Hidden Search Operators

Want to search through your WorkFlowy account like a pirate ninja? There are a number of “secret” search operators that you can use to get a lot more power out of the search feature.

These operators are unofficial features because we plan to add nice interfaces for (most of) them, but for now you power users (you know who you are) will find these useful.

So, without further ado, here they are. Note that we just added a couple of these, so don’t feel too bad if you don’t know about all of them already.

– (NOT)

Add a “-” before a search term if you’d like to exclude items that contain that term.

For example, if you’re using the tags @jesse and #current to assign items to Jesse and mark what he’s currently working on, you can search for “@jesse -#current” to find all the items that Jesse is assigned to that he’s NOT currently working on.

If you search for just negated terms, we’ll filter your current view, removing all items containing those terms. So if you’re looking at a list of tasks that are assigned to @jesse and @mike, you can search for “-@jesse” to show just the ones assigned to @mike.


Add an all-caps “OR” between search terms to search for items that contain either of those terms.

For example, search for “@jesse OR @mike” to show all items assigned to either Jesse or Mike.

“quoted string”

Use double-quotes to find items that contain the exact string between the quotes.

This lets you search for multiple words in sequence (e.g., “”the quick brown fox”“) or search for part of a word or number (e.g., search for “”203”” to find an item containing “123203456”).


We support a GMail-style “is:” operator to search for items that match the category specified. We support three categories right now: “complete”, “shared”, and “embedded”.

For example, you can use the “is:complete” operator to search for completed items. (Note that you’ll need to toggle completed items to be visible to have them show up.) “is:shared” will search for items you’ve shared, and “is:embedded” will search for items you’ve embedded in your account that others have shared.


We remember when each item was last changed. You can see this date by hovering the mouse cursor over an item’s bullet for a second or two.

You can search for items last changed within a time period with the “last-changed:” operator.

For example, search for “last-changed:1d” to search for items changed within the last day. Search for “last-changed:4h” to search for items changed within the last 4 hours. (Days and hours are the time units we support right now.)

One more thing:

You can combine all of these operators in combination with each other. So, for example, you can search for completed items assigned to Jesse that were changed in the last week by searching for “is:complete @jesse last-changed:7d”.

Hope you find these useful.

How Big Can a WorkFlowy Account Get?

We get asked pretty often how big a WorkFlowy account can get before starting to slow down.

The short answer is: really big. I’ll give more detail in a second, but first, a digression…

We’ve insisted on keeping every WorkFlowy account to a single “document” because of the elegance of this approach. When everything’s in the same “document,” you never have to decide when to create a new document or when to merge documents, and there doesn’t need to be a special interface for managing documents (like the document list in Google Docs) or moving items between them. It’s all one simple interface.

When you think about it, though, a WorkFlowy account is actually composed of many documents. Each item is its own document if you click the bullet to zoom in. Because there’s no difference between an item and a document, you never need to wonder about whether something should be “just an item” or a new document unto itself.

Now, back to the original question. Because everything in WorkFlowy is stored on a single virtual page, people often wonder what the limit is on the amount that can be stored on that page.

We’ve done a lot – and continue to do a lot – to keep WorkFlowy fast for large accounts. I’ve been using WorkFlowy for over two years now, and my WorkFlowy account has grown to almost 20,000 items. There is no noticeable slowdown. We have users with account sizes more than double mine, as well. These are large accounts, containing novels’ worth of text.

So the answer is: You are highly unlikely to run into any slowness. There are always bottlenecks, though, and we’re committed to continuing to eliminate these as our users’ accounts continue to grow in size.