If you’ve been using Evernote for a while, you’re probably relying more and more on search to find notes in your growing database. While searching by keywords is fine, you’ll get better (and faster) results if you master Evernote’s advanced search syntax.
Advanced syntax uses special “operators” to narrow your search to specific tags, notebooks, dates, file types and other criteria. There are many search operators and many ways to use them, but we’ve highlighted five of the most powerful for sifting through your notes.
If you’ve ever wondered why you should bother tagging your notes, you’re about to find out. Using the “tag” operator, you can narrow your search to just within a specific tag. Just type tag:tagname in the search field. For example, to search for notes with the tag “receipts,” type tag:receipts. If you’re looking for a multiple-word tag, enter it in quotation marks — tag:“may receipts” — just as you would to do in a web search of an exact phrase.
If you know a note is stored in a specific notebook, type notebook:notebook name. For instance, to find only the notes in your Marketing notebook, type notebook:Marketing. If the notebook you want to search has a multi-word name, use quotation marks in your search just as you would for multi-word tags.
Evernote’s checkbox feature makes it easy to create your own to-do tick sheets. The todo search operator finds notes that contain checkboxes. It’s also pretty flexible: todo:true will return notes with at least one checkbox checked. Type todo:false to return notes with one checkbox unchecked. And type todo:* to find any notes containing checkboxes regardless if they’ve been checked or not.
If you save a lot of different types of media in Evernote, the “resource” operator is indispensable. For instance, if you want to find only notes that contain image files, type resource:image/jpeg or resource:image/gif, depending on the image file type. It also works for audio files.
You can search notes by the date they were created in a few different ways. If you know the exact date it was created, you can search for notes created on that date by entering it in the yyyymmdd format. Just type created:yyyymmdd. You can also search notes created on a day relative to a specific date. For example, if you don’t know the exact date a note was created, but know it was done in the two weeks prior to the day you’re searching on, type created:week-2.
Refining your search
The most powerful way to use Evernote’s advanced syntax is to use multiple operators in combination to zero in on what you’re looking for. For example, if you want to search for notes with the “invoice” tag that you’ve stored in your Events notebook, type notebook:Events tag:invoice.