• Amanda Sterner

Tips and tricks for searching in Microsoft Teams

Updated: May 13, 2020

#user #search

Me and my husband sometimes talk about how to organize an email inbox, I’m a firm believer of folders and remembering where things are while he loves to search. But when it comes to Microsoft Teams, I also like to use the search bar as it’s a bit easier than looking in all those 1:2:1 chats and teams!


This week I will show you some tips and tricks for searching in Microsoft Teams, and I hope it will make it easier for you to find what you are looking for!

The search bar in Microsoft Teams

Stating the obvious - use what’s built in

If you’ve been paying attention while searching for a colleague to chat with you might have noticed that when you click in the search bar a new message will appear “Type / or @ for a list of commands”.

Built in search commands

Typing / will give you a several options to explore, some related to search and some related to different actions in Microsoft Teams. The ones I find most useful are:

  • /files – this will show you all the most recent files you’ve been working with in Office 365

  • /mentions – this will show you when someone has mentioned @ you. This is only for your specific name and not for a team you are a member of

  • /saved – this will show you all messages you’ve saved (or bookmarked as the icon actually looks like a bookmark)

  • /unread – as you might know it’s possible to mark a read message as unread (I know some people use this strategy in their inbox. Unread=action needed) so this command is handy for showing all unread messages

Built-in search commands for /

Typing @ will give you a set of other actions, such as showing the people you most often chat with.

Built-in search commands for *

Searching for a specific word and built-in filters

In the search bar write the word you want to search for, either it’s something related to a file or it’s a person’s name.

Searching for a word

The result connected to the word will appear to the left divided into three categories: Messages, People and Files.

Built-in filters

For messages you can filter on subject, date, team/channel, from, has mentions @ and has attachments.

Filters for messages

For files you can filter on team, file type and modified by.

Filters for files

Refining search result with search operators

The search operators I will mention below are the same you can use in for example google or the Office 365 portal. Note that search operators only works with when searching for files and not messages.

  • “” – putting your search term within quotation marks will search for an exact result

Search operator ""
  • OR – this will search X OR Y, meaning you can search for more than one word if you aren’t certain what you are looking for

Search operator OR
  • AND – this will search for X AND Y, meaning you can narrow your search if you know what you are looking for

Search operator AND
  • - – Use this to exclude a term or word

Search operator -
  • Filetype: – result that contains a certain file type, e.g. DOCX

Search operator Filetype:
  • () – adding something inside a parenthesis will make it possible to nest the search operator, e.g searching for all Word files that contains the word training

Search operator ()
  • * – adding a wildcard will search for a word that contains what you’ve searched for, e.g. train* gives training as a result as well

Search operators *

Note – when you search you will also search the content of the files.


Note 2 – searching in Microsoft Teams will only search in Microsoft Teams. So, files that are located in for example a communication site or your OneDrive will not appear in the search, if you have shared a file in a 1-2-1 chat it will appear though.


If you can’t find what you are looking for the search operators applies to the search in Office 365 as well (and will include OneDrive and SharePoint).


I hope that these three ways will help you find what you are looking for. Happy searching 😊!

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