Find what you need with Microsoft Search in Office

Table of Contents1 Get started quickly2 How do I…?3 Help!4 Collaborate with colleagues5 Find related files6 What does this word mean?7 Find more information about a word or phrase8 Can I make the Search box smaller?9 See Also At the top of your Microsoft Office apps on Windows you’ll […]

At the top of your Microsoft Office apps on Windows you’ll find the new Microsoft Search box. This powerful tool helps you quickly find what you’re looking for, from text to commands to help and more. Let’s take a look at what it can do for you.





Note: This feature is currently rolling out to Microsoft Microsoft 365 customers who are part of the Office Insiders program. If you’d like to be among the first to try this feature out, join the Office Insider program.







Get started quickly


Click the Microsoft Search box, or press ALT+Q, and before you even type anything Search will recall recently used commands and suggest other actions you may want to take based on what you appear to be doing. If you’re using a business edition of Microsoft 365 you will also see people you frequently collaborate with and files you’ve recently worked on.


The Microsoft Search box selected

How do I…?


Not sure how to do something in Office or can’t find the button on the ribbon that you’re looking for? Click the Search box and type what you’d like to do. The Search box will find the commands that match your needs and you can launch those commands directly from the results.








Help!


If you need help with your application, just type your question into the Search box, select Get help on… from the results and Microsoft Search will recommend support articles that can answer your questions.



Collaborate with colleagues


Note: This feature is only available in business editions of Microsoft 365.

Working on a file and realize that you should get input from a teammate? Type their name into the Microsoft Search box and a list of people with matching names will be returned. Select the person you want to work with and you can share the file with them, or open their contact card for more information.



Find related files


Note: This feature is only available in business editions of Microsoft 365.

Want to look up, or reuse, some information from a related document, presentation, or workbook? Start typing the file name into the Microsoft Search box and a list of files that we thing best match your search will be returned. Select the file you want and you can open that file, or insert content from that file into your current file.

Only files you have permission to see will appear in these search results.

If you don’t see the file you’re looking for there, select the See more search results for… link and you should find additional files that match your search on the Files tab of the Search pane.


The Search pane showing files that were found with a search

Just like with the quick search above, only files you have permission to see will appear in these results.

Tip: If the file you’re looking for is actually a picture from the web, choose the Pictures tab to see a gallery of pictures that match your query. By default the results will be filtered to only pictures with Creative Commons licenses. 



What does this word mean?


Looking for a quick definition? Type the word into the Microsoft Search box and Bing will tell you what it means.

Want more than just the quick definition? Click on the definition the Search box returned and the Search pane will open to give you more detail about the word.



Find more information about a word or phrase


Need more information about a word or phrase? Type it in the Search box and select See more search results for… to launch the Search pane. Here you’ll find tabs for Knowledge, Files, Web, and Pictures.

Note: The Search pane is currently only available in Word. Excel and PowerPoint still have the classic Smart Lookup pane, for now.


  • Knowledge – Gives you a definition and/or more information about the topic from sources like Wikipedia.


  • Files – Searches your organization for files that contain the word or phrase that you searched for. Only files you have permission to see will be included in the results.


  • Web – Returns a list of web results for your query from Bing.


  • Pictures – Runs a Bing Image search for images that match your query. By default only images with Creative Commons licenses will appear in the results. Clear the Creative Commons checkbox to remove that filter and see a larger set of results.



Can I make the Search box smaller?


Yes, if you find that the Microsoft Search box is taking up too much space you can collapse it down to just the magnifying glass icon. To do that go to File > Options and select Collapse the Microsoft Search box by default.


The File > Options dialog box showing the Collapse the Microsoft Search box by default option.

With the Search box collapsed you can still access it by clicking on the Magnifying glass towards the right side of the title bar, or by pressing ALT+Q. 



See Also



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