How to exclude shared (notebook) notes in Evernote search

I am a big fan of Evernote; and I rely on it very heavily (makes me scared sometimes). Recently, I have started using shared notebooks. I share project-related notebooks with one of my colleagues; and he shares some of this notebooks (read + write) with me. These shared notebooks make Evernote a very nice collaboration tool.

However, shared (notebook) notes can mess up your own Evernote content sometimes: Searching for particular issues no longer return your own reminders and stuff only but also those of the people that share notebooks with you. This can be confusing. For example, I regularly search for to-do items (“todo:false”) using a saved search. All of a sudden, Evernote presents my to-do items + those of my colleague. This is obviously not what I want/need. Excluding the unwanted results, on the other hand, is not easy: Evernote does not allow to exclude notebooks from search results, i.e. using something like “-notebook:ABC” is not possible. You can exclude notes with certain tags (“-tag:ABC”), however, adding arbitrary tags to notes in a shared notebook (not owned by you) is not possible as well.

Here is the solution I went for (after a few experiments):

You may not be able to add your own tags to shared (notebook) notes. What you can do, is add/set the author of the notes. This can be done in the information view (Evernote Desktop as well as Evernote Web). So I simply set the notes’ author of the shared items to my colleague’s name. After that, I was able to exclude his notes from my search results using “-author:NAME”. This way I can use all my saved searches with only a little bit of modification.

Addendum: Unfortunately, it is not possible to select multiple notes and update the author for all. Hence, this solution is not suitable if you have to update many, many notes. There might be an easier solution for that. However, since I only had to change a few notes, I was fine with editing the author information per note.

Addendum II: Returning home to my iMac, I found that Evernote for Mac doesn’t seem to handle the author field well 😦 However, it seems possible to use the field “changed by”.

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