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Swedipunk

Evernote does not find notes - search problems

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Hi, 

Just checking in to see if I am doing something wrong as when i put a search word for a note in evernote on any of my platforms (macbook pro, ipad & iPhone), a search word I know is in the title of the note, evernote does not find that note. 

 

This has been going on since the big fancy upgrade and to be honest I first thought it was me as EN kept going on about how fabulous the search engine was but I can't figure out what i would be doing wrong and I am continuing to have this problem.

 

I have now done several test runs and very often I search ones and the note does not come up. I search again and 50% of the time, it finds the note. Very odd and very frustrating. 

 

I have opted for writing as much detail in the subject lines of my notes rather than developing a tag system so not sure if in the big upgrade EN prioritises tags? 

 

It feels as if I shouldn't have this problem with EN and it must be something I am doing wrong, but i can't figure it out. If I can't go to notes and put in a search word.... then what is the point? 

 

Please help, as I have moved my whole existence into EN and I really, really want it to do what it claims to do. 

 

Thanks! 

Hanna 

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I just came to the forums to search about the same topic, and found this thread.  I, too, find that Evernote on the Mac (version 5.0.5) does not search the titles of notes unless I use the intitle: keyword. By default, it only searches note contents. The behavior is 100% consistent for me.

 

According to the Evernote for Mac User Guide, "If no advanced search modifier is found in a search term, it will be matched against the note as a text content search. Words or quoted phrases must exactly match a word or phrase in the note contents, note title, tag name, or recognition index."  (Emphasis added.) So, the behavior that I'm seeing disagrees with this description.

 

In case it's relevant, I'm running Mac OS X 10.8.2.

 

(Edited later.) Not true after all; see below.

Edited by MikeH

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I just came to the forums to search about the same topic, and found this thread.  I, too, find that Evernote on the Mac (version 5.0.5) does not search the titles of notes unless I use the intitle: keyword. By default, it only searches note contents. The behavior is 100% consistent for me.

 

According to the Evernote for Mac User Guide, "If no advanced search modifier is found in a search term, it will be matched against the note as a text content search. Words or quoted phrases must exactly match a word or phrase in the note contents, note title, tag name, or recognition index."  (Emphasis added.) So, the behavior that I'm seeing disagrees with this description.

 

In case it's relevant, I'm running Mac OS X 10.8.2.

 

 

Are you certain? I have no problem with the searches indexing the titles. It all seems to behave correctly for me. I create a note called test, I search for test, and there it is :)

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I just came to the forums to search about the same topic, and found this thread.  I, too, find that Evernote on the Mac (version 5.0.5) does not search the titles of notes unless I use the intitle: keyword. By default, it only searches note contents. The behavior is 100% consistent for me.

 

According to the Evernote for Mac User Guide, "If no advanced search modifier is found in a search term, it will be matched against the note as a text content search. Words or quoted phrases must exactly match a word or phrase in the note contents, note title, tag name, or recognition index."  (Emphasis added.) So, the behavior that I'm seeing disagrees with this description.

 

In case it's relevant, I'm running Mac OS X 10.8.2.

 

 

Are you certain? I have no problem with the searches indexing the titles. It all seems to behave correctly for me. I create a note called test, I search for test, and there it is :)

 

Very interesting. I did some more tests, and in fact you're right, it does search the titles; what confused me is that Evernote highlights matches in the body, but not in the title. I have multiple notebooks of 2000+ notes each, and most notes also contain the words from the title in the body, so the behavior made it seem as though it wasn't matching the titles (because it only highlighted the body matches, never the ones in the  title). I should have created a clean test case, like you did.

 

Thanks for clarifying that.

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I just came to the forums to search about the same topic, and found this thread.  I, too, find that Evernote on the Mac (version 5.0.5) does not search the titles of notes unless I use the intitle: keyword. By default, it only searches note contents. The behavior is 100% consistent for me.

 

According to the Evernote for Mac User Guide, "If no advanced search modifier is found in a search term, it will be matched against the note as a text content search. Words or quoted phrases must exactly match a word or phrase in the note contents, note title, tag name, or recognition index."  (Emphasis added.) So, the behavior that I'm seeing disagrees with this description.

 

In case it's relevant, I'm running Mac OS X 10.8.2.

 

 

Are you certain? I have no problem with the searches indexing the titles. It all seems to behave correctly for me. I create a note called test, I search for test, and there it is :)

 

Very interesting. I did some more tests, and in fact you're right, it does search the titles; what confused me is that Evernote highlights matches in the body, but not in the title. I have notebooks of 2000+ notes, and the behavior made it seem as though it wasn't matching the titles.

 

Thanks for clarifying that.

 

Glad I could help. I suppose it would be nice if the title could be highlighted. Now that the title is part of the note (it used to be separated by a bit of space from it) the behavior you were expecting makes even more sense. 

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I am facing the same problem.

 

I have 1,398 Notes that are in a notebook container but when I try to do a search It shows me all the notes but only showing me the contents of the results of the search.

 

We need that the results of the search, shows the tittle of each note.

 

 

 

Hoping Help for this issue.

 

 

 

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Hi, 

Just checking in to see if I am doing something wrong as when i put a search word for a note in evernote on any of my platforms (macbook pro, ipad & iPhone), a search word I know is in the title of the note, evernote does not find that note. 

 

This has been going on since the big fancy upgrade and to be honest I first thought it was me as EN kept going on about how fabulous the search engine was but I can't figure out what i would be doing wrong and I am continuing to have this problem.

 

I have now done several test runs and very often I search ones and the note does not come up. I search again and 50% of the time, it finds the note. Very odd and very frustrating. 

 

I have opted for writing as much detail in the subject lines of my notes rather than developing a tag system so not sure if in the big upgrade EN prioritises tags? 

 

It feels as if I shouldn't have this problem with EN and it must be something I am doing wrong, but i can't figure it out. If I can't go to notes and put in a search word.... then what is the point? 

 

Please help, as I have moved my whole existence into EN and I really, really want it to do what it claims to do. 

 

Thanks! 

Hanna 

Search is working fine for me. Please what word or phrase are you looking for & not able to find?

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I am facing the same problem.

I have 1,398 Notes that are in a notebook container but when I try to do a search It shows me all the notes but only showing me the contents of the results of the search.

We need that the results of the search, shows the tittle of each note.

Hoping Help for this issue.

I don't understand - you seem to be contradicting yourself. If you're looking for notes that only contain the word in the title, use the intitle search;

Intitle:"my search phrase"

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Hi

 

after Update to Windows Evernote V5 I can acknowledge the search does not find any phrase from the title. this is annoying because it may often happen that I remember some words from title but not from content.

(btw. what shall "intitle" search be? where can I use it. not in the searchbar so far).

 

unfortunately the search improvement was a far step backward.

 

anything I oversaw in this context?

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Hi

 

after Update to Windows Evernote V5 I can acknowledge the search does not find any phrase from the title. this is annoying because it may often happen that I remember some words from title but not from content.

(btw. what shall "intitle" search be? where can I use it. not in the searchbar so far).

 

unfortunately the search improvement was a far step backward.

 

anything I oversaw in this context?

Seems to work for me in V5. You should give us an example of what you were trying to find, and what search(es) you tried.

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Hi again,

Its now 6 months later and I am still having the same probelms. I was hoping that some updates would have sorted it but it hasn't. 

Yesterday i put in 'train time tables' in the search field and nothing came up in spite of me having a note with the title 'train time tables' it has tags such as trains and time tables. 

So Im not impressed. I have to manually find notes all the time. 

Hanna

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The search behaviour is confusing but I haven't been able to really pin down what is happening.
 

I just did a quick test.  I searched on "van hire" (without the quotes) in the search box.

The search helper said "viewing Any of the following:  contains words starting with van hire".

 

It returned a note containing neither van nor hire, but Ctrl+F on the note revealed the complete word Yorkshire.

 

Is this the intended behaviour?  Yorkshire doesn't start with hire.

 

It also returned a note with an image containing the word "hire".  So far so good, but doing Ctrl+F on the note said it has no instance of the word hire, and the word wasn't highlighted.


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The search behaviour is confusing but I haven't been able to really pin down what is happening.

 

I just did a quick test.  I searched on "van hire" (without the quotes) in the search box.

The search helper said "viewing Any of the following:  contains words starting with van hire".

That sounds correct. But...

 

It returned a note containing neither van nor hire, but Ctrl+F on the note revealed the complete word Yorkshire.

 

Is this the intended behaviour?  Yorkshire doesn't start with hire.

 

It also returned a note with an image containing the word "hire".  So far so good, but doing Ctrl+F on the note said it has no instance of the word hire, and the word wasn't highlighted.

...I believe that there are some reported problems with the Ctrl+F Find functionality in V5. Sounds like that's what happening to you here. Not totally, helpful, I understand.

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The search behaviour is confusing but I haven't been able to really pin down what is happening.

 

I just did a quick test.  I searched on "van hire" (without the quotes) in the search box.

The search helper said "viewing Any of the following:  contains words starting with van hire".

 

It returned a note containing neither van nor hire, but Ctrl+F on the note revealed the complete word Yorkshire.

 

Is this the intended behaviour?  Yorkshire doesn't start with hire.

 

It also returned a note with an image containing the word "hire".  So far so good, but doing Ctrl+F on the note said it has no instance of the word hire, and the word wasn't highlighted.

If the note with Yorkshire has an image, it could be that the EN OCR interpreted something in the image as "hire". OCR'ing images is not an exact science. An image containing the word 'house' may be show up in a search for the word 'horse'.

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Hi

 

after Update to Windows Evernote V5 I can acknowledge the search does not find any phrase from the title. this is annoying because it may often happen that I remember some words from title but not from content.

(btw. what shall "intitle" search be? where can I use it. not in the searchbar so far).

 

unfortunately the search improvement was a far step backward.

 

anything I oversaw in this context?

Seems to work for me in V5. You should give us an example of what you were trying to find, and what search(es) you tried.

And since this thread is not V5 specific, I will say search is working fine for me in V4.

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...as far as it concerns me, the notes in one notebook contain bills. the note title contains letters, followed by the bill number.

and if I am looking for the bill 144 I type in "144". The result is everything but the bill with the title "RE000144"

 

@jefito: is this example enough? I can continue the list of non matching searches, if needed...

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If the note with Yorkshire has an image, it could be that the EN OCR interpreted something in the image as "hire". OCR'ing images is not an exact science. An image containing the word 'house' may be show up in a search for the word 'horse'.

 

 

No, it's not an image, it's editable text pasted from a website with the whole word "Yorkshire".  Other notes containing the word "Yorkshire" are returned when a search for hire is made.  The search is (apparently) for "words containing the word hire" even though it says I'll get results for "words starting with hire".

 

Evernote 5.0.0.1137

 

edit:

But - the actual search doesn't highlight the target words that have been found, even though the note appears in the result filter list.  When I Ctrl+F for "hire" on the found note (which I didn't expect to be a result) the "hire" part of "Yorkshire" is highlighted.

 

Another note containing "Yorkshire" (really good clear text in an image) is in the result list, but Ctrl+F for "hire" says "no matches found".  So it's very confusing.

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...as far as it concerns me, the notes in one notebook contain bills. the note title contains letters, followed by the bill number.

and if I am looking for the bill 144 I type in "144". The result is everything but the bill with the title "RE000144"

I wouldn't expect this search to succeed. Evernote search only does prefix searches, that is, non-blank/non-punctuation text that matches the beginning of a the search string, and not text stat contains the search string. For example, a search on string "12345" should turn up strings like "12345GO" in a note's text or title, but not strings like "x12345" or "x12345y".

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...but it definitely did up to version 4.whatsoever because I used to search the way I described.

I just recognized, that the search is not able to find "144" anywhere in the text, if the word does not start with the phrase. That is the direct opposite to KGT's post, who only wants to have the search for _beginning_ and not within.

 

@KGT: do you want to exchange evernotes :-D mine is only searching from beinning of the words...

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...but it definitely did up to version 4.whatsoever because I used to search the way I described.

I just recognized, that the search is not able to find "144" anywhere in the text, if the word does not start with the phrase. That is the direct opposite to KGT's post, who only wants to have the search for _beginning_ and not within.

 

@KGT: do you want to exchange evernotes :-D mine is only searching from beinning of the words...

 

As Jefito said, even back to Evernote 3.x, the searches only search for the beginning of the word.  This is confirmed by this thread from over two years ago. 

 

http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/16794-date-search-with-wildcard/?p=83358#entry83358

 

 

Consecutive letters, numbers & the underscord constitute a "word".  Everything else is a delimiter.  IOW, if you search on 12345, it will show notes that have abc-12345 but not abc12345

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 ... Evernote search only does prefix searches, that is, non-blank/non-punctuation text that matches the beginning of a the search string, and not text [that] contains the search string...

 

Not in my Evernote ...
 
A search for "ration"
 
A note containing the word "perseveration" is consistently not returned.  That's in line with what you're saying.
 
Notes that contain the following words are consistently returned:
 
rationing
preparations
illustrations
declaration
 
These are the words that are found when I go to the note and do a Ctrl+F search for "ration".  I don't mean I found the note myself and then did Ctrl+f for the word, I mean the EN search box found them.
 
And another note with an image of some text containing the word "Activation"
 

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... Evernote search only does prefix searches, that is, non-blank/non-punctuation text that matches the beginning of a the search string, and not text [that] contains the search string...

 

Not in my Evernote ...

 

A search for "ration"

 

A note containing the word "perseveration" is consistently not returned.  That's in line with what you're saying.

 

Notes that contain the following words are consistently returned:

 

rationing

preparations

illustrations

declaration

 

These are the words that are found when I go to the note and do a Ctrl+F search for "ration".  I don't mean I found the note myself and then did Ctrl+f for the word, I mean the EN search box found them.

 

And another note with an image of some text containing the word "Activation"

Interesting -- this is new behavior then. My information came from several years experience, posts by Evernote staff, and the documentation from the Evernote search grammar documentation (http://dev.evernote.com/doc/articles/search_grammar.php). This goes against anything I knew, or was documented by Evernote, and I think that some explanation from Evernote is called for.

Just to confirm, I can see this behavior as well. I know that the underlying search engine has the capability of doing 'ínside' searches, but they hadn't enabled it. Also, I note that if you quote the text search string, you get a different set of notes.

Can't explain why 'perseveration' isn't matched, though. Maybe they're doing a switchover from the old policy to the new one, and the search indexes haven't been fully rebuilt?

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My database isn't very big and it's had plenty of time to index, so I don't think it's that.  Your comment about the difference with quoted and un-quoted search strings might explain it though:

 

Two results of searching for "ration" (without quotes) are consistent with "legacy" behaviour:

 

perseveration:  Not found because "ration" is embedded and it's a plain text note

rationing:  found because "ration" is at the start of the word and it's a plain text note.

 

If I search for "ration" in quotes neither of these notes is in the results (because the single word ration isn't there)

 

Inconsistent results (false positive if I can call it that) of searching for ration:

 

declaration, illustration:  these words are in editable plain text in notes which also contains images of text.  

 

preparation:  this is a white on black word, an image, which can't be edited.  This note isn't in the results if I search for "ration" (in quotes).

 

So if there's any consistency it's that the "false positive" results are in notes that have images in them.  So possibly there's something in the ocr that's skewing the results?

 

Does this indicate that there are two independent search functions at play here?  One that invokes when the note contains only plain text, which returns only full matches or beginning matches, and another one that invokes when there is an image in the note, which will return embedded results.  I think it does.

 

From the Evernote Search Grammar page:

 

 potato
  • matches: "Sweet Potato Pie"
  • does not match: "Mash four potatoes together"   -    Oh yes it does !

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So if there's any consistency it's that the "false positive" results are in notes that have images in them.  So possibly there's something in the ocr that's skewing the results?

I was wondering that. Once OCR gets in the game, false positives can occur, as OCR isn't perfect. I went back and looked at a note that hit on 'ration', but didn't appear to have it except as a word suffix. Turns out there was a screen cap with the word 'duration', and another with the word 'deceleration', and those were the causes of the false matches. I found, for example, guesses of 'du ration', and 'Decele ration' (among the correctly recognized words). Any OCR information is included in the text search, and obviously 'ration' matches that text, so search succeeds in this case.

If you want to see what the OCR for a particular note/image combination is, you can export it it in Evernote format (.enex) and edit it in a text editor. You'll see the OCR information contained in a <recoIndex></recoIndex> block. You can read about it in the ENML Recognition page here: http://dev.evernote.com/doc/articles/image_recognition.php

 

From the Evernote Search Grammar page:

potato

matches: "Sweet Potato Pie"

does not match: "Mash four potatoes together" - Oh yes it does !

This is a bit of a different case. The Windows client secretly appends a wildcard '*' to the end of a text search term (unless it's quoted), so the search engine will see 'potato*' if you type 'potato', so the search grammar document remains correct; it's the client that's causing the seeming contradiction.

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Interesting -- this is new behavior then. My information came from several years experience, posts by Evernote staff, and the documentation from the Evernote search grammar documentation (http://dev.evernote.com/doc/articles/search_grammar.php). This goes against anything I knew, or was documented by Evernote, and I think that some explanation from Evernote is called for.

I'm climbing back down off the barricades on this one.

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I had a look at the .enex file for the false positive of "declaration".

Declaration is there in plain text and that's what Ctrl+F finds on the note.

In the image there is, in small text, the word "registration".

In the .enex file, the ocr appears to have had a number of attempts at this and lists them all.

So as well as successfully finding "registration" it's also listed a whole load of silly results and the word "ration".

Searching EN for "registration" finds this note.

Searching EN for "regia" finds it (one of the silly ocr hits)

But using Ctrl+F on the note isn't searching the ocr results, just the text results, it seems

 

So finding the word "ration" in this note wasn't the result of finding it embedded in "declaration" but the result of finding it as a bad ocr hit.

 

Has EN always been like this, or is it just v5?

 

Anyway, what does all my obsessive testing mean for me?  I've recently started using a small document scanner and PDF OCR the text before it lands in EN, but I have a feeling that my older iPhone-snapped documents are going to be haunting me with false results for a long time.  At least it explains why I was getting big search hits that that I wasn't expecting.  Also, Ctrl+F doesn't search on the same block of text that the EN search does.  I think.

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I think that you're right about the Ctrl+F search: the OCR information carries not only match candidates, but location information inside of an image (so it may be highlighted). Ctrl+F doesn't find matches in images, or at least it doesn't consider them as results that it can use, probably since you can't type there. The OCR info is used primarily as part of the note-finding process, which uses prefix search. Once you've found a candidate note, you can use Ctrl+F to find instances of what you searched for, but it also does infix searching as well (which should include the original prefix-matched search hits). So two different usages for the two different search types. I agree that it can be somewhat confusing to the user (if that's what you were going to say :)).

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I'm glad I'm not the only person with this gripe.

If you're looking for notes that only contain the word in the title, use the intitle search;

Intitle:"my search phrase"

the "intitle:" search modifier has been my workaround and i find it pretty annoying to have to type "intitle:<key word in note title>" to find my notes.

I can't figure out the logic behind not putting matches found in note titles at the top of the result set.

this is like searching Google for Evernote and returning every article on the net at the top of the result list before Evernote's home page.

I personally dont agree with the behavior of the current implementation & agree w @Swedipunk's sentiments.

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the "intitle:" search modifier has been my workaround and i find it pretty annoying to have to type "intitle:<key word in note title>" to find my notes.

I can't figure out the logic behind not putting matches found in note titles at the top of the result set.

Because results are displayed in the order selected. IE date created, date modified, title, etc.

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I have another gripe with search. One is a usability issue, one may be a bug.
 

When I search for two or more keywords the default search is matching any.  I don't find this particularly intuitive since typically I will mentally find a note in my mind, before I actually proceed with the search, by thinking of a couple of words which I think will probably exist in only the one note I want.  But searching for those two words returns all notes with either of the two targets.

 

So I've got used to having to go to the search explanation box and changing the "match" drop down from Any to All.  This is tedious but made worse on my system by having to do it twice, every time.  The first selection of "Any" always fails and the drop-down remains at All.  I always have to select Any for a second time for it to stick.

 

Does anyone else see this behaviour?  And is there any way to set the default Match to All?

 

Sorry if this has been discussed, I haven't been here for a while.

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I have another gripe with search. One is a usability issue, one may be a bug.

 

When I search for two or more keywords the default search is matching any.  I don't find this particularly intuitive since typically I will mentally find a note in my mind, before I actually proceed with the search, by thinking of a couple of words which I think will probably exist in only the one note I want.  But searching for those two words returns all notes with either of the two targets.

So I've got used to having to go to the search explanation box and changing the "match" drop down from Any to All.  This is tedious but made worse on my system by having to do it twice, every time.  The first selection of "Any" always fails and the drop-down remains at All.  I always have to select Any for a second time for it to stick.

 

Does anyone else see this behaviour?  And is there any way to set the default Match to All?

 

Sorry if this has been discussed, I haven't been here for a while.

As far as I know, the default search in Evernote -- in all clients -- is AND, not ANY. In order to do an ANY search, you need to use the "any:" term. How are you doing your search? Which Evernote client, Windows? I've looked at the search explanation's ANY/ALL selector, and for me it seems to stick to ALL on startup, even if the last search before exiting was an ANY search. Puzzling -- I've not heard of this issue before. Wonder whether there's a registry setting for this.

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Here we go again.  I figured out part of the problem.  There's an ambiguity with assigning a shortcut key with the instruction "any:" to select all notes, clearly I shouldn't have done that. It always reset the Matching parameter to Any.

 

I still have the issue with having to always select the drop-down twice to make it stick ... unless I figure out where I'm going wrong with that

 

edit:  Thanks jefito our posts crossed.



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Because results are displayed in the order selected. IE date created, date modified, title, etc.

ah - this makes sense. i suppose it would make sense to have a another view ordered by "relevancy" opposed to the current set of options?

I realize what one considers "relevant" is all subjective - more than willing to trust Evernote on this and it *can* differ from Google's own algorithms (of course!)

I figure "Related Notes" would help fuel this view as well.

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From the Evernote Search Grammar page:

 

 potato

  • matches: "Sweet Potato Pie"
  • does not match: "Mash four potatoes together"   -    Oh yes it does !

Er.  Yes.

Edited by cwb

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I am also having a search problem. Nothing shows up when I search for notes that I know exist. I tried a test note, and it doesn't show up. I tried uninstalling and re-installing evernote, still no fix. I even signed up and paid for the full version to no avail. (Which really pisses me off, since now I've spent money on a product that is not working) The worst part is that evernote is my brain! I need this to work.

 

Does anyone know how I can contact a support person?

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For customer support options, start here: https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/51807-best-practices-submitting-a-support-ticket/. Premium customers do get support by submitting a ticket, but that can be slow to get human response (several business days), judging by reports. Premium customers can also use Premium chat, which may be more direct.

 

Support here on the forums is mostly by other users, and free. If you have a sample search that isn't working for you, feel free to post it here, and maybe one of us can help you out.

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For customer support options, start here: https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/51807-best-practices-submitting-a-support-ticket/. Premium customers do get support by submitting a ticket, but that can be slow to get human response (several business days), judging by reports. Premium customers can also use Premium chat, which may be more direct.

 

Support here on the forums is mostly by other users, and free. If you have a sample search that isn't working for you, feel free to post it here, and maybe one of us can help you out.

I upgraded to premium

I sent a ticket 

It's been three weeks.

I want my money back. 

 

I tried their chat.

 

They had me remove the database and reinstall it. Still no luck, and now I can't even add tacks.

I'm switching everything over to OneNote.

 

No point in sending you a sample search... NO search works.

I can still search by tags, but since I can no longer add tags to a note (i type and then the tag just disappears) it kind of makes the whole thing a moot point.

 

It doesn't matter what I search for, even if I KNOW the note is there. I have to remember exactly where my note is located and navigate to that. Which renders the point of evernote, well, pointless.

 

I used to be a huge evernote supporter. Now I'll be letting everyone know what crappy customer support they have, even if you pay premium.

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I am new to Evernote and copied and pasted some text information into a new note on Evernote.  However, Evernote is unable to search for anything in this note...which makes it useless to me.  I have ran a test on a small sclae with retyping the same information in a new note and it can be found.  Help! (before I give up on EN).

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I find evernote search to be unreliable, especially strings in text. Seems to have trouble if what I'm searching for doesn't start after a delimiter.

   e.g., if the string is "I owe $1978 to the store" - and I search for 978 it's not found. If I change the string to 

"I owe $1978 to the store 978" it now finds both instances of 978. Remove second instance, again not found. It will find 1978- seems to struggle with middle of text strings.

This is very frustrating.

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11 hours ago, nrpardee said:

I find evernote search to be unreliable, especially strings in text. Seems to have trouble if what I'm searching for doesn't start after a delimiter.
. . .
This is very frustrating.

Yes, Evernote Search can be very frustrating.  It does NOT follow the norm for searching.  It does NOT search for characters.

The key to understanding Evernote Search is to know that it does "word" searches, NOT "character" searches, and that it treats all special characters, except for underscore ("_"), as word separators, in addition to the normal separators like space, comma, period, etc.  Even if you put these special characters in quotes with the other text you want to find, Evernote will still treat them as word separators.

So, when you do a search, it will search for words that start with the text you specify.  It will NOT find characters in the middle of a word.

To reduce your frustrations, and generate more accurate searches, it will be worthwhile to study the reference @csihilling provided:
Evernote Search Grammar 

In fact, I recommend you clip this page to your Evernote account so you can always have it as a ready reference.

The one major exception to this is when you are searching for tags.  You may use special characters in Tag names, and you may use spaces if you put the Tag name in quotes when you search for it.  For example:
tag:"@MyTag$ Has Spaces & Special Characters"

This is obviously a bogus tag that I would never use, but is a legal tag name that can be searched for.
Although I use special symbols, I recommend keeping tag names short, and not using spaces to avoid having to use quotes.

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I've encountered a potential search-related bug while using the ENScript.exe to export my notes as a regular backup. I export each notebook separately so I can reorganize them if I need to import them later, so this requires me to search by notebook name for each export operation.

The problem is that the "exportNotes" command has NOT been functioning correctly if there is a space in the notebook name, even if surrounded by quotes per the example in the Search Grammar. Their example:

notebook:"Bob's first notebook"

  • Matches all notes in this notebook

^ This does not work when exporting. The basic command I've been using is:

...>enscript.exe exportnotes /q notebook:"test notebook" /f "c:\users\user1\desktop\test.enex"

but it doesn't output anything; no file is created in the specified directory. When I run this same command replacing "test notebook" with any of my single-word notebook titles (like "Journal" or "Career"), it works flawlessly and creates the .enex file specified.

Similarly, when I run "shownotes" (which opens Evernote from the command prompt and navigates to your search query) on any notebook name with spaces, it opens EN but fails to highlight the correct notebook. It just highlights whatever notebook you last opened, but shows a blank notes pane with the message "Sorry, no notes to display."

It seems to me like there is a serious bug in ENScript.exe that prevents it from actually searching for/commanding notebook names that include spaces. Am I missing something or is this a bug?

For reference, I am running desktop version 5.9.5.9380 on Windows 7 x64 Ultimate.

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Thanks for all the responses!

I find this limitation amazing.  Given the incredible popularity of this product, I can't fathom why there isn't a major uproar- this isn't the way any major search engine that I know of works. A slightly revised example of how it works:

So if the substring you are searching for also exists in that note as a string, EN will also find the substring in that note!!!

If my note has

    978
    Line 1 Stuff here
    Line 2 More Stuff
    Line 3 I owe $1978 to the store

it will highlight both instances of 978 in the note(and I verified it will find additional instances). But if I remove the "978", it won't find the substring in "1978".

So if I know the substrings I might look for, I can seed them in the note to help me find it later :-) Actually, it helps me a little, but it's not what I really need.

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26 minutes ago, nrpardee said:

it will highlight both instances of 978 in the note(and I verified it will find additional instances). But if I remove the "978", it won't find the substring in "1978".

Search and Find work differently:

  • "Search" does a search for the specified text across all Notes, and searches ONLY for words
  • "Find" is activated for a specific note, and it does find substring characters.

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