How to find anything in Evernote: 6 advanced search tips

evernote searches primary
Rob Schultz

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When it comes to taking notes, you can’t beat Evernote. With its mobile apps and browser plug-ins, it's incredibly easy to take any article, image, or other data and add it to your personal collection. It’s so easy, in fact, that it often takes less time to add a note than to decide whether you really need it. Before you know it, you've got way more info than you know what to do with.

So what are you supposed to do when it comes time to find one of your notes? Manually browsing through them is akin to rifling through a file drawer. Instead, hone in on what you're looking for using Evernote's advanced search operators. These modifiers let you find notes based on where or when they were created, which notebook they're filed in, or even what type of media they contain. Here are the most useful operators for narrowing your searches.

Keyword searches

You can get a lot more from keyword search if you know when to use the any: operator. By default, Evernote shows only the notes that include all the keywords in your search. If you’d like to expand your search, put the any: operator before your keywords, and Evernote will show you every note that contains even a single one. For example, the following search will show you all notes with the word "invoice" or "expense."

any:invoice expense

Tags and Notebooks

Evernote tag and notebook search

Notebook and tag searches can really help you sort the wheat from the chaff in your pile of notes.

You can search a specific notebook by including the notebook: operator at the beginning of your search. For instance, the following search will look only for meeting notes from your "Office and work" notebook. If a term includes a space, you can surround it with quotation marks to make Evernote understand it as a single keyword:

notebook:"Office and work" meeting

If you know a keyword is included as a tag in the note you’re seeking and don’t want to see notes that include that keyword as body text, use the tag: operator. Both the notebook: and tag: operators can be negated by putting a hyphen (-) in front of them. The following search will find notes including "article," but that don’t have the "draft" tag:

-tag:draft article

Time frame

You can search for notes created or updated during a certain time period using the created: or updated: operators. Both of these must be followed immediately by a date in the YYYYMMDD format. They will show all notes created after the specified time, and they can be negated to show notes created before a certain date. Combine both to specify a certain date range, as in the following example search for a Fourth of July itinerary:

created:20140703 –created:20140705 itinerary


Evernote location aware notes

Evernote's Atlas will arrange notes by where they were taken if they have location data attached to them. You can even search by latitude and longitude to find notes taken in a specific place.

If you create notes with a location-aware smartphone or laptop, your notes might be saved with latitude and longitude data. You can search for them using the latitude: and longitude: operators. For instance: If you live in San Francisco but recently attended a conference in Los Angeles (latitude 34), you could find notes taken there with the following search, which will return all notes taken between latitudes 33 and 35:

latitude:33 -latitude:35 conference

If you're unsure of a latitude and longitude, you can find it in the browser version of Google maps. Simply enter the address you're looking for, then clear the search bar by clicking the X. The latitude and longitude of the address will be shown in the address bar.

Google Maps latitude and longitude

You can get the latitude and longitude of a location in the browser version of Google Maps by searching for a location and clearing the search box. The coordinates are shown in the address bar. 

Media type

Finally, you can search for notes containing a certain type of attachment using the resource: operator, followed by a type of media, then a forward slash and a file type or an asterisk to indicate that any file of that general type is valid. For instance, the following search string, which also uses the any: operator, will find notes that include any of the following: a PNG image, a PDF file, or any audio file:

any: resource:image/png resource:application/pdf resource:audio/*

Saving searches

Evernote saved searc

Saving searches in Evernote can save you a ton of time and typing.

With these operators, you can make very specific custom searches. If you see yourself using the same search in the future, you can save it by clicking in the search bar, clicking the Save Search button, then giving your search a name and hitting OK

To see your saved search, just clear the search bar and click on it. A list of recent and saved searches will appear. You can drag your saved search over to the bookmarks panel to make it even easier to find later.

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