Find Your Stuff with Search

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Find recent items in instant results.
  • Find the right record in full search results.

Search is the most used feature in Salesforce. So, if you’re performing many searches a day, why not learn how to get the biggest bang out of your search buck? This unit introduces you to Lightning Experience search if you’re used to Salesforce Classic. Then we take you through some common search scenarios in Lightning Experience so you can save time by getting to records faster.

In Salesforce Classic, you’ve probably gotten used to zooming past the recent items in the global search dropdown menu. They can be useful, but they’re somewhat… limited.

Salesforce Classic instant results

In Lightning Experience, the global search dropdown menu shines as an essential productivity tool. From the moment you click into the search box, the list of “instant results” helps you get to records faster.

Let’s walk through it. When you click in the search box, you see a list of five recent items. Selecting an item takes you right to its record page.

The list of five recent items

As you start typing search terms, you have even more options.

Lightning Experience instant results, with options to search and select records

  1. Full Search—Searches for your term across searchable objects and takes you to the Top Results page.
  2. Full Object-Specific Search—Searches within the current object (if searchable) and takes you to the object’s search results page.
  3. Suggested Records—Lists up to five records that have a name that matches your search term. Records include recent items, items from your most frequently used objects, and items from the current object. Selecting an item takes you to its record page.

Know which object you want to search? Here’s a not-so-secret (but definitely awesome) tip. You can focus your search to a specific object using the dropdown list next to the global search box (1). Click the dropdown list and start typing the name of the object. Or scroll through the list to find what you’re looking for. The objects you use most frequently are at the top (2), followed by all searchable objects, in alphabetical order (3).

When you want to go back to searching across all objects, select All in the dropdown list.

Limiting a search to a specific object in Lightning Experience

We understand that sometimes instant results aren’t enough to get the right record. That’s why Salesforce designed the Lightning Experience search results page to stay true to the Salesforce Classic format but with a fresh look and more informative touches.

Looking at both search results pages, notice that you can still:

  • See Top Results from your most frequently used objects on one page (1).
  • See all the results for an object by selecting the object, like Contacts (2), from the Search Results pane on the left. Don’t see your object? Click Show More (3).
  • Sort search results by clicking the headers (4).

Comparing the search results page for Salesforce Classic and Lightning Experience

But it wouldn’t be Lightning Experience if we didn’t improve on Salesforce Classic. Here are more enhancements that make refining search results even easier.

  • Adjust column widths and clip or wrap text. Moving columns and wrapping text in Lightning Experience search results
  • You can filter search results for accounts, cases, contacts, dashboards, files, Knowledge articles, leads, notes, opportunities, people, and tasks, and for custom objects. In Lightning Experience, filter options are in the pane on the left to give search results some breathing room. Account search results filters in Lightning Experience Having trouble finding a specific filter? Admins determine which fields are available for filtering when they set up the layout for search results. You can filter only on the columns that appear on the search results page.
  • See a note when search results include spelling corrections. Spelling correction note in Lightning Experience
  • Easily see how search results are sorted (and change the order, too). Sorting search results in Lightning Experience

Search in Lightning Experience helps you find records faster. Of course, if you’re familiar with Salesforce Classic, you may want to know what happened to Search All, filters for every object, pinning, and sidebar search. Check out the Resources section at the end of this unit for more details about what’s different or not available when searching in Lightning Experience.

Now that you have the lay of the land in Lightning Experience search, let’s go through some common search scenarios.

Say that you have a big meeting later today and need to quickly look for information about an attendee. When you click in the search box, the instant results dropdown shows a list of recent items. You don’t see the person that you want, so you start typing.

GIF of clicking into the global search bar, seeing recent items then seeing more results as you type

As you type, Salesforce suggests records that match your search term. And, bingo! There’s the record you wanted.

Later in the day, you want to let your team know how the meeting went. Instead of wasting time clicking around the Groups page, find the right group fast from anywhere. Click the dropdown list next to the search box, start typing Groups, then select the Groups item to narrow your search to just group records. Easy peasy, right?

GIF of clicking into the dropdown menu next to the global search box, typing Groups, then typing the group name in the global search box

Before you leave for the day, you remember that you wanted to share a file with another team member. When you search for it, you realize that you gave the file a really common name. So you filter the results to get to the right file.

On the Files view for search results, you see the filters options. You indicate that you’re the owner, it’s a PDF, and that it was modified within the last day. And the right file appears from the haystack!

Filters in Lightning Experience

Curious to see all this in action? Look at the video in the Resources section of this unit.

A Quick Note About Lookups

If your org uses lookups to associate records in Salesforce Classic, you know that learning all the different lookup terms can be challenging, to say the least. Happily for you, lookups in Lightning Experience are simpler... and more powerful. Searching for the right record to associate has also gotten easier.

As a reminder, here’s what you’re probably used to when using lookup search.

Lookup search results in Salesforce Classic

In Lightning Experience, the best features of Salesforce Classic enhanced lookup search are available all the time, on all searchable objects. This lookup search acts a lot like global search.

Lookups in Lightning Experience have instant results

  • As you type a search term, you see instant results that suggest matching recent items or records.
  • When you press Enter to perform a full lookup search, all searchable fields are searched.
  • Search features like spelling correction are applied. (Depending on the object you’re searching, not all search features are applied, so check out Why Am I Seeing Search Results for Similar Terms in Salesforce Help for the full story.)
  • Full search results are sorted by relevance to show users the best results at the top.
  • You can sort full search results by clicking the column headings and by relevance.

Search is a feature that you use all the time, every day. So, small productivity gains really add up. Your org may have a lot of data, but with all the search improvements in Lightning Experience and your knowledge of how it works, you can navigate around faster and easier than ever. Now, go get those records!

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