Using an Advanced Search

I really wish I can do an Advanced Search on my notes. Especially using 2 things:

  1. Searching notes using multiple hashtags. For example, when I look up hashtags #virus and #anatomy, I want to search for notes that have BOTH hashtags (#virus “AND” #anatomy). The current set up lets you select multiple hashtags to search, but it’s ends up being an “OR” search.

  2. Searching notes using a full description. For example, if I type in the search bar “Happy days,” it’ll currently search each word separately. It’ll find notes with the word “happy” or notes with the word “days.” But I would like to search “happy days” together (happy AND days), rather than “OR.”


Yes, please!

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Hello, when searching for tags, you can achieve and by changing the| between tags to spaces. the same is true for words, see the following figure.

+1 This was discussed last summer, and I still believe it’s an important feature missing from MarginNote. The current solution that @Relight_Support-Team describes seems quite limited and IMHO cannot be called advanced search. It doesn’t appear possible to search across multiple documents, specify search fields, parts of fields, save searches, etc. I don’t know if(?) this sort of thing could be done with the new JavaScript support.

It should not be complicated to add functionality to MarginNote for performing a real multi-term search, like this:

Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 16.27.20

I.e., Source specifies a field to search, including can be including/is/starts from, and boolean operations AND/OR can be used to join search terms. Search terms that are not joined by booleans cause the results to be concatenated, which is a simple way to organize them.

I say “should not be complicated” to add this, because MarginNote uses a standard SQL database. All the heavy lifting is done by the database. I was able to write a basic app for searching my MN database, save searches, format notes and export RTF in 36 hours of time spent coding (the screenshot above is a working solution). I’m not a professional developer and there was no documentation or support, so it should be easier for the MarginNote team to do this.

Basically, I think it depends whether MarginNote really wants to reach an academic audience, or not. FWIW, I showed MarginNote to an anthropologist colleague. At first, she was excited to use MN for her research, but lost all interest due to the lack of advanced search. That was the deal-breaker. Without this functionality, she saw no point in buying/using MarginNote.

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I’m exploring with Min the possibility of implementing the search syntaxes of NOT, as well as the combinatorial syntaxes.
For example, support for search (Apple AND Tree) OR (Dog AND Sun) Not ( (Sea AND Fish).
Do you know of any software that supports this complex search? We hope to get your recommendation.

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Hi @Edward_Support-Team,

Yes, both Bookends and Zotero support complex search. Probably others (e.g., TinderBox), but these apps are the ones I know and use.

Bookends has a complex search feature (see the screen shot, just below), and also supports RegEx and SQL.

Zotero takes a more simple approach, but it is still very powerful:

It is important to allow users to define, save, and edit searches, too.

If you have any questions about search features or details, just let me know.

I hope you will add complex search to MarginNote.