How to Search in Microsoft Teams Effectively

Topics: search components, search databases, Microsoft Teams, Workplace Productivity

Written by Alex K Joseph

Ever since search engines became popular, searching online to learn is an important functionality. For all platforms and solutions, a search option is a must. People expect websites to include a search box. Search functionality using a search box is much more effective than scrolling and navigating through folders. It saves time and reduces the difficulty. Being a very popular collaboration and communication platform in modern workplaces, Microsoft Teams search is a hot topic. According to Microsoft 365 Corporate Vice President – Jeff Teper, Microsoft Teams consists of 145 Million Daily Active Users. Increased number of users means 10 times more searches. Understanding the demand and high expectations, Microsoft managed to make the search process easier and advanced in Teams. In this blog, we will explain how to search in Microsoft Teams effectively.

With Microsoft Teams search functionality, you can search for people, chats, channels, documents, conversations at pretty much any page inside the Teams platform. All you need is to type the search term into the search box provided at the top of the platform and then press enter. You can either choose the suggestions shown in the command box or choose the one from the full results. Let us move into more detailed techniques to make your search more effective in Microsoft Teams.

Steps to Search a Specific Location

Unlike a document folder, you may need to look inside a chat or conversation in Microsoft Teams to find the right data. To make such a search possible or easy, you will have to search Teams chats and channels. Here is how you can do it:

  • Go to the chat or channel tab in which you want to search for a term.
  • Press CTRL+F and enter the search term.  In the example shown below, the search criteria is "Accounts".
  • You can see all search results on the left side of the page.
    Search teams chat - ctrlf
  • Choose the desired result from the list and you will be taken to the exact spot on a chat or location within the area.

How to Find Messages

You can also find text messages from individual chats or group chats using the search box at the top of the app. Enter the name of the user or the group chat name and choose the appropriate results.

Teams chat search

If your group chat does not have a group name, search for the chat participant's name by entering their name into the search bar. From the list of results, you can click on the desired channel name to go directly to that location.  You can also find conversations or chat messages by entering a keyword into the search bar.  Keywords are any word in any chat conversation.

How to Use Search Modifiers and Filters

You can make use of Microsoft Teams filters and modifiers to make search a lot more refined. While using the search box to find something, the results section consists of three tabs: "Messages", "People", and "Files".  Use these tabs to sort the results.

Filter tabs

You can also find some other options below to filter the results further. "From", "Type", "Date", "Subject", "Attachment" are some of those Microsoft Teams filters you can apply to refine your results further.  See the example below.

More filters

Keyword Query Language

You also make use of the Keyword Query Language to get better results out of search. Following are the popular modifiers you can utilize.

  1. From:User name
  2. In:Channel name or group chat name
  3. Sent:Date in which the message was sent
  4. Subject:KWs from subject lines of channel conversations

Expert Tips for Smart Searching

There are some smart techniques to make your searches in Microsoft Teams sharper and effective.

  1. If you want to find matching prefixes for a particular word, just use an asterisk ("* along with the word. For example, by searching “Share*” in the search box, you will get results with all words starting with Share (SharePoint, Shareware, etc.).
  2. To get an exact matching word or phrase in the search results use quotation marks. Example: “Guideline”
  3. The search box is also made smarter with features like spell corrections. In the case of people searches, it can also find nickname matches to make results more precise.

How to Filter Activity Feed and Find Messages

The activity feed sections are a very useful option that gives you a complete picture of the activities and processes you are involved in on the platform.

      activity feed

Click on the arrow pointing downwards next to feed and choose My Activity to see your activities alone.

      activity - feed - my activity

You can filter the activity feed by choosing the "Activity" icon in the left bar, then click the "filter" icon. Enter a word or phrase to filter the feed based on that. These are also very effective Microsoft Teams Filters you can utilize for better searching of information.

      activity feed- filter with terms

Click on the "more options" icon to see a certain type of activities alone, such as "Unread messages", "@Mentions", "Missed Call", "Apps", and more.

activity feed - filter more options

Hope you now have a clear idea about how to search text messages in Microsoft Teams. Have a good day.

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