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HOWTO: Search for items not in a particular notebook


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Greetings,

I'm using Evernote to keep track of darned near everything of late and have been using the saved search feature with some success. However, I really need a clean way to search for items that match a particular tag and are not in a particular notebook. I basically have a notebook that I dump things in when I "think" I'm done with them forever. I leave stuff there for a few months and if I don't need it, it goes away. I've created a saved search called "Work" which finds my items tagged as "@Work" and I'd like for it to exclude items in the archive notebook, since they are probably junk. I realize I can tag them with a particular tag and filter that out, but I'm wondering if there is a way to do the same thing with notebooks. See, I use the notebooks as steps in my workflow (since you can only be in one notebook at a time), but use tags to make things searchable. I also find that clicking and dragging something to the archive notebook to be easier than going in, removing the tag that indicates I'm currently working on the thing, and setting the tag that indicates that it is done, so this would help my workflow considerably.

I'm using this as a combination GTD, workflow, note-taking app, and shopping list manager. It's probably one of the best tools I've used so far. I just need this one thing.

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"-notebook:" is not supported by Evernote search.

Best workaround is to add a unique tag to the items you want to exclude, e.g. "archive", and use e.g. "-tag:archive" to exclude those notes from other searches.

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Hmm. Well, that kind of stinks, but not too bad. I didn't realize this until a second ago, but I can drag something onto a tag to set the tag. So I can create a Done tag on the left side, and then just drag junk onto it when completed. Then I can set my filter appropriately to cut out that tag and it pretty well handles what I want. It's not ideal, but I can live with it. I can then put a task in for my weekly review/cleanup process to take items marked as "Done" and also move them to my archive notebook. That is actually more true to the way that I should be handling this anyway, as I need to review things before completely shuffling them off into the archive.

Do you know if there are any plans to support "-notebook:" in the future?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Incidentally, are you aware that you can drag an entire set of notes onto a tag? You can create a tag called "Done" and then highlight all the notes within your Archive notebook (using the shift key). You can then drag all those notes directly onto the "Done" tag. In the future, set your filter to exclude notes with "Done".

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  • Level 5*

Many ways to skin that particular cat with the Windows client, rather than dragging the selected notes onto a tag:

* drag a tag onto the selection

* Add the tag from the new multi-select pane

* Add the tag using the Assign Tags dialog (Ctrl + Alt + T)

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Here's an out-of-the-box idea. It works on Mac and I assume it will on Windows.

If you have all of your regular notebooks in a notebook stack and the Archive notebook is not you may be able to just select the stack and do the search and it will only include the notebooks in that stack, not the Archive notebook.

In my case, I have a lot of notebooks in a stack called Reference and then some pretty offbeat notebooks outside that... I tested this and, like I said, it works on the Mac version so it would be worth a try on the Windows version.

Hope it helps!

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  • Level 5*

Yeah, that works on Windows, too. You can also use the stack: search term rather than notebook: to isolate to a stack in a search or saved search: stack:MyStack. Doesn't solve the original problem, but it's more grist for the searching mill.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi, everyone!

Like William, I'm dumping everything into Evernote. I'm going through all of my browsers (uh, wow, four different ones....) and moving all my bookmarks and saved pages to Evernote. If I'm going to do this external brain thing, I'm going all the way. To the problem....

His title here is exactly my situation, but a different scenario. I need to find one note, and the -notebook: operator would be perfect! I know it doesn't exist, but here's a great reason to incorporate it:

I have a little over two hundred notes so far. I have two notebooks, "*Inbox" and "Fully Tagged & Categorized". Tags and saved searches do everything for me. The issue is that with *Inbox empty, FT&C shows a total of 218 notes. All Notes shows 219. I want/need to find out where and what the little lost note is, and I didn't want to have to compare notes line by line to do it. Heck, with Evernote's awesome search abilities I shouldn't have to!

Any ideas out there? Does the All Notes have a blind filler note I didn't pay attention to? Help! I feel OCD kicking in over this!

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  • Level 5*

I need to find one note, and the -notebook: operator would be perfect! I know it doesn't exist, but here's a great reason to incorporate it:

If "-notebook:" existed, then it probably wouldn't help in your case, since every note belongs to exactly one notebook, and "-notebook:*" (return all notes not in any notebook) wouldn't return anything.

There are no special filler notes in Evernote -- all notes belong to a notebook. Still not sure what the cause of your discrepancy is; you might try using the web client to check the note counts there.

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Yeah, jefito I found the lost note. Did a laborious line by line examination and found a receipt that was duplicated in both the *Inbox and the other notebook, but which did not show in the *Inbox note total amount. I deleted it and all is correct now.

Regardless of the logical argument against a -notebook: function, I say that SOME command for searching for this sort of problem is needed...the issue happened after all. I'm just glad I didn't have several thousand notes to sift through. Happy day, and thanks for the feedback.

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  • Level 5*

Regardless of the logical argument against a -notebook: function, I say that SOME command for searching for this sort of problem is needed...the issue happened after all. I'm just glad I didn't have several thousand notes to sift through. Happy day, and thanks for the feedback.

I'm not against a general "-notebook:N" term ("show me notes not in notebook N"), I just think that the special case of "-notebook:*" doesn't make any sense, since all notes belong to a notebook (this is different than "-tag:*", since notes may validly have 0 tags: this is pretty useful for culling out uncategorized notes), so it wouldn't help you to find the elusive note.

The question then becomes, though: "how do I search for a note that I don't know anything about"? Tough one to handle, I'd guess...

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  • 1 month later...

completely ridiculous. why would this not work for any object reference such as a notebook.   there seems to be some very strange coding and design behind this product.  While I like it a lot, it is riddled with inconsistencies and exceptions.

 

this was the first search i was trying to do.   I wanted all notes that were not part of my Work notebook.   Okay, i will go with the tag concept but it is a workaround.   seems there needs to be a lot of that with evernote.

 

thanks for posting this tho..  now i can waste time doing something else :)

 

 

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  • 3 months later...

Sometimes the tag workaround doesn't work.  In my case I'd like to use -notebook:SharedNotebook to search notes that are not in a shared notebook.  Since the notebook is shared read-only I can't add a tag to those notes to use the -tag:SharedNotebookTag as a workaround.

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  • 1 month later...

Here's an out-of-the-box idea. It works on Mac and I assume it will on Windows.

If you have all of your regular notebooks in a notebook stack and the Archive notebook is not you may be able to just select the stack and do the search and it will only include the notebooks in that stack, not the Archive notebook.

In my case, I have a lot of notebooks in a stack called Reference and then some pretty offbeat notebooks outside that... I tested this and, like I said, it works on the Mac version so it would be worth a try on the Windows version.

Hope it helps!

Thank you for this top tip!  Like others here, have been looking to do a search on multiple tags not in a particular notebook, but this will work just fine for me, for now...  Seems to be platform agnostic (as it should be): works on Windows 7 and IOS7

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  • 2 years later...

Like the others who have posted here I needed a way to search for notes NOT in a particular notebook.  The reason:  I keep a detailed journal of my work, and so every subject I deal with is mentioned many times in many notes in that notebook.  When I went to search for notes specifically on a topic I kept getting multiple hits from the journal.  And so I wanted to eliminate the "journal" notebook from my searches, but no "-notebook" facility.  The answer, which emerged from putting together several suggestions in the discussion: first, mark all the entries in the 'journal' notebook, and assign the tag 'journal' to them.  It took awhile for the system to crank through all of that of course.  But when it was finished I could do the following search "topic -tag:journal".  Just what I needed!

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