Home Box.net: Searching Struggles

Box.net: Searching Struggles

I wrote yesterday about giving Box.net a try, uploading all of my OneNote files to their online storage system. The process of getting them uploaded was a breeze – simply drag and drop the folder, and within 20 minutes the files were uploaded and accessible from a multitude of devices.

Here’s the struggle I’m having with my OneNote files in Box.net, though. I can’t search them. Let me first explain how I work with OneNote so you can understand why this is a huge issue.

I’ve got 6 different notebooks containing hundreds of section groups, thousands of sections, and even more individual pages. When I want to look for something in OneNote, I don’t hunt and peck my way through the notebooks and sections, I just search for what I’m looking for. It’s fast, exhaustive, never wrong, and also searches my handwritten notes. Within seconds, I can quickly get to the note I need without thinking about where it is stored.

The process of finding my notes becomes a lot more difficult having my OneNote files stored in Box.net, though. First of all, Box.net only searches the text associated with the file name, not the data stored in the file. So, searching text in OneNote files using Box.net is out of the question. I also tried searching for some text located in a Word document, and I had the same struggle.

Here is box.net’s Help information on searching:

The ‘Search’ option is located under the filepath. Click on it, and a search box will appear. Type all or part of a filename in the search box to display all files with that string of letters in their title. Once you type at least 3 characters, a list of all applicable files will appear instantly.

So, how do I find what I’m looking using Box.net? First, I need to think about what notebook my notes might be in. Then, locate the file, and drag the OneNote file to my desktop from Box.net. After that, I double click the file to open it in OneNote, then either do a text search or begin hunting / pecking for the page I’m looking for. Assuming I’ve found the note I’m looking for, then I make any necessary changes to the note, exit the program, and drag it back in to Box.net. Now, if I couldn’t find it, I’d have to navigate Box.net to find the correct notebook, and repeat the above process. It is worth noting that searching the notebook I just dragged / dropped from Box.net might not work, either, because OneNote’s search index might not have finished indexing that notebook.

So, there you have it – the first challenge in moving files to Box.net.  Is it a show-stopper? Well, I can’t work with my OneNote files like that, so I’d have to store them locally. Once I begin having a mix of files stored in the cloud and some stored on my computer, things begin to get messy. Doing exhaustive file searches is definitely an area Box.net should improve on. However, I’m not ready to call it quits, yet. Stay tuned for more as I begin diving in deeper.

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