Modifying Global Search in CRM Online

A Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online instance can amass quite a complex database over time as users continue to input data. It’s important for users to be able to find their data quickly later. CRM Online has seen improvements in its search capabilities over the years, especially with the introduction of the Global Search feature in CRM Online 2015. Global Search is different from Advanced Find. Often seen as a sort of “CRM search engine” by end users, its functionality can be misunderstood. We at xRM ( receive questions from our clients about the search results of their respective organizations being less than ideal. This is because Global Search hasn’t been optimized yet for their individual needs.

It’s important to understand that while Global Search is the closest thing there is to a “CRM search engine,” it does not search against everything in a CRM Online database. It is however, a powerful tool that allows user to query across multiple entities at once.

CRM Online administrators should take a few simple steps to optimize Global Search for their businesses.

Let’s use a common scenario to highlight some key settings. Pretend we’ve added a custom entity called “Project” to our CRM Online organization. We as the System Administrator want users to be able to search for Project records using Global Search. The first thing we have to do is tell the system to query against Project records when users enter a global search. Navigate to Settings > Administration > System Settings. The System Settings window then opens. In the General tab, under the Set up Quick Find area, we see two options.

Modifying Global Search in CRM Online

We want to click the Select… button next to the Select entities for search option. This opens the Select Entities window. We can then choose the entities we want Global Search to examine by adding them to the Selected Entities column, up to a maximum of ten. By default, eight are selected and the admin can remove any they choose. In this example, we’ll add Project as a selected entity. We can also move the items in the list up or down to set the order in which the results are displayed. When we’ve made the desired adjustments, we can click OK to close the Select Entities window, and OK again to close the System Settings window.

Modifying Global Search in CRM Online

We also need to configure which attributes of our custom Project entity Global Search examines when searching. In this example, there are three fields that we want users to be able to query against to find Projects: Customer, Project Stage, and Deployment Date. To do this, we need to add these fields as Find Columns for the Project entity. We want to navigate to Settings > Customizations > Customize the System. We then drill down into the Project entity (or whichever entity you would like to modify) and select Views. The view we want to open is the “Quick Find…” for the entity in question.

Modifying Global Search in CRM Online

In the View window, notice that there are Add View Columns and Add Find Columns options.

Add View Columns controls which columns display in quick search results for the given entity. It also controls what displays in Global Search results. Each result in Global Search is displayed in a tile. Each tile shows three fields for each record. It’s the first three columns of the Quick Find view that dictate the fields displayed in the tiles of the Global Search results.

The Add Find Columns option is what designates fields as searchable. Using the screenshot above, unless we add Customer (a lookup field to the Account entity) as a find column, Projects will not display as results in Global Search when we search for an Account name. It is not enough that Customer is listed as a view column.

Once we have selected the necessary find columns and set the view columns, we can click Save and Close. We have to publish our customizations before the changes go into effect.

Modifying Global Search in CRM Online

Now when we run a Global Search by entering a portion of the name of an Account record, we will get Projects related to that Account in the results.

You can learn more tips, tricks, and tutorials for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, please check out our xRM blog and our Success Portal. If you would like to receive training from our team of experts, please inquire about our QuickStart Training.

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