Does anyone use OneNote Find Tags to extra GTD or other to-do lists?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss Tools & Software for GTD' started by AFG, Sep 24, 2018.

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  1. AFG

    AFG Registered

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    BRIEF: The subject is my question: Does anyone use OneNote Find Tags to extract GTD or other to-do lists?

    Regularly. On a daily basis.

    If so, what is your work-flow? What sequence of operations and manual edits do you use?

    ---+ DETAIL

    I would really, Really, REALLY, like to be able to use OneNote's Find Tags feature to reliably and incrementally extract GTD-style to-do lists.

    Reason: I have used similar approaches in text-only GNU EMACS' org-mode, and also in twiki. I liked these approaches. I am not using these approaches because I switched to OneNote, mainly to get the screen snipping image features.

    Here was my old approach: in GNU EMACS org-mode I recorded almost everything in a time sequential manner. I would tag TO-DO items of various flavors. I would have various search commands extract the lists.

    Sounds like this should work in OneNote. But... various minor problems:

    ==> search scope: in OneNote I can search various scopes, ranging from Page to Notebook to All_Notebooks. Sounds great. But, I cannot exclude the pages where I have already extracted the to-do lists. Repeated FindTags result in replicateditems.

    I am thinking that I will probably need to run FindTags on only a single Notebook at a time. Probably twice a day - Work and Personal LOG. And then move the summary pages so produced out of the LOG notebook into a separate GTYD notebook.

    Or... perhaps I can use the OneNote FindTags feature that finfs only tags in a date range, like today, yersterday, new.

    ==> (Re)organization: I nearly always want to reorganize the lists of tags that Find Tags produces. If only into the GTD contexts.

    Q: if you use FindTags, do you use separate tags for contexts? Or do you mark simply "To Do" (theonly tag that is present on flavours like OneNote for iOS). Do you manually rearrange? How do you avoid subsequent FindTags from replicating?

    Q: do you use FindTags, then manually reorganize into GTD style lists?

    The GTD setup guides recommend using OneNote Sections as lists - basically, GTD list items are the titles of OneNote Pages. The OneNote page provides extra info, notes. If you use OneNote FindTags, do you but multiple GTD list items on the same OneNote page?
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
  2. ssksogaard

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    I have been trying to use OneNote with tags also, but it didn't stick, mainly due to the fact you cannot search tag on mobile devices (yet)..
    What i dit was i created new tags equal to the context of my GTD system. Then anywhere in my support material i could insert the tag for a task.
    Then when I need to look at my NA lists I would search for tags (in ALL notebooks) and OneNote separates the tasks in context, so its easy to to the context I need. Then a single click on the task takes me to the page of the task giving me all additional info needed.
    Un-mark the task, and find tags again.

    I actually believe I'll go back as soon as I'm able to search for tags in the mobile apps.
     
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  3. AFG

    AFG Registered

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    Thanks for your reply.

    Nor even create any tags except the normal To Do checkbox.

    I did the same.

    The problem I found was that I could not keep the results of this old search in a notebook, since the next time I searched OneNote would find all of the tags - including the tags from the old list.

    I thought that it might be good to keep that old list for historical reasons - e.g. in my log, record that I finished X and Z, but not Y.

    It sounds like you delete the old list before creating a new list. Loses history, but that will work. Equivalently, I may try to rename the tags in the extracted list. In other tools, you can search for a tag in all notebooks EXCEPT the current notebook.

    I notice that there is a feature called "dimming" - when you search for tags, the original tag can be dimmed, or the new tag can be dimmed. Supposedly a dimmed tag is not searched for again. However, I have not been able to make that work.
     
  4. ssksogaard

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    You could also create “@Done✔️“ tag to tag all the done tasks, that way they only show up in the done section of your search and you can deselect that list, giving you only actionable tasks, and keeping tasks for historical use.?
     
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  5. AFG

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    Sounds good - although it is a bit more ugly than using checkboxes.

    Oh, wait, I misunderstood: yeah, I already do "Show only unchecked items" in Find Tags. But that still leaves the unchecked items that I did not complete, in today's todo-list (which I want to preserve for history). So they will get replicated when I rerun "Find Tags" for tomorrow's To-Do list.

    I thought that you were suggesting changing the standard To-Do tag to a special @Done-To-Do tag. Which I have also tried. But it's a pain to do all of that tag changing. Of course, I wrote a OneTastic macro for this, but...

    Anyway: do *you* do this right now? Is it working for you?



    All of this talk about tags and checkboxes reminds me...
     
  6. AFG

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    More complaints (and/or features that I do not understand how to use) about OneNotes Find Tags:

    (1) The items in the list Find Tags creates have the same tag as the original - they are essentially copies of the original paragraph, with a link from the Find Tags list entry back to the original entry. [*]

    E.g. if the original is a To-Do item with a checkbox, then the Find Tags entry is also an item tagged To-Do with a checkbox.

    But, the checkboxes themselves are not linked. I.e. if I tick one of the checkboxes, eother the original or the Find Tags copy, theoter does NOT get ticked.

    If I want to mark it completed in both places, I have to
    a) in the Find Tags generated list, check it off
    b) click the link to the original
    c) check off the original

    That's a pain.


    (2) The Find Tags generated list item has a link to the original - but not vice versa. Does anyone know how to create such bidirectional links (and keep them consistent)

    (This is the Note * in item (1)).



    (3) MINOR: OneNote's current checkboxes have 2 states: empty, and checked.

    If I am doing something like debugging a problem, I want states empty, checked(worked), and marked-with-an-X (failed).
     
  7. AFG

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    I am beginning to wonder if one of the problems with the way I have been trying to use OneNote Find Tags is that I have been creating summary pages.

    Perhaps if I just used the list in the sidebar.

    But then I can't use it for history. Or filter/edit out tags I don't care about.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
  8. ssksogaard

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    In my OneNote 2016, I can collapse the contexts I don't want to see, never needing to create a summary page (unless I need to print).. :)
     
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  9. Gardener

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    Ah. Yeah. My view when I saw summary pages was, "Really? I'm not using that." It doesn't seem like a well-designed feature.
     
  10. AFG

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    Thank you! I did not realize that collapsing the groups removed them from the summary page!

    Stuff like this is why I participate in this forums - sharing tips and techniques.
     
  11. AFG

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    Next question about Find Tags:

    Can I do a negative query?

    E.g. find all pages that do not have a tag anywhere on them?

    The idea being that I would create OneNote entries on my iPhone, where the app does not have good support for tags. Create such pages without any tags. Then, as part of my regular review (Weekly, daily, whatever) I would search for all untagged pages, add appropriate tags, etc. And if no tags needed, add a tag "Processed", to filter it out of future "Find Tags" searches.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
  12. AFG

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    Unfortunately, at this moment my OneNote 2016 "Find Tags" over all notebooks repeatedly crashes the application.

    "Find Tags" for tags in the last week works.

    If this is a common problem, age filtering is obviously a "Tip and Trick" for folks like me who want to use Find Tags.

    Unclear if problem is simply way too many tags, or possibly that certain notebooks, sections, and pages are having problems. E.g. sync problems.

    (E.g. on a recent plane flight I learned that creating a single OneNote page via "Sends To ... OneNote" from my iPhone Photos app, with 231 iPhone screen captures, results in a page that never synchs. At least not after 48 hours. Worse, I cannot even delete that page with the "Synch Errors" error message on it.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
  13. AFG

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    Items in the list created by Find Tags in the (right) sidebar can be clicked, and the click state is reflected in the original tag.

    This does not work for items in the Summary page created by Find Tags. Understandable, since then you could have many instances of a tag in a summary page, rather than a single one as in the SideBar.

    Disappointing nevertheless, since my previous usage models for such tag lists in other programs involved extracting a new list in the equivalent of a Summary Page every day.

    I conclude that this means that if one wants to use Find Tags to extract a To Do list linked to tags inline in content, you have to use the sidebar.

    I am wondering about a flow like the following:


    Start: use Find Tags to extra a tag list, e.g. To Do, not checked off.

    Select tags to work on right away - essentially a short term Next Actions list.
    Change Tag from "To Do" to "To Do now" or the like.
    (Actually, possibly just add a new tag "To Doing now")

    Use Find Tags to create a sidebar of "To Do now" tags.

    Work, checking off as done.

    At End, create a Summary Page of "To Do now" tags, checked and unchecked.
    Save that for history, e.g. in my LOG.

    Possibly change some of the "To Do now" tags back to some other tag, if I have decided to defer them fior a while.


    Repeat every day... ​



    Might work.

    But it sounds like a lot of hassle.

    (Easier with shortcut keys to change the "To Doing now" tag)



    Note that most of this complexity is because I like recording what I have done in a day.

    And also because I like creating LOG items titled according to what I have done.



    ---


    My usual question: is anyone doing something like this?

    In OneNote, in Outlook, or similar tag based systems (e.g. Gmail)?

    Automation? OneTastic macros? VBA?
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
  14. Gardener

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    Outlook has twice lost a bunch of tasks--once years ago, and then recently I figured that they might have improved things and cautiously used the task capability for one controlled function. A few months later, it lost all of those tasks.

    In other words, I don't recommend using Outlook for this. :) It's always been nice and reliable for me for email, but not for tasks.
     
  15. AFG

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    Did you post this to the wrong thread?

    This thread is about using OneNote tags ask GTD tasks/items, and OneNote Find-Tags to create the GTD lists of tasks/next/actions.

    There are other threads that discuss Outlook tasks. For example

    https://forum.gettingthingsdone.com/threads/onenote-tasks-outlook-tasks-ios-reminders-tasks.14308

    or

    https://forum.gettingthingsdone.com...uide-have-a-few-questions-about-outlook.14774
     
  16. Gardener

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    I failed to re-read the whole thread and thought that

    meant that you were considering using Outlook.
     
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  17. AFG

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    My bad. I typed Outlook in one place where I should have said OneNote
     

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