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The Best Uses for the Microsoft 365 Search Box

Using the Microsoft 365 application can help you quickly locate context-specific information tips and files through the search box. The powerful Microsoft search box has several features shared between Microsoft 365 apps. Notably, some of these features are unique to individual applications, and understanding them can help you expedite workflow. This article provides a detailed breakdown of each platform.

Microsoft Search Box

Internet advances provide a wide range of avenues to access information. All you need is a smartphone, tablet, or laptop and find what you want from the internet.

You can acquire information, photo, person, or file faster through the search box by just switching between folders and apps.

If you want to access the search box across Microsoft 365 apps, find the “Ribbon” and the word “Search” above it. Sometimes the search box is represented by a magnifying glass that will expand once your hover the cursor over it. In other Microsoft 365 versions, the search box is named “Tell Me” and is represented by a light bulb, not the magnifying glass.

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Once you click the search box, recent suggestions and searches will appear in a drop-down menu. Enter a single letter, and the suggestions will sort out accordingly.

To get the best from the search box, type in a complete phrase or word to populate more relevant results.

If you’re yet to see your desired results, enter “More search results,” and the results will likely appear.

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Importance of Microsoft Search Box

If you still doubt Microsoft Search Box capability, you’ve not seen it open the relevant files and folders with just a couple of taps. Similarly, the few taps can get you the information you need from a browser-based search engine.

Have you ever considered the time you take to get a specific file or information? How many clicks do you need to make? These clicks and minutes you take looking for information or files affect your productivity and somehow obstruct your line of thought.

This could be a very long time than you thought, especially when you compare it to a quicker alternative such as the search box. You only need to jump in, tap a word or two, and you get what you need.

The whole difference emanates from Microsoft 365’s search engine, making up a broader trend towards computers giving you what you need. The search capabilities in Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 are so robust that creating folders to keep files seems old-fashioned.

Microsoft Search Box Features

Below are some search box core features that function seamlessly in all Microsoft 365 apps. 

Words and Phrases

The feature lets you input a single phrase or word in the search box to get context-specific results. For instance, when you open Outlook, the box will show emails then word documents.


The feature lets you learn tips on performing various tasks in an app. You need to type a word associated with the task, and a video or help document will appear to assist you.

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The search box will learn your search and input behaviors and intelligently organize relevant information for you. Therefore, you won’t have to search for the information again as you can access it quickly from memory.

Web search

Suppose you want to research a topic, simply enter the keyword in the search box, and the relevant information will appear in the app together with search results from Bing.

Access files

The search box helps you find files on your device by typing their name. Once the file appears, you can copy information or drag the file to your preferred location.


If you want to quickly grab a word or phrase’s definition, simply type it, and the answer will pop up.


This feature lets you share file links with collaborators by typing “sharing” into the search box.

Suggested actions

Suggested actions are context-specific shortcuts that surface when you click the search box. They help you quickly perform any action.

Quickly find settings

If you want to use a tool or settings but can’t find them in your app search, you can type in a corresponding letter, and the tool will appear immediately. For instance, if you want to set your paragraphs but can’t find the “Paragraph Settings,” just type “P,” and the tool will pop up.

Search Box Features in Common Apps

While the features discussed above appear in various apps, the features below are unique in each of Microsoft 365 apps.

Microsoft Word

Reuse Content

The reuse content feature stands out in Word. Sometimes you may want to import some text from one document to another. You can use the search box to find the file and access it from the search pane. Find and click on the three dots located on the right side of the file and press “Reuse Content.” You can copy the text from this document and paste it into your current document.


The views feature enables you to select different options to view your Word document. By typing “view” into the search box, you’ll see options for View Gridlines, Grid View, View Outline, Whole Page, and View Table Gridlines.

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Microsoft Outlook


If you want to add a BCC to an email quickly, but you haven’t enabled the capability, you can type it into the search box, and a BCC line will add to the email.

Insert Poll

The feature allows you to poll a group of colleagues by simply opening a new email and typing “Vote” into the search box. Click the “Use Voting Buttons” option that appears in the recommendation and choose your poll style.

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Microsoft PowerPoint

Slide Master

If you want to edit the master slides through the Slide Master feature, type “S” into the search box and quickly access the notoriously difficult to find PowerPoint feature.

Speaker Coach

Simply type “Coach,” and you’ll see the action to help you jump into the session with the feature which improves your presentation skills.

Microsoft Excel

Freeze Panes

This feature keeps selected rows and columns visible while other sheets scroll. Simply type “F” to access the feature. Save yourself the hassle of searching through folders for information, or scour the ribbon for the correct setting. Instead, stay in the Microsoft 365 application and type a few letters and phrases into the search box for context-specific results.

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