Method For Auto-Expanding Search Results

By default, searching for tags or text will only show the bullet point where it was written and its parent points. However, in the use case scenario of placing tags in the headers of text, rather than in the body itself, it becomes much more difficult to view the contents of more than a handful of search results.

As an example, searching currently produces results like this:

But it seems that results like this:

would be more useful and less tedious for large searches.


One more way to implement this is to implement “Expand All” shortcut key when searching, since I believe this is a power user feature anyways.

Here’s how it would work:

  1. User types or selects a tag
  2. Search results show up with highlights on each item:
  3. User presses ⌘⇧. while the cursor is still in search field
  4. All items that have highlighted text will expand in the search results.
  5. User presses ⌘⇧. while the cursor is still in search field
  6. All items that have highlighted text will collapse in the search results.

In the future, if there’s plenty of users doing this action, it could be promoted into a button beside the X?

Yes this would be useful to see children. I like the idea of having it expandable or collapsible.


I’d like to add my vote to this feature request!

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The recently-added parent search term can perform this kind of auto-expanding without buttons. In Chris’s example above, you could search for parent:#TODO and it should show you all children of items tagged #TODO.


Clunky solution. In part because the “parent:” operator means that tag auto-completion is no longer available. Tag auto-completion in the search bar is something I find essential.


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Use a space after entering the parent: or ancestor: element in the search bar, then when you begin typing a tag autocomplete is affective. Is this what you are referring to?

Sorry HTHawks, I just saw your post and you are right! I stand corrected, but happily so because I so rely on auto-completion of tags.


The “parent:” search operator only works to expand children ONE level below the line that matches the search term. Is there not a way to expand ALL children of the parent containing the searched term?

Use the “ancestor:” search operator.

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I just spent about and hour trying to get this to work in my list. If you leave a blank space after the colon sign (Parent: tag) it will still find the parent you are looking for, but it does not expand it. If you want the parent to auto-expand in your search (which I find very useful–just put the tag in the parent and then it is not necessary in every child item), DON’T put a space before the tag (Parent:tag).

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Hmmm… going to test this, thanks for posting that Brian.

For anyone perusing this thread, please also see:
…where I inked out some explicit examples, albeit I need to test what Brian mentioned here.

Control Seeing a Search Result Collapsed vs Expanded (update for clarity)

  1. Using “lowercase” parent: / ancestor: operators always EXPANDs the result, whether the criterion is separated with a space or not.
    Example: parent: criterion vs parent:criterion
  2. Using “Word Case”… Parent: / Ancestor: operators will COLLAPSE the result IF the *criterion is separated with a space.

Haha what the…

Undocumented feature! Search operators reference - Dynalist Help Center

I wonder what other easter eggs there are…

I can’t seem to reproduce this consistently actually… I wonder if it’s a fluke of javascript due to the space, since search operators don’t have a space after the colon. So maybe it’s doing a search for nothing, and also a search for the term alone. And maybe theres a bug where some check doesn’t occur when in word case. Something funny like that.

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