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Different search options in Microsoft Dynamics 365

How to search for data in Dynamics 365

This blog is a brief comparison of different search options in Dynamics 365 / Power Platform.  It is one of a series of short blogs that I am developing as I write a flexible training course for Microsoft's PL-200 Microsoft Power Platform Functional Consultant exam.

There are several different ways of searching for information in your Dynamics 365 applications. Each has their strengths. The search options and the differences between them are also popular questions in the PL-200 (and other) exams. The searches are

  • Quick Search
  • Categorised Search
  • Relevance Search
  • Advanced Find

Quick Search

Quick search only searches the table from where it is accessed.  It returns the records that match both the view from which it is used and the search string.  It searches for the search string in the fields specificed in the quick find view.

Quick Search is accesed from the search bar above a view.

Quick Search

In earlier versions of Microsoft Dynamics 365, it only returned active records, and returned records using the columns defined in the Quick Find view.

Categorised Search

Categorised search returns records from the tables specified.  A maximum of ten entities (tables) can be selected.

setting up the entities in categorised search

You access the select entities from the System Settings.  Go to the General tab and scroll down to 'Set up Search'.  The Select... button takes you to the Select Entities (above).

system settings to configure categorised search in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Relevance Search

Relevance search is the newest option.  It uses Azure AI and so is only available for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online.  It searches more deeply than the others, and also returns similar words to the search string.

If you want to use this, it must be enabled from System Settings - see below.

system settings showing how to turn on relevance search in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Once enabled, user can choose between Categorised Search and Relevance Search.  Both are accessed from same look-up icon.

relevance in action

Comparison between Quick Search, Categorised Search, and Relevance Search

The table below heps highlight the differences - especially those that appear to be popular in exam questions.


Advanced Find

Advanced Find is not usually considered part of search, but I have included it here for completeness. This video blog details how to use Advanced Find 

Why Opsis?

Opsis is all about the clarity, security, and success of your Microsoft Dynamics 365. 

Gill Walker - Dynamics 365 trainer (MCT) and CRM Success Catalyst

Hello, I'm Gill Walker, the Principal of Opsis.  My commitment is your success with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

My knowledge and experience are available to you through education, consulting, training your people, and speaking at conferences and other events.  I speak and train in person and virtually / online. 

I am a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) and the President of the NSW chapter of Professional Speakers Australia (PSA).  I have been a Professional Member of PSA for several years.  I am a Microsoft Certified Professional and I hold the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Functional Consultant Associate, the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service Functional Consultant Associate, and the Microsoft Dynamics 365 / Power Platform Solution Architect awards. I am also a ClickDimensions Certified Consultant.

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