How to Set Up Global Search in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Global Search is a feature of Microsoft Dynamics 365 that should not be overlooked. It allows you to query multiple entities simultaneously with the magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

While out-of-the-box, Global Search is set up with default settings, customizing the entities and fields it searches to meet your business needs is simple. Let’s detail both parts: selecting entities and selecting fields.

Selecting the Entities for Global Search

Within Dynamics 365, click the down arrow to the right of the current app name, choose the Settings tile, then click Administration within the System column.

On the Administration page, click System Settings. In the window that appears, within the General tab, scroll down to the Set up Search section. Click Select to select the entities for categorized search.

The Selected Entities column shows the entities that Global Search currently pulls results from. As you can see, currently it’s only querying 8 different entities. This is how it will be set up out-of-the-box, but you can actually include up to 10 entities. Be careful, as you can select more than 10 entities in this window, but when you save, you’ll receive an error if there are more than 10 selected. You can do a couple different things in this window.

Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Select an entity by clicking it in the Available Entities section, then clicking Add.
  • Remove a selected entity by clicking it in the Selected Entities section, then clicking Remove.
  • Change the order results are displayed in by clicking a selected entity, then clicking Move Up or Move Down.

Click OK when all desired entities are selected.

Click OK again to close the System Settings window.

Selecting the Fields for Global Search


After setting up the entities to search, you need to update the Quick Find view for the entities you included in Global Search so that the desired fields are being searched within each of the entities.

Click the down arrow to the right of the current app name again, choose the Settings tile, then click Customizations within the Customization column.

Click Customize the System. In the window that appears, click to expand the Entities section, then click the name of one of the entities you selected for Global Search to expand. Within the desired entity, click Views. In the list that appears, find the Quick Find view, click the check mark to the left of the view name, then choose Edit from the More Actions dropdown menu.

In the window that appears, you’ll see a table that shows the columns of information that will display in the Quick Find view for that entity. To the right of the table, you’ll see Add View Columns and Add Find Columns.

Click Add Find columns and check the boxes to select the fields to search on for Global Search. For example, if I add Address 1: City, and Address 1: State, then I can type a city or state into Global Search and return a list of the accounts located there. Click OK when finished.

You’ll notice that the columns shown in the table will not change. This is you’re simply adding fields to search on, not fields to show in the view. If you want to change the Quick Find view, use Add View Columns, then use the arrows to rearrange them.

When you’re finished, click Save & Close.


Now, in order to activate these changes, you must click Publish All Customizations.

That’s it! You’ve selected custom entities and fields to use for Global Search.

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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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xRM Teams with Akvelon to Provide Hosted Global Search

xRM has teamed up with Akvelon to provide the company’s Global Search application to Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers that have partner-hosted deployments. Global Search was previously available only to CRM Online customers and as an on-premises application. There are currently two hosted versions of Global Search available from xRM: Global Search Standard and Global Search Plus.

Global Search Standard enables you to conduct a single search query and get results from all entities in your CRM database. Global Search Standard costs $5 per user, per month.

Global Search Plus allows you to make a single search query that nets results not only from all entities in your database, but also from email attachments and documents uploaded to CRM. Global Search Plus costs $6 per user, per month.

Benefits of Global Search

Akvelon Global Search improves the productivity of your Microsoft Dynamics CRM users by giving them near instant access to all information within your CRM system. It virtually eliminates the frustrating problem of missing or misplaced data within your CRM database.

Features of Akvelon Global Search

  • Works in Outlook or IE
  • Searches inside tracked emails and attachments uploaded to CRM
  • Searches all records with a single query from any page in CRM
  • Search by Lookup fields
  • Displays results in a single view, categorized by record type

Click here to learn more about hosted Akvelon Global Search.

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