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Problem searching notes in Evernote



There seems to be a problem with searching for notes with Evernote that contain a given string. Even when I know the string is in a note, Evernote cannot find it. This happens relatively frequently---so frequently in fact that I no longer use the search function in Evernote, and use Spotlight instead.


Here's an example: I have a note whose title is "Permutation groups class" (without the quotes). The first line of the note is "permutation groups class" (without the quotes). I have a screenshot of the note attached.


If I type clear all selections, etc, before searching, and then type "permutation groups class" (without the quotes) into the search box, I get lots of hits, but the correct note is not among them (see screenshot--search results listed in alphabetical order). The same thing happens if I capitalise the letter P. 


When I then type "permutation groups class" (with the quotes), Evernote tells me that there is no note containing this string (see screenshot).


Finally I give up, and use Spotlight, and of course the correct note is the first hit (see screenshot---apologies for the quality, but OSX won't screenshot while Spotlight is engaged so I had to use a camera instead).


The final screenshot is of the note itself, in which you can clearly see the phrase "permutation groups class".


This phrase is of course not the only phrase causing problems.


Interestingly, when I repeat this experiment using the Evernote web client, searching the above phrase with quotes returns my note immediately, and without quotes it returns the correct note, albeit buried in a massive list, fairly low down (but at least it returns the note!).


I am at a loss as to why this happens. Accurate searching is so fundamental to Evernote's business model that I can't believe that the developers could have implemented searching so poorly in several versions of the OSX client, so it must be something I am doing wrong.


I am using version 5.4.1 on OSX 10.8.5, although I have had this problem for several previous versions of the Evernote client.


If anyone can help, I'd be really most grateful.






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  • Level 5*

If you search for a shorter string - like "perm*" would that find your note?  Don't know whether this is a bug or simply an anomaly,  but it looks like this is why tags exist.  Or if you use the note frequently,  add a different keyword to the title?

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Thanks for your help gazumped. I tried perm* and various variations, but the note doesn't appear in the search results. I do use tags as a work-around, but it's not ideal as it means I have a huge number of tags. If Spotlight can find the note immediately, it seems like Evernote should be able to, especially as that's the point of the product.


I suspect it's a bug, but it happens with other search terms too, not just the one I described above.

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  • Level 5*

There are search anomalies between different clients,  and search itself could be more comprehensive - but then we could also do with a better editor and more highlight colours.  The trick with any tool is to learn how to use it most efficiently - and what Big Data (which is what you're getting into with any reference database) requires more than anything else,  is maintenance.  Massaging notes so they appear when you need them to appear and stay out of the way when you don't is just a part of the maintenance process.

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This is definitely a bug with the OSX version, and not a problem with my local search database:


- The problem occurs on two different macs (my Macbook Air at home and my iMac at work), and each has all notes stored locally;

- The problem doesn't occur on my Android tablet even when using offline search (all notes are stored locally on the tablet);

- The problem doesn't occur when using the web app.


I'm going to contact Evernote and file a bug report.

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