Joplin is let down by very poor search

People write notes not for the fun of it, but so they can recover what they wrote later. The app has to be optimized for searching, it's more important than optimizing for writing.

The core issue is that the user cannot easily find previously written things.

  1. Search results don't show snippets of the matching text, they only show the note title. Bad because: user can't quickly tell which note he's looking for, he has to open them one by one and go through them.
  2. Joplin doesn't allow user to search within current notebook only. It searches ALL notes. Bad because: increases search results, which wastes the user's time, because there's more notes to go through to find what they want.
  3. Opened search results don't scroll down automatically to the matching text, they open at the top of the note. Bad because: wastes the user's time even more by requiring them to do manual searching within a note.

These 3 different design issues synergize together to make Joplin search extremely poor. Which to me, makes Joplin itself extremely poor, as great as everything else is.

I'm surprised with all the feedback people give and that the dev seems to listen to, that this wasn't solved years ago. Does this means that I'm alone in prioritizing good search above all else, that the average user doesn't really care about this issue?


Yes, sometimes a preview would be good, but since it shows only a small part of the text, a good title is just as important.

Not true, notebook:project_a search only in the notebook `project_a

The text is highlighted (but I don't think in WYSIWYG editor)
No Problem for me, because I search quite offent for Tags, and for Tags there is no position in the Text to jump to.

Good to know about notebook filtering. In that case, I recommend making it more convenient to search it, so that if the user right-clicks a notebook in the treeview on the left, the context menu has a "Search in this notebook" which would auto-prepend the filtering term and have the user ready to type and search.

As for you not searching for text, that's not really relevant to this feature request, I often search for text I wrote. If I'm looking for 1 word in a long page, tags don't help. :slight_smile:

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Same feeling... it looks the basic searching function is still not completed.

When notes consist of both English and Chinese words, I cannot even get the result by searching a single English word.

Also, some other searching issue: [Joplin 1.7.11] search engine doesn't work accurate · Issue #4482 · laurent22/joplin · GitHub

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I'm not sure if this is the right place to add this, but I find it odd that the search is for complete words only by default. I'm not sure what good purpose this serves. If I'm searching for lichtenstein, why should I have to type the whole thing when "lichte" is going to be enough to get the hit.

Use CTRL+P (Go To Anything) for partial word search. I no longer use the search window, and use Go To Anything instead.


Oh wow. That's incredible. I wonder why that just isn't what the search box does.

Because it's a global search and not Goto Anything.....

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Can you elaborate on the difference? When would one prefer the global search over Go To Anything search? As I mentioned earlier, I usually use Go To Anything search because it's quicker since it runs while I type and lets me find the desired note typically before I even type in the entire search word(s).

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Global search was available before the Goto Anything functionality.

AFAIK all the advanced search functionality is not available in Goto Anything.

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So this is what I can tell so far:

Search Bar Goto Anything
access from search bar in sidebar Access through "Go" menu or default keyboard shortcut Ctrl-p (for "partial" search)
Default: whole words only Default: partial words
all advanced features some advanced features
exclude using - Yes Yes
title:"hello world" searches for notes whose title contains hello and world . yes yes

Perhaps we could have a chart like this in the search documentation.


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