Evernote for Beginners: The Search Is On

Five Evernote Searches to Enhance Your Workflow

Have you tried searching a physical stack or folder for a specific note recently? If so, it’s probably fresh in your mind that it takes quite a bit of digging, scanning, and rescanning sometimes only to end in frustration. Imagine the advantages of turning piles of physical paper into digital notes where Evernote’s excellent search feature does all the hunting for you.

photo courtesy of stocksnap.io

photo courtesy of stocksnap.io

It’s the information age, and the information is out there. It’s just a matter of finding it. I always thought that searching for files on a PC or for articles on the Internet was straightforward, but after helping a few people with searches, I realized it is not as easy and intuitive as it seems at first. For items in your personal control, it is a good idea to have a framework to search within. No matter how good your search ability, there still may be some things that escape you if you don’t have a framework for putting things in context.

Get to know your tools

Beyond having a good framework, knowing all the functions of your search tools is going to aid you the most.

Here are five search tips that will enhance your searching, find you what you need, and save you time and frustration.

Note: This is in not a comprehensive or authoritative post on searching in Evernote.
The search in Evernote works slightly differently depending on your environment (Web, Mac, Windows, iPhone, Android) so it is almost impossible to be all-inclusive when discussing features. I will try to accurately note in which environment the search capability is available.

  1. The Basic Search
    Available in all environments.
    Example: beach vacation
    This is the easiest, most familiar form of searching. Type something in the search box, get the results. Evernote’s search by default is set up to return “both/and” results. In other words, if you type the two words “beach vacation” you will only get results that have both beach and vacation in the body
  2. The Any Search
    Available in all environments.
    Example: any: twitter fun [note a space in between the colon and the first word]
    Your first introduction to search synatx, using “any:” at the beginning of your search, will change it from a “both/and” search to an “either/or” search. A note only has to have one of the words to show up in the results.
  3. The Tag or Notebook Search
    Available in all environments.
    Example: tag:artwork [note no space in between the colon and the first word]
    This search will return the results in the specific tag or notebook you search for. If your tag or notebook as multiple words, enclose the whole name in quotations (e.g. “kid artwork”). If you want to find all notes except those in a specific notebook or tag, include a minus sign (“-“) before the word tag (e.g. -tag:artwork).
  4. The Combination Search
    Available in all environments.
    Example: tag:goals tag:2015
    This search will return notes tagged with both goals and 2015. This comes in handy when you want a list of notes narrowed down to specific tags and notebooks. If you had 20 notes tagged with goals, but only 10 of them were for the current year, adding the second tag in the search would narrow it down.
  5. The Saved Search
    Available in Windows and Mac.
    You can save any search for future use and even add it to your shortcuts for quick reference.
    This is very simple in the Windows environment. (1) After typing your search in the search box, (2) just click the button “Save search…” This will bring up a window in which you can (3) specify the title of your search and (4) click OK.
    To do this on Evernote for Mac, (1) type in your search terms. After the results are loaded, (2) go to the menu Edit > Find > Save Search. (3) Type in the title for your search and (4) click OK.
    To add this to your shortcuts, simply click in the Search box, and in the drop-down menu, left click your search and drag it over to the shortcuts area.

More Evernote advanced search syntax.

Here’s a short demo on performing a combined tag search, saving it, and adding it to shortcuts.

Question: What other Evernote searches do you find useful? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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