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4.4   Searching

The search box lets you filter the records of the selected sources to display only those records that match the search criteria. After searching, the query is automatically entered into the Find panel so that you can search within the current record in the Record Viewer, e.g. using Find ‣ Find Next/Previous.

search menusearch menu

Search Scope

When you have the Records source selected, EagleFiler searches the entire library. This will include or not include e-mail messages depending on whether Show ‣ Messages in Records Source is checked.

When a folder or tag is selected, EagleFiler displays and searches only the contents of that folder or the records with that tag. If Search Contained Folders/Mailboxes/Tags is checked, EagleFiler searches all the folders and mailboxes inside the folder, or the subtags of the tag; otherwise, it searches only the top level.

Indexed Searches

As described in the How does indexing in EagleFiler work? section, EagleFiler maintains indexes so that it can search quickly.

There are two kinds of indexed searches:

Searches the contents of the records, as well as the Title, From, To, Cc, mail attachment names and contents, and notes. Also searches for records whose tags exactly match the query (ignoring the enhanced syntax below).
Searches the notes of the records.

These support an enhanced query syntax:

&, AND
Boolean AND. The <space> character also represents a Boolean AND.
|, OR
Boolean inclusive OR.
!, -
Boolean NOT. For example, apple -orange finds records that contain apple and do not contain orange.
(, )
Opening and closing delimiters for logical grouping. For example, (apple AND orange) OR (apple AND pear) finds records that contain apple and another fruit, but not ones that contain only apple.
Opening and closing delimiter for phrase-based searching. Phrase-based searches find records that contain all of the words in sequence. Non-word characters inside the quotes are treated as word separators and thus do not need to appear in the match.
Wildcard for prefix or suffix. Ignored in phrase-based searches. To search for a partial word, use two *’s, e.g. *ant* will find ant, repellant, anthem, and words with ant in the middle. If Match Partial Words is checked, EagleFiler will find partial word matches without your having to type the wildcards each time.


  1. Searching for "IDP policy" "commit fails" finds records containing the two phrases IDP policy and commit fails (since the space implies AND).
  2. Searching for tech lead !"tech lead" finds records containing both tech and lead but not those two words in sequence.
  3. Searching for "ProductVersion 1.2" finds records containing the word ProductVersion followed by the word 1 and then the word 2. This includes records containing ProductVersion 1 2 as well as ProductVersion=1.2, because the = and . are considered to be word separator characters for indexed searches.

Exact Searches

There are also five kinds of exact (though case- and diacritic-insensitive) searches:

Searches the filenames as displayed in the records list.
Searches both the names and e-mail addresses.

Finds records that have the specified tag names. If Match Partial Words is not selected, tag searching is exact, so you must type the complete tag names (with the proper case). You can put - or ! before a tag name to find records that don’t have that tag. (Because those characters have special meaning, it’s best not to use them in the names of your tags.)

Example: Searching for unread -flagged will find the records that are unread but not flagged.

Searches both the names and e-mail addresses.
Searches record titles and message subjects.

Note: Searches for From and To/Cc are slow for e-mail messages stored as individual .eml files. If you need to search lots of messages, it’s best to merge .eml files into mailboxes (or import in mailbox format in the first place).

Tag Searches

For both indexed and exact searches, you can restrict a search to records with certain tags by adding tag:<tagname> at the beginning of the query. (This syntax is not available in smart folders; there you should create a separate Tags criterion.) The search will then match only the records with all of those tags.


  1. Searching for tag:apple steve means to search for steve and show only the records with the apple tag.
  2. Searching for tag:-apple steve means to search for steve and show only the records without the apple tag.
  3. Searching for tag:mac tag:ipod halo !bungie means to find all the records that include the word halo, do not include the word bungie, and have both the mac and ipod tags.

Complex Searches

To perform complex searches with multiple criteria, use the New Smart Folder… command.

Searching Within Records

After you have used the main search field to find the records you are interested in, you can search within them to find the relevant part of the document. EagleFiler automatically highlights the search term within the currently selected document. You can use the Find ‣ Find… panel to jump from one occurrence to the next. The Find panel is pre-filled with the current search term. You can jump between occurrences without opening the Find panel by using the Find ‣ Find Next/Previous commands (Command-G and Command-Shift-G). You can also select a new word within the document and set it as the Find panel’s search term using the Find ‣ Use Selection for Find command (Command-E).

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