If you’re anything like me, your downloads folder is a huge mess of disorganized PDFs, Word documents, Keynote presentations and text files with uninformative names like form.doc and scan0111.pdf.
I’m a die-hard Alfred fan, and when I’m being good and giving my documents appropriate names, it’s a huge help. However, when I’m downloading and reading dozens of documents on a short deadline, all my good habits go out the window with my to-do list.
Yep claims to be the document organizer for the lazy and forgetful among us, find out if it delivers after the jump!
Getting Started With Yep
When you first open Yep, you’ll be prompted to import your current documents into Yep. I used the “auto-import” feature, and then found I couldn’t go back and check out the custom option… So I can’t report on that!
It took quite a while to import all my documents, and I only had about 300 on my new laptop. I found Yep’s handling of my current documents the clumsiest part of the interface, I felt like I pretty much had to start from scratch organizing my new documents and leave the old ones in disarray.
It would have been extremely helpful to be able to assign smart tags to documents with certain parameters, for example, automatically add the tag “essay” to anything in my essay folder, or add the tag “form” to any pdf with “form” in the title.
The Yep Workflow
Once you’ve got your old documents into Yep, managing new documents is significantly easier:
Downloading & Tagging Documents
To get documents into Yep, download normally from your browser/email client etc., and then reveal it in the finder
To tag the new document, simply drag it to the side of your screen and drop it into the box labeled “tag”. Next, enter your desired tags and hit enter. Your document can now be accessed through Yep using the assigned tag, but remains in your downloads folder and has not been copied.
One minor thing that bugged me about the tagging interface was that after entering one tag, you can add another by hitting “enter” or “space”, whereas other apps have made me used to hitting “tab” after adding a tag.
Instead of simply tagging your documents and leaving them where they are, Yep gives you the option of having your documents automatically filed.
When you drag a document into the “file” box in the screen-side interface, it is filed into a directory in your documents folder called “Filed Documents” which is organized by year, month and date.
I didn’t understand what they meant by “filed documents” at first because it didn’t tell me where exactly they were being filed to, but now that I’ve figured it out, I file all my documents.
The Yep interface is designed to be iPhoto/iTunes-like, but I found it more like the Finder if it were organized by tags. On the left, there is a tag cloud, and at the top, powerful filtering options (by rating, date, type, location). Like the Finder, you can choose to view your documents in list or thumbnail view
One crucial feature I enjoyed was the integration of Quick Look into Yep. Since Yep has allowed me to be lazy with document names, I need the Quick Look preview to know what I’m looking at
In addition to the tag cloud, you can also display your folder structure to navigate as you would in the Finder
Other Organization Options
In addition to the main tag-based organization method, Yep includes an iTunes-like rating system. You can give a document 1-5 stars, and then filter through your documents with rules like “less than 4 stars”.
I personally never use rating systems for organization, and it seems just to be there for the sake of the iTunes analogy, but some people might find this useful.
You can also create browser-like bookmarks at the top of the window that are basically saved searches. Select any of file type, location, tag, and rating and save the search to a bookmark, and you can have quick access to, for example, all PDFs in the documents folder with the tag “forms”.
I tested out using Yep as my primary means of document management while in the midst of my spring essay marathon this semester, since writing essays involves juggling notes files, source material, assignment instructions, and various drafts at once.
The rules were: I had to try to always use Yep for the first essay, but after that, if I reverted to the Finder/Alfred I would let myself.
After a bit of confusion on the first day of using Yep (where are my files going? What does “filed” mean? How do these bookmarks work?) I quickly grew accustomed to the workflow. As long as I remembered to tag a document as soon as I downloaded it, everything stayed well organized.
Being able to use Quick Look and launch documents directly from Yep allowed me to navigate through various studies, assignments and notes without leaving the Yep interface. I also appreciated how easy it was to rename documents without the awkward slow-double-click of the Finder.
Now that the essay marathon is over, I still use Yep, so I’d say it stands up to real-world scenarios.
Scanning and Creating Documents
Another major feature of Yep is scanner integration. I was unable to test this feature since my scanner is broken, but it promises faster scanning than Preview or the bundled software that came with your scanner.
Yep creates PDF files from scanned documents and lets you add tags and a description right away. I’m sure this would be an appreciated feature, I always hated my scanner’s software with its sloppy interface and TIFF file creation.
Yep can also create text documents from dragged text and images, just drag selected text or an image to the Yep dock icon, and it automatically creates a .txt file or an image file and files it away in its chronological filing system. This feature is especially useful for clipping text and images from webpages without having to bother with any “save as” or “new document” dialogs.
I started writing this review thinking it would turn out more negative than it did. All the issues I had starting out with Yep weren’t really about the usability of the app, but more about the confusing way it was presented on the website. It took me a while to figure out the download-drag-tag process, which could have been easily demonstrated on the website.
My biggest issue with Yep was the importing process, which was a one-shot affair that I couldn’t re-try with different settings or apply smart filters.
Since I already had a lot of documents on my computer, and have a limited attention span for organizing my computer, only the documents I’ve downloaded since using Yep are tagged. Yep would be much more useful to someone starting out on a new computer than someone with a hard drive filled with years of documents.
That being said, Yep certainly did save me time digging around for documents while writing essays, and would definitely be worthwhile for people who deal with a lot of PDFs and Word documents – like students, teachers, researchers, writers and anyone who wants more organization for less effort.
Is it worth $20? Hard to say. If you spend a lot of time working with documents, especially for work, then Yep could be a huge timesaver. If you’re responsible enough to name your files properly, you probably don’t need it.