Improve your Microsoft 365 experience with these search box tips and tricks

Improve your Microsoft 365 experience with these search box tips and tricks

Do you use Microsoft 365? If so, you know that the search box is a powerful tool. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of Microsoft 365’s search function. We'll cover everything from basic functions to more advanced techniques.

What is the Microsoft search box?

The Microsoft search box can be found above the ribbon in Microsoft 365, containing the words “Search (Alt + Q)” in gray. Depending on the size of the window, the search box may also be marked by a magnifying glass icon, also in gray. Some versions of Microsoft 365 may also have a box with the words “Tell me” and a light bulb icon instead of the magnifying glass.

What can the Microsoft search box do?

The Microsoft 365 search box is basically a shortcut to every file and function in Microsoft 365. Need to make a pivot table? You can search how to do that. Can’t remember the Excel formula you need? You can search for that too. With just a few keystrokes, you can find any Microsoft tool you need. And if you’re not sure which tool or feature is best for your task, the search box can also offer you suggestions on which features are available for use.

What can I search for?

Here are some common features you can look up on the Microsoft 365 search box:

  • Words and phrases – Typing in a single word or phrase into the search box will give you a variety of context-specific results. For example, when in Outlook, the box will display emails above Word documents, as you’re more likely to be looking for emails than documents on Outlook.
  • Search history – The search box automatically stores your previous searches, so you can easily see what you searched for last. This feature is great for users who need access to the same files or emails constantly.
  • Tips and suggested actions – Simply key in any term associated with the action into the field to find out how to execute it in an app. Search will offer you a Help document or video that provides steps you can follow to accomplish your task.
  • Web content – The search box in the app can be used to quickly find and learn new things. If you want to conduct further research on a subject, type it into the search box, and basic facts will show up as well as Bing search results that may be viewed on a browser when clicked.
  • Definitions – Type a word you need a definition for in the search box and if the word or term is in the dictionary, Search will automatically show its definition.
  • Files – Type the file name of any document, spreadsheet, or presentation you need, and Search will automatically provide a shortcut to it.
  • Sharing tools – Typing “Sharing” in the search box will prompt Search to get a shareable link of the file you are currently accessing or editing.
  • Settings – Because Search learns your usage and search habits and preferences, it may provide settings shortcuts as well. For example, if you frequently use paragraph settings, typing “P” in Search will prompt it to offer a shortcut to paragraph settings.

Are there any app-specific features?

Here are some app-specific features you should know about:


  • BCC – If enabled, typing “bcc” in Search will automatically add a line for BCC in your email.
  • Quick Steps – Typing “Q” in Outlook’s Search box will pull up the Quick Steps feature, which you can use to manage your inbox better.
  • Insert a Poll – When writing a new email, typing “Vote” into Search will pull up the Voting Actions feature, which will allow you to insert your preferred poll type in the email body.


  • Reuse Content – Use Search to pull up a file that contains content you want to include in a new email. Click on the meatballs (...) menu on the upper-right corner of the file shortcut on the search pane and click on Reuse Content. This will allow you to copy and paste the content you need from the file onto your email body.
  • Views – Quickly change how you view your Word document by typing “View” in Search and selecting one from the options to suit your needs.


  • Freeze Panes – Type “F” in Search and choose Freeze Panes to keep your chosen rows or columns visible even as you scroll through the sheet.


  • Speaker Coach – Typing “Coach” into PowerPoint’s Search box will give you a shortcut to Speaker Coach, which you can use to improve your presentation skills.

Our team of experts at USWired can help your business’s users maximize Microsoft 365’s features. Contact us today to learn more.

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