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Hi all!

 

Afaik, Evernote search supports either boolean AND (just concatenate search terms) or boolean OR (use "any: ..."). Is there any way available now or planned for future releases to support full boolean search, that is: combine both methods. 

 

Real life example: I use Evernote to keep track of my tax records and for my yearly tax declaration. For this I have tagged all relevant notes with tags "tax", "<year>" (e.g. "2013") and "tax-longterm". Tag combinations like "tax 2013" mean "this is a document relevant for 2013 tax declaration". But there are also older documents I need each year, like rental agreement contract from 2005. For this I use the additional tag "tax-longterm".  Any document tagged with "tax-longterm" means: "this is relevant for this year's tax declaration, regardless of the year with which it is tagged". So my rental agreement is tagged with "2005 tax tax-longterm".

 

When I want to create ONE Evernote search that gives me all relevant documents for 2013 tax declaration, I'd like to search for something like "any: (tag:tax tag:2013) tag:tax-longterm" meaning: "give me all documents that are tagged with 'tax 2013' OR 'tax-longterm'". But unfortunately, Evernote search doesn't support bracketed searches or any other kind of combining search terms with AND or OR as of now. 

 

Does anybody know a trick, hack to make this work? Hacks like combining tags "tax" and "2013" into one tag "tax2013" are no good since I use the year tag for lots of other purposes and don't want to end up with a gazillion combined tags like "house2013" and "income2013". The way I do it now is to use two separate searches "tax 2013" and "tax-longterm", but this becomes tiresome when you have to switch back and forth between both. 

 

Thanks for your help!

  Ax

 

 

 

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I would just be happy to be able to AND/OR two saved searches. That way the search could be built up arbitrarily more complex without the user needing to use brackets and complex search grammar.

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Only just come across this limitation and really surprised. For something that tries to be your digital brain, it's a surprising oversight.

+1 to add proper Boolean searching.

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I would like to have this feature very much. This is currently the only reason, why I am regularly searching for a replacement note taking application.

+1 to add proper Boolean searching.

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It is absolutely mind boggling to me that Evernote does not include operator grouping. The idea that adding this would require onerous rework to their search engine only means that whoever designed their search engine should be fired for incompetence and sued to reclaim the wages they were paid. Google search has offered boolean searches since the dawn of time, and it is impossible that the Evernote search architect had never used this feature in Google. If they didn't want to implement it at the onset of the coding, that makes sense...but there is no excuse for not including the capability in the engine.

It is also extraordinarily unlikely that this would confuse users. If a user can master "todo:false -tag:Meeting" they can master  "todo:false (tag:Meeting OR tag:Seriously?)".

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+1 for true Boolean search functionality, i.e., AND/OR/NOT operators and the use of parentheses to define sets of data and order of operations. 

Also, I've noticed that Evernote's existing AND operator (ANY:) doesn't work for different data types.
For example, "ANY: NOTEBOOK:anybook TAG:anytag" does not return any results. It seems ANY only works if what follows is a list of terms to be found within a note. If anyone has solved this, I'd love to hear from you. -Thanks

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+1 for Boolean search, but losing hope a bit. Looking at the five years of this request, it doesn't look like the desktop clients or core search/filtering functionality are still being developed much anymore. Probably a mobile-first strategy.

Just for reference, I would like to search for the following, in order to view all notes that I have tagged as ongoing, or that are due today or previously, but have not been marked done.

tag:ongoing OR (reminderOrder:* AND reminderTime:year-10 AND -reminderTime:day+1 AND -reminderDoneTime:*)

 

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9 minutes ago, pwever said:

I guess time parameters are specified-time-or-after

Exactly. reminderTime:year-10 parses to reminderTime:[1206795420 TO *], where 1206795420 is the timestamp for 10 years ago.

As for the general request, it is something I would like to do, but there are no plans to do it right now. 

The main obstacle to getting things like this in is supporting local search, which is implemented independently by each of the clients, so making changes there has a lot of friction. Server-side search we can change pretty easily, but when it comes to changing the grammar itself in substantial ways, it becomes rather dangerous because it will be inconsistent with the local search.

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4 hours ago, rezecib said:

The main obstacle to getting things like this in is supporting local search, which is implemented independently by each of the clients, so making changes there has a lot of friction. Server-side search we can change pretty easily, but when it comes to changing the grammar itself in substantial ways, it becomes rather dangerous because it will be inconsistent with the local search.

Thanks for the thoughtful and informative response. I am sure there is a lot of legacy to consider. Maybe there is a web-first interface coming in the future, that would allows more dramatic changes to the underlying functionality. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Thanks again // p

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You are correct, it's not currently supported and Evernote only very rarely talk about future plans - I haven't seen anything related to this mentioned.

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The way I do it now is to use two separate searches "tax 2013" and "tax-longterm", but this becomes tiresome when you have to switch back and forth between both. 

 

 

Tags can be easily bulk-added and bulk-deleted quickly from a large quantity of similar notes.

Since you need to do this frequently over a relatively short period of a few months, you could assign a temporary tag.

 

Here is what I would do:

 

Run these searches individually. Add a tag named '2013-temp' to each result.

  • Search for 'tag:tax-2013'
  • Search for 'tag:tax-longterm'

The entire process won't take more than a minute.

If you add some additional 2013 tax records a few days later, just be sure to include both tags

When you search for '2013-temp', you will get the records you want - no switching back and forth.

 

 

A month or so after the tax season is over, go back and delete the '2013-temp' tag

 

Rinse and Repeat next year.

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Does anybody know a trick, hack to make this work? Hacks like combining tags "tax" and "2013" into one tag "tax2013" are no good since I use the year tag for lots of other purposes and don't want to end up with a gazillion combined tags like "house2013" and "income2013". The way I do it now is to use two separate searches "tax 2013" and "tax-longterm", but this becomes tiresome when you have to switch back and forth between both.

The only workaround/trick that I know involves using tags that have common prefixes, so that you can use wildcards on the tag names (e.g. "tag:tax*") to select one or another of the desired tags, which gives you an OR function in a normal AND search. But you need to have appropriately named tags to get what you want.

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One additional comment to my suggestion mentioned above.

 

Your longterm notes are tagged with a year. "So my rental agreement is tagged with '2005 tax tax-longterm'."

I would add a 2nd tag to all the relevant longterm tax documents that is more generic and crosses multiple years.

example: 'tag:tax-longterm'

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Hi all!

 

Afaik, Evernote search supports either boolean AND (just concatenate search terms) or boolean OR (use "any: ..."). Is there any way available now or planned for future releases to support full boolean search, that is: combine both methods. 

 

Real life example: I use Evernote to keep track of my tax records and for my yearly tax declaration. For this I have tagged all relevant notes with tags "tax", "<year>" (e.g. "2013") and "tax-longterm". Tag combinations like "tax 2013" mean "this is a document relevant for 2013 tax declaration". But there are also older documents I need each year, like rental agreement contract from 2005. For this I use the additional tag "tax-longterm".  Any document tagged with "tax-longterm" means: "this is relevant for this year's tax declaration, regardless of the year with which it is tagged". So my rental agreement is tagged with "2005 tax tax-longterm".

 

When I want to create ONE Evernote search that gives me all relevant documents for 2013 tax declaration, I'd like to search for something like "any: (tag:tax tag:2013) tag:tax-longterm" meaning: "give me all documents that are tagged with 'tax 2013' OR 'tax-longterm'". But unfortunately, Evernote search doesn't support bracketed searches or any other kind of combining search terms with AND or OR as of now. 

 

Does anybody know a trick, hack to make this work? Hacks like combining tags "tax" and "2013" into one tag "tax2013" are no good since I use the year tag for lots of other purposes and don't want to end up with a gazillion combined tags like "house2013" and "income2013". The way I do it now is to use two separate searches "tax 2013" and "tax-longterm", but this becomes tiresome when you have to switch back and forth between both. 

 

Thanks for your help!

  Ax

If you are willing to look outside of Evernote, and you are using a Mac, it is pretty easy. Spotlight supports boolean searches. I believe DevonThink does as well (point DevonThink to your Evernote database and have it index the contents). I like BBEdit myself. It has an overwhelming range of features with its searches. All of this is possible because Evernote's contents are accessible on the Mac instead of being tucked away inside a database file as they are on Windows.

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Thanks for all the informative replies... but unfortunately it doesn't (quite) work for me:

 

  1. Create temporary tag: would kinda work when I do my taxes but not when I'm looking up older tax declarations, tax returns etc. I usually start collecting all tax relevant stuff and start filling out forms (hey, this is Germany, so there's a *lot* of forms to fill out) in january. Tax-relevant documents arrive as late as March. So I would have a 3 month window in which I would have to think of adding the tax2013-temp tag... given my aging brain, this is bound to fail (after all, I use Evernote to work around my limited mental capacities...)
  2. Use wildcards: doesn't work (unless I'm just to blind to see the trick): searching for "tag:tax* tag:2013" still wouldn't give me e.g. a document tagged with "tag:2005 tag:tax tag:tax-longterm" 
  3. Reply to jbensons 2nd comment: I *do* use a 2nd tag tax-longterm, see description of my tag scheme above
  4. Mac alternatives: Nope, not a Max user. I'm on Linux and run Evernote in Wine (works like a charm, only crashed once in 3 years...)

Thanks again, folks. I guess I'll keep waiting until someone at Evernote realizes that some queries are more complex than "Give me all recipes"

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I guess I'll keep waiting until someone at Evernote realizes that some queries are more complex than "Give me all recipes"

 

Not complex enough? Really?

I can run these types of queries:

  • Notes that I keep in my Politics notebook that are tagged with regulations or socialism but not conservatism and have the words Lyndon Johnson in the title that were made using Microsoft Word
  • Notes that have FBI, NSA, or CIA in the title and have the tag privacy and are encrypted
  • Notes tagged with work that have things that I need to do this week
  • Show me tasks that I completed between Nov 30 and Mar 1
  • Show me notes with JPG attachments that I added last year and are not tagged with robots or Skype

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  • Notes that have FBI, NSA, or CIA in the title and have the tag privacy and are encrypted

 

Can you share the query that you use to accomplish this search?

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  • Notes that have FBI, NSA, or CIA in the title and have the tag privacy and are encrypted

Can you share the query that you use to accomplish this search?

Hi. I would guess:

intitle:fbi tag:privacy encryption:

I am a bit behind on my search-jutsu these days, but I don't think you can get the "or" to work in the title. If you were looking for the words in the note or title, this might work:

any: fbi cia nsa tag:privacy encryption:

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  • Notes that have FBI, NSA, or CIA in the title and have the tag privacy and are encrypted
 

Can you share the query that you use to accomplish this search?

Hi. I would guess:

intitle:fbi tag:privacy encryption:

 

 

GM, don't think that would work.  You're missing the OR:  "FBI, NSA, or CIA in the title"

You search would return ONLY those notes with "FBI" in the title.

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  • Notes that have FBI, NSA, or CIA in the title and have the tag privacy and are encrypted

Can you share the query that you use to accomplish this search?

Hi. I would guess:

intitle:fbi tag:privacy encryption:

GM, don't think that would work. You're missing the OR: "FBI, NSA, or CIA in the title"

You search would return ONLY those notes with "FBI" in the title.

Yeah, i wanted to look up if the "any" toggle is still on Windows and if it would work with the title, but i am on an iPad, so posted the reply partially finished. Sorry about that, but i often lose replies when moving away from Safari. Anyhow, I didn't find my answer.

See the corrected version.

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Yeah, i wanted to look up if the "any" toggle is still on Windows and if it would work with the title, but i am on an iPad, so posted the reply partially finished. Sorry about that, but i often lose replies when moving away from Safari. Anyhow, I didn't find my answer.

See the corrected version.

 

 

GM, I'm pretty sure the "any:" term applies to EVERYTHING in the Search line.

So you can NOT do an ANY of the Title AND require a tag.

That is EXACTLY why boolean search is needed.

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Not complex enough? Really?

I can run these types of queries:

  • Notes that have FBI, NSA, or CIA in the title and have the tag privacy and are encrypted

Sorry, but as far as I know, this query (at least as stated), cannot be expressed in the Evernote search language. In AND/OR notation, it would be something like the following:

(intitle:FBI OR intitle:NSA OR intitle:CIA) AND tag:privacy AND encrypted:

 

Unless you're employing some trick to remove the OR clause, or didn't state the query correctly, that's a mixed AND/OR query, which can't be expressed, as we ought to know by now. Show your work??

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Yeah, i wanted to look up if the "any" toggle is still on Windows and if it would work with the title, but i am on an iPad, so posted the reply partially finished. Sorry about that, but i often lose replies when moving away from Safari. Anyhow, I didn't find my answer.

See the corrected version.

GM, I'm pretty sure the "any:" term applies to EVERYTHING in the Search line.

So you can NOT do an ANY of the Title AND require a tag.

That is EXACTLY why boolean search is needed.

You and Jefito are surely correct. That was my best guess with Evernote's search grammar. To be honest (as stated above in this thread), I rely on other apps to do complex searches. Evernote's search features are fantastic, but definitely not the most comprehensive available. As I've recommended in the past, Evernote could really benefit from adding some of the search capabilities (including boolean searches) offered by other apps.
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To "wake up" this thread, I still find true Boolean search an essential - and missing - capability in Evernote.  All the work-arounds with temporary tags, other applications, or temporary notebooks (as suggested in other threads on this topic) seem like kludges that should be below the bar of excellence set by Evernote.

 

There has been a lot of talk about how true Boolean search is not in the cards for three reasons:

  1. It would be incomprehensible to novice users
  2. It would require an onerous level of reworking the search engine
  3. It would overtax the servers

I am puzzled by all three statements, for the following reasons:

  1. Boolean search would be completely transparent to novice users, who would be unlikely to try such a cryptic syntax
  2. Boolean search is not that complicated: it's a subject for first-year computer science class.  Augmenting the existing syntax with a true Boolean capability (which would merely require grouping) cannot be that onerous
  3. I have no idea why true Boolean search would overtax any server.  While I don't understand the architecture of Evernote very well, I do know that I can search my notes on any device (desktop or mobile) while not connected to the network; hence search takes place locally.  Even with a 100,000 notes that would not make such a long search - and the search would only be long on complicated Boolean statements

So - can we please, please get true Boolean search implemented soon in Evernote?

 

In the meantime, jbenson2, you made the tantalizing statement below but never showed us how to do this - in particular the second search with the FBI, NSA, or CIA.  Would you mind posting that search?

 

Thanks, Tom

 

 

 

I guess I'll keep waiting until someone at Evernote realizes that some queries are more complex than "Give me all recipes"

 

Not complex enough? Really?

I can run these types of queries:

  • Notes that I keep in my Politics notebook that are tagged with regulations or socialism but not conservatism and have the words Lyndon Johnson in the title that were made using Microsoft Word
  • Notes that have FBI, NSA, or CIA in the title and have the tag privacy and are encrypted
  • Notes tagged with work that have things that I need to do this week
  • Show me tasks that I completed between Nov 30 and Mar 1
  • Show me notes with JPG attachments that I added last year and are not tagged with robots or Skype

 

 

 

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This works for me:

 

"any: intitle:FBI intitle:NSA intitle:CIA"

 

The challenge here seems to be filtering only those notes tagged with "privacy" (which Jefito and JMichael already pointed out)

 

I tried going into the "privacy" tag context first by clicking on it in the Left Panel... and then inputting the above search query into the search bar. That returned all notes with either FBI, NSA or CIA in the note title... but did not filter those for the "privacy" tag. In other words the tag search is disregarded (as far as pertaining to FBI, NSA or CIA goes) - even if I am in the "privacy" tag context and I have zero notes tagged with "privacy", I still get CIA, FBI or NSA. This is the same behavior in any tag context.

 

I could enter a "waffle" tag context and search for "any: intitle:FBI intitle:NSA intitle:CIA". I will get all notes tagged with "waffle" + all notes containing either FBI, NSA or CIA in the title.

 

In other words what I end up with is "tag:privacy" AND "any: intitle:FBI intitle:NSA intitle:CIA"

 

The tag search here is redundant... unless one wanted to include any particular tag not necessarily associated with notes that have CIA, NSA or FBI in the note title.

 

There is currently no way to isolate just those notes containing FBI, NSA or CIA in the note title that are tagged with "privacy" in one search.

 

You would have to do 3 separate searches (just to be thorough) and tag the search results to consolidate them.

 

i.e.

 

  1. tag:privacy intitle:NSA
  2. tag:privacy intitle:CIA
  3. tag:privacy intitle:FBI
  4. tag any search results with a common tag (or not)

OR enter that tag context and search for intitle:NSA/CIA/FBI individually 

 

Either way, jbenson2 was speaking to the flexibility of options we have in Evernote. Not showcasing his second point in its entirety as the prime example.  ;) 

 

In trying to put forth a couple of wide-ranging examples, I myself would have most likely given half a dozen impossibilities  :P

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In the meantime, jbenson2, you made the tantalizing statement below but never showed us how to do this - in particular the second search with the FBI, NSA, or CIA.  Would you mind posting that search?

 

Thanks, Tom

 

 

Not complex enough? Really?

I can run these types of queries:

  • Notes that I keep in my Politics notebook that are tagged with regulations or socialism but not conservatism and have the words Lyndon Johnson in the title that were made using Microsoft Word
  • Notes that have FBI, NSA, or CIA in the title and have the tag privacy and are encrypted
  • Notes tagged with work that have things that I need to do this week
  • Show me tasks that I completed between Nov 30 and Mar 1
  • Show me notes with JPG attachments that I added last year and are not tagged with robots or Skype

 

 

 

This has already been answered above -- it can't be done with current Evernote Search syntax.

Can't combine "AND" with "OR".

 

Exactly why full boolean search is needed.

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For Evernote to add this feature in I would happily pay double my annual subscription. Evernote is really powerful and you get a bunch for just $45/yr. I'd happily pay more annually for a "Super Premium" feature like full boolean saved search (and tagging automation would be nice, as well).

 

I'm using tags now far more than folders (so I can use tags to track multi-context notes) and so I think there's enough people who would benefit from a full boolean search feature that would allow you to search Evernote more robustly. My inspiration for my current workflow has been: http://thesecretweapon.org/

 

I'd definitely pay more for something like this because evernote is a steal at $45 a year. Having boolean search across multiple folders and/or tag contexts would create a huge spike in my productivity that would be worth extra money.

 

I hope Evernote is taking inventory of feature requests like this.

 

-J

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This would be a great feature, sure, but...

 

...just for a little bit of perspective, $45 buys you about an hour's salary of a software developer, on the low end. Not including the cost of keeping them in a warm & dry environment with computers and software, plus health care, 401/K, espresso, and other benefits. That ain't much.

 

Even so, I'd guess that if they were going to add boolean search, they wouldn't take this sort of stuff consideration anyways, and it'd just be a feature that everyone, premium and non-premium users alike, would be able to use. Just too complicated and messy to provide two separate search languages. Don't forget that they'd also need to support existing searches in a backwards-compatible fashion. All in all, a pretty big project.

 

Now Evernote does keep track of feature requests in the forum, among other places (and this one is requested fairly frequently), so don't get me wrong, it would be great, but I wouldn't be looking for this feature to magically appear any time soon.

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Well, ONE month of ONE subscriber would not pay for the incremental cost, of course.  But that would not be the case if a sufficient number of subscribers were willing to pay more for a sufficiently long time.

 

It is also completely beside the point.  The point is that there is real interest, so real that some people would vote for it with their dollars.  By contrast, there has been complete silence from Evernote on this topic and a somewhat belittling attitude of "you would stop asking if you only knew how difficult this is" from people who are meant to be ambassadors for Evernote.

 

That is unfortunate.  Whenever I hear "it's too hard" I suspect "there is an attitude problem" instead.  Creating a proper search algorithm is pretty basic: this is a topic for first or second-year undergraduate computer science students.  If the current search algorithm in Evernote really is so impervious to adaptation to a proper Boolean algorithm, then it is likely so fundamentally mis-architected that it should be replaced.  If it isn't, then it should be simple to adapt.  Backward and downward compatibility should similarly be fairly easy as novice users are rarely aware of Boolean syntax.

 

So - shall we get over the excuses and ask Evernote to prioritize something useful (Boolean search) over things that appear more optional (like cosmetic user interface change) that nonetheless do seem to get done with some regularity?

 

Tom

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This would be a great feature, sure, but...

 

...just for a little bit of perspective, $45 buys you about an hour's salary of a software developer, on the low end. Not including the cost of keeping them in a warm & dry environment with computers and software, plus health care, 401/K, espresso, and other benefits. That ain't much.

 

I wasn't saying my $45 extra dollars could support an entire development project. I was saying that I'd be willing to vote with my wallet for the advantage of boolean search features. Likewise, I'd be willing to bet there's a sizable customer base who would be willing to do the same thing. There's untapped, niche opportunities in Evernote's customer base. The software is great, yet I'm sure a large enough base of customers exist out there who would be willing to pay more for Evernote to develop a "Super Premium" edition.

 

This entire website is devoted to a task-organization system that would be made massively better using Boolean search: http://thesecretweapon.org

I'd be willing to bet a sizeable amount of their forum base would be willing to pay for a feature like this. Evernote has a lot of niche potential that they're not taking advantage of, and Boolean Search would open up huge, specific application possibilities.

 

No software project is too big or complicated if the money is there to profitably support it.

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Well, ONE month of ONE subscriber would not pay for the incremental cost, of course.  But that would not be the case if a sufficient number of subscribers were willing to pay more for a sufficiently long time.

 

It is also completely beside the point.  The point is that there is real interest, so real that some people would vote for it with their dollars.  By contrast, there has been complete silence from Evernote on this topic and a somewhat belittling attitude of "you would stop asking if you only knew how difficult this is" from people who are meant to be ambassadors for Evernote.

It's not to stop people from asking, mind. But having been around this and other support forums before, it's plain that some folks who post here don't know much if anything about how software development works. It's a little perspective, as I mentioned.

 

That is unfortunate.  Whenever I hear "it's too hard" I suspect "there is an attitude problem" instead.  Creating a proper search algorithm is pretty basic: this is a topic for first or second-year undergraduate computer science students.  If the current search algorithm in Evernote really is so impervious to adaptation to a proper Boolean algorithm, then it is likely so fundamentally mis-architected that it should be replaced.  If it isn't, then it should be simple to adapt.  Backward and downward compatibility should similarly be fairly easy as novice users are rarely aware of Boolean syntax.

Ah, but then again we have the other side of the cliché: "well dagnabbit, it's so easy a second year CS student could do it". It's not the algorithm, per se; the underlying database that Evernote uses on its servers and at least some of its local clients supports Boolean queries. The search syntax thing is separate, and yes, backwards compatibility is important, but probably not insurmountable. But the scale of this would be an issue in the Evernote ecosystem, though at some cost. It's do-able, for sure, but is the cost worth it? That's a fundamental question that software development companies must grapple with. One of my favorite takes on that is Minus 100 Points.

 

Edit: Just to be clear, I never said "it's too hard"; what I am saying is that it may be more costly to implement than Evernote  believes is worth it. If that's an "attitude problem", then, uh, OK.

 

So - shall we get over the excuses and ask Evernote to prioritize something useful (Boolean search) over things that appear more optional (like cosmetic user interface change) that nonetheless do seem to get done with some regularity?

I'm not making excuses for anyone -- I'm not doing the work; it's not my company. I've already suggested it, long ago, and if you'll notice what I wrote, I'd be in favor of it (though it's doubtful that I'd use it all that much; I don't seem to need it currently, and I use Evernote pretty much every day at work & at home). I'm offering a little perspective is all. My base feeling is that they're just not all that interested in offering it, though I don't know that for sure. I'm sure that the Evernote folks know and understand all of the points of view around this; they're not going to wake up of a morning and think, "OMG, we forgot to put the Boolean in!!"

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Okay, just chiming in here as a non-tech minded user. It's a small thing and I'm sure no offense was actually intended, but...

Using the metaphor of "even a 1st year or 2nd year computer science student could do it" (I'm paraphrasing here) is akin to saying "so easy even an idiot could do it!" It's a tad insulting and a bit demeaning.

Remember, just because something might be simple and obvious to you, does not mean it is to everyone else.

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Okay, just chiming in here as a non-tech minded user. It's a small thing and I'm sure no offense was actually intended, but...

Using the metaphor of "even a 1st year or 2nd year computer science student could do it" (I'm paraphrasing here) is akin to saying "so easy even an idiot could do it!" It's a tad insulting and a bit demeaning.

Remember, just because something might be simple and obvious to you, does not mean it is to everyone else.

 

Agree and no offense intended.  I just meant to indicate that the algorithm itself is relatively simple.  By that I am not addressing other users, but the developers of Evernote.

 

Tom

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Thanks for your thoughtful response, jefito.

 

 

 

It's not the algorithm, per se; the underlying database that Evernote uses on its servers and at least some of its local clients supports Boolean queries. The search syntax thing is separate, and yes, backwards compatibility is important, but probably not insurmountable. But the scale of this would be an issue in the Evernote eco-system, though at some cost. 

 

 

 

 

 

That's a very good point, and it depends mightily on how those databases are designed.  That makes it difficult for us on the outside to have any opinion on how difficult it is to create the feature - except to reiterate our desire for it.

 

 

 

I'm not making excuses for anyone -- I'm not doing the work; it's not my company. I've already suggested it, long ago, and if you'll notice what I wrote, I'd be in favor of it (though it's doubtful that I'd use it all that much; I don't seem to need it currently, and I use Evernote pretty much every day at work & at home).

 

 

I use Evernote at work, at home, and for play every day as well.  And most every day I wouldn't even think of using a Boolean search.  There is one day a year, perhaps, where I do need Boolean search (typically on cleanup days).  On those days its lack is painful.  Yes, we all use work-arounds with temporary tags or notebooks, but they are painful because they are inelegant.

 

Which raises an interesting question: is it worth investing development time to eradicate inelegance?  Steve Jobs taught us "Yes," if it is visible to all.  As we are experiencing, "Doubtful" if it only matters to a few nuts like me and a few others  :).

 

Tom

 

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I don't see how the current database structure would require any changes to support full boolean search.

IMO, it is entirely within the EN Search Engine since a limited boolean search is already possible.  

Both EN Win and EN Mac use SQL databases, which should have no problems with boolean searches.

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Edit: Just to be clear, I never said "it's too hard"; what I am saying is that it may be more costly to implement than Evernote  believes is worth it. If that's an "attitude problem", then, uh, OK.

 

 

Yes, I took some liberties with my use of quotes and I apologize.  I did not intend to quote you as saying "it's too hard;" you never did.  

 

Instead, my use of quotes was meant to paraphrase.  I was synthesizing across the different reasons I had read over the months for why Evernote had not implemented Boolean search.  These sounded to me like the "it's too hard" that is best countered by "can do."  And since I didn't (don't?) see anything fundamental preventing Boolean search in Evernote, I felt that "too hard" would indeed make it too hard.

 

Again, I mean no offense.  To the contrary, I often get myself in trouble when I say "can do:" a software feature often looks simpler before than after implementation, a factory transformation often takes longer than expected, and a task from the "honey do" list usually takes more trips to the Home Despot than expected.

 

Tom

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One of my favorite takes on that is Minus 100 Points.

 

 

Last one, I promise!

 

Love the idea of the Minus 100 Points!  I should have used that with some of my software projects  :)

 

Tom

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Again, I mean no offense.  To the contrary, I often get myself in trouble when I say "can do:" a software feature often looks simpler before than after implementation, a factory transformation often takes longer than expected, and a task from the "honey do" list usually takes more trips to the Home Despot than expected.

No problem -- it's a funny role here, being a moderator but not an employee: we can come off as apologists who never want anything changed, which isn't really the case for any of us as far as I know. Believe me, I have a list of changes that I'd like as well. One thing -- we don't have any inside information, so most of what I'd say about why Evernote does this and not that is surmise.

 

As a developer myself, I understand the "sure, I can do that" dynamic pretty well, but I try to temper that because I've been burned by it before. The Minus 100 Points thing was courtesy of a link from Raymond Chen's Old New Thing blog, a daily read (often but not always MS Windows-y and techie, if you like that sort of stuff).

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Yeah, i wanted to look up if the "any" toggle is still on Windows and if it would work with the title, but i am on an iPad, so posted the reply partially finished. Sorry about that, but i often lose replies when moving away from Safari. Anyhow, I didn't find my answer.

See the corrected version.

 

 

GM, I'm pretty sure the "any:" term applies to EVERYTHING in the Search line.

So you can NOT do an ANY of the Title AND require a tag.

That is EXACTLY why boolean search is needed.

 

 

<<< This. Would love to see this feature.

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I too would like to see full Boolean search functionality added to EN. This thread has been around a bit, has anyone heard anything new on the possibility?

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I too would like to see full Boolean search functionality added to EN. This thread has been around a bit, has anyone heard anything new on the possibility?

 

There is nothing new to report. The Boolean search work-arounds reported previously still work.

Evernote does not release info on their projects.

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On 1/6/2015 at 11:18 PM, lean_ninja said:

 If the current search algorithm in Evernote really is so impervious to adaptation to a proper Boolean algorithm, then it is likely so fundamentally mis-architected that it should be replaced.  If it isn't, then it should be simple to adapt.

THIS.

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Long(ish) time Evernote subscriber, first time poster. I've just recently started trying to use Evernote to something approaching its potential. I'm coming at this from a GTD/TSW angle, if that's interesting.

I just wanted to +1 the request for Boolean search. I've long loved Evernote and admired its power, but now that I'm getting serious with it and actually asking it to do some heavy lifting, I'm a little disappointed in some of what I'm finding. Boolean search would relieve a lot of the little pain points I'm experiencing.

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Piling on just a little bit - I've really decided to invest into using EN, and So I took a few hundred tax documents scanned in with the absolutely wonderful "scannable" App, and I extensively tagged all of them them - and, one of the very first searches I wanted to do, show me "Anything tagged with  '2015' and ('Dividends' or 'Tax'  or 'Statement')"

After a bit of searching, I was *very* surprised to discover, that's not a search that Evernote supports. 

The workaround, as I understand, is to do multiple searches:

   2015 and Dividends - and then *tag* all of those notes with "2015-DTS", likewise with 2015 and Tax, and then finally 2015 and Statement.  Then, I can do a search on "2015-DTS"

In reality, this only took about a minute, but what it means, is that if I need do later do a search on this, I'll need to repeat the process of tagging "2015-DTS" each time, or, alternatively, get used to tagging extensively so I can do a boolean or search.  All of this just to work around the inability to do an "or" search.

I absolutely appreciate how you don't want this to be confusing novices, and you want to keep the product simple - but I would have to believe anybody seriously using EN, pretty quickly wants to be able to do "OR" searches.  

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This is a joke. Could we please get (condition1 OR condition2) and condition3 not condition4 ?

Any junior developer will be able to implement it. Every tool in this world have it since 1980. You are not improving anything, since, forever. Too bad there are no alternatives to Evernote currently. Being unable to perform a search. What a joke =\

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Two things I take from this thread:

  1. Adding my name to the list of surprised Premium Users that this feature is lacking from EN.
  2. To get by "in the meantime" (noting this thread is > 3 yr. old), I have two saved searches.    It happens to work for what I needed today.    I suspect someday soon, I will be thinking about this / wishing for it again.

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Since we are all now paying a "premium" price for this very good product I think Evernote should consider that those of us  who remain using the product and pay the new premium subscription tier likely consist of many power users. Therefore I think we should get powerful features such as boolean search as a very high priority. It's not flashy to advertise, but being able to find several notes out of thousands becomes more important the longer you use this application. 

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This has been requested many times before so I'll be brief. It would be amazing to be able to add AND/OR/NOT logical searches to Evernote. I'm never really sure what my search string will pick up if I add more than one word. I have thousands of notes and being able to find these more efficiently would be a very useful feature. 

Bonus points if the boolean search tags could be stacked like tags in the search bar. 

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Moved to General Feature Requests so you all can vote on it.

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Please see: 

Also: in Evernote, all searches are AND searches by default (AND searches tend to give you smaller search result sets, so are more helpful in narrowing down to what you're looking for), but you can turn them into OR in the search language by prefixing the query with "any:", or via the UI, in Windows clients anyways.

7 hours ago, Tcellguy said:

Bonus points if the boolean search tags could be stacked like tags in the search bar. 

Not sure what this means... could you please expand?

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Yeah sorry, I didn't see the earlier post. 

It would be great if individual AND, OR, NOT searches could be combined and persist with searches similar to searching by notebook / tag in the macOS app ( the gray rounded boxes). Also, exclusion or inclusion of dates and tagged subsets would be great, but maybe that's already possible? 

I admit I'm not 100% clear on the current search syntax as it is a bit complicated and has not worked for me a few times when I tried.

Thanks for the information about the OR operator. 

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I'm not familiar with the Mac Evernote, so I can't help there.

The Evernote search language is fairly simple as compared to a full-on search expression grammar (AND, OR, NOT, parentheses), and I think that that's intentional, as its easier to parse, and the search language is supported across a number of clients and platforms. The reference is here: https://dev.evernote.com/doc/articles/search_grammar.php. The essence is pretty simple, though; you start with any scope modifiers:

  • If the query starts with either notebook:<notebook name> or stack:<stack name>, then that limits the scope of the search to either that notebook or stack. Only one of these is allowed per query. 
  • If the next thing in the query is the term any:, then that makes it an OR search; otherwise the search is an AND search

After any scope modifiers, the actual search terms follow, as many as you need. These can be:

  • Literal search terms, i.e., text searches: This is just a piece of text, possibly enclosed in double-quotes, and these designate words that you are looking for in the note text. There's some trickiness here; you'll need to remember that in general, punctuation is ignored in searches. Also, you can add a minus sign before a literal (-sometext) to say that you want to match notes that do not contain the text term, or you can add an asterisk at the end of the term as a wildcard to say that you want to match notes that contain words that begin with that term  (text*)
  • Note properties: There are a slew of terms that you can use to match note properties with: tag:<tag name> to match a tag, intitle:<text> to match text in a note title, todo: to find notes that have todo items, and many more. 

That's just the high-level overview. Because Evernote has pretty speedy search, it's easy to test out search queries to increase your proficiency. Start on queries that you alreasy know the answers to, and verify that you can find them with search.

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+1 for adding true boolean search capabilities.

While Evernote's search grammar is already an essential feature that sets it apart from competitors, the inability to mix AND / OR is a bit frustrating and impedes the efficiency of using the app/service for organising and accessing large Note libraries (I have 10,000+ notes...!).

What I'd like is the ability to run/save searches like:

tag:2016FY (tag:expense OR tag:income) -tag:entered

Sure there are ways around that using temporary tags and/or notebooks, but this just adds an unnecessary (and clumsy) intermediate step that computers were built to do away with.

Like several of the other posters, I disagree with some of the arguments against adding this (user complexity, technical limitations etc.), although concede that the technical demands at scale are probably not insignificant. Complex boolean database searches can quickly have n+1 performance costs at scale.

As with many of these advanced feature requests though, perhaps the answer is to make them a feature only for premium customers?

Purely from a marketing point of view, delighting the small but vocal segment of power users is essential in maintaining an evangelical base for the product - especially given the significant bleed of 'casual' users to Apple's Notes app and MS OneNote, neither of which is as feature complete as EN.

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On 11/19/2014 at 2:13 AM, lean_ninja said:

To "wake up" this thread, I still find true Boolean search an essential - and missing - capability in Evernote.  All the work-arounds with temporary tags, other applications, or temporary notebooks (as suggested in other threads on this topic) seem like kludges that should be below the bar of excellence set by Evernote.

Another kludge that I am forced to employ is multiple saved searches, when one saved search (using full boolean search) would suffice. So instead of getting one list of results, I have to go back and forth between two lists. For 2017, this is ridiculously clunky. Heck, Craigslist, which has all of 40 people, so probably less than a dozen developers, has had this search capability for many years. And of course it's used by many other services, including ebay.

Any time users are sifting through lots of information to find something specific, full boolean search can be useful, and if users embrace the EN philosophy of 'external brain', this is essential. Our internal brain performs full boolean searches all the time.

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* Started at 29 Dec 2013.
* Previous post at 6 Jan 2015.
* We are at 24 Feb 2017 and it seems that even now EverNote does not support such a feature.
Isn't it a bit disappointing?

+1 vote up

I wrote my idea for almost the same issue at it seems and someone linked me to this post:

An idea is to use "temporary-tags" to create the AND queries is a workaround (although this may update tons of notes without reason!).

Please, Evernote team, make a relative update to help your customers.
 

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I'd like this full-boolean search feature to be added too. I use Evernote both for PKM(personal knowledge management) and GTD(Getting Things Done). When using EN for GTD, boolean search is essential for filtering many many todos. 

 

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On 3/13/2018 at 6:44 AM, jevernotea said:

+1 for true Boolean search functionality, i.e., AND/OR/NOT operators and the use of parentheses to define sets of data and order of operations. 

Also, I've noticed that Evernote's existing AND operator (ANY:) doesn't work for different data types.
For example, "ANY: NOTEBOOK:anybook TAG:anytag" does not return any results. It seems ANY only works if what follows is a list of terms to be found within a note. If anyone has solved this, I'd love to hear from you. -Thanks

AND and ANY don't work with notebooks.  It's All Notes, a Stack, or a Notebook for context of searches.  The operators should work on the rest of the search items. tags, text, etc.

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On 2018-03-13 at 6:44 AM, jevernotea said:

Also, I've noticed that Evernote's existing AND operator (ANY:) doesn't work for different data types.
For example, "ANY: NOTEBOOK:anybook TAG:anytag" does not return any results. It seems ANY only works if what follows is a list of terms to be found within a note. If anyone has solved this, I'd love to hear from you. -Thanks

The search syntax is documented here   Evernote Search Grammar

The notebook is not included in the "union" created by the "any:" operator.

  • notebook:"Hot Stuff" any: mexican italian 
    • Matches all notes in the "Hot Stuff" notebook that have the word "mexican" or the word "italian" in them.

any: - If this expression is found at the beginning of the search (after the "notebook", if present), then the search will return a note that matches any of the other search terms. If this is not found, then the default behavior will be used: a note must match all of the search terms.

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32 minutes ago, pwever said:

tagged as ongoing, or that are due today or previously, but have not been marked done

Please indicate your support using the voting buttons in the upper left cornrer of the discussion.

Specific to your requirement, you could set a reminder date on your ongoing notes.  This drops the OR from your query.

Just curious about the year-10

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2 hours ago, DTLow said:

Just curious about the year-10

From the Evernote search grammar page (https://dev.evernote.com/doc/articles/search_grammar.php):

Quote

reminderTime:[datetime] - matches notes with a reminderTime attribute that is equal to or later than the argument datetime. reminderTime is the time at which the user has requested a reminder about the note. E.g.:

  • reminderTime:day
    • Matches all notes with a reminder set for today or later
  • reminderTime:day -reminderTime:day+7
    • Matches all notes with a reminder set for the next 7 days

You can do math on the reminderTime: term. Whether a reminder is set for any time later than 10 years ago is meaningful is up to the user; maybe they use older reminder dates for some special purpose...

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16 hours ago, jefito said:

Whether a reminder is set for any time later than 10 years ago is meaningful is up to the user; maybe they use older reminder dates for some special purpose...

reminderTime:year-10 was the only way I could find that would include not only notes that are due today, but also notes that were due previously, but have not been marked as done. The 10 is rather arbitrary (just a date far in the past).

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11 minutes ago, pwever said:

reminderTime:year-10 was the only way I could find that would include not only notes that are due today, but also notes that were due previously, but have not been marked as done. The 10 is rather arbitrary (just a date far in the past).

reminderTime:* also works

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2 minutes ago, DTLow said:

reminderTime:* also works

Ah; great. This makes sense. I guess time parameters are specified-time-or-after, and later parameters overwrite earlier ones.

Nice catch. Thx // pascal

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@CalS The Boolean part comes from that pwever wants to join the results of that reminder-based query with the results of tag:ongoing

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5 hours ago, rezecib said:

The main obstacle to getting things like this in is supporting local search, which is implemented independently by each of the clients, so making changes there has a lot of friction.

I'm assuming that you're talking here about the implementation of the search differing among the different clients, and that's because the underlying note storages are different. It would be a shame if the search language was markedly different across the clients and the documented search language; I can't think of many examples where it's different, except minor ones, like not requiring a closing quote on literal terms in the Windows client, etc.

5 hours ago, rezecib said:

Server-side search we can change pretty easily, but when it comes to changing the grammar itself in substantial ways, it becomes rather dangerous because it will be inconsistent with the local search.

I understand the issue, but presumably you'll need to to be making some changes to the search language to accommodate Spaces on the server and local sides (at least I hope you will). Maybe they'll be minor changes, but what a change to sneak in some improvements, right? :) 

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Sounds a bit like the common editor and the work required to backtrack independent team development across time.  I would guess if you want search the same across platforms you have to normalize to the capabilities of all of the platforms, or create a bunch of plumbing.

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1 hour ago, CalS said:

create a bunch of plumbing

It's plumbing all the way down, grasshopper... :) 

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7 minutes ago, jefito said:

It's plumbing all the way down, grasshopper... :) 

Operative modifier was that old stand by "bunch".  :P

 

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It cannot be questioned that today's information management systems have shifted from a FILING paradigm to a SEARCH paradigm.  Filing requires foreknowledge of what will be sought.  Thus, the suggestions to tag notes when they're created presupposes one knows what will be of relevance in the future.  I like Evernote and use it constantly, but it's hard to see it fulfilling its true promise without full Boolean capability (or friendlier equivalent).

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On 3/30/2018 at 6:45 PM, LazarB said:

Thus, the suggestions to tag notes when they're created presupposes one knows what will be of relevance in the future.

One knows the family in which the note lives.  That can be enough relevance to tighten the search in the future.  Then text, or just start with text. 

And, yes, it would be great if EN added Boolean capabilities.  For me, I'd prioritize  it after an editor/display process that was foolproof.  There are workarounds for Boolean, not so much for editor snafus.

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On 2018-03-30 at 6:45 PM, LazarB said:

Thus, the suggestions to tag notes when they're created presupposes one knows what will be of relevance in the future.

The request for Full Boolean Search has my vote, however I have no intention of dropping my filing system (tags)
This allows for a more precise retrieval of data; text search is much less precise and produces too many hits for use on a day-to-day basis.

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It would be great to be able to combine AND and OR. 

That would complete the powerful search function.

For example:

(tag:monday OR tag:tuesday) AND tag:priority1

 

 

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