Foobar2000:Query syntax

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Query syntax help

This page details the syntax that can be used to query for matching files in foobar2000:foobar2000. For a list of the actual fields that can be queried with this, see the title-formatting reference page.

Conventions in this document

Queries are written in italics.

Example: %rating% GREATER 3

Query examples may contain placeholders which are enclosed in angle brackets. Their name indicates what should they need to be replaced with in a real query. If multiple placeholders of the same type occur in the same query example, a number will be appended to the name.

Example: <field> GREATER <number>

The following common types of placeholders are used in the rest of this document:

  • <field> – A reference to a tag field. This can be either a plain field name or a title formatting expression. See Notes for details.
  • <number> – An integer value.
  • <string> – A text value that may be enclosed in double quotation marks. See Notes for details.
  • <time> – A time value or a title formatting expression that evaluates to a time value. See Time Expressions for details.
  • <expression> – A query expression in a composed query. This has to follow the rules described under Advanced Search below.

Simple search

The simple search mode does not use any keywords.

  • <any string> – Returns only items that have all words from specified string in their metadata or file path.

Advanced search

The advanced search allows the construction of more complex queries. It offers several keywords to perform specific types of comparisons and to combine multiple query expressions.

Text expressions

  • <field> HAS <string> – Returns only items that have all words from <string> in metadata field named <field>. Example: title HAS blah
  • <field> IS <string> – Returns only items where (at least one) metadata field <field> is equal to <string>. Example: artist IS blah
  • *HAS <string> – Same as simple search, but can be combined using logical operators (see below).

Numeric expressions

Performs integral number comparison between the value of a <field> and a <number>, e.g. "%rating% GREATER 3".

  • <field> GREATER <number>
  • <field> LESS <number>
  • <field> EQUAL <number>

Metadata expressions

  • <field> MISSING – Returns only items that don't have a metadata field named <field>. Example: genre MISSING
  • <field> PRESENT – Returns only items that have a metadata field named <field>. Example: genre PRESENT

Time expressions

  • <time1> BEFORE <time2> – Returns only items where <time1> value is before <time2>. Example: %last_modified% BEFORE 2008
  • <time1> AFTER <time2> – Returns only items where <time1> value is after <time2>. Example: %last_modified% AFTER 2008
  • <time1> SINCE <time2> – Returns only items where <time1> value is not before <time2>. Example: %last_modified% SINCE 2007
  • <time1> DURING <time2> – Returns only items where <time1> value is a subset of <time2> period. Example: %last_modified% DURING 2007
  • <time> DURING LAST <number> <time-unit> – Returns items where <time> value is contained in the specified period. <time-unit> can be one of SECONDS, MINUTES, HOURS, DAYS, or WEEKS. Example: %last_modified% DURING LAST 2 WEEKS’’. If <number> is 1, the expression can be simplified to <time> DURING LAST SECOND/MINUTE/HOUR/DAY/WEEK’’.

Time values used in these expressions must be in one of the following formats: YYYY, YYYY-MM, YYYY-MM-DD, YYYY-MM-DD hh, YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm, YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ss.

Composed queries

  • <expression1> AND <expression2> – Returns only items where both expressions are true. Example: artist IS blah AND title HAS blah – You can also enclose expressions in parentheses to control the evaluation order. Example: ( (artist IS blah) AND (title HAS blah) ) OR (%rating% GREATER 3)
  • <expression1> OR <expression2> – Returns only items where at least one expression is true.
  • NOT <expression> – Returns only items where the expression is false. Example: NOT %last_played% AFTER %first_played%

Sorting results

You can put a SORT BY operator at the end of your search expression to produce search results sorted by the specified title formatting pattern.

  • SORT BY <sort-pattern>, SORT ASCENDING BY <sort-pattern> – Sort results in ascending order.
  • SORT DESCENDING BY <sort-pattern> – Sort results in descending order.


  • <field> and <string> in HAS and IS expressions should be enclosed in double quotation marks (") if they include spaces. – If <field> in HAS, IS, GREATER, LESS, EQUAL includes at least one of #$% characters, it will be treated as a title formatting string. Example: %codec% IS MP3
  • Using title formatting strings instead of simple field names will decrease search speed on large libraries and break multiple field value handling in the IS operator.
  • If <field> in HAS, IS, GREATER, LESS, EQUAL does not include any of #$% characters, it will be treated as a metadata field. Example: artist IS Radiohead
  • You can't access technical information (such as codec specifications) or component-provided information (playback statistics and such) this way.
  • All search expressions are non-case sensitive. All keywords must be uppercase.

Operator summary

Operator Syntax Comment
AFTER <time1> AFTER <time2>
AND <expression1> AND <expression2>
BEFORE <time1> BEFORE <time2>
DURING <time1> DURING <time2>
EQUAL <field> EQUAL <number>
GREATER <field> GREATER <number>
HAS <field> HAS <string> *HAS <string>
IS <field> IS <string>
LESS <field> LESS <number>
NOT NOT <expression>
OR <expression1> OR <expression2>
SINCE <time1> SINCE <time2>
SORT BY SORT BY <sort-pattern> SORT DESCENDING BY <sort-pattern> Must be at the end of the query.