We encourage you to save all sorts of things in your Evernote account — from receipts to wine labels, meeting notes to recipes. Our approach is a bit unconventional. We don’t force you into an organization system or methodology. We let you do whatever feels comfortable for you. Everyone organizes their notes differently, but no matter what your approach is, you can find what you’re looking for in a number of different ways. Today, we’ll focus on how you can use the search box to jog your memory.
Ways to remember something
If you put something in Evernote, there’s always a way to find it. Let’s go over some specific ways you can search through your notebooks and notes. We’ll illustrate simple and more advanced search options. Note that these tips apply to all versions of Evernote, including iPhone, Mac, Windows, Web, Android, iPad and more.
Two Common Ways to Find Stuff
I remember exactly what I’m looking for
When you know exactly what you’re looking for and are confident you put it in Evernote (for example, an itinerary you emailed yourself for a trip to New York and tagged with “trip” and “New York”), you can type in a few keywords associated with this memory into the search box and immediately find the note. Remember, Evernote can even search for text inside of images. When you’re using your desktop, you can also search by Attributes such as created date, last modified, and resource type (notes that contain images, audio, and attachments).
If you’re familiar with Evernote’s search syntax, you might want to try entering some of these quick shortcuts into the search box:
- notebook:”notebookname” – Search for notes saved in a specific notebook (ie: notebook:”Travel”). Make sure there are no spaces after the colon.
- any: – Enter multiple search terms and pull up notes that include any one of the words you typed in (ie: any:”New York” will pull notes that include either word, but just typing “New York” into the search box will pull notes that contain both of these words.) The word any: needs to come at the beginning of your search, so you can’t type Cooking any:”Mexican.“
- tag: – Search by tags (ie: tag:”trip”).
I vaguely remember what I’m looking for
Let’s say you remember going to a restaurant last month and you remember taking a picture of the menu and saving it into your Evernote account. You remember eating a very tasty black cod and now you’d like to know the name of this restaurant so you can recommend it to a friend. You can search by entering in the word “black cod” into the search box, or search notes by date of creation and attributes (pull down the attributes menu and select Contains: image). Several of Evernote’s mobile versions allow you to find the restaurant on a map.
Here are some useful search syntax tips:
- created:[datetime] – Search for notes by date of creation using the format YYYYMMDD. You can also search by time period (for example, day-30 will pull up all notes created in the last 30 days).
- intitle:”name” – Search within the title of the note (ie: intitle:”restaurant” will pull up a note titled “French restaurant”).
- resource:image/* – Search only for notes that contain images.
You can always use the global “find in Evernote” desktop hotkey. On Mac, the default hotkey is Ctrl+Cmd+F. On Windows, the default hotkey is Win+Shift+F .
When you need to pull up something really fast
This happens to me all of the time. I need to get directions, a recipe, a telephone number, or meeting notes on my phone or my desktop. The beauty of Evernote’s search feature is that it aids your own memory in a very powerful way. By entering only the things you remember off hand (the name of the city to which you’re trying to find directions, one ingredient in a recipe, first name of the person whose phone number you need, or a keyword you recall from the meeting), you’ll narrow down your notes to those that include this word or combination of words. Once Evernote identifies a few notes with these works, your own memory can help you find exactly what you’re looking for visually — something that’s particularly useful when you have that Tip of the Tongue sensation and need a slight nudge to help you remember something.
Tip: Keep to-do lists in Evernote? Find them quickly by by typing todo:* into the search box to pull up all notes that contain checkboxes.
For more tips on how to use Evernote’s advanced search features, check out our Knowledge Base.