sub-Notebooks: “Work: Campus”, “Work: Library Systems”, “Work: Meetings”, “Work: Miscellaneous”, “Work: Prof Development”, “Work: Website Redesign”.
So even though my Notebook Stacks don’t display in a nice visually neat nested list on my iPad like they do on my desktop or iPhone, they DO still display on the iPad grouped together by Notebook Stack name (i.e., “Work”). And these Notebook Stack groupings are displayed in alphabetical order (i.e., “Crafts”, “Food”, “Work”), by each individual Notebook name within that Stack grouping.
An improved iPad app that supports nested Notebook Stacks would definitely be the ideal solution. But this workaround does work great for me in the meantime.