This post is an introduction, showing how to use the Nemo Documents file manager to organize, search and find lost documents. The goal is mainly to teach new users how to use the different aspects of the system. Regular users will perhaps also learn a new trick or two. For a shorter introduction to what Nemo Documents is, refer to the main site.
The first thing to notice is that Nemo Documents is not a single tool but rather a collection of tools. One does not need to use everything, only the things that makes sense in a specific situation or for the person in general. The tools, or clues as we like to call them are: time, file types, folders, tags, starred, filename, preview, text phrases, related calendar event. A preview of a file will be shown when one hovers over the filename. The other clues can be combined to narrow down a search. This could be images in a specific month, pdfs with the tag toread, pdfs in one of two folders and so on.
The first and the one we think is the primary clue is time. At least when it comes to finding something within the last three months. Time is especially effective in the week view where you can see all the files one have been working on in the last week.
The time view is also effective when trying to find older documents where one remembers a related document/calendar event in the vicinity of the lost document. The time view allows one to see related files by going back and forth a month or a week.
If the time view is not the ideal starting point for finding a file again, then the list view can be used. This works rather like Windows file explorer, as time is not taken into account. List view will show a preview of files directly making it easier to scan through a few results. It is a good view for Starred items. Speaking of Starred items: starring can be used as a way to mark items that needs to be taken care of. Thus enabling one to keep an overview of items that needs to be addressed, similar to the inbox zero thinking in getting-things-done (GTD).
File types are rather effective in narrowing down the number of items, e.g. if you know it’s an Excel-file. Thereby making it possible to see a bigger view, such as a whole year or a month, and making it easier to find a file. Restricting on file types is also effective when used together with calendar integration. First you restrict to only calendar types, find a related event, and then remove the calendar type restriction as to see all the files around the event. Several file types can also be combined, such that if one remembers that it was a document but not if it was a pdf or a doc.
Folder navigation works a bit different than when navigating in the file explorer that is included in Windows. The biggest difference is that when selecting a folder, files in that folder and all sub folders will be visible, while in Windows explorer only files in the selected folder will be visible. Furthermore it is possible to select multiple folders, which can be useful if one is not sure in which exact folder the file is placed or just to see the files of multiple folders in one view.
There has already been a lengthy article written about what tags are, what they can be used for and how they differentiate from folders, so I won’t go into further details here.
The search field in the top right corner can be used to search for text phrases in a documents and PDF files or the filename of a file. It is also possible to search for calendar event names or in Google Docs files. The search can be combined with all the other clues to narrow down the search. When searching for local files, Nemo Documents uses Windows Desktop Search. Windows Desktop Search is integrated in Vista and Windows 7, but is an add-on in Windows XP. If search is not installed, an indicator with help on how to install it will be displayed.