Searching CRM

Searching in Microsoft Dynamics 365 is excellent for surfacing information with its query and filter capabilities.  A basic search can be done with quick search and more advanced searching and filtering is done with the advanced find. However, much can be done with a basic filter. Use the links below to jump to different sections on search options and learn more about searching in CRM:

Filtering Records

While looking at a grid view, you can change the view which changes the filter of records, and you can easily sort the grid. You can also filter the view using the following tools.

Ad-hoc Filtering Views

In order to filter a view, select the Filter icon which looks like a funnel, located on the right hand side of the screen. The filter turns the view into a filterable grid similar to a table in Excel.  An arrow appears next to each column header, and you can filter on any of the columns that appear in the view.

View how to turn on filtering in CRM 2011

Select Custom Filter to create a filter based on that column.

Select the Filter icon again to release the filters on this view.

Filtering with the Index Bar

The index bar is the group of letters that appear across the bottom of the screen.  It allows you to jump to records that start with that letter.  The index interacts with the primary sort of the grid.  So, if the grid is sorted by Company Name, choose D on the jump bar will take you to all companies that start with “D”.  If you select the column heading for City to sort by city, and then click “N” on the jump bar, you will see all cities that start with N.

Filtering with In-line Charts

In-line charts can be accessed from the grid view by selecting Charts on the far right.  The neat thing about charts is that they interact with the views and filters currently applied to the grid.  So, if viewing only My Accounts, the chart will show an analysis of My Accounts.  However, you can also use the chart to filter records.  So, in the example below, selecting Transportation on the chart will filter all active accounts down to All Active Accounts where Industry equals Transportation.

Filtering In-Line Charts in CRM 2013

Filtered In-Line Chart in CRM 2013
View the filtering with in-line charts image in CRM 2011

When Selecting a chart to filter, CRM allows you to filter further in the chart.  For more information on this see working with charts. To release the filter, simply select the Filter icon on the right hand side of the view.

Quick Search

On the top right of each grid view, you can search that record-type in CRM using the quick search box.  Search is not case sensitive. The easiest way to search is to put in as few characters as possible.  So if looking for Bank of America, you might consider typing just “bank” (no quotes).

Use an asterisk before your search to indicate you are looking for something that contains those characters. This is called a wildcard search.  So, if you are looking for Bank of America, but you work with a lot of banks, you might consider typing “*America” to find it.

View the wildcard search in CRM 2011

Some things to understand when using the quick search:

  • With the web client, when you search, you are automatically searching All Active records regardless of the view selected.
  • When you are in the Outlook client, you search within the view/tab you are on.
  • The columns that are searchable and the columns that appear in search results may be modified by a system customizer by modifying the Quick Find View.

Categorized Search

While the Quick Find only applies to searching the entity you are on, Categorized Search allows you to search across multiple record types all at the same time. From the navigation bar clicking on the looking glass icon will allow you to search across all entities the system administrator has configured for Categorized Search.

Relevance Search (Dynamics 365 Online Only)

Dynamics 365 (online) users have a new way to find what they are looking for. Relevance Search finds matches to any word in the search term in any field in an entity enabled for Relevance Search (including text in notes, attachments in an e-mail or appointment). It uses the external search service of Microsoft Azure to boost search performance. It returns the results in a single list, sorted by relevance and searches inflectional words. For example searching the word “print” will return results like “printing”, and “printed” as well. Wildcard searching is no longer required.

Users can further narrow their search by using the Global Facets of Record Type, Owner, Modified On, and Created On.

Relevance Search is disabled by default. Your administrator needs to enable it for your organization. Once enabled it can take up to an hour or more depending on the size of your organization before you start seeing the Relevance Search results in the web application.

You can always choose to go back to Categorized Search simply by changing the search option.

Advanced Find

Advanced find allows users to create ad hoc queries and save, export and share the results. They are also known as Views.

  • Can be used to search any record type (entity)
  • Users can create complex filters and queries based on any fields within or related to the record being searched
  • Can be saved and turned into personal views
  • Results can be exported to Excel
  • Advanced Finds can feed charts
  • Bulk operations can be carried out on Advanced Find results
  • Actions you can perform on Advanced Find results
    • Mass Operations: Mail Merge, Edits, Share, Assign, Follow/Unfollow, Activate/Deactivate records
    • Send Direct Email
    • Add to Marketing List or create a dynamic marketing list
    • Quick Campaign
    • Run a workflow or start a dialog
    • Add Connection (One Record at a time)
    • Run a report
    • Apply Excel and Word Templates
    • Export to Excel

Creating an Advanced Find

This example demonstrates how to search for active Accounts in Washington state.*

  1. Select Advanced Find on the Command Bar.
  2. Select New.
  3. In the Look For dropdown, select the entity you want to query: Select Account.
  4. Select search criteria (see end results below). In the select area, choose the field on which you want to search. Then select your query operator  (equals, does not equal, contains, etc). Enter the data you want to filter by. Repeat a-c for all the fields you want to filter by (see the next section to learn how to group).Advanced Find Criteria CRM 2013
    View Creating Advanced Find in 2011
  5. Select Results in the ribbon to view the results.

Adding Search Criteria to an Advanced Find

*This query adds the state of Minnesota to the search criteria.*

  1. In the select area, choose the field on which you want to search (Address 1: State/Province).
  2. Select your query operator (equals).
  3. Enter the data you want to filter by (MN)
  4. Group the field rows. On the dropdown menu next to the address 1 of WA, choose Select Row.Search Criteria CRM 2013
  5. Repeat the process for the MN row so both rows are selected.Grouping Search Criteria CRM 2013
  6. Select Group OR in the Ribbon.Group Or CRM 2013
  7. The results will now include accounts from both Washington and Minnesota.

Adding or Removing Columns

  1. From the query screen, choose Edit Columns in the ribbon. (Select the Advanced Find tab if you’re in the results screen).

CRM 2013 Advanced Find Edit Columns
View Advanced Find Edit Columns in CRM 2011

  1. To move the columns from left to right, select the column then use the green arrows to move the column left or right.
  2. To configure the sorting, choose ascending or descending.
  3. To add columns, select the columns you want to add.
  4. Change Properties allows you to make columns wider or narrower.
  5. Select a column to remove it.
  6. From the query screen, select Save As in the ribbon.
  7. Enter a Name/Description then select OK.

Saving Advanced Finds (Creating a Personal View)

Your new saved personal view will be available on the entity you created. In our example, we created the personal view under the account entity.

CRM 2013 Views
View the image of personal views in CRM 2011

Hint: System views are views that are available to everyone in the organization. Personal views are ones that you create and are private unless shared.

Sharing Personal Views

  1. Select Advanced Find on the Command Bar.
  2. Choose Saved Views.
  3. Select the view you want to share.
  4. Select Share in the ribbon.

Share Saved View in CRM 2013
View Share Saved View in 2011

  1. In the sharing dialog box, under Common Tasks, Select Add User/Team.
  2. In the Look Up Records dialog box, in the Look for list, select the type of record you want to find.
  3. In the search box, type the first few letters of the name of the record to narrow your search, and then select the Find button.
  4. In the list of available records, click a user or team to select it, and then choose the Add Selected Records button to add the user or team to the selected records list.
  5. In the sharing dialog box, select the type of share access that you want.
  6. Select OK.

Exporting Records to Excel

You can export data to Microsoft Excel from any view.

  • Open in Excel Online (online only) You can do quick ad-hoc analysis of your data without ever leaving CRM. Make changes and edits to your data and simply save it without having to import.
  • Static creates a copy of the data in Excel form. Static exports are limited to the current columns of data that are visible to the user at export time.
  • Dynamic exports a query with a link back to the CRM server. This enables the data in the Excel spreadsheet to be updated whenever the sheet is opened.  When exporting data you can add new columns. This option also requires you to have the Outlook client installed.
  • Dynamic Pivot Table exports similar to the dynamic export, but allows you to export to a pivot table. This option also requires you to have the Outlook client installed.


View the export to excel image in CRM 2011



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