Evernote Search Tricks for Search Nerds

evernote

I am going to start this post with a brief quote from the brilliant genius that is Zipparah Tafari. For my US readers you might want to make yourself familiar with his work

Have you ever been in this situation
Where you lost your keys and your mobile phone?

Hands in your pockets and your back pockets,
People think that you’re demented
Can’t remember where you put it
Hot, cooler questions…

Oh, Where me keys?
Oh, Where me phone?

My last post about using Evernote as a blogging tool seemed to go down quite well and I even had a couple of emails from people asking for my advice on finding things quickly in Evernote.

I have to admit it’s quite easy to let your Evernote account get out of control and you can soon find it a struggle to find the information that you are looking for within a short space of time. So below are a few of my tips and tricks that I have developed to keep my Evernote house in order.

TAG ALL THE THINGS!!!!!

Don’t be lazy or stupid with your tags; make sure you tag your notes to help you find them again later. Thankfully Evernote indexes the words within your notes as well so there’s no need to go too crazy.

For example I have the following tags setup to help me find things later:

  1. Work – yeah that’s right I use Evernote for non-work stuff too
  2. LOA – Link Opportunity Alert (cheers Eric Ward) as a link builder you often stumble across a great resource or idea that might not be great for a current project but you never know when you might need it in the future ;)
  3. Receipts – I always take a photo or scan an image of my receipts for my accountant
  4. To_Read – if I find an interesting article I want to check out I’ll tag it for later
  5. Blog_Ideas – sometimes I have them

I also like to have a few different notebooks, there is nothing to stop you just having one notebook, or dozens, but I find it easier this way. You can further organise your notebooks with stacks (i.e. groups of notebooks) so for example you might have a stack for clients and a notebook setup for each client.

Learn Evernote Advanced Search Operators

You can search through your notes simply by putting key words that you want to find into the search box. But eventually there will come a time that you are returning too much data for the query.

Every note that you create within Evernote has a lot of properties related to it such as what media attachments are included in the note, how it was uploaded and when the note was created.

Below are a few of the search operators you can use to narrow down your search:

  • tag: – this operator can be used to find notes with specific tags.
  • -tag: – will search for notes excluding that specific tag
  • any: – this operator can be used to make a difference between “and” and “or” when you perform a search with two or more words. For example, if you search for pasta recipes the results will be notes that contain only the words: pasta recipes. However, if you add the any operator before pasta recipes (any: pasta recipes) the results will be notes containing pasta OR recipes.
  • notebook: – this operator will specify the search to a specific notebook.
  • intitle: – (this looks familiar) this operator will search for the specified words in the titles of your notes.
  • source: – this allows you to search via the source you added the note e.g. mobile/email
  • created: – this allows you to search for notes created over a specific time period

As a search professional you’ve probably realised you can combine these search operators to create some super advanced queries.

Find all notes created in the past 14 days added by mobile phone:

source:mobile.* created:week-2

Find all untagged notes created more than a month ago that are in your Inbox notebook :

notebook:Inbox -tag:* created:day-30

Find all notes about SEO that are tagged with “to read” and not tagged with “LOA”:

tag:to_read -tag:LOA SEO

Search notes created or updated in the last month but not in the past week:

created:day-30 -created:day-7

You can also use * as a wildcard and search for keywords using quotation marks ” “.

Save your Searches

Once you have constructed a search, you can create a “Saved Search” and re-use it whenever you need it.

Just construct the search and select File > New Saved Search.

If you are using the Evernote website in the search box select from the drop down Save this search…

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You will then be asked to create a name for the search you want to save down.

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Just like that your new search is just one click away.

Now…

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