I have a specific string which I need to search for in in onenote 2013. The problem is that the string contains several asterisk *** characters. By default, OneNote treats * as a wildcard in searches, so I get thousands of notes returned instead of the few I was expecting.

How do I search for literal wildcards?

  • 1
    The term typically used for making an exception for an otherwise special character in other programs is Escaping the character. I haven't found a working way to do this in OneNote though.
    – panhandel
    Jun 17 '16 at 13:21

Sorry - but this is not possible.

Stupid, I know - but after much googling, asking on TechNet, testing various character combinations such as:

  • `*
  • "*"
  • '*'
  • *
  • \ *
  • '#* ...and so on (known as character escapes)

I have also been unable to find a method for doing this.

This article seems to suggest that it is not possible: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/onenotetips/2010/11/16/searching-for-notes-in-onenote/

Due to a limitation of Windows Desktop Search, OneNote cannot support substring searches or wildcard searches.

(Unfortunately, this seems to extend to the literal string of wildcard characters too)

  • No the answer I was looking for, and hopefully one day a better answer arrives. Until then you get the 'tick', and I have to trawl thousands of notes replacing ***** with a searchable sequence
    – Greg Woods
    Jun 20 '16 at 8:23

The OneTastic add-in has turnkey macros like "Search & Highlight" or "Search & Replace" that are able to do this (link to "Find" category)

Warning: The Search & Highlight macro will actually highlight all results. If that's not what you're looking for, you can use Search & Replace → replace the wildcard with an unused word, then use standard/native Search to tab through those words. When done, use the Search & Replace to replace the word back to the wildcard character.

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