Struggling to understand hierarchal tags

I’ve been testing the trial version of DEVONthink Pro Office to determine if it will work for me and I’m just short of pulling out my hair trying to figure out the way that hierarchal tags work.

Let’s say I create a new note about San Francisco. I then tag it at the bottom of the window with the tags and . Since California is in the USA I drag the California tag onto the USA tag to create a hierarchy.

Now I create a note about Los Angeles. Rather than type multiple tags and hope I didn’t forget one, I just drag it onto the tag and it also inherits California’s parent tag, .

When I click on the tag, I see both notes with that tag in the list. So far so good.

However, when I click on the tag I only see San Francisco listed.

A search for the tag in the search box does find both notes.

Is this the expected behavior?

I’d agree it’s probably not “expected”, but if you trace the history of your actions, I can see how this happens.

San Francisco was a child of USA and California, and then California became a child of USA. Los Angeles however was never a child of USA, it was a child of only California. So, clicking USA shows one child (San Francisco). Moving the groups around (nesting California within USA) doesn’t change the relationships.

DEVONthink does not display the child documents of child groups unless the parent and child groups are selected together. Selecting both USA and California displays a logical USA AND California.

I’m not 100% on one side or the other of whether your example is a weakness, or a strength, of the tagging design, but I tend to think it’s probably a strength. :confused:

Thank you for your reply. This would make sense to me if Los Angeles didn’t have the USA tag, but it does. If dragging a note onto a child tag doesn’t create a relationship with the parent tag, why does the note have both tags?

Regardless, is there an easy way to apply a nested set of tags to a note with a simple action short of typing (or dragging) each tag individually?

Los Angeles has the USA tag as long as California is a child of USA. Move California and Los Angeles loses USA. But San Francisco doesn’t lose USA because it was explicitly assigned to be a child of USA.

The simplest approach is to create your hierarchy and assign the lowest tag (California, in this case). When you do that, the document will inherit the parent tags (as long as they remain parents!).

This makes sense. I’ll create a new note, San Diego. I drag San Diego onto the California tag, which is a child of . It now shows that it has two tags: and . This seems to follow what you’re saying. My confusion is that the tag for San Francisco, which I explicitly assigned when I created the tag seems to be different than the tag that Los Angeles and San Diego inherit by dropping them onto the tag. (I hope this is making sense)

Clicking on the tag in the tag list reveals only the note onto which I typed the tag, not notes which are tagged with because of the Parent/Child relationship of the tag.

Perhaps I’ve created the hierarchy incorrectly? I’ve created the hierarchy after creating the tag by typing a new tag name to the bottom of a note. Is there a way to create a new tag directly in its proper place within the hierarchy itself? Maybe I’m just barking up the wrong tree here.

Meaning, I suppose, creating a new tag for the document Santa Rosa such as California < Sonoma with the result that Santa Rosa has these (distinct) tags: USA, and California, and Sonoma? No, though that would be a nice new feature, for now you’d need to make a Sonoma child of California first and then assign Sonoma to Santa Rosa

Two things: (1) I agree with the OP that the behavior of hierarchical tags is not intuitive–I was tearing my hair out for a while about this exact same question. But also (2) many thanks to korm for quite a clear explanation (and diagram of the example case!) of something that is confusing. If only this were described so clearly in the manual…