What Can You Do with Microsoft Search in Office 365?

Microsoft Search is a new, unified search experience that works across Windows 10, Office 365 apps, and the Bing search engine. Announced in September 2018, it reached General Availability in May 2019 for all users of Office and Microsoft 365. By leveraging Artificial Intelligence, Microsoft Search reads plain language to make search more effective by placing all the documents, people, actions, and answers in an organization and on the internet accessible in one location; the Search bar.

How it Works

In the header of most Office 365 applications exists the humble Search bar, typically used to open features, tools, and the like in whatever application a user is working in. A common example of this is the Spelling & Grammar tool in Word. Now, with Microsoft Search, that same search bar will return files, commands, sites, and any other content a user may be looking for, no matter where it exists in the Microsoft ecosystem. Whether a user is looking for a SharePoint Site, Outlook email, Teams conversation, or answers from a search engine, Microsoft Search will find what a user needs and present it to them in an easy to understand manner directly in the Microsoft Office application.

Used with permission from Microsoft

Used with permission from Microsoft

Because Search is based in previous Office 365 activity, results most relevant to a user’s recent work will be placed at the top. If a user doesn’t find what they’re looking for in the results page, clicking Enter at the bottom of the search box will open a full list of outcomes.


Microsoft Search is based in Office 365 security groups, so the results that users see in Microsoft Search will reflect the permissions they have in other Office apps. There are two admin roles associated with Microsoft Search: Search Administrator and the Search Editor. There are no additional permissions settings that pertain only to Microsoft Search.

Search Administrator: This role can create and manage search result content and define query settings for improved search results within the organization. A Search Administrator manages the Microsoft Search configuration and designates Search editors to create content.

Search Editor: Creates, manages, and deletes content for Microsoft Search in the Microsoft 365 admin center. This role can create and manage editorial content such as frequently asked questions and answers, important places and locations, frequently searched and used sites and apps, etc. Search Editors do not have access to manage search settings.

Customizing Search for Your Organization

Used with permission from Microsoft

Used with permission from Microsoft

There are three classifications that Search Admins can use to make specific pieces of content easier to find than others – Bookmarks, Questions & Answers, and Locations. Bookmarks pin the best possible result for a search query to the top of the results. Q&A will provide an answers and instructions for common questions that users ask. Locations simply list the addresses of buildings and offices for employees to find quickly and easily. In addition to these three designations, using a descriptive titling system and relevant keywords will make search results feel more organized. 

How users benefit

Microsoft Search has immense time-saving potential because users will no longer need to switch between Office apps in order to access the documents, actions, or information they’re looking for. Instead of trying to remember where a certain command is or looking through a large file list to find the document they need, users can use plain English in the search bar to find info across their entire organization and even the web. When there are no internal instructions displayed on Microsoft Search, users can ask a question in the Search bar to get top answers from Bing.

Get started with Office 365

Feel like you’re missing out on the best parts of Office 365? Schedule a call with a Syvantis Consultant to review your setup and learn about training and support opportunities.

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