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(Archived) Search Syntax

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Is there some page that lists all the propper syntax for searches? I can't seem to find a reference like this anywhere, but I'm hoping there is one. I keep seeing references to some syntax that I hadn't seen before, leading me to believe that you can create fairly powerful searches. Just need to have a reference! Thanks.

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See appendix C of the API Overview:


Great! But why are you hiding this? :D You might think about having some of this (in a more simplified form) in your general help documentation. If you haven't seen it, here's Remember The Milk's page with a list of syntax for a similar feature ("smartlists" vs. Evernote's "saved searches"): http://www.rememberthemilk.com/help/ans ... vanced.rtm

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is the exact reason I created an account on the forum -- to find or ask for search syntax! When I saw the tag: operator mentioned in the Tips blog, I was puzzled why it wasn't in the normal documentation. Now that I've seen the API docs, I have to agree: the search syntax absolutely belongs in the normal documentation.

I was actually considering backing out of Evernote because the search was so weak. Now I see it's as reasonable as any other notebook's search, but you'd never know it from the docs!

I think now I'll get to work on that Treepad-to-Evernote converter I was dreaming about ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for this! It's exactly what I didn't know I wanted... Here's a suggestion on how you could expose complex search to the masses:

You could also provide a "search builder". A popup that the user could access which gave them a GUI to construct searches. It would really just be a tool for constructing a string to use for the search, but would have a very low entry cost. At the bottom of the popup would be a link to the syntax. Users who wanted to could use that to learn the 'power-user' approach to searches.

There are many such popups in existing software, the one that I'm thinking of is the filter setup interface available in the Mac Mail tool. Cheers.

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  • 2 months later...

It baffles me that advanced search syntax (which makes Evernote so much more powerful) is still buried within API documentation.

A table similar to Remember The Milk's cited in this thread would make things so much nicer.

If someone here built a table like that, would Evernote incorporate it into their website/documentation?

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  • 5 months later...

This issue is complicated by two things:

--The search capability isn't uniform between applications

-- Appendix C does not address how to search for multiples (e.g. multiple tags)

Ref applications:

-- The windows 3.1 client allows you to use the "tag" element multiple times. For example, if you want to search for notes that have BOTH tag A and tag B, you can just type in "tag:A tag:B" and you will get only the notes that have both tags

-- The same thing works for "not" criteria, e.g. use "-tag:A -tag:B" to get notes that have neither tag A nor tag B

-- This same syntax fails in the online interface and it just gives you all the notes with tag=A

Ref Appendix C

It really needs to explicitly address getting "AND" type criteria. I played with this for awhile trying to use "AND" "," "|" and so on and then found a blog post that implied you could just use the "tag:A" multiple times.

The search issues here are baffling to me as well. I expect to accumulate ever increasing amounts of notes over time, as evernote should expect all of us to, which means search needs to get progressively more powerful to keep up.

It actually seems contradictory to me that evernote seems to want to enforce only very simple searches (no AND, OR, etc.) and then promotes saved searches. The simpler the search, the less time and effort using "saved search" saves.

Somewhat off topic follow up: given my point above that I think evernote's search/filter/etc. has to become progressively more powerful as people have time to accumulate more and more notes, it is distressing to me that tagging and search capability that exists in the Windows 3.1 client actually appears to be going away. Tagging in 3.5 is much harder than in 3.1 and, as my example above shows, 3.1 appears to have better search capability than the current online client (haven't tried this in 3.5, since I rolled back to 3.1 for the superior tagging functionality).

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