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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Going crazy with advanced searches

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 by Emily Boyd

This week's tip comes courtesy of RTM user wcitypoe, who has some fantastic examples of just how advanced you can get with the advanced search operators. While wcitypoe describes it as "how to be far too complex with RTM's advanced search", but I say there's no such thing… go as crazy as you like! :)

wcitypoe starts off with a useful Smart List that basically hides all the tasks that he doesn't need to see right now:

First, I set up an exclusion list — all items I didn't want showing up anywhere in my task system. I called this "(99) Exclude". It's:

(tagContains:hold OR tag:@not-a-task OR list:"Dead Projects" OR list:"Project Notepad" OR (("Debbie" OR tag:@callback) AND dueAfter:tomorrow) OR ((list:"Computer Upkeep" OR list:"Daily Tasks") AND dueAfter:"today 23:59")) OR (isRepeating:true AND dueAfter:"2 days from today") NOT tag:@alwaysshow NOT list:"(98) Errors"

Essentially, this will exclude (i) any task having a tag with the word 'hold' in it; (ii) anything I put in as just a note; (iii) any dead or 'someday' projects; (iv) any notes for my next meeting with a friend, as long as I'm not meeting with her today or tomorrow; (v) any "waiting for so-and-so to call me back" notes, as long as I don't have a follow-up scheduled for today or tomorrow; (vi) any computer backups or daily tasks that aren't scheduled for today; (vii) anything that's a repeating task that happens three or more days from now. However, I can circumvent this exclusion by including the "@alwaysshow" tag. And, even if something meets these criteria, if they meet an error criteria, they'll show up.

By including NOT list:"(99) Exclude" in the search criteria of his other Smart Lists, wcitypoe can choose to keep the tasks found in that "Exclude" list from showing up in his other lists.

Feeling inspired to get more advanced with your Smart Lists? Check out the full forum topic for more of wcitypoe's ideas. Thanks for sharing these examples, wcitypoe! You're our Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner this week. :)

Do you have a suggestion for our weekly Tips & Tricks post? Got an interesting set-up or idea? Head over to the Tips & Tricks forum, add a new topic, and let us know how you use Remember The Milk. Each week we'll give away a 1 year Pro account to the user whose idea inspires the Tips & Tricks Tuesday blog post for that week.

Posted in: Tips & Tricks