How do I search?

Searching in Brandfolder is a core mechanism that defines the ease of use for end-users and the findability of your most valuable assets. By exposing internal search functions to external users, this helps the end-user gain a deeper understanding of the organization's taxonomy as well as making it easier to find the desired asset.

Within the UI, there are four different options to help narrow down your search:

  1. Any of these terms
  2. All of these terms
  3. Contains this phrase
  4. Exactly this phrase



Understanding these Options:

1. Any of these termsOf all the options, this allows for the most flexibility for returned results. When searching for cliff divers, like in the example above, the query will come back with any asset that has cliff OR divers present in at least one of its indexed fields. This is an ideal search mechanism when you aren’t quite sure what the asset you are looking for is named or how it’s been tagged. Only one of the terms needs to match for an asset to be returned.

2. All of these termsThis option allows you to be more precise in your search by replacing the flexibility of OR with AND. In the example above when searching for cliff divers, the result will come back with any asset that has cliff AND divers across any of its indexed fields. The two terms do not need to be part of the same field (cliff could be in the name while divers might be a tag), but all terms do need to be present somewhere for an asset to match.

3. Contains this phraseThis option is a great choice if a user knows part of an asset’s name or a bit of text in its description. By searching cliff divers using this option it will pull in all assets that contain that phrase. For example, an asset with a name of cliff divers in the ocean would be returned as the name contains cliff divers. It will not return results where the terms are spread across multiple indexed fields.

4. Exactly this phraseThis is the strictest of the four options and requires users to be precise when searching. For example, searching cliff divers with this option would not return an asset named cliff divers in the ocean to appear in your results. The user would need to type the full name, nothing less and nothing more, for an asset to match.


What can I search for?

Every Brandfolder is fully indexed, making it easy to find the exact asset you need. Each asset's name, description, metadata, and many other details are instantly full-text searchable. Search is case insensitive (except for OR and AND search operators), meaning LOGO and logo will return the same results.

Here's an exhaustive list of details you can use to scope your search:

  • name
  • description
  • filenames
  • extensions
  • tags
  • labels
  • section name
  • asset type
  • metadata
  • collection
  • has comments / does not have comments
  • approved/unapproved/expired
  • custom fields
  • email
  • created at
  • updated at
  • published at
  • expired at
  • width & height
  • asset key

Here are some examples:

  •  section: "logos"
  •  tags: "bb8" (all assets tagged with bb8)
  •  extension: "jpg" (all assets with JPG attachments)
  •  collection: "Marketing" (assets belonging to a collection named Marketing)
  •  published_at: 2019-02-02
  •  labels: "promotions"
  •  width:>435
  •  expires_at: [2020-05-01 TO 2020-05-31]

Search Operators

The default search operator is OR, meaning if you search for blue gray it will search for assets containing blue OR gray. By default, OR will be implied as the operator to use between search terms.

You can change the search operator to AND by explicitly adding the keyword AND (all caps) or && in between search terms.

  • tags:logo AND blue
  • tags:logo && blue

If you are looking to exclude assets that are in a specific collection or tag from your search you are able to use NOT. This would be written as

  • NOT tags: "logo"

Assets that do not have labels associated with them would be written as

  • NOT label: *

Searching for Phrases

If you want to search on phrases or terms with multiple words, wrap the phrase in quotation marks. For example, Brandfolder will consider "blue fox jumps" as a single search term whereas blue fox jumps will count as three separate search terms and result in searching for blue OR fox OR jumps.

  • tags:"product shots"
  • "blue fox jumps"

Short Hand Search Syntax

If you want to search for assets with multiple tags, there is no need to type tags:logo OR tags:"product shots" OR tags:image. This entire search can be written as

  • tags:(logo "product shots" image)

Remember, OR is implied between search terms, and you can override the same query to use the AND operator with

  • tags:(logo AND "product shots" AND image)

Wild Cards and "Fuzzy" Matching

If you want to find any asset that partially matches a search query, use the * wildcard operator like so

  • prod*

This will return assets that contain words like "product" or "production." Likewise, if you want to find assets that have words close to your search term (essentially misspellings) use the fuzzy match operator:

  • wednesday~

will match assets with "wednesday" as well as the common misspelling "wendsday."

Note: Wild cards are not supported at the beginning of the search term. 

Advanced Search Queries

While the simple syntax above will find what you need in most cases, you can further narrow down results in advanced ways with the following queries (this is a working list):

  •  expires_at:>now-30d (assets expired in the last 30 days)
  •  updated_at:>now-1d (assets updated in the last day)
  •  created_at:>now-10m (assets created in the last 10 minutes)
  •  created_at:>now-2h (assets created in the last 2 hours)
  •  custom_fields.sku:"abc123" (return assets that have a sku of "abc123" as a custom field)
  •  creator: first name last name (returns assets that were uploaded by a certain user)
  • "Direct Mail" AND "E-Mail" AND "Website" (return assets that have a channel of Direct Mail, E-Mail, and Website)
  • NOT * (returns assets that are not associated with the custom field channel).
  • asset_key - unique identifier for assets
  • view_only:true (returns view_only assets, false will return assets that are not view only)

Reserved Search Characters

> < ( ) { } [ ] " * : are reserved characters and cannot be used as/in search terms. Instead, they can be used as search operators that modify your query as a whole.

Likewise, ! ? + - / \ ~ ^ = characters have special meaning, but Brandfolder's search is smart enough to know when you're searching for the phrase "Look out!" as opposed to looking for any asset that does not match the word "logo" (in the case of !logo).


You can create Pinned Searches based on the saved search queries. This allows you to create a Pinned Search for something like "Recently Updated" and make it easier for users of your Brandfolder to find the assets they need, without requiring them to know how to search themselves.

To clear search results, simply click the X in the results bar or hit the ESC key.
You can hit CMD+F on OSX or CTRL+F on Windows to begin searching from anywhere in the Brandfolder.

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