How do I search for stuff on Mastodon? How do I use hashtags?

You can search for posts on Mastodon by typing words or hashtags into the search box.

  • To search on the official app, tap the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the screen, and type in the search box at the top of the screen. The results will appear below it.
  • To search on your server’s website, type into the search box and press enter. The results will appear beside or below the search box, depending on your window size.
  • If you’re using the website through a phone, click on the 🔍 magnifying glass icon at the top.

If you’re searching for hashtags, they have to have a # at the beginning, and they can’t have any spaces or special characters in the middle.

If you want your post to be more easily found in searches, opt into full text searches and include lots of relevant hashtags. Remember to use CamelCase on hashtags that contain multiple words.

What order are search results shown in?

Chronological, with newest posts at the top.

I thought Mastodon only allowed searches with hashtags?

Until very recently, Mastodon searches were entirely based around hashtags. However, since version 4.2.0 (released in September 2023) Mastodon also allows full text searches where you just type what you want and it searches the entire texts of posts for matches.

HOWEVER… for privacy reasons the full text search is opt-in, so you can only get search results for people who have opted into their posts being included in full text searches.

How do I opt in to being searched by words as well as hashtags?

See the following link on how to opt in to being in full text search results.

Even when I search for stuff, there’s never anything I want!

If you’re on a very new server, it’s possible that it hasn’t noticed much of the Fediverse yet. Try asking your server’s admin if they might connect to a relay server, so that their server can see more of the Fediverse.

Are there any special operators for filtering searches on Mastodon?

Yes, Mastodon 4.2.0 introduces a number of operators you can use to filter with. You can use several of these within the same search:

  • has:media, has:poll, has:embed – Filters for posts with an attachment (images, audio, video), a poll, or a link that produces some kind of embedded media (such as a YouTube link).
  • language:fr using language codes – Filters for posts using that language, the example would filter for posts in French. Click here to see a complete list of language codes on Mastodon.
  • is:reply, is:sensitive – Filters for replies or posts marked as sensitive.
  • from:user, from:me – Filters for posts by particular user, the “me” tag searches only posts you have made yourself.
  • in:all, in:library – All filters for any post, library filters for posts you have interacted with or written yourself.
  • before:date, during:date, after:date – Filters for posts before, during or after the selected date. Dates are written in the format YYYY-MM-DD, so for example posts after 1st June 2023 would be after:2023-06-01

Make sure there’s no space between the : and the other words when using these operators.

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