So, You Want a More Powerful Search?
Evernote has a sophisticated search with plenty of advanced features that will satisfy the vast majority of users. However, if you are looking for even more control over your searches, and you are a Mac user, then you are in luck! Evernote has kindly saved your database in a way that enables it to be indexed by Spotlight.
For researchers, this opens up exciting new possibilities for geting work done. Want to search every file (PDFs, Word documents, etc.) on your local drive, every one of your notes in Evernote, and all of the notes that colleagues have shared with you through Evernote? No problem. Want to conduct a Boolean search (AND, OR, and NOT) with multiple operators simultaneously? No problem. Evernote + Spotlight is a powerful combination!
The spotlight icon can be found in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. It is the magnifying glass next to the clock.
It is worth getting to know Spotlight well because it indexes all of the files on your local drive and makes finding anything on your computer very easy. Fortunately for us, this includes your Evernote data too!
Do a Search
I keep a daily research journal that also includes a "Health Log" section in the template for recording diet and fitness details. In this search, I am looking for all of my notes containing records of me swimming and biking, but I want to exclude those that have running in them. Usually, I'll have a lot more hits, and so I find it helpful to show the results in Finder.
Show the Results in Finder
I have my own system for titling notes with the date and keywords (YYMMDD + keywords), so it is clear that the first two results come from my Evernote notebooks. One of them is a property list file, and we don't need to concern ourselves with it (you cannot open it with Evernote), but the other one is my note (you won't know which one is which until you try to open them). It looks like there was only one day when I swam and biked but did not run (see explanation below).
Within Evernote we don't yet have a way to search through notebooks that people have shared with us except to go through them one at a time. As you can see by the third and fourth results, with Spotlight I was able to find someone else's note that contained swimming and biking, but no running. If you substitute keywords related to your research topic for the ones that I used here in this example, then you can imagine the possibilities created by combining Spotlight and Evernote, especially if you have all of your research materials scanned and on your local drive, and you are involved in collaborative projects using shared notebooks. A single search will find anything.
* In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a triathlete or anything like that. This search was just for illustrative purposes, because I rarely swim and bike on the same day, and I never run, so I knew I would have very few hits! The date of this note puts me in Japan, where I did not even have a bike. It turns out that I wrote about a conversation I had with someone about biking. I only swam that day: "10:40-11:30 Swimming 2000+ meters." Apparently, I have not done any swimming or biking on the same day since I began tracking my workouts in Evernote last year.