Finding back items in Evernote is usually as simple as typing something, anything, into the search box and seeing the results appear as you type.
For slightly deeper data digging some of us might be tagging our notes and use the [tag:] query to get to very specific notes.
The problem begins when you need that note with that Word document attached to it. Or when you want to pull all your notes with .ppt attachments.
Go ahead, give it a try. I’ll wait.
“Finding” Files the Evernote Way
You won’t find any guidance on how to do this in the Evernote help files. The information is buried deep inside the developer notes and reads something like;
resource:[MIME type string] – will match notes that have a resource with a MIME type that matches the argument.
Which is almost not true.
So before you go off on a Google chase to figure out which MIME type Microsoft Word is then, let me tell you that even with that information, you’ll only find a fraction of the amount of files you know are in your Evernote.
Wouldn’t it be cool if Evernote had a search like
Finding Files the Easy Way
Setup and use a tag structure which emulates precisely the type of queries you would want to perform in Evernote.
For example, I might tag a note with has:file, has:word, is:template. Or: has:file, has:image, has:photo, is:scanned.
You can already see how this folds back into specific queries:
tag:has:pdf] finds all my PDF files.
tag:has:word –tag:is:template] finds all my Word documents which aren’t templates.
I have these tag structures listed in a way which helps me remember visually that something special is going on here – but you can organize this any which way you like.
Taking Query Tagging to the Next Level
Although you have to be careful not to go all out crazy and create tagging structures like people:family:mom:events:birthdays … there are some tempting query-like tags you can setup.
I often come across software that strikes me as very handy because it does A or B. I often download and/or buy it. Problem is that when the time comes that I think “boy, do I need to do B!” … I have no recollection of the software solution I have at hand :)
So, these days when I read the description of a product or service, I clip it into Evernote and tag it with one of my tool: query tags.
Need Portable software? [
Graphic apps? [
Any software? [
You Can Go Your Own Way
Apart from the file/attachment specific queries above, which I think we all need at one point or another, the examples above are really very specific to my user scenarios.
When you get back to your Evernote install or web setup, you have to apply this the way it makes sense in your life.
Questions & Answers
- Do I have to use the : in these tags?
No, not at all. In fact, putting a period there is much faster. I just like how it looks like a regular query this way :)
- Do I have to start these tag structures with has or is or tool?
No; pick whatever works for you.
- Why do you use word:word? Why not simply add two tags?
Because at times I need very specific searches. When I have notes tagged with “word”, “file”, “template” … those notes are just as likely to be about those thing vs. being those things.
In other words, the above structure allows me to separate tags into information about the note’s content (what it’s about) and information about the note itself (where it comes from or what it contains).