Finding Items

Docspell Documentation

Items can be searched by their annotated meta data and their contents using full text search. The landing page shows a list of current items. Items are displayed sorted by their date, newest first.

Docspell has two modes for searching: a simple search bar and a search menu with many options. Both are active at the same time, but only one is visible. You can switch between them without affecting the results.

Search Bar🔗

By default, the search bar is shown. It provides a shortcut to search for names and a mode for fulltext-only search. The dropdown contains the different options.

The Names option🔗

This option corresponds to the same named field in the search menu. If you switch between search menu and search bar (by clicking the icon on the left), you'll see that they are the same fields. Typing in the search bar also fills the corresponding field in the search menu (and vice versa).

The Names searches in the item name, names of correspondent organization and person, and names of concering person and equipment. It uses a simple substring search. When searching with this option active, it simply submits the (hidden) search menu. So if the menu has other fields filled out, they will affect the result, too.

If the left button in the search bar shows a little blue bubble, it means that there are more search fields filled out in the search menu that you currently can't see. In this case the results are not only restricted by the search term given in the search-bar, but also by what is specified in the search menu.

The Contents Only option🔗

This option has no corresponding part in the search menu. Searching with this option active, there is a full text search done in: attachments contents, attachment names, item name and item notes.

The results are not ordered by item date, but by relevance with respect to the search term. This ordering is returned from the full text search engine and is simply transfered unmodified.

Search Menu🔗

The search menu can be opened by clicking the left icon in the top bar. It shows some options to constrain the item list:

Show new items🔗

Clicking the checkbox "Only new" shows items that have not been "Confirmed". All items that have been created by docspell and not looked at are marked as "new" automatically.


Searches in names of certain properties. The Names field is the same as the search in the search bar (see above).


Set a folder to only show items in that folder. If no folder is set, all accessible items are shown. These are all items that either have no folder set, or a folder where the current user is member.


Specify a list of tags that the items must have. When adding tags to the "Include" list, an item must have all these tags in order to be included in the results.

When adding tags to the "Exclude" list, then an item is removed from the results if it has at least one of these tags.


You can choose tags or correspondents in the search menu and further restrict the results using full text search using the content field.

Please note

This field is intended to be used in conjunction with other fields in the search menu. It may be really slow if used alone, since first the database query is executed and its results are furhter constrained by fulltext search.

Use the search-bar with option Contents Only to do quick fulltext searches.


Pick a correspondent to show only these items.


Pick a concerned entity to show only these items.


Specify a date range to show only items whose date property is within this range. If you want to see items of a specific day, choose the same day for both fields.

For items that don't have an explicitly date property set, the created date is used.

Due Date🔗

Specify a date range to show only items whose due date property is within this range. Items without a due date are not shown.


Specify whether to show only incoming, only outgoing or all items.

Customize Substring Search🔗

The substring search of the All Names and Name field can be customized in the following way: A wildcard * can be used at the start or end of a search term to do a substring match. A * means "everything". So a term *company matches all names ending in company and *company* matches all names containing the word company. The matching is case insensitive.

Docspell adds a * to the front and end of a term automatically, unless one of the following is true:

  • The term already has a wildcard.
  • The term is enclosed in quotes ".

Full Text Search🔗

The Query🔗

The query string for full text search is very powerful. Docspell currently supports Apache SOLR as full text search backend, so you may want to have a look at their documentation on query syntax for a in depth guide.

  • Wildcards: ? matches any single character, * matches zero or more characters
  • Fuzzy search: Appending a ~ to a term, results in a fuzzy search (search this term and similiar spelled ones)
  • Proximity Search: Search for terms that "near" each other, again using ~ appended to a search phrase. Example: "cheese cake"~5.
  • Boosting: apply more weight to a term with ^. Example: cheese^4 cake – cheese is 4x more important.

Docspell will preprocess the search query to prepare a query for SOLR. It will by default search all indexed fields, which are: attachment contents, attachment names, item name and item notes.

The Results🔗

When using full text search, each item in the result list is annotated with the highlighted occurrence of the match.