As you use Evernote more and more and start to really get a feel for just how powerful and flexible it is, you’ll be creating thousands of notes. This means that finding old notes by scrolling through all your notes becomes very difficult. While notebooks and tags do help to separate notes, you will still end up with way too many in each notebook, and assigned to each tag, to make browsing a fast way to recall past notes.
Luckily, Evernote has amazing search capabilities to help you find exactly what you need and fast. Here are six tips to help you become an Evernote search master.
To Search Notes or Note. That Is The Question
Using the global search versus the in note search tools.
There are two types of searches available in Evernote:
- Global Search, and;
- In-Note Search
The Global Search you can find in the top right corner of the desktop application. When you use this search, Evernote will look through all notes in the notebook you currently have selected. To quickly perform a Global Search hit Option+CMD+F (Mac) or CTRL+ALT+F (Windows).
Tip: If you’re note sure which notebook you should be searching in, or if you want to return the list of all your notes, hit CMD+R (Mac) or CTRL+Shift+A (Windows).
The In-Note Search only searches within the note you currently have open. To use this search, select a note and then hit CMD+F (Mac) or CTRL+F (Windows).
Both of these search types are also available in the mobile versions. The Global Search is found by hitting the search button from the list of your notes whereas the In-Note Search is found by first opening a note and hitting the search icon (magnifying glass).
Any and All
When using Global Search on the desktop application, the search bar will appear and show you what search is being used. It basically interprets your search into a sentence. Something like “Viewing 33 notes from All Notebooks matchingAny of the following…”. It also allows you to modify the search criteria right there. This means you can tweak the search without having to perform a completely new search. One of the easiest, and most effective things to change in this area is the Any/All option.
The Any/All option determines if the search should look for notes that contain either “at least one search keyword” (Any), or “all search keywords” (All). Often when you search using multiple keywords you want all those keywords to be in the result. Changing this option will from Any to All will quickly narrow down your search results.
When you punch in a few keywords in the Global or In-Note searches Evernote will search for each individual word. However, you can easily change your search from individual words to phrase search by adding double quotes around the keywords.
For example, the above search will return results that contain all words from the phrase “quick brown fox”. This is especially handy when you are searching for things like names of people, places or things.
Tags, Titles, Time, Attachments and More
List all the search properties. Can you search on date ranges for note created or updated? Can you search on note location?
Every note in Evernote has a bunch of properties associated with it. The obvious ones are the title of the note and any tags attached to them. However, there’s also things like when the note was created and last updated, if the note has any attachments and the type of those attachments, the location the note was created, the author of the note (especially useful for shared notebooks) and much more. It’s great that you can see this level of information when viewing a single note, but how can you use them to refine your search? What if you wanted to find all notes that were created in the last 7 days?
Fortunately Evernote thought about this and you can search on all these note properties. There are a bunch of search properties that you can add to your search. Use each of these properties listed below by typing the search property, then a colon, then the value of that property. For example, to search for all notes that have been tagged with “family” you would type tag:family into the search. Note that no spaces should be used. If you have tags that do have a space in them, then you can wrap the tag name in quotes! So for notes tagged with “extended family” you would enter tag:”extended family” into the search.
Here are the search properties you can use.
|intitle:||Searches within the title of the note.||intitle:coffee searches for notes whose title contains “coffee”.|
|notebook:||Searches for notes stored in the specified notebook.||notebook:Finance will only search for notes within the Finance notebook.|
|any:||Will return notes that match any of the search terms. Without this operator, Evernote search will return only those notes that match all of the given search terms.||any: pizza beer will return all notes containing either “pizza” or “beer” (removing any: would return only notes containg “pizza” and “beer”).|
|tag:||Searches for notes tagged with the specified tag.||tag:medical will return notes that have the tag “medical”.|
|-tag:||Searches for notes not tagged with the specified tag.||-tag:medical will return notes that do not have the tag “medical”.|
|created:[datetime]||Searches for notes created on or after the date provided. Note that the date provided must be formatted like this: YYYYMMDD or as a date relative to the current date (e.g., day-1 to represent yesterday, week-2 to represent two weeks ago, etc.)||created:day-2 will return notes that were created in the last two days.created:20101101 will return notes created on November 1, 2010.|
|updated:[datetime]||This operator behaves exactly the same way as thecreated: operator described above, except it deals with the date a note was most recently modified. If a note hasn’t been modified since it was created, this date will be the same as the created date.||updated:day-2 will return notes that have been updated in the last two days.|
|resource:||Allows you to search for notes that contain specific types of media (audio, images, etc.).||resource:image/jpg will return all notes containing an embedded JPG image.resource:audio/* will return all notes that cotain some type of audio file.|
|latitude:,longitude:andaltitude:||Find notes that were created at or near the provided coordinate.||latitude:37 will return all notes whose latitude value is greater than 37. Add -latitude:38 to your search to show results whose latitude is between 37 and 38 degrees. longitude: andaltitude: work exactly the same way.|
|source:||Search notes by the application or other source used to create them (e.g., mail.smtp for notes added via email, web.clip for notes added using a web clipper, etc.).||source:mobile.* will return all notes created on a mobile application of some type.|
|recoType:||Matches notes that contain some type of recognition information (such as an image containing text). Possible values for this operator: ‘printed’, ‘speech’, ‘handwritten’, ‘picture’ and ‘unknown’.||recoType:picture will return all notes containing an image whose contents have been processed by Evernote’s image recognition system.|
|todo:||Finds notes containing one or more checkboxes.||todo:true will return all notes containing a checkbox that is checked. todo:false will find notes containing a checkbox that is not checked. todo:* will return notes containing a checkbox, regardless of whether or not it is checked.|
|encryption:||Returns notes that have been partially encrypted using Evernote’s built-in encryption system.||encryption: (this operator doesn’t require additional values).|
Source: Using Evernote’s Advanced Search Operators
Complex Searches and When to Use Them
Combining multiple search queries into a single search.
When searching, you’re not limited to using only keywords or only one search property. You can in fact, use any combination of these. For example, you could find all notes relating to things to do at home and that are tagged with “family” by searching using:
tag:family home todo:false
Or for business you could, for example, find any note relating to “Company X”, tagged with “meeting” and with “next actions” in the title by searching for:
"Company X" tag:meeting intitle:"next actions"
Then, change the Any/All option explained above to make the search results include all the search criteria.
You can also specify that you want certain criteria to not be part of the results. For example, to search for pasta recipes that had nothing to do with chicken, you could use:
Search notes created or updated between two dates by using:
This will find notes that were created less than 20 days ago, but more than 10 days ago.
When you start to get thousands and thousands of notes in your Evernote, you’ll find searching them quickly is more and more important. What you’ll likely find yourself doing is using the same search over and over again. And your searches will probably end up getting more complex (see above) so that you can narrow down the results more. If you find you are doing the same search repeatedly, then that’s a good search to save. When you save a search you can run the same search criteria without having to type it all out again.
To create a saved search, setup your search like you would manually. Then, once you’ve got it just right, head to File > New Saved Search… That will then ask you to name the search. Done! From then on you can find the saved searches in the lower right corner of Evernote (or you may have to enable it first). Click the name of the search and, BAM! The results will instantly appear!
Any saved searches are synchronised to your other Evernote devices. For example, on the iPhone, going to ‘Search’ will list your saved searches and give you the normal option to perform a new search.
So there are six tips to help become a a master of your Evernote. Evernote is amazing at capturing anything you want to throw at it. It’s up to you to be able to easily find anything easily. If you have a search tip of your own, I’d be interested to hear about it. Leave your tips and ideas in the comments below.