How are you using hierarchies vs. tags?

First off, really loving Supernotes so far. It’s amazing how it takes concepts from other Notes apps and systems to a new level. And it’s so FAST!

I realize this is an endless debate in the notetaking world…and there is no right way to do it. But Supernotes takes tagging vs. ‘folders’ (Parent/child and hierarchies) to a new level, based on how fast you can do it. One of my biggest frustrations with tools like Evernote and Apple Notes is how cumbersome it is to create a new Notebook/Folder. (Don’t get me started on how bad Apple Notes is with many folders). I love how fast you can create a parent/child relationship in SN. But tagging is also so fast!

My use case is a combination of business notes (meetings, strategy, ideas) and personal notes (home projects, travel, etc). I’m also a fan of Tiago Forte and his PARA system…my Parents in SN are in the PARA format. I’ve never been a big user of Tags in general, but I think I might get inspired by SN.

TL; DR: How are you using Parent/Child relationships vs. Tags in SN?


I use the parent relationship to give each note one (or more) context to live within.

For example, when I capture insights from a book that I’m reading, then the insights will be “born” in Sources --> Books --> <Book title> --> Insights | <Book title>. Once I’ve collected all the insights from that book, then I’ll compare them all to my existing permanent notes on that topic(s), and give each of the insights one (or more) additional parents under an appropriate root topic. For example, Habits --> Habit formation.

Each note also gets tagged with a type (insight, definition, cheatsheet, question, etc.) and multiple topics (habits, psychology, science, learning, etc.).


This makes a ton of sense, thank you for sharing!

I haven’t found a use for tags yet. My point of view is that if you have a tag you should probably explain what that tag means. And that means it needs some text, and then you can just create a note and write what the description of the tag and make it the parent note of other notes instead of a tag.

I struggle a bit when to use links or when to put it in a parent-child relationship. I’ve mostly used the parent-child relationships functionality for now, but I’ve started to experiment with links a bit.

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I use tags for characterization. A tag reflects the nature and properties of a card. Parents are used for contextualization. A child is seen as an highlighted aspect in the context of its parent.

I outlined my approach in more detail some time ago.


I am personally experimenting but I use parents for my life areas (e.g, personal, finance, couple), then I use them also to wrap collections of elements (e.g., meetings, links, books). The benefit here is that I can mix areas and collections to further contextualize information.

Tags on the other hand are used for more categorization and details such as states (e.g. read later, watched), categories (e.g. engineering, psychology, food for thought).

Hope it helps!

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This set of notes were very insightful in explaining what I found hard to express about my own behavior, particularly around context vs characteristics being the important distinction on using hierarchy vs tags. Thanks for sharing such a well thought-out argument!

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How do you make lifetime?

lifetime was a plan in the early days of supernotes, where you could get a lifetime subscription in return for a one-time payment. Unfortunately, since supernotes 2.0 this option is not available anymore.