Spotlight on Search: How to Use Evernote to Find Content Quickly

Tips & Stories

Spotlight on Search: How to Use Evernote to Find Content Quickly

Posted by Taylor Pipes on 09 Oct 2015

Posted by Taylor Pipes on 09 Oct 2015

Still haven’t found what you’re looking for?

You don’t have to climb mountains or run through fields to get in touch with the content you need.

Whether you use Evernote to automate meetings, catalog content, write stories, or as a personal TripAdvisor, each note and the content you put there is easily searchable. Even from the highest mountaintop.

Here’s a spotlight on some of our favorite ways to find things quickly in Evernote.

Search Notes and Notebooks

Everything you put in Evernote is searchable, including your notes, notebooks, and even attachments.

  1. Search for notes: Type your search terms in the ‘Search notes’ box located near the top of the screen. By default, Evernote searches the notebook currently open. To search your entire account, select the ‘Everything’ button below the search field.
  2. Search for notebooks: Select ‘Notebooks’ from the side menu and enter your search terms in the ‘Find a notebook’ field located above your notebook list.

Learn more about searching notes.

Search handwriting

Don’t limit the search of notes to those you wrote digitally. Evernote can read your handwriting, too! Include every handwritten notes, classroom lectures, and brainstorm whiteboards in your next search.

Search Inside Documents 

With Evernote Premium, the text inside your attachments are indexed for text. That way, any search will also show you results from your attachments too. Take file searching to a whole new level: stop finding your PDFs and Office docs with filenames and start searching inside of them.


Think of tags as keywords you can use to associate notes with a category, memory, or even a location. A lot of people use tags to help them quickly find content related to keywords that are important to them.

Brainstorm a lot? Create a #brainstorm tag to make finding them easy:

If you want to see the power of tags, author Michael Hyatt exclusively uses them to organize Evernote. Learn more about his system here.

Tags can help view project status, improve task management, and manage research. Learn more about tags in Evernote by reading our Knowledge Base.

See Related Results When Searching the Web
Discover results from your Evernote account even when you search for information on any major search engine.

To do this, enable related results in the Evernote Web Clipper settings. Evernote will automatically surface matching notes in your search queries when you search the Web.


Advanced Search Syntax
It may look like a simple text search field, but the advanced search syntax gives you the ability to search your notes by the date they were created or what type of media (audio, images, etc.) they contain.

Here are some examples:

“notes created yesterday”, “updated since last year”
“created in Penultimate”, “from Skitch”, “Post-it Notes”
“from San Francisco,” “notes created in London”, “in Japan”, “from Beijing”, “from
California” Documents:
“notes with Office Documents”, “notes with Excel spreadsheets”, “with attachments”
“notes with photos”, “jpeg”, “with images”, “with pictures”
“notes with audio”, “mp3”, “wav”
“mobile”, “scanner”, “iPhone”, “Android”

Descriptive Search
Descriptive Search works by letting you describe what you’re looking for using plain language. Creating a complex search becomes incredibly straightforward.

With Descriptive Search, you can zero in on notes taken on a business trip, or photographs you snapped on a family vacation.


Save Common Searches
Is there a search you do frequently? Consider creating a saved search. It programs the search so one click shows you all the results you need to see. Learn how to create a saved search.

iOS Spotlight Search
You can now search for notes without even opening Evernote. Just open Spotlight Search by swiping down on your iOS device’s home screen. Then type something you’re looking for. If there’s a matching note title, Evernote will appear among the results.


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6 Comments RSS

  • gert

    Sure, using the basic search syntaxis will do most of the times. But what I really miss in Evernote is a kind of ‘Advanced search’ function, f.e. like Google. Maybe I’m stupid, but I use search not often enough to remind all the necessary tricks. And in most cases I get to much results. For example I have a notebook Manuals and search that of my tv. I only have one, but I get 10 results, I accept the one of my remote, but I also get th manuals of my phones, because somewhere in the text is something about connecting to my tv etc. etc. Why not make a form that you can open when you want to search for specific notes and makes it easy to choose dates, notebook, tags, exclusions etc. Ans ultimate, ofcourse I would like a really intelligent search function that understands what I probably search and puts the tv manual on top…

    It’ll be hard to make, but sure you can handle it…

    Kind regards,


  • Justin

    When will iOS apps get support to jump through multiple instances of a search word within 1 note? This is a critical feature for my work that I can easily do on a computer with the command-F and command-G functions.

    I really can’t express how helpful this would be for my work if I had the same functionality on my mobile devices.


  • Donna Locke

    How do I put my handwritten notes into Evernote ?

    • Taylor Pipes

      There are a few ways you can get handwriting into Evernote. In Evernote, add a new note using your camera, and it’ll process your handwriting to make the note searchable. You can also try capturing them with Evernote Scannable (

  • Lowell

    One thing I don’t understand, is why search notes (F6) can use OCR but if you want to use CNTL-F to rotate through the occurrences in a note, it doesn’t find OCR. So basically I could have a huge note that F6 says it’s in there, but then I have to find it with my eye. Lame.

  • Ric

    Is the ability for Spotlight (iOS) to search note content and not just the title in the works? This would be a tremendous workflow enhancement.