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You can search for text, tags, files, todos, and much more using different search operators.

When you search in Workflowy, the search will happen at the current level of zoom. If you want to search through everything in your account, make sure you zoom out to the root level first.

Basic search operators

Search operators are characters or commands you can use to perform special searches. Most search operators can be used with all types of searches (text, tags, formats).

Exclude something
You can use the minus sign “-” to mean NOT. The minus sign is placed before the item you want to exclude.

For example, to search for all items that do not have the #high tag“-#high

Search for alternatives
You can use “OR” to indicate you want to see results for one thing or another.

For example, to search for items tagged with @Steve or @Lisa “@Steve OR @Lisa

Search for text

Workflowy will update in real-time with any matches as you type. By default Workflowy will also show partial matches. For exact matches, put your text in quotation marks “”.

1. Click on the search bar
2. Start typing the text you're looking for

Search for tags

1. Click on the search bar
2. Type out the # or @ tag

Search based on format

You can search for items based on the type of item they are, for example to-do’s, shared items, images, etc.

There are four main search operators you can use to search based on the item’s format.


1. Click on the search bar
2. Type one of the four search operators (is: has: text: highlight:)
3. Choose a format to search for

Search for a date

You can search for items with date tags using specific dates, natural language, or date ranges.

Specific date formats
MM = month, DD = day, YY = year, HH = hour, mm = minute


Natural language dates
Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday
This week, Next week, Last week
This month, Next Month, Last Month
This year, Next year, Last year

1. Click the search bar
. Type a specific date or a natural language date

Search for a date range

You can also search for a date range to find all items with date tags that are within that range.

MM = month, DD = day, YY = year, HH = hour, mm = minute


You can also use the search operator “date-after:

1. Click the search bar
. Type a date range

Nested search

Hierarchical search lets you use the “>” search operator to filter items based on the content of their ancestor nodes. In other words, it lets you use information about the ancestor node to narrow down your search.

This diagram shows the ancestors and descendants of the green bullet.

1. Click the search bar or press 'esc' on your keyboard
. Write a string or property (like is:complete) to specify something about the parent of the item you're searching for
3. Type the “>” search operator to turn the search into a hierarchical one
4. Write a string or property you're trying to filter
5. (optional) Continue using “>” to narrow down your search even further
Here’s a simple example that shows the usefulness of a nested search.

Example - Web agency

In this example we have a list of projects for a web agency. Say we want to see all tasks assigned to a team member "@sam".
This search would show us all the todos for "@sam".
And if we wanted to narrow down the search and only look at the SEO related tasks, we could do that with a nested search of "SEO >@sam".
We could narrow down the search even more by specifying we only want to include projects that are "#high" priority with a search of "#high >SEO >@sam".