C-Command Software Forum

Using folders - how and why?

I get the feeling that tagging will be so useful I wonder what purpose folders actually serve. Since the source and date are part of the record, even that seems unneeded. I guess I could divide my library up to make searching faster but that seems very arbitrary. The only thing I can come up with is if I import some things that are already in a folder. Using a folder in EF maintains that structure. But that’s all I’ve been able to come up with.

Can Michael, or anyone, really, suggest uses for folders? Not that I want to get rid of them! I hope this hasn’t be analyzed to death before. Apologies if that’s the case.

Although I use tags, I find folders essential to my work flow. My professional projects were always organized into finder folders, but now these are also EagleFiler folders. As such they contain many items that I don’t want to see in EF’s record list: automatic backups; statistical programs and output (linked in NoteTaker); most files for creating LaTeX documents; auxiliary files; and previous versions. Some of these documents never come to EF’s attention. Others, like previous manuscript versions were EagleFiler records, and I hide them with the Hide Selected Records script http://c-command.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2061.

Other ongoing organizational projects, are naturally organized into yearly and monthly folders. To keep the records list simple, I put non-current projects and folders into archive folders. Tags could not give me the structure that folders provide.


Thanks for the reply. I’m a bit uncertain, does that mean that all your work folders are part of the EF library? I can understand excluding some, but I thought all records had to be stored in the library. Am I missing something?

I agree that some things fall naturally into a folder organization with others not fitting well at all.

BTW, I also use Notetaker, actually Noteshare.

It’s not true that an item in an EF Folder must appear in the EF Library Records List. Prior to the last update, items copied, dragged, or saved into the EF folder outside of an EF import operation were not added to the library. Now you can still get this behavior, which I prefer, by turning off the ScanForNewFilesOnOpen esoteric preference in Section 6.12 of the pdf or regular Help. By the way, the records list for each project usually contains a NoteTaker notebook or page mark.

I personally find folders to be essential, although I know there are plenty of people who dump everything into Records and then use search and tags to find what they need. It’s really a matter of what works for you. Here are some points to consider:

  1. A record can have multiple tags, but it can only be in one folder. If you drag and drop a record between folders, EagleFiler will move
    it, i.e. remove it from the old folder and add it to the new one. With tags, drag and drop will keep adding more tags. So folders are useful when you want to enforce a set of mutually exclusive filing bins.
  2. You can use folders and tags to organize along separate axes, with folders for the primary classification and tags for the secondary and tertiary ones.
  3. Folders in EagleFiler directly correspond to folders on disk. So folders are useful when you want to view your files in other applications, without losing the organization. The Finder, Spotlight, backup programs, etc. can all do useful things with folders.
  4. Folders can make it faster to search in EagleFiler, both because EagleFiler is searching less of the library and because you will have fewer irrelevant results to skip over.
  5. EagleFiler is more flexible about what characters you can type in folder names vs. tag names.
  6. Multiple folders can have the same name if they appear in different parts of the hierarchy. Sometimes it’s even useful to repeat a structure of subfolders in different places.
  7. I think of folders as local and tags as global. Making a new subfolder doesn’t really affect the rest of the library, whereas making a new tag makes it available “everywhere.” So folders are good for one-off organization that’s only relevant to a particular area.
  8. Folders can themselves have notes and tags, for example to store information about the files that they contain.

OK, thanks, Michael, that’s sort of what I was wondering, what the purposes of folders were. That was a very helpful response. Thanks to Steve, too.

I would just add that you should check out the Evernote forums for a robust tags v. folders debate. Evernote has resolutely rejected subfolders, which drives some people nuts. (Though they just implemented a modified version of them.)

I use folders almost exclusively. It’s probably more work up front but fits the way I think about projects. (Folder for blog posts, subfolders for individual entries; Folder for major project, subfolders for research papers, interview transcripts, c.v.'s, etc.)

To me the downside of folders is that you have to decide which folder something goes into. If it logically belongs in more than one category you end up either not reflecting that, or having duplicates.

I think that folders do have a use. I’m starting more rigorous scanning of documents and having all the scans for a particular year seems to make sense, rather than mixing them in with everything else.