Microsoft Teams User Tip #6: Searching Messages & How Exact Matches Work


There are 3 over arching objects you can search:

  • Messages
  • People
  • Files

In this article we will focus on “Messages”, and specifically how search term matches work.

I have noticed that when you search for partial text, it is a bit hard to know when Microsoft Teams will return results. For example: We know that the term “Distro” is mention in a team. When we search for “distro” 1 result is shown as we would expect.


But now lets search a partial term, for example, “distr”. Will Microsoft Teams show a result? Let’s find out.


But what if we search for the very well known term “New”. Will Teams only return exact match (new) or will it return inexact matches when the term “new” is contained inside another term? (for example: will it return searches where “new” is inside “news”? Sure enough, it does! (see below)


So what is happening here? Perhaps well known terms can be found even when a subset of another string?

This could be confusing for searching. Generally as we teach users we tell them to search for a shorter string to make sure more results are returned, but the way Teams search works following this advice will potentially return no results. At this time the guidance for searching Teams messages seems to be:

  • If it is a well known term, use the shortest term (it will find the string inside other strings)
  • If it is a less known term beware: it needs to be an exact match

If anyone has any more insight on how search is supposed to work, I would have interest.

Enjoy Microsoft Teams!

To see more Microsoft Teams User Tips:

[Video] Learn Microsoft Teams in 5 Minutes:

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