Adventures in Searching in Dynamics 365 CE

Author: Clare Sharp

or, How I got from Quick Find to my own Arquilian Galaxy

Did that get your attention? All will be revealed. But first:

When Ana asked us to take a look at an aspect of Dynamics 365 CE, I knew straight away that I wanted to pick Advanced Find.

I’d stumbled on it while randomly clicking on icons when I first got my trial instance up and running. It’s my favourite icon, because it looks like a cocktail glass. Enough said.

OK, she replied, why not include Quick Find and Global Search too?

My dilemma was, when a subject has already been covered so thoroughly by the experts, how do I approach it in an original way? I don't want to go on about stuff you probably already know, so I thought: why not give you the unedited reactions of a newbie?

I like my TV programmes and social media, but people “over-sharing” their thoughts have always perplexed me.

So I’m breaking all my own rules now to document my stream of consciousness on delving into Dynamics 365 searches.

Upon checking out Quick Find and Global Search I decided: they look the same!

A little light reading and surfing later (think War and Peace length), I realised that the difference lies under the bonnet.

Quick Find looks through 1 entity from the grid. Kind of handy but, you know, I was soon on the lookout for a better offer.

Luckily, Global Search with its looking glass icon on the Nav Bar turned out to be a multi-entity search. Way better. See ya, Quick Find. Wait though, they're sort of related, because they both use the “Begins with” and “Wildcard” modes.

Hmmm, what to do? Move on? Yep.

Which is how I came across Relevance search. I’ll admit, I'd never heard of it. I like to think of this one as the “shy” search, since it’s disabled out of the box. Why? Apparently, once it gets going, it’s a bit of an extrovert: if you enable it, then it becomes the default search.

Relevance search is so smooth and smart it even talks Global Search into a name change (to Categorized Search) but they manage to coexist in a drop-down list on the grid, so you can switch between them.

From a comparison of the two, first impressions are that the results are visually very different. Categorized Search groups by entity type, whilst Relevance Search shows a single list ranked by relevance. It has bold /italic search term highlighting, plus a nifty filters and facets pane on the left.

What the heck are facets, I hear you ask? There are some global ones but facets also change depending on the record type you select. You can customise them too.

Apparently they’re for drilling down into your results without having to constantly faff about with your search term.

Other differences? Relevance Search is souped-up by an Azure service, so is online only and the data actually leaves Dynamics 365 for the search. Read up on your security!

It can even check for search terms in your e-mail attachments, appointments and notes, basically all text-based documents. It can’t help you search for dates and numbers though. Despite that, I think it’s clever enough to have its name up in lights and covered in glitter. What a star!

So, should I stick with Relevance Search or move on? Well, this question brings us full circle back to Advanced Find.

Once I’d got the form open, I dived right into those drop-downs and imagine my happiness when I realised that they contain every entity in Dynamics 365, as well as Related records!

As I put the finishing touches on my first Advanced Find Query, it struck me, OMG, look I'M CODING!

For a second I thought, YES, I AM A DEVELOPER!

Back in the real world, I discovered how super-cool it is that you can save queries as personal views, then assign or share them, or export the data to Excel.

I get the impression that Advanced Find will be the key to Dynamics 365. I’m definitely not moving on from Advanced Find… until Microsoft comes up with something even better.

Still wondering about that galaxy? These are exciting times. Dynamics 365 CE is a whole new galaxy for me, like the one on Orion’s belt in Men In Black. With the help of Searches, I’m just starting to discover it.

Here's how you can customize fields and entities.

Quick Find searchable fields From Grid view click Ellipses > Customize Entity > Select Entities > in this example Opportunity; > Views > in the Name column select Quick Find Open Opportunities and double click on it > select Add Find Columns > select the Find Columns you want to include e.g.: Est. Revenue, Est. close date > click OK > save > publish all customizations.

Categorized Search, 10 entities selectable for search Settings > Admin > System Settings > General Tab – Set up Search > Select entities for Categorized Search

Enable Relevance Search Sales > Settings > Admin > System Settings > halfway down the General Tab check the box for Enable Relevance Search.

Useful references: +xRM - Quick Find Search Criteria on YouTube NexTec Group – How to search in Microsoft Dynamics CRM on YouTube DMC Software Solutions – Quick Find in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

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