Clay offers the most powerful person search available anywhere, allowing you to find anyone you know, by typing almost anything.


Clay’s search is similar to Google search, meaning you can just type regular phrases to find someone. Behind the scenes, Clay parses your search to understand who you’re looking for and gives you results in milliseconds.


Designing better search

Search is designed to help you find the broadest possible set of results, sorted by relevance and relationship. What does this mean in practice?

  • Broad: We believe serendipity helps reinforce relationships, so we’d rather give you too many results that include the person you’re looking for, along with others you might not have thought of, instead of too few. To do this, we correct for typos and replace broad words—like NYC—with other terms like New York, just in case someone uses an alternate phrase.
    • Multi-variable: We also search across your notes and every field Clay brings in, so you have the largest chance for a successful match. Everything is assessed to present you with the right people.
  • Relevance: Depending on your search term, Clay will prioritize particular fields over others. For example, a match for NYC in someone’s location takes precedence over a match in their education.
  • Relationship: Unlike other searches, Clay knows how you know someone. So people you’ve known forever will take precedence over people you only met once, for example.

Example terms

Because search understands regular phrases and sentences, there's no need for specific keywords or filters. Here’s a small sample of things you can search for:

By Location
  • City Philadelphia Mountain View
  • State Michigan FL
  • Country France USA
  • Region Europe NYC Bay Area
By Organization
  • Company name Apple Procter & Gamble
  • Employment type Freelance Self-Employed
  • Industry Fintech Fashion
By Education
  • Institution UCLA École Polytechnique
  • Major Psychology Economics
  • Education Level Bachelors MBA PhD Postdoc
By Interest
  • Hobbies Travel Woodworking Etsy
  • Publications Vogue The Atlantic
By Twitter
  • Twitter followers People who follow me
  • Twitter following People I follow
  • People I follow and follow me back Mutual follows
  • Follower count people with 10k+ followers (options are 1k+, 10k+, and 100k+)
By Other Social Media
  • By social media account Soundcloud Tumblr Github Pinterest
By Date
  • By particular time periods Last month Last quarter Last year
  • Broad time periods A while ago Recently
By Relationship
  • By meetings People I've met once People I've never met
  • By email People I've emailed
  • By relationship closest Close Closer Closest New
  • Get a list of all your contacts all
  • List Clay members you know Clay members

Sorting your results


at the top to rearrange the order of the results by relevance (default), name, or recency. This feature is currently only released on desktop, with iOS soon to follow.

Advanced search

On top of normal phrases, Clay’s search supports a few advanced parameters that allow you to be more specific in your searches:


Many Clay members tell us that they use hashtags in their notes to classify notes or people. You can search for hashtags directly in search—for example, #reporters.

“exact match”

Clay interprets your query to ignore typos and better understand broad terms. If you only want to find people who match a specific phrase verbatim, put the phrase in quotes. For example, "new york city ballet" would match people who had the phrase New York City ballet in their bio, while new york city ballet would also include people in NYC who liked ballet.


If you want to exclude certain people from your search, you can preface a word or phrase with a dash. For example, designers -fashion would return designers who don’t work in fashion, while architects -nyc would return architects who don’t live or work in New York.


Pro Tip: Use multiselect for bulk actions in search.

Command Bar

The command bar is a convenient way to access frequent actions or perform searches on Mac and Web.

How does it work?

The command bar is context-dependent and displays different actions based on what screen you’re viewing. It allows you to quickly take a note, add a person to Clay, or search from people anywhere within the app. Use K to pull it up.

When in Home, Explore, Search, or Settings, you can create a new note, add a person, or search.


When accessed in a card, the command bar displays additional shortcuts for person-specific actions like editing, merging, setting reminders, and adding to a group.


When pulled up with with selected contacts in search, you can remove, merge, or add contacts to a group or copy email address

Swipe Actions

supports swipe actions in
and search:

  • In
    , swiping to the right allows you to take a note, and swiping to the left dismisses the card
  • In search, swiping to the right opens an email draft to that person, and swiping to the left allows you to add a note

Keyboard Shortcuts

Most actions in Clay have an associated keyboard shortcut that make them accessible in one tap. You can access the latest list of keyboard shortcuts by typing ? on any screen.


Did we miss something? Have a question? Let us know.