Skip to main content
Hierarchical Search

You can limit searches to a particular section in the hierarchy of your knowledge base.

Soren Bjornstad avatar
Written by Soren Bjornstad
Updated over a week ago

When searching a large knowledge base, sometimes it's helpful to limit your search to a particular area of your knowledge base to “drill down” into the relevant content. There are several reasons this can be helpful; among them:

  • If the thing you're looking for contains only common words, sometimes you may have trouble finding the particular document or Rem by searching your entire knowledge base. If you know a folder or document it's contained in, you can narrow down the set of results by searching for that document first, then entering hierarchical search and looking for your search query.

  • If you want to zoom in to a particular part of a document, once you've found the document you can enter hierarchical search and navigate through the hierarchy with your keyboard, so that you land exactly where you need to be when you press Enter.

  • If you're creating a Rem through global search, reference search, or global search, you can use hierarchical search to decide where to put the new Rem. Without using hierarchical search, it always ends up at the top level.

Hierarchical search is a RemNote Pro-only feature.

Navigating hierarchical search

To enter hierarchical search, search for the Rem or document you want to search within, highlight it, and press Tab (shown as Search within children at the bottom of omnibar search). This works both in omnibar search and in reference/portal/tag search.

Once you press Tab, the view will change to show the Rem you have selected in a breadcrumb at the top of the search popup (this Rem is now called the search context). A list of the direct children of that Rem will be shown underneath:

You can continue in four ways:

  1. You can select a child and press Enter (or click on it) to select that as the final destination of your search. You'll zoom in to that Rem or add it as a reference/portal/tag, depending on what kind of search you started with.

  2. You can select a child and press Tab again to go one level deeper, changing the search context to that child.

  3. You can press Shift+Tab to go back up a level to the current Rem's parent. (This will let you go beyond the Rem that you initially selected – in the example above, even though I started the hierarchical search on the Rem 315 Software Applications, I could Shift+Tab up to 31* Computing if I wanted.) If you Shift+Tab all the way up to the top level, hierarchical search exits and you'll be doing a normal search again.

  4. You can type another search query; this will work the same way as a non-hierarchical search, but will only find Rems that are within the current context. You can use Tab on these results too if you like!

If you forget the keyboard shortcuts, click the ? button in the upper-right to see a cheat sheet.

Creating a new Rem from hierarchical search

You can create a new Rem directly within the search box, in both global search and reference/tag/portal search, by pressing Ctrl+Enter (Cmd+Return on a Mac). If you're not in a hierarchical search, this will create the Rem at the top level. But if you're in a hierarchical search, it will instead create the Rem as the first child of the current search context. This is a really handy way to quickly create a new Concept in an appropriate location when the current document doesn't make sense.

Here we create a new Software Application for RemNote by setting the search context to 315 Software Applications, then typing the name of the application and pressing Ctrl+Enter:

Again, this works in reference, portal, and tag search as well! Here we're studying Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language and one pattern refers to another that we haven't yet added to our RemNote knowledge base, Small Panes. We can create this reference to Small Panes in the current document to be filled in later, by selecting the appropriate context and then typing Small Panes and pressing Ctrl+Enter:

Pinning a Search Context

In cases like the A Pattern Language example above, we may find ourselves repeatedly searching for and/or creating Rems in the same context as we take notes (in this case, the Patterns section of the book's document). Repeatedly navigating into that section every time can get annoying pretty fast! In this case, you can pin the search context by pressing Alt+P (Opt+P on a Mac). A blue pin icon will appear in the upper-right corner:

Future searches will automatically start in this context until you unpin it by pressing Alt+P again.

Did this answer your question?