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Productivity Consultant at Organize For Success, LLC...
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Tactics to Quickly Find What's Needed in Evernote

Whether you are seeking your own words, images, documents, checklists or content culled from elsewhere, Evernote's powerful search and discovery features make it easy to quickly find what you need when you need it, no matter from where you are seeking it. How would you like to stop wasting time, searching for what you "know" you have?!? Well, look no further!

Anytime you enter text in the Search field of your Evernote account, it searches all the content in your notes' titles, your notes' bodies, notebook names, tags you've used and content in your URLs for notes in your database, including text in photos that has been processed by Optical Character Recognition; plus, in Business or Premium, you can search text inside attachments, PDFs and spreadsheets. Yet, Evernote's search capabilities go well beyond a simple keyword search option.


With Descriptive Search, those using Evernote on a Mac can use plain language to describe what is being sought. You can search by location you visited on a specific trip, by dates you know you were doing whatever is being sought, by type of device you used to upload the information and more. Click here for a video overview of the Descriptive Search functionality.

Still, within that same search field, Evernote offers codes or equations you can use to focus in on certain aspects of the content for which you are searching. Here are some examples:
  • created:20150115 finds notes created on January 15, 2015
  • updated:20150327 finds notes updated on March 27, 2015
  • intitle:"coffee" finds notes with coffee in their titles
  • resource:image/* searches for notes that include images
  • notebook:"Receipts" finds notes in the Receipts notebook
  • tag:"Mobile" finds notes tagged with Mobile
  • any:"New York" searches for notes that have New OR York in them, unlike how typing New York on its own in the search box will pull up notes that have both New AND York in them
  • todo:true finds notes with a checkbox that is checked
  • todo:false finds notes that contain an unchecked checkbox
  • todo:* searches for all notes that contain any checkbox at all
  • source:mobile finds all notes created on a mobile device

Many of my clients extend the power of Evernote for quickly finding what's needed via the Atlas and Shortcuts. By clicking the word Atlas in your Evernote account, you see a map and can locate any note based off the location in which it was added to your database. Likewise, under word Shortcut, you can access any note or notebook you've added to the shortlist of which content you access most frequently and, therefore, want most easily accessible. It is quite simple to add content to your Shortcuts by simply dragging a note or notebook atop the Shortcuts name and, then, dropping it into that section; however, I highly encourage you to keep your list of Shortcut content short so it doesn't become cumbersome to scroll through these options.

Above all else, though, I think Evernote's recent additions of Context and Augmented Intelligence empower me to most easily find whatever I might need quickly. If you are using Evernote Premium, it is with Context that you are given related notes from you own account, people from your LinkedIn network related to that note's content and relevant content for free from trusted news sources, like The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Inc Magazine, Pando Daily, CrunchBase, TechCrunch, Forbes and Lifehacker. On Evernote Business, the Context functionality adds related notes from team members, others in your company who many know more about the topic at hand and content from Factiva's web content. Context dramatically extends my ability to get work done within my Evernote workspace. Further, via Augmented Intelligence, my Evernote database is incorporating what it learns from how I use the tool to better provide me with what content it determines would be helpful, and it is quite fascinating. For example, if I've been adding content to specific notebooks, those notebooks will appear atop my list of notebook options when adding new notes on the go.

How do you find what you need quickly in your Evernote database? Do you utilize any of these tactics or are there any you'll be incorporating in your daily work habits?

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