How to improve the Microsoft CRM 2011 search box

Have you ever tried to search on a field in CRM only to find no records? But, at the same time, you know what you are searching for exists in CRM? You are not alone. The CRM search box is a little flawed in Microsoft CRM 2011 but fortunately it can be improved.

The Microsoft CRM search box is not a search tool like Google. Instead, the search box in CRM is a database search tool that compares your search terms to the data returned by a special database view. This approach doesn't always work the best out of the box but it can be easily tweaked.

First, find the system views that control the search box. In CRM go to Settings > Customizations > Customize the System > Entities and then select an entity such as account or contact and then select Views. Find the view called Quick Find Active Accounts or Quick Find Active Contacts. These are the key views that control the search box.

The Microsoft CRM search box has a couple of limitations to it. Fortunately, these can be fixed.

LIMITATION # 1 - Not all fields are searchable by default.

The reason you can't find what you are looking for is that not all fields in CRM are searchable by default. To make a field searchable you need to add it as a 'find column' to the entity's Quick Find view. This web site walks you through how to do it.

LIMITATION # 2 - The search engine is a database search tool rather than a Google type full text search engine. So it is not quite as powerful. So you often have to use the * wildcard when doing searches.

Example: If you are searching for an account, and you don't remember the exact name of the account but you do remember that the account had the word "consulting" in it, you can't just put the word consulting in the search box. Instead, you have to put use the * wildcard. So search on "*consulting*" instead.