< Evernote Video Training Library

Evernote search is powerful. And, finding what you are looking for in Evernote is a snap when you know how. From simple search techniques, to contextual search options, to advanced search syntax, you'll see how two Evernote experts maximize the search capabilities of Evernote.

Video Highlights

In this training video, co-hosts Stacey Harmon and Kristi Willis [who each have over 10,000 notes in their respective Evernote accounts] share their best tips for finding in Evernote. 

Original Air Date: October 2014
Platform Demo: Evernote for Mac App

[3:30] Introduction to Evernote search
[7:30] Searching with tags
[11:00] Advanced search criteria
[17:15] Related notes
[21:00] Atlas search
[25:20] Search case study
[29:00] Using Context

Resources mentioned in webinar:


Welcome to the October edition of the Untethered with Evernote Google Hangout. We are your hosts, Stacey Harmon and Kristi Willis. We are co-authors of Untethered with Evernote: Tips and Tricks for Independent Entrepreneurs and we are bringing you a monthly hangout designed to expand in detail and give you training on some of the core concepts in the book. This month we are talking about strategies for the ins and outs of finding and searching in Evernote. So very important skill that we cover in good depth in chapter three as well as chapter six. We're going to expand upon that and show some use cases about how you can use the power Evernote search to you find what you are looking for.

Kristi and I were both presenting at the Evernote Conference in San Francisco and one other takeaways that we had from there is that really you don't want to search for things, you want to find things. Evernote is really on the leading edge finding what you're looking for and we’re going show you some of those ways where you can really work your system to retrieve what you're looking.

Both Kristi and I are Evernote Ambassadors as well as Evernote business certified consultants so needless-to-say we don’t have anything negative to say about Evernote, we love it…we can't run our lives without it. If this is your first time joining us please be sure to check out some of our previous topics. This is the fifth one we’ve done. We do them on a monthly basis but there's a whole playlist on YouTube. They are recorded and you can go back and view them at anytime. We cover everything from tips for organizing your Evernote account to how to manage leads and business cards and task management, receipts, and now we’re covering search. We are glad to have you here and we also have a coupon code for you at the end of the webinar for the book if you haven’t yet purchased it.

With that I’m going to turn it over to Kristi, who is sitting in some lovely Austin weather.

[Kristi] I am I am sitting on the patio at the Hyatt Regency, so I've got Town Lake in the background, or I guess Lady Bird Lake. I will apologize for background noise; I'm at a conference at the Hyatt and this was the quietest place I could find. So we're just going to wing it around and be untethered as we often are. So I'm going to go ahead and share my screen and get us started with the presentation. So as Stacey mentioned, we're going to talk about the ins and outs of Evernote search today and part of that, just a little bit of how to get a hold of us… I guess we should call it Evernote find. I loved in the keynote speech that Phil Libin, the CEO of Evernote, gave he talked about that find is aspirational in search is kinda negative. Searching around for things that weren't finding that means that had a great positive reaction.

So I would just want to go through some of the little tips and tricks that you can use and one of my favorite things about Evernote search is that not only does it find the text in a note, which you would expect, but that it will find text and pictures or PDFs. And if you  are premium or business it will also look inside documents. I'll show you an example of that. It even finds handwriting assuming that it's readable. With the handwriting I love being able to take a picture my Moleskine notebook page and have it be able to find that, assuming that I’ve written in a way that something could decipher it.

You can see this great screenshot that Stacey has written the words “Serrano” on a taxi receipt and when she did that search it found that tag. Really just fascinating that it’s able to do that and that it does it very quickly. The other really surprising thing for me is that it will find text in a picture. So here's a picture of the Evernote Conference 3, and just searching for the word pulled up this picture that Phil has up on the screen. Very powerful that you can search inside graphics. 

When you type in a search phrase, some things can happen for you and Stacey is going to talk more about this a little bit later but the more you use Evernote the more notes will come up. For example we have a restaurant at here in Austin called La V and notice as I started to type that in, it had a number of suggestions about things that were going to come up. I really wanted to be able to narrow where I was looking for it. One of the things that you can do is that you can set your context. By default it may would be set to everything, which means it's going to start all of your notebooks and all your notes which may be a little much for you. Maybe you know that it's in a personal note or maybe know that it's in the specific notebook.

Rather than searching through everything, change in your context will help narrow that framework and that always appears at the top of that search box as we can begin to type a search term. That's a really great way to narrow down what you're looking at. I actually use that quite often. To be able to limit my category there. When you're typing in a search term you don't have to just type in one word or one phrase but you can use plain language as they call it to describe what you're searching for. For example I often record interviews and I can quickly find any note with an interview or a recording in it by searching for notes with a wave attached to it.

Here I was looking for notes with a wave in what are the magazine notebooks that I work for and sure enough over to the left it pulled up a number notes that contain those wave files. That's really helpful so you could do something like notes with pdfs, but you don't have to type in just one phrase you can type in plain language for what you're looking for. I love that you can use that descriptive search. You can combine tags and keywords so if if you use tags, when I write for Edible Austin, for example, I will have a lot of pieces of research that go with the different article. Sometimes I have multiple articles in the same issue so what I do is I created an issue tag and that allows me to narrow down just the notes for that issue. Then I could go even further, for example, if I just wanted to find the interview with chefs, I could have on the other side of the tag an item in the search box like “chef” and that would just fine a the notes with that tag in the word chef so it allows me to do that kinda compound searching.

I use this a lot because I am not going to create a notebook for every issue I write for. So instead, using that tag allows me to do that attribution- this goes with this issue and then I can use that nice search. That helps quite a bit. It also helps when I'm looking between notebooks, because well I have an Edible notebook, sometimes the notes are in a notebook that Lillian, a production assistant, and I share because she's transcribing them and doing things with them. So again using that tag lets me look across notebooks and be able to pull things up quickly.

I really like being able to do that tag search. The other really nice thing is if you’re a business and premium, not only will it search inside PDFs and graphics but it will also allow you to search inside a document. For example I'm part of an organization that does an online auction every year, so I decided to search for the words “auction launch party” which are inside this Word document. Sure enough, it found that based on that term. It wasn't anywhere inside the note, it was inside that document. One of the powerful parts using premium and business is you get that expanded search capability and two different document formats.

If you use a search often, you can save it. On the Mac, you do that by performing the search and then choosing edit> find and save search from the menu. If you're really using a lot you can then add that search to your shortcut bar. On the Windows version you can save this search by clicking the Save Search icon which is the magnifying glass with the plus symbol on it on the toolbar. The great thing about that is the next time I go to do a a search those saved searches will appear down at the bottom. For example if I'll be looking for that online auction goes on for several weeks so if I wanted to perform that search often over that two week period, I could go ahead and save it. That will pin it to the search list.

 I’m going to turn it over to Stacey and she’s going to tell us about some of the advanced search criteria you can't use. Those are some the basics but she’s going to show us some of the fancy searching that you can do with Evernote.

[Stacey] Kristi has done a great job of laying out the foundations and obviously we want to remind you that there's a Q&A pod right here in the Hangout. If you have questions as we’re going through this please type them in there. And the GetUntethered Facebook page is a great place to ask your questions. There will be a link for that at the end of the presentation.

We want to build up on some of the basic skills that Kristi laid out to help you kinda find what it is that you are looking for and to retrieve in Evernote. This is a recap, so she used the Serrano example which is in the book. You can see there in upper right hand corner searching for serrano, and it does a brilliant job of narrowing that down to 13 notes from 11,000 notes I have. There's an underlying experience that those of you who are Evernote users are familiar with is search is really fast. You can have a lot of notes in Evernote, I’ve got almost 11,000. But, what if narrowing down to 13 notes is not enough?

How do we go beyond that? As she and laid out there is the ability to do these compound searches with different elements and when you do a search you have an option to you narrow it based on the type of content that is inside the note. This is a screenshot of the options that are there, which really shows some of the integrations that Evernote has with Moleskin and with Post-It, as well as audio files and attachments, to-do lists, etc. If you know the you're looking for a note related to Serrano with an image in it, you simply click the add button and it'll add it to your search.

Then one nice feature on the Mac is that if you highlight or hover… at the top and in the right you can see that it will narrow it and do that on compound search. A power user tip, particularly on the Mac, I will have to check this on the PC but if you hover over that “contains” you can actually change the type of item that you're searching for right there without having to add a search parameter down at the bottom so that’s really a power user new for those you that are really using this compound search frequently. Notice that the add search option has a lot of different option so you're going to want to play around with those because there's lots of ways that you can look for things.

That is on how they automate the process. If you're on a device that doesn't have that advanced search criteria, they also offer a syntax for finding all of these things. I'm going to create in the bottom of the recording of this Hangout that will get posted, I’m going to put the link to this post in the Evernote support forums which actually identifies and gives you advanced search syntax that you can use to further refine your searches from whatever device you're on. If you are on an iPad and you don't have the ability to add that “contains” compound search operator you can actually type in one of these operators and it will filter your search.

You can see here you can search by notebook or by tag. One of the nice features I'm guessing that Kristi probably utilizes is that you can remove a tag. You can put the negative sign in front of things and have it find notes that are not tagged with a specific thing. You certainly can find things based on created and updated. There is and nomenclature that you need follow it needs the year/ month /date in order to find the proper elements. That's all the find in this table. We’ll put the hyperlink into the supporting blogpost so that you guys can practice those on your own on as they matter to you.

One of the ones that I tend to use quite a lot is the first one that’s listed. This “in Title.” What this does is it narrows the search to results that only include my keyword phrase in the title of the note. Here's an example of that. I put in “serano” and as you remember from our earlier slides, there are 13 results, but when I narrow that by putting “in title” colon, with no space, and then add my search term it restricts it down to the 1 note that has serano in the title. That's how it works. The spacing is very important in this particular syntax when you're actually typing in the syntax you want to make sure that there are no spaces between the colon or between your search term.

 There's also something called related notes in Evernote that you might have noticed at the bottom and I actually was surprised that this was as functional as it is. It's helped me to discover content that might not have thought I was looking  but is relevant to what doing. So when you do a search, in this case I did a search for Untethered with Evernote, and I was doing an Untethered with Evernote handout. When I present, which I was doing last week, I am her providing digital handouts and often I want to retrieve some information from a prior handout. These related notes help me get to that information quickly.

 Evernote has a lot of context that it brings to your search and this is a good example. They say “you know we know you're searching for this but you might find that some of these things are related.” As you can see on that third note down at the bottom, it shows that Kristi was actually the author of that particular note. If you are collaborating with other premium or business users, it's actually going to bring up some other the notes and the intelligence that’s in your Evernote system from other people and places in Evernote’s account. Really useful.

 [Kristi] On the related notes, particularly when you're doing topic work, so you can imagine like when I'm writing an article I wrote an article about a school food, and I had 75 pieces of research… so when I was searching and working on the articles, and I was working on a particular piece of it, that it was showing those related notes the bottom really cut down on how much I was having to jump back and forth between going and digging in the notebook and being able to work with the pieces that I wanted during the article. Particularly when you're doing topical-type work it becomes a very powerful feature.

[Stacey] Absolutely and they bring that feature to the Web Clipper as well. If you configure a setting in your Web Clipper, this is in Chrome, and I'll show you where the setting is after I demo what it does. If you do a Google search for something in this case I searched for Untethered with Evernote, I'm not only going to get the Google results on the left hand side but you're going to see here on the right hand side it’s going to index and search my personal Evernote account for phrases that match what I search for. So that's really functional if you're actually trying to retrieve something in the context of the web as well as your own personal notes. This is just a matter of turning on a setting in the Web Clipper. So you want to go to the browser extensions and actually activate the related results feature of the Web Clipper. Do make sure you're on the latest version. 

This might shave seconds off of the research. I mean that stuff compounds and adds up really easily. Another feature search that I absolutely love, I call this the feature you didn't know you needed until you realize you can't live without it. It's called Atlas search. Assuming that location services are turned on your device's meaning your iPhone, iPad, mobile tablet, phone, or computer… if location services are enabled, which by the way if Evernote ever asked you “do you want to allow Evernote to have access to your location services” you want to say yes because that's where the power comes from.

You are going to have the location of all of the notes that you create tagged with and match on a map. You can retrieve your notes based on geography. This is a great use case in a sales professional. Kristi and I talk about this in the business card tutorial that we did a couple months ago, but basically here I can go to Atlas if I know that I was just in San Francisco the Evernote conference a couple weeks ago I can zoom in to San Francisco and it can action actually map the notes that I created at the location. It does a brilliant job of really geo-locating where you are. The Evernote conference was held in two different buildings right there on the pier at Fort Mason and you can see my note generation in the different buildings.

This is encompassing both business cards as well as notes that I composed while I was there. I can click through directly to those notes. If you're actually using the business card feature and you remember where you met somebody, you met at a conference but can't remember their name, I can actually pull it up from this location and get to their name. Or if you're at a conference and you remember that you learned something there, but you have further details about it you can go back and retrieve that note based on the Atlas search.

This is a hack that I wouldn't necessarily put in the “find” category but it's something that I rely on on a daily basis. I wanted to mention it in terms of finding materials that I'm looking for. I actually use the sort order by date updated to promote notes that I have been most actively or recently working on up to the top. So a lot of times, and as I mentioned I have about 11,000 notes, I was just working on something an hour ago I can click either in the notebook that I think that that note is in. Maybe I was in a client notebook which would be designated by the number one on this screen shot, or maybe and I’m going to actually click on business notes were number two and that’s going to be 9382 notes. That’s not going to be very functional for me in then middle pane there but if I choose to use sort by date updated and by most recent at the top.

It really does a very good job surfacing the content I was working on just this morning or yesterday or very recently. I find that I don't even think about it but it's a tool I use to find and retrieve information on a frequent basis. Kristi, do you use that in your retrieval?

[Kristi] That's actually my default sort order so that I can see the things I've been working on most often up at the top. I do you find that to be extraordinarily helpful.

[Stacey] That's a actually an interesting point in that Kristi is using it as her default sort order. For me, because the way my system structure, title is often a sort order that I use. I use note titles to really group things there. So titles are often my default sort. This helps me to retrieve things as well. Sorting by title, come to think, that does provide me an opportunity for retrieve as well is important for naming conventions. This is something we covered in organizing your notes and some of the other sessions that we did. You can see how it all connects and interplays.

I want just wrap up this section of it by showing you just a case study that is putting it all together with an example. Say I'm in my notebook for the Untethered with Evernote notebook, I know that my assistant created it, but I want to figure out where we're at in a status report. If I did a search in Evernote for Untethered with Evernote at the top it's going to come up with 274 notes which makes sense, because Kristi and I have been compiling a book and doing a lot of promotion and there's a lot of notes. That's really not that useful, so I need to go and do something a little more detailed. The first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to add quotes around it. So if I add quotes it will change it from searching for notes that have Untethered with Evernote in any in those words to the phrase “Untethered with Evernote.” 

You can see it did a pretty good job of filtering it. It brought it down to 224 notes. Still not really that functional but quite often just that minor search change will help me find exactly what I'm looking for. In this case I'm going to add a source that's one of my search parameters that I can add. I know that my assistant created it on her desktop so I’m going to add that to the search and add another one to say it contains check boxes. I'm aware that it has been checkboxes, and lo and behold it filters it down to 18 notes which are easily something that I can scan through. Or I can change the sort order and say “okay what was she working on yesterday in our shared workspace” and it will be pulled up at the top you can see that that search Untethered with Evernote, the #1, created on the desktop, containing do lists with that phrase Untethered with Evernote is appearing and when I narrowed down to 18 notes at number two. Number three I change the date that it was updated and that's the top and I was able to find the information that I wanted.

The last thing I just want to point out is that you're in Evernote business at point number four you can see that you're going to get a prompt that says you know there's actually some context in some notes in your company library that other people in your organization created that might be related to your search, would you like to look at those? There is a prompt for those of you that use Evernote business to help you to understand that other people have been working on a similar topic and might have something to add to your find.

Kristi do you have anything to add?

[Kristi] I think that that was a great summary of some of the different ways that you can use the more advanced search criteria if all of that seems a little overwhelming you know it's okay use regular search! I rely really heavily on that. Lots of good tactics for being able to find what you're looking for.

If you watched our hangout from the Evernote conference, you heard us talk about this little better maybe you’ve read some of Evernote’s blog posts about the new features that are on their way. One of the ones I'm the most excited about is “context.” This will while not technically a search feature, it does help you find resources and reference material as you're working in Evernote. The example that bill showed what that he was preparing for a meeting with someone and he's typing in “Jurassic pigeon” somewhere in that note and it finds in the background a reference to that in the Wall Street Journal and he can then from there, pull up that reference and then copy information from that as a citation into that note.

You can imagine as a writer, I am very excited about this feature because normally what happens for me is my research I make notes about what I’m going to look for, but then I go out and Google and do a bunch of research and try to find resources and this will hope you do that. The other thing that you'll notice there is that it’s pulling in from LinkedIn. So if you're typing somebody's name so, for example, I met with a new vendor yesterday, if I had been typing their name into a note that with your new context features it will pull up that person’s LinkedIn profile for me. I don't even have to be connected to them on LinkedIn. It's going to go find their profile for me so rather than me having to go to chrome or whatever browser , then LinkedIn and then search for them… Evernote is going to be showing that information from a variety of resources.

They had a list of about 8 outside sources that they'll be pulling from and they're going to be regularly adding to that. Wall Street Journal, LinkedIn, Fast Company, Tech Crunch, Inc Magazine and some really great business resources… Factiva for business users… so I think this is be a very powerful tool up for those of us who are pulling in material or just prepping for meetings and really being able to make sure that we need to be thorough without having to track things down for multiple sources. Evernote is going to be anticipating what we need and I love that! So this is definitely going to make my life a lot easier and I think it well for other users as well. My understanding is this is going to be premium and business. So definitely a reason to upgrade if you haven't. There are a variety of other new features coming as well.

[Stacey] We look forward to seeing that. We just wanted to spend a little time telling you some of the other notable features that Evernote has promised will be launched this year that were announced at the conference. The first is the web client… which actually is available in beta now, so if you go into Evernote.com and sign in on the web you can opt in to experience the new web client today. The thing about the web client is that it allows for distraction free writing. Or distraction free composition. It could be in the capacity of what Kristi does in terms of writing an article it really can use the about composing your thoughts are doing a proposal, or compiling a task list.

The reality is that this is one of the four core actions that Evernote is focusing on: writing that the modern knowledge worker needs to do and they redevelop the web client in order to support that. The functionality of the old web client is there it may not appear that way, but what they've done is they've taken the web interface and have all the functionality stripped away until you in essence need it. So you’re not going to see the formatting bar unless you need to highlight text and then get it bolder or italics.

[Kristi] I've actually been using this this week I'm working with a new client they gave me a computer, I didn’t want to put my Evernote account on it… and that distraction free writing when you're taking notes in meetings is fantastic, because you don't have your other notes kind of off to the side pulling at your attention and so the ability to take the digital notes and still be really focused is fantastic.

[Stacey] You know, I think it's supporting how modern knowledge worker work and it's really on the leading edge of that. Give it a try, we are enjoying it. It's beautiful, it's  visually beautiful as well. The second thing that's coming that we got really excited about, is Scannable. What Scannable does is it makes the digitization of paper much easier from any iOS client, you can take a picture of any document and then have the ability to do something with that document from your mobile device. So what you've can do is take a picture of an 8.5x11 flyer, and it will recognize the borders on the image and create a beautiful scan of it. Then you have the ability to do other things with that: you can email it off to someone, you can add it to your Evernote account, you can mark it up with Skitch. It's a very transactional technology where they allow you to quickly digitizing and then move them around.

They built an integration of Scannable with the Fujistu desktop Evernote scanner, which actually allows people to put anyone in an office from your phone you can walk up to the Fujitsu scanner and put in 12 document and then have those images instantly appear on your phone so that you can at your Evernote account or move them along to some other person in your organization or outside your organization. It really expands the functionality of the Fujitsu scanner… which up to this point has to always be tied to one machine and one Evernote account.

That has made it to be very functional workspace for your entire office and to digitize the paper that’s still reality in our world.

[Kristi] You know what I thought was interesting about that, if you have to do multiple things with a piece of paper, so for example, I worked with a client that required that I log expenses in Concur, which is an expense tracking system, but I wanted for my purposes in Evernote, so I was having to you scan it, log it, go put it in Evernote… and you know there are a lot of steps to that process. But with Scannable particularly with the new Concur integration that's coming, you'll be able to say okay take this, send it to Concur, take this send it to Evernote then it’ll basically be just a couple of clicks. So I think that'll make people who have to do multiple things with something much easier.

[Stacey] That's supposed to come again also before the end of the year. The next feature that we got excited about is Work Chat. This is for Evernote business. This is going to bring collaboration in Evernote business up really many notches. You’re going to be able to actually have chat dialogues with other people in your organization around particular notes and particular projects. They showed us some screenshots on stage where you actually see a little avatar of the person that is viewing the note so you'll be able to know what people are active in the system and what people are actually active on a particular note. And then you can message them and have a conversation around the content of your Evernote account and presumably your project right there within Evernote. No need to leave that. You can do everything right there in the system. 

Obviously in the context of what Kristi was talking about with LinkedIn profiles as well as other ways to collaborate together, but that's a feature that we have yet to see.

[Kristi] Think about the process for writing the book and how much easier our lives would have been because instead we were using thinking messaging and we were in Evernote, chatting back and forth and just be able to do it from inside the tool would have been fantastic. This is going to be great when we do the next revision!

[Stacey] The final feature that we want to go over is Presentation Mode 2.0. So they're going to be revamping presentation mode and this isn't necessarily about doing a slide deck to an audience… this is about collaborating in meetings and using your notes to have a fluid conversation that makes meetings suck less, as Phil Libin said.

This is about really being able to sit in a small room with other users, have your laptop there, and have that TV screen that’s on the wall showing your notes in a way that is visually appealing and helps to move work forward during your meeting. 

They built some smart functionality in presentation mode so that there'll be some natural breaks in your content and the formatting of the slide based on rules and other formatting elements that you might put into your slide. I anticipate that Kristi and I will probably do a whole hangout on air regarding presentation mode once it becomes a little bit more established. We're excited about the opportunities that are coming up with that.

[Kristi] I just think this has been a great tool for me when I do facilitations. Creating a PowerPoint works well when you are giving a speech… and you have a point that you want to make. When you're really facilitating a conversation and your trying to create an outcome together and brainstorm, having a whole slide deck really gets in the way. I think this presentation mode where you can be a fly and everybody can still see on the screen is going to be a really dynamic, great way for teams to work together. I've been able to use that really effectively. The one thing I missed was the being able to have transitioned breaks where I could decide what was going to be on the screen and I think that'll be a great powerful tool that takes us to the next level.

[Stacey] We're looking forward to all of Evernote’s launching in the next couple of months. Be sure to check the resources page for the book for current information and updates for the book.

If you want to connect with us socially, there’s several places that you can do that. We have active discussion in the Facebook group. The Google+ page and YouTube Channel are tied together. That's where you can find the information on future episodes and the older hangouts. Follow us on Twitter. If you want to get a version of the book, go to GetUntethered.com.

Next month, we're going to be talking about best practices for collaborating with Evernote. We have a whole chapter on this, it was the topic of my presentation at the Evernote Conference a couple weeks ago and we want to talk about some of the best practices and tools for making sure you get work done with other people both inside and outside your organizations.