Search Multiple Drafts

I keep lists of books I read in Drafts and an annual list seemed a good way to keep them manageable. Now I have several lists and, of course, the same author appears in more than one list. All the lists are in one workspace and I would like to jump to each occurrence of an author. I am able to filter the workspace to see the matches for an author and open a selected draft but then the search has to be repeated and repeated for every draft the author appears in.

Am I missing something with searching - is there a way to step through a list of “author matches”? Do I need to combine all the drafts into one draft to achieve what I want?


What data are you storing? Name of author and name of book on a single line? Anything more? Anything else that could be useful?

I’m just wondering if maybe going the opposite way and rather than combining into a single list, have a draft for each book with the name, author, ISBN, rating, thoughts, etc. Make more of what you potentially have.

You could link them all to a draft for each author using wiki link notation and then review back links, as well as any author notes you might want to keep.

The following docs and topics might help give you better insight on how this could work.

Hope that helps.

One line with the book title & author then a few other lines about the book.

I could have a Draft for each author and add each book to that draft but it would be quite a big data rebuild. Perhaps I should have asked the question 4 years ago when I started these lists!

I want to keep things simple - guess I need to think on.

Thanks @sylumer

PS: The problem only exists after I read more than one book by the same author. I could use that as a trigger to create an “author draft” and leave all the other book/author notes in one big list. It is a bit messy but would probably work - a bit like life, perhaps.

You could also give a couple of other actions a try. Find again basically does what you want, and saves the search string so you can use an action to search for the same string without retyping it all the time

there’s also Block Level filter. With this one you could probably do the search across all the Drafts at once. You get context, and tapping on a result jumps to where you want to be in the Draft

Don’t know if these’ll help, but I’ve used both of them before. Hopefully Find again still works, I haven’t tried it recently.

Thanks for these @yvonnezed, I tried the Find Again but I trying to search across as well as within Drafts.

I’ll have a look at the Block Level but I think I need to alter my lists first.


If I were storing such data I’d have the title and author as a Heading Level 3 or 4. And the text about the work as paragraphs of text, perhaps bulleted.

Then it would be feasible to search on just title / author. And maybe then retrieve the associated details.

Just a thought.


@martinpacker That is essentially what I have but not in one draft which means repeating the search, draft by draft.

I think I will merge the drafts which will mean only one place to search and, slowly, extract those authors who appear more than once and give them their own draft. It isn’t quite ideal but it looks as though it will work.

Thanks for replying.


If I might ask, how are you using the author search?

It might be a good case for an action that scans the contents of the workspace and creates a new summary report draft from the corpus of information.

1 Like

Initially, I filter the workspace to show the drafts containing the author then select each draft in turn and use “Find in Draft” to go to each of the entries.

@agiletortoise thank you for responding.


Goodreads has an app that’s better suited for tracking books like you are doing with Drafts lists. The app even has an Alfred workflow for managing book lists on your Mac.

Thank you @bocciaman - I don’t have a Mac which doesn’t really matter but I have a strong preference to keep my data in text files or in apps that allow easy export to text files. I’ll have a look at the Goodreads app nevertheless.

If you actually want to try a dedicated app, the one I’m using is Booklist. "Main reason is, it exports as CSV. Pretty good if you want out.

@yvonnezed Thanks Yvonne, I may take a look although I prefer plain text wherever possible.