Smooth Operators

By

December 14, 2021

This feature is available in Workflowy Beta.

Please make sure you have the Workflowy Labs toggle on in your settings panel.

The search function in Workflowy is a critical part of most user’s day-to-day flow. Having all your information live within a single space is only as useful as the tools you have to group and selectively browse that information. Search is a critical part of that experience.

Today we make search even more powerful with the addition of several new operators. These new operators give users even more ways to browse and consume their information.

What are the new operators?

These new operators allow you to search for even more types of content including mirrors, images, backlinks, colors and much more.

If you click on the search bar or hit the ESCAPE key, you’ll notice that there’s a new tab at the bottom right of the search widget. That sections contains the new operators. You can also simply type them at any point during your search and they’ll invoke the autocomplete widget.

  • is:
  • has:
  • text:
  • highlight:

What can I find with ‘is:’ ?

is: lets you to search for the following item types:

  • Complete items
  • Items that you have shared
  • Items that have been shared with you
  • Mirrors
  • Backlinks

What can I find with ‘has:’ ?

has: lets you search for items that have:

  • Notes
  • Files
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Tweets

What can I find with ‘text:’ and ‘highlight:’ ?

Basically, both text: and highlight: allow you to search for text based on its color or the color of its highlight.

These two new search operators are particularly interesting because they allow you to incorporate note taking systems usually reserved for paper and highlighters, and use them within Workflowy.

Now, not only do the colors provide visual cues as to what the content means, but they can also provide additional functionality.

Some ideas of what you can do with text: and highlight:

  • Highlight errors when proofreading a text the only show those errors
  • Highlight items you don’t remember in your study notes then only review those items
  • Color code study notes by type of information to make studying more efficient (formulas, vocabulary, quotes, dates)
  • Color tasks based on the day of the week they should be done

Song referenced in the title 🎶

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Kohei
Kohei
11 months ago

Great feature. I would be more than happy to filter by the number of backlinks using operators. That would make it easier to identify important material.

Johannes Schaffer
Johannes Schaffer
11 months ago

What we really need (or I at least) is substring search, e.g. “640” finds “a6400”. I know it can’t be indexed with a FTS index, but adding it optionally, so that one can choose to use it even though it’s slow, would be great. Would be even better with a trigram / GIN index of course;) (even without it, loading my current workflowy data (16K nodes) into an SQL database, it takes <3ms to find a substring / pattern match)

Last edited 11 months ago by Johannes Schaffer
Kay
Kay
11 months ago

Bravo!

Aeonor
Aeonor
11 months ago

OH VERY COOL !!!
Pleaaase add a “not” operator !

not(is:Complete) would be awesome !

Aleksander
Aleksander
11 months ago
Reply to  Aeonor

it’s already there, but not so obvious i guess… just type the minus sign at the beginning:
-is:complete

Scott
Scott
11 months ago

Awesome! I love these new ways of searching. So helpful and reason to love WF even more! Thanks!!

Will Dollis
Will Dollis
11 months ago

This is fantastic! I ESPECIALLY need to be able to find mirrors. I’ve wanted this for a while, and you’ve built that and more.

julio rojas
julio rojas
11 months ago

Very cool! As usual Good job

Jeffrey
11 months ago

Well done as usual.

Renee Colwell
Renee Colwell
11 months ago

Hey, are you guys a public company yet? How can I buy stock in you before Google swoops in and buys you?

Jeffrey
11 months ago
Reply to  Renee Colwell

Don’t listen to Renee – never sell to Google!!

Jay Gamel
Jay Gamel
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeffrey

Repeat that after the offer …

Will Dollis
Will Dollis
11 months ago
Reply to  Jay Gamel

lol

But no to Google, yes to WorkFlowy.

Piotr Szwach
11 months ago

Can you add: has-in-parent:XYZ
An operator that finds all tasks that are within parent XYZ

Volker
Volker
10 months ago
Reply to  Piotr Szwach

What’s wrong with going to node XYZ first and then doing the search?

Manny Pardeller
11 months ago

is:really cool!

Mike
Mike
11 months ago

is:awesome!

Leo
Leo
11 months ago

I don’t even know that you have Highlight! Good job~

Kristian Voss Bjerre
Kristian Voss Bjerre
11 months ago

Very cool! I usually highlight “quotes” in italic already. It’s kinda like “hidden/reduced bloat” tags. I can see it having great potential 😀

Now all we need is node creation date (automatic and hidden), tables and possibly somehow push notifications (would make me a blissful one-app-no-clutter person) 😀

Carlos Rebolledo Aguirre
Carlos Rebolledo Aguirre
11 months ago

Extraordinario chicos !!! Ufff esto es muy bueno

A disfrutar y seguir así !!!!

Aleksander
Aleksander
11 months ago

has:link would be nice as well 🙂

Frank Degenaar
Editor
11 months ago

(Twenty) first!

Pete
Pete
11 months ago

You guys are killing it, keep up the great work! I hope we can see more feature parity between desktop and the mobile app in the future.

Edward McPhail
Edward McPhail
11 months ago

Love the title of your post! I played Sade while reading.

Will Dollis
Will Dollis
11 months ago
Reply to  Edward McPhail

Never give up the cheesy titles.

creatorconsume
creatorconsume
11 months ago

I love the highlight: feature! I use different highlight colors in Google Play Books to categorize written content (character development, vocabulary, key moments, etc.) I’m excited to see how I can use this in WorkFlowy now.

Earl Richardson
Earl Richardson
11 months ago

Wonderful job, guys! Thanks for doing this – very well done!

Александр Крюковский
Александр Крюковский
11 months ago

Feature request: has:childs, has:links and has:DATE

Last edited 11 months ago by Александр Крюковский
Geezelle
11 months ago

The is:mirror will save me a lot of headache.. thank you, WF team!.. Hopefully you guys are getting enough sleep. 😉

Chencha Jacob
Chencha Jacob
11 months ago

Wow this is great! I especially like the has feature. Gives me more options for when I need to capture original content.

Paul Eden
Paul Eden
11 months ago

Great additions! Is there a way to search for any bullets that have children or don’t have children? Sometimes I need to know which bullets I’ve filled in for example.

Last edited 11 months ago by Paul Eden
Matt
Matt
11 months ago

Could you please stop force feed your news through WorkFlowy?

Nora
Nora
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt

Awww.. really? I actually probably wouldn’t know about half of the new features if it weren’t through the notice in WorkFlowy.

Erich
Erich
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt

News like these are right on spot!

Just Info
Just Info
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt

it’s what websites and opt-in newsletters are for. it feels very invasive to have stuff pop-up in a space for which I pay a fee. like someone tacking up a flyer for a charity concert inside your house….while you’re sleeping.

Zack
Zack
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt

I actually disagree with this sentiment 🙁 I love seeing these new feature announcements – the announcements they make in-app are always specific to some new feature I get to use.

Will Dollis
Will Dollis
11 months ago
Reply to  Zack

Agree with Zack.

Perf
Perf
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt

I believe the opposite of this trolling claim is true. I blame WorkFlowy for being too shy and not always letting us know when they launch a new feature! Sometimes I have to come to the blog to see what’s new because new add-ons are not always communicated in the app. I wish they always did, even the smaller improvements so we can start using them instantly and don’t miss any new features improvements!

Hammerofthe Gods
Hammerofthe Gods
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt

I’d object if WF was promoting a sale- that sorta cheezy stuff, but this is relevant info. It’s there, then it’s gone. But you have your opinion, that’s perfectly fine with me.

Piotr Szwach
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt

Just add option in settings to enable/disable. Some people find them very useful.

Mitch
Mitch
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt

I could see making it optional, but geez, this is awesome to see new updates right in the app!

Everett
Everett
11 months ago

Can you say more on the ‘text:’ operator please?

H B
H B
11 months ago
Reply to  Everett

It’s all there…
“What can I find with ‘text:’ and ‘highlight:’ ?
These two new search operators are particularly interesting because they allow you to incorporate note taking systems usually reserved for paper and highlighters, and use them within Workflowy.”

waldyrious
waldyrious
11 months ago
Reply to  Rodolfo Lopez

Oh, gotcha! But TBH, I’d expect such an operator to be called “textcolor”, or simply “color”, but definitely not “text” 😄

Remko
Remko
11 months ago
Reply to  waldyrious

I agree, “textstyle” might be more appropriate

JMV
JMV
11 months ago
Reply to  waldyrious

color: makes sense for colors, but the new text: operater can also search for bold, italic, and underline, so the broader “text” seems more appropriate (to me).

Franz G
Franz G
11 months ago
Reply to  JMV

So ‘style’ maybe style:purple and style:bold would work

Mitch
Mitch
11 months ago
Reply to  waldyrious

Agree! If it is about color, then include that word. My first thought was ‘heck, isn’t search already about text?” 🙂

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