Hidden Search Operators

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September 25, 2012

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.

OR

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”).

is:

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.

last-changed:

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.

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julie
julie
7 years ago

are these the old booleen (sp?) operators?

Volker
Volker
7 years ago

I find those very useful. “@jesse -#important” works, but “#ThisWeek -#important” does not… would be good to have as well. Anyways, you guys made my day already.

Giulio Malventi (@eevleevs)

Any way to order the items by last-changed date? Would be very powerful in combination with *** stars prioritization.

tolgaislam
tolgaislam
7 years ago

about search capabilities of workflowy…. sometimes I cant find the words I am looking for via search tool… you might check in my account: for example when I search aktivist, the word “direnaktivist” doesnt appear; but when I search diren “direnaktivist” appears… is this normal or is there a bug? (p.s. I couldnt find an email to report this, thus I am using comments, you do not need to publish this, just wanted to let you know about this problem)

Tomasz
Tomasz
7 years ago

Wow, that’s absolutely fantastic!

It would be even better to have the possibility to do something like “-#” to select all items that haven’t been tagged yet

griffingaryl
7 years ago

I would like the ability to be able to include some kind of command to force the search from the top level. For example, I have a document that has filters in it, but these filters only apply to the current level and nested levels from that point. It would be nice if there was some tag or command in the filter that would tell it to search all of workflowy without having to go to the top level to perform the search.

Jeremy
Jeremy
7 years ago

For last-changed, is “last-day:1d” the prior 24 hours? Or the prior calendar day?

Jesse Patel
Jesse Patel
7 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy

Prior 24 hours

Jeremy
Jeremy
7 years ago
Reply to  Jesse Patel

Thanks for the clarification. If you’re taking feature requests, I’d love to be able to do calendar day as well sometime.

Volker
Volker
7 years ago

Could you please also implement “completed:1d”?
I sometimes move completed notes or remove tags to clean up both of which changes the last-changed date but leaves the completed date untouched (but I can’t query that currently).

Would also be great to have statistics (measure then improve) that tells you how many new items were created, how many old ones were closed and how many of the newly created items were closed on the same day.

Might require an operator to query items based on the time they exist already.

trackback

[…] d’écriture (#argument, #exemple, #citation…). WorkFlowy propose d’ailleurs des opérateurs de recherches avancés. • L’enseignant peut afficher et présenter les éléments voulus ou les exporter au format […]

Roger
Roger
7 years ago

Is there something like “completed-on:Sep/04/2014” ?

spolsky
spolsky
7 years ago

Volker, it appears that “completed:1d” has been implemented in the search. Like last-changed, it appears to accept 12h and 14d type inputs, for items completed within that number of hours and days respectively.

At least two operators have been added since this post in 2012:

has:note
completed:

Roger, this is quite a search string but try this:

-completed:48d completed:50d

Tweaking the number of days as needed. If it’s Oct. 23 then 48 days ago was Sep. 5 and 50 days ago was Sep. 3, it should find only completed items that were completed in that range.

Similar searches can be used for last-changed to isolate windows of time for all items, not just completed ones.

frank.dg
frank.dg
6 years ago
Reply to  spolsky

Great catch @spolsky!

Dan Rosenstark
5 years ago
Reply to  spolsky

This article is at the top of the Google Search Results for Workflowy Search. PLEASE update the article itself, AT THE VERY LEAST with a link to where the definitive source can be found. THANKS.

Paul Smith
Paul Smith
6 years ago

Is there a way to use an “AND” Boolean search operator in addition to the “OR” operator? For example, if I wanted to show items tagged to a timeframe and a context, such as “#week AND #calls” to show all calls I need to make this week. Or, as another example “#week AND “#projects” to show only task items associated with projects planned for this week.

Jesse Patel
Jesse Patel
6 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smith

This is the default behavior, if you just have a space between two search terms. However, they have to appear in the same item. It won’t find say, anything inside #projects that has the tag #week.

Ramiro
Ramiro
6 years ago

A colour on the bullet point to notify changements done by collaborators could be a quicker way to identify modifued lists, you an put on the bullet point menu “restore” or something like that to put the basic color back once verification donne

trackback

[…] WorkFlowyの検索オプションでは意外に複雑な条件を指定することが可能な機能が隠されているんですね。ある検索オプションを偶然に見つけ、他にも何かあるんじゃないか?と探したところHidden Search Operatorsという記事をWorkFlowyのブログで見つけました。2012年の記事ですから、大分前のものです。それでも使いこなしていない人は多いのではないかと考え、ご紹介します。 […]

frank.dg
frank.dg
6 years ago

Any other hidden goodies beyond this list and those updates mentioned in the comments?
I found a hidden dynamic within lists: creating a “#date” tag, followed by a space, inputs the date. Anything for date and time? Any other hidden tag dynamics?

frank.dg
frank.dg
6 years ago
Reply to  frank.dg

Never mind… PhraseExpress was working in the background for the time input thing.

imjonbean
6 years ago
Reply to  frank.dg

Oh, thanks, i need something like PhraseExpress

gamesb00k
gamesb00k
6 years ago

It would be cool to assign names to saved searches.

trackback

[…] closest thing to this is probably the “hidden search operators,” but we have blogged about them which makes them not-so-hidden […]

trackback

[…] overall clutter of my todo app. I decided to find ways to make WorkFlowy work. The blog post about Hidden Search Operators was a revelation. I could save nodes and complex custom searches in my bookmarks bar. I settled in […]

askryukovskiy
5 years ago

There is a bug? If I try to filter things not containing tag @Заметки, some outlines are still not filtered. There are outlines with @1-0 in children.
Please take a look: https://workflowy.com/s/y53oPAMJ2n
Thanks in advance!

frank.dg
frank.dg
5 years ago
Reply to  askryukovskiy

Hi! Your sample outline is not big enough to put this to the test. For example, one cannot filter out a zoomed-in list title… since it’s the list title. So if you exclude @Заметки from your search by using “-@Заметки”, in this case it will not be excluded. Also, you have not included @1-0 in any children lists within the sample public list posted. Expand on that outline and I’ll be happy to take a look for you 🙂

askryukovskiy
5 years ago
Reply to  frank.dg

Thank you, Frank!

For just to have it clear: I am using an Inbox for tasks and notes. It is a parent tree. Some child trees are still not filtered. Here is a screenshot from my Android app https://goo.gl/photos/F9uMHYAdZucRC3um9

frank.dg
frank.dg
5 years ago
Reply to  askryukovskiy

Hi Askryukovskiy,
You are right, your tag should be filtered out. You might want to try emailing help@workflowy.com
In the meantime, have you tried filtering like so: -“@Заметки” (using quotes). Is this happening only on your Android or also on desktop?

askryukovskiy
5 years ago
Reply to  frank.dg

Thanks again, Frank! Yes, on desktop

askryukovskiy
5 years ago
Reply to  frank.dg

Thanks again, Frank! Yes, on my desktop as well. I will try quotes, and contact the Workflowy team. Thank you for your kind help!

John
John
4 years ago

Thank you very much. This made things easier

jdebas
4 years ago

why no is:bold etc?

Barbara
Barbara
3 years ago

It would be really helpful to have a shortcut to at least the OR and NOT operators.

I’m all the time wanting to filter and find entries using one or two tags using an OR. This requires clicking on the first tag, then moving my cursor to the search bar (it isn’t automatically already there), moving my hand from the mouse to the keyboard, typing OR (with the caps key), moving my hand back to the mouse and clicking the 2nd tag.

It would be much easier if I could just click the first, then something like “control click” for the 2nd, to automatically add an OR between the two.

frank.dg
frank.dg
3 years ago
Reply to  Barbara

Hey Barbara, has a bookmarklet you can click on that converts your whole selection to an “OR” search:

Just grab the bookmarklet here:

https://rawbytz.blogspot.com.br/p/orsearch-bookmarklet-for-workflowy.html

Steve Carter
3 years ago

Lovely! Very useful post and features.

Next on my wishlist would be to see is:leaf or has:children or similar. (Use case: show me all the items without children that don’t have tag X on them) [is:leaf -#next]

Matthieu
Matthieu
1 month ago

Is there a way to combine OR and AND such as “(x OR y OR z) AND t”. It would open up the door for some really powerful filtering.

Last edited 1 month ago by Matthieu
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