Use Boolean search for targeted search results

Boolean search is a type of search that allows you to combine keywords with specifically-defined operators (or modifiers)—such as AND, NOT and OR—to produce targeted search results. For example, a Boolean search of "lead AND new" would result in a list of notes that contain only those exact two keywords.

The four Boolean search operators that Evernote supports are:

  • AND
  • OR
  • NOT
  • ()

Before you get started, a few things to keep in mind about Boolean search:

  • These search operators can be used separately or together to form simple or complex search queries.
  • These search operators are case-sensitive (they must all be capitalized).
  • All search queries will be evaluated in the following order: ()NOTANDOR, regardless of their placement in the query.

AND

The AND operator can be used between two words to narrow search results to only notes that include both words in them. The more criteria added using the AND operator, the more narrow and refined the search results will be.

EXAMPLE:

Search query Expected results
lead AND new All notes that have both the words "lead" and "new" in them. Notes that only have one of the words in them are not included.

OR

The OR operator can be used between two words to narrow search results to only notes that include either word in them. Using OR broadens a search to include more notes in the results.

EXAMPLE:

Search query Expected results
lead OR new All notes that have either the word "lead" or the word "new" in them.

NOT

The NOT operator can be used to exclude notes with specific keywords from your search to further narrow your results. Using NOT helps narrow your search results.

EXAMPLE:

Search query Expected results
lead NOT new All notes that have the word "lead" in them, but not the word "new" in them. Notes that have both words in them are not included.

Brackets ()

The () operator is essential to writing complex search queries which combine multiple operators. When using brackets in a complex search, the clause within the brackets is evaluated first, then any other elements of the query outside of the brackets are evaluated in the final results. For example, the search "lead OR client NOT new" will be different depending on the placement of the brackets.

EXAMPLE:

Search query Expected results
(lead OR client) NOT new This search will first look for notes that contain either "lead" or "client" in them, then will exclude all notes with the word "new" in them.
lead OR (client NOT new) This search will first look for notes that contain "client" but not "new" in them, and then will add all notes with the word "lead" in them.

Complex Boolean searches

All of these search operators can be combined to form complex searches, which will help you get precisely targeted search results. In addition, you can combine these with our advanced search syntax to further narrow your results. As a reminder, all search queries will be evaluated in the following order: ()NOTANDOR, regardless of their placement in the query. Examples of complex searches include:

Search query Expected results
(NOT notebook:"vendors" AND tag:lead AND tag:new) OR (NOT tag:new AND tag:under-5 AND tag:2020) This search will first look for notes that are not in the "vendors" notebook and have the tags "lead" and "new." Then it will add notes that do not have the tag "new," but have the tags "under-5" and "2020" to the results.

LANGUAGES_PRODUCT

Keywords:

  • boolean
  • advanced search
  • search syntax

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