Notes versus files

Notes versus files

(Jeremy Wells, EA) #1

I just read @justindirose’s post on some Evernote alternatives. I used EN for a while before taking @Sparky’s lead and using Apple Notes.

My issue is less with notetaking per se though and more with managing both notes and files, mainly PDFs. In short, I hate the way both EN and AN show attached files; on the other hand, iCloud’s URL sharing is, well, just dumb (yes, I know I could use Dropbox or Google Drive; again, I’m trying to stick with Apple, which shouldn’t shock most people here). I guess there’s also the plain text file approach (see Merlin Mann’s post at 43Folders and @joebuhlig’s post).

I suppose this only gets to be an issue when there are both notes and files that relate to each other. Does anyone have a good recommendation/workflow for juggling related notes and files other than attaching?

(Justin DiRose) #2

I’m using Apple Notes as well, and truth is I don’t use it for this kind of reference. Most PDFs and other docs will live in my file system. From here, I’m relying on Alfred or Spotlight search to find these items.

If you do go the search route, you could use a tagging system, a la what people used to do with nvAlt (xWork, xProjectName, etc.). That’s not always ideal though.

(Jeremy Wells, EA) #3

Right, thanks @justindirose! So tagging is your glue to connect files and notes. This is when a paper-based system starts to look better because you can always stick a sheet of scrap paper or a post-it into a file folder, but digital doesn’t really have a good solution for that (at least that I’ve seen).

You could go all file system and use text files as notes, but there’s no quick editing the note short of opening your text editor, and then there’s no formatting. On the other hand, going all note system means attaching things, and then where does the actual file live? Of course, searching via tagging isn’t nearly as easy with paper.

It seems like I want a solution that makes managing files qua files and notes qua notes in a single repository possible.


Have you looked at DEVONthink? From your description of having both files (PDFs, Word/Pages, Excel/Numbers, etc.) and notes, either plain text, rich, or markdown DEVONthink gives you an easy way to manage every file type. It gives you the option of having tags and folders, of which you can choose to not use tags.

In DEVONthink you can copy an item link, for example to a PDF then paste that link into your note file and be able to quickly click on it and open the PDF file when you need it. So you wouldn’t be attaching, only linking the file and the note.

I use DEVONthink for projects at work which includes multiple versions of the same file, so in my note file (I use markdown, but you could use any type) I have the item links to the different versions of the document all within DEVONthink. In a meeting if I only have my iPad I can pull up the project file then if someone asks about a previous version of the file I can tap the link and immediate open and share it.

(Troy Patterson) #5

What about using Bear? I find the tagging system works well and it functions as a good note taking system for me. I believe the attachment limit for syncing is 250mb, so that might be a deal breaker, but fine for my needs.