I have espoused David Weinberger's views and approach to storing information for quite some time ("Everything is Miscellaneous"), and as I get more used to Windows 7 and Office 2010, I'm finding that I'm using metadata and searching more than ever to quickly find content stored on the web, my organization's network, and my own computer.
I recently came across an excellent article from Microsoft about Advanced Query Syntax. It captured my interest, and I expect to use it frequently to make my search queries more precise in the future.
The article contains query syntax to limit results by:
- common file properties (e.g., author)
- date ranges
- file size
- data store
- assorted file types (contacts, e-mails, calendar entries, documents, media)
So if I want to find, for example:
- PowerPoint presentations
- longer than 20 slides
- stored as attachments to my last week's e-mail messages,
I could use Windows Search, right from the "Start" button, to enter:
"store:mapi isattachment:true modified:lastweek slides:>20"
and get those precise results (see below).
This precision will save me so much time that this article, for me, achieves "print-worthy" status, and will be tacked to my office wall for frequent reference. I hope you find it similarly useful.