How to search all content? [A: with Global Search in v2.8, now in public test]

I dont know if there already is a way to do this, but I sometimes “get lost”, trying to find actions I know I have somewhere. So it would be really nice, when I search for something, and the search returnts nothing, a button for “search in all content” showed up.


I think this is a must have feature which I hope the developers will add. There has to be a simple way to search all content, just as there is in the iPhone app.


I concur. I actually have used an Alfred workflow as a workaround for this in the past. as well as an excellent script to do full search within the application. Should work just like the iPhone and iPad apps in that respect.


In OF1, I used to select “Library” in the left panel whenever I wanted to search EVERYTHING.

Is there an analog for that in OF2 (Aside from this custom perspective)?

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I absolutely agree. I really think Library-wide search is a necessary feature.


Either I’m not understanding the question, or there is a simple solution. The Nothing perspective provides the equivalent of the full library view, after which the Search pane yields a full search of the database.

Nothing perspective? That sounds compelling. Can you tell me more about this perspective? I am unable to generate such a thing on my own.




you can simply create a parent folder, and move the rest of the folders under it … call the folder library if you like … I call mine “areas of focus”

When clicking on it and searching , the search will include everything under it …

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These workarounds all taken into account, the moment I am searching for something I want to always get all results- just like on the iPhone… so it would be nice to have the choice from the prefs to define what the search area should be limited to.

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I believe you can also select Projects on the sidebar, then collapse all folders and projects, and shift-select all folders. Then do your search.

Also, this perspective will do the trick no?


While it seems there are ways to create the ability to search across everything, it should probably be easily available out of the box. I expected it to be the default search behavior and was confused when I got no results.


The search should search everything, except finished tasks of course. Things does this and its a great feature which I use all the time. Having to develop workarounds like switching to a special search perspective before searching will just make people not use the search.

Think about it. You are almost never in the correct scope when you want to search - that’s why you want to search.


I’m on board as well. Searching the entire database is a must have option. Quick Open is awesome for Projects. The top-right search bar would be great with custom search options like iTunes currently has with its magnifying glass.

  • Search Everything
  • Search Current View

For me, selecting all folders still doesn’t work because it seems to only search project names, not all fields (like action names or notes).

Big +1 for a global search that covers all content. I’m finding it hard to find some things that were easy to search for in OF1


Agree, search should be global by default, apply filters to restrict if needed.

Simplest, most useful and versatile approach. Consistent search implementation across most other modern products.


Search in OF2 is basically a filter control. It filters by the text string you enter and the results are real-time.

I expect that the reason Search is not global is because the filter is designed to act upon whatever is selected - whereas, a global filter would act upon everything. Personally, I like the current design of the search (filter) control.

To search everything, I created an “ALL” folder in Projects and nested all of my other folders in the ALL folder. Works great!

Another advantage of creating an ALL folder comes when entering a project to assign a task to. Whether working in the inspector or tabbing through tasks in the Inbox, when I tab into the Project input control, if I simply type “a”, I then get a pull-down menu which shows all of my Projects. I can then arrow down and select the Project. That also works great.

Hope that is helpful.


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While this works it is adding an “artificial” layer of depth to the folder structure- nothing more than a workaround- if the software is able to remove that, it should (if You ask me)


@mat_rhein, I take your point. However, the added benefit of typing “a” to pop the entire list of projects in the Project input control is so compelling (to me, anyhow) that I would probably do this anyhow just to get that - even if I didn’t need to! :) - (I suppose I could pre-pend the title of all of my titles with a character (such as ! or ~) to get the same benefit, though).

Also, as mentioned, I would not want to discard the current behavior of the search control because it works as such a great filter. And a filter should filter what is selected, not all objects in the DB.

Good discussion.

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Btw @bruvik I just noticed that (at least in the latest build) if you click on the “Project” button on the far left side bar then use the search field it’s pretty much the same thing as selecting the “Library” folder in OF1. Seems to solve that problem anyway.

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Yeah, I understand what You mean. I guess I am just looking at the search field from the alfred/spotlight convenience point of view. To get an overview of my projects I just go to the projects perspective and hit cmd-shift-9 to collapse them, but it’s a completely different beast than what you have with search right now, agreed. Maybe one day there will be an option to select the scope of it.