ten mov.es


how to do technology in ten moves. (or less.) A Loose Wire production

How to Search Evernote

Updated Dec 16 2009

I’ve been particularly dense about figuring this out, so, having stumbled upon it, I thought I’d share it with anyone who hasn’t gotten the most out of Evernote—particularly its tagging features. I’m surprised that Evernote doesn’t make more of this. It seems to be buried deep in their documentation, but to me, if I can remember all the parameters, it suddenly makes Evernote a much more powerful beast.

As Mark Stout points out, you can then save a complex search in Evernote and that becomes a filter of its own.

The easiest way to find something is just to type a keyword for it in the search box.


If you want to exclude a word from the results, prefix it with the minus sign:


If you’re looking for any of several words—in other words soeharto OR suharto—you can use the modifier any.
Note there has to be a space between the any: and the first search term. Any: must be after other parameters but before the search terms. All words after any: will be assumed to be part of the any: search:

any: soeharto suharto


You can also narrow down by tags (note there’s no space between colon and the tag word):


If you add tags together, you need to preface each with tag:

tag:interview tag:thailand

If a tag is more than one word, then you need to put it in quotes:

tag:"digital abundance"

If you want to exclude all notes with a certain tag you can:


You can also use wildcards with (or to exclude) tags (wildcards can only appear at the end of words, or alone):



You can specify which notebook or notebooks you want to search in (so you don’t have to click on a specific notebook before you search):


The notebook parameter must precede all other parameters. 
If your notebook contains more than one word the words need to be within quotation marks: notebook:”media asia”
It doesn’t seem to be possible to use this modifier to search all notebooks (unless you add them all manually by name.)


You can limit your search to notes with a word in the title:



You can limit your search by date. Use the terms:

  • created – when the note was created
  • updated – when the note was updated

on or after a specific date: created:20091113
on or after a specific time (in this case 9.15 am): created:20091113T091500
or today: created:day
or yesterday: created:-day
or the past 30 days: created:day-30
or this week: created:week
or this month: created:month
or this year: created:year

The minus sign makes all these before this date or period:

Or before a date: created:-20091113
or yesterday: created:day-1


You can also find notes with or without images, audio or ink notes

notes with at least one image or gif: resource:image/gif
notes with no audio: -resource:audio/*


(but my mistakes)

Evernote API Overview

The ever-extensible Evernote

Evernote: Using Extended Search Syntax


Filed under: medium, , ,

22 Responses

  1. Sam Carson says:

    With a flourish of irony I’ll clip this into Evernote and never be able to find it because I can’t remember the appropriate search queries.

  2. Tom says:

    Another one I’ve found useful to keep as a saved search is “-tag:*” — in other words, “show me stuff I’ve forgotten to tag.”

  3. Silu Modi says:

    Funny how just a throw-away comment (…“-tag:*” — in other words, “show me stuff I’ve forgotten to tag.”) is the answer to something I’ve been trying to figure out for months… with no response from Evernote to 3 inquiries.

    Thanks Tom!

  4. Jeremy says:

    Tom, thanks for the tip. A good one. I’ve been looking for a way to turn these and other shortcuts into a simple popup a la Gmail’s Shift+?, where one small pane would list all the useful terms on request.

    I’ve tried Klips, Windows Gadgets, Adobe AIR apps, but so far nothing quite works.

  5. Karolyne says:

    Use intitle: all the time. Wish it could be a button. Jeremy, keep trying – a popup would be most useful. Excellent post. Thanks.

  6. Dave says:

    Jeremy, I use the free Post-It Notes app Stickies to attach notes to windows. Set note properties to On Top and Attach|Only if Visible. Not exactly a popup but it gets the job done.


  7. Jeremy says:

    Dave, thanks, I’ll try that. The guys at Klip say it is possible to use that; I’ll post if I get it working.

  8. […] How to Search Evernote « ten mov.es A very good primer on Evernote Search techniques! (Via tenmov.es ) […]

  9. Dave says:

    @Sam Carson: I spit milk out my nose with your comment. Thanks for that!

  10. Dale says:

    Thanks for the tip. I actually stumbled across this in the API documentation as well, but you gave some really good examples.

    Quick question: can you tell me how to search all notebooks? I tried “notebook:*”, “notebook:all”, etc. but can’t seem to make it work for me.

    Thanks again,

  11. Dale, good question, and it doesn’t seem to be possible.

  12. Tema Frank says:

    Anyone know how to search all but a specific notebook? I have an “all notebooks” category, but I also have a notebook of “completed” items, and I don’t want those showing up when I do a search of active projects.

  13. GTD Wannabe says:

    Nice list – I’m a hardcore EN 3.1 (windows) user, and I have text file embedded (via samurize) on my desktop with some of the more esoteric commands, like:



    But I like the idea of a popup – I used autohotkey to give me popups for other interesting things (like frequently used phone numbers), I should just make a new one for EN queries.

    By the way, the notebook query is only so useful. You can use it to narrow your search down to one notebook, but you can’t use it to search through multiple (vs. all) notebooks, or to exclude any notebooks.

  14. Luke says:

    To exclude a notebook from search, batch tag that notebook with the notebook name (select all and drag to that tag) – then -tag:notebookName. It’s a hack… and you have to batch tag the notebook once in a while, but it makes it work for now.

  15. […] Shared How to Search Evernote « ten mov.es. […]

  16. Dejonghe says:

    For more search tips: Most interesting for Evernote power use is the Evernote Essentials eBook. Have a look here: http://goo.gl/AUb8b (affiliate link)

  17. Scott says:

    By the way, in EN 3.0.x for Mac, there is currently *no* way to edit or view the syntax used in any Saved Search. I know: crazy. My workaround is to delete all my Saved Searches, rebuild them carefully, and take screenshots of what each search’s syntax is.

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