Megan Hagedorn 14 Comments

One little-discussed feature of Microsoft Teams is the Search bar. It is accessible from all 5 navigation areas (Activity, Chat, Teams, Meetings, & Files), and is actually quite handy! Microsoft Teams stores all of your organization’s history indefinitely in the cloud, so you’ll be able to refer back to links, files, conversations, etc. 

You can search for a term, and Teams allows you to tab through matching Messages, People, and Files. When searching in Messages, you can filter down even further and specify if your search should be contained to All teams, This Team, or This Channel (This referring to whatever Team/Channel was selected last).  It’s possible to search for a partial URL in the messages tab:

You can use an advanced filter in the Messages and Files Search tabs by selecting the Funnel/Filter button:

This allows you to filter the search results very specifically for either a certain Subject, Date/Date range, Team, Channel, Person, Mention, Attachment, or some combination of the above:

When searching for files, again, you can search for a partial file name. Emails sent to channels will appear as files and messages:

You can also filter the Files results and look for files belonging to a specific Team, modified by a specific person, or containing a certain file type:

Microsoft Teams does a pretty great job of organizing Team structures and projects, and the developers have made it so easy to retrieve old data.
Leave a comment below or contact me at if you have any questions!


  1. You can’t search by a defined start-end date range. The existing options are not very practical. Also you can search for a word but often you want to see the messages around that word.

    E.g. I want to see WIDGETS from a conversation 5 months ago. I want to see the other messages around that time. The only way to do this is to scroll for hours back up your history as it loads from the web.

    • Hi Marc,
      I completely agree–I think that would be a great idea to post to the User Feedback site for MS Teams (here). There is a workaround that I’ve found to be helpful, but it does take more time and more clicks. After you search for the keyword and find the correct message, you can hover over that message and click the bookmark/ribbon symbol to add the message to your Saved messages. Then, click on your user icon on the lower-left corner and go to ‘Saved’. When you click on the message you just saved from your search, you should be able to see the surrounding messages.
      If you have any other questions or need clarification on the workaround, please feel free to email me at

  2. When clicking on files tab to search relevant stuff it showd error
    But under the search bar messages and people tab working fine

    • Hi Sourabh,
      Hmm, how odd! I would love to take a look at the error and see if I can assist–you could email me screenshots at! Is it displaying ‘no results’ when there SHOULD be results, or does it show an actual error?

  3. The searching only works for files within Teams/Channels and does not find files that you have attached in a Chat. Is this correct? How would I search for a file from a Chat?

    • Hi Jamie,
      You are correct. I’m hoping Microsoft has an update in the works to include chat files in the Teams search, but here’s a workaround in the meantime:
      -Sign in to
      -Open OneDrive
      -Either search in the OneDrive search (upper left) or go to “Shared” in the left menu
      -If you access the “Shared” area of OneDrive, note the tabs for “Shared BY Me” and “Shared WITH Me”. This list will include any files that have been shared via a private chat in Teams.
      I hope that helps! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at

      • Thank you very much for your quick reply! I do hope Microsoft will soon include this ability soon.
        Many thanks!

  4. My searches are not returning hits on older group conversations (like 5 months ago). Only on recent ones. I can *scroll* (lots!) and find the old conversation, and I can see it in front of me, but when I search for a term in it, the conversation does not show up in the hits.
    I have googled this and can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. Or is there a setting someplace that an admin can make that will fix this? Thanks!

    • Hi Eileen,
      I’m noticing the same behavior in Teams as well. As far as I know, there’s no setting to fix this..fingers crossed Microsoft sorts this out soon!

  5. Can you tell me what field the “Subject” filter is searching?

    When I filter by that field, it generally returns no results. We don’t know where Subject even is in any of these channels, teams, chats, etc. Is it ONLY a file Subject?

    Any insight would be great.

    • This is a great question–I just looked into this and noticed a few things. First, searching works differently now (“global” search is only in the top bar now), and I also noticed that the “Subject” filter only refers to Messages. After poking around, there IS a subject line on Team/Channel messages, but you have to click the “Formatting” button first! The subject line does not appear for 1:1 messages

  6. I don’t have a search bar in any view in Teams (chat, files, activity, etc), what setting or permission am I missing from my install?

    • Hi Amy,
      It looks like Microsoft has changed the Teams design since this post and there is just a single global search bar at the very top of the Teams window.

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