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How to Search in Salesforce: Pro Tips and Tricks

Salesforce stores tons of your business’s data, from contacts, accounts, leads, opportunities, and more. Once analyzed, you can use this data to get a complete view of your customers and boost your bottom line. The thing is, you can only unlock the value if your team can easily find specific information, and that’s where Search in Salesforce shines.

In this post, we’ll look at the different types of searches and how you can configure Salesforce’s search functionality to fit in with your workflows.

Search in Salesforce Classic

First, look at how you would search for data in Salesforce Classic. Here, you’ll have a few options:

  • Global search. You can search across the Salesforce platform with the global search bar that you’ll find at the top of every page.
    • It’s as simple as typing your query in the text box and clicking Search. The feature will return the results you have access to and use most.
    • To get the best results with global search, you should be as specific as possible, and you can also use several filtering options depending on the granularity you require.
  • Sidebar search. Besides global search, you can also use sidebar search, which is available at the left of the page.
    • This feature uses a phrase search to match your query to objects and records. It’s important to note that if you’d like to use sidebar search, you’ll need to disable chatter.
  • Advanced search. Another option for finding data is to use the advanced search. Here, you’ll have access to more fields and record types than in the sidebar search.
    • Search terms are treated as separate words. As such, and depending on your needs, the advanced search might give you more control over your searches and the results you get. Keep in mind, though, that, like sidebar searches, you’ll need to disable chatter.
  • Lookup search. Lookup search allows you to associate two records together.
    • For example, a contact record will include an Account lookup field that you can use to associate the contact with an account.
  • List view searches. As the name implies, list view searches allow you to search a list view for a specific record.


Before using search in Salesforce Classic, you’ll need to enable and configure the right features depending on your needs. For example, you can enable Document Content Search, which allows users to search the full text of a document. Or you can enable autocomplete for sidebar search, adjust your lookup search settings, configure how many results are displayed, and so much more.

Apart from these settings, you can also configure search layouts. These layouts allow you to control exactly what users see when their searches return results. You can also define these search layouts for both standard and custom objects.

Ultimately, you can use these layouts to show users information that’s strictly relevant to them.
How to Search in Salesforce Classic

How to Use the Einstein Search in Salesforce

If you’re using the Salesforce Lightning Experience, you can also access the search options mentioned earlier. However, you also have access to Einstein Search, which allows you to find information on the Salesforce platform faster and more effectively.

Using Einstein Search offers several benefits:

  • Recommended results. Einstein Search provides users with recommended results based on their search terms. These recommended results appear at the top of the search results, and there’s a preview so that users can see if it’s the information they want.
    • Users will also get links to related records in addition to the recommended results. It goes further than this, though.
    • When users put their cursor in the search bar, they’ll be presented with results even without typing anything. These results are based on the user’s recent activity on the platform.
  • Personalized search results. Einstein Search uses AI to reorder search results based on the information the user works with the most.
    • It looks at the last 200 records the user interacted with and takes it as a signal that the information is important to the user.
    • Also, because it’s based on machine learning, the algorithm will learn more about the user’s preferences and improve over time.
  • Natural language processing. Unlike searches in Salesforce Classic that use, for example, phrases or separate words, the natural language processing in Einstein Search allows users to use common words and phrases.
    • As a result, the algorithm recognizes the intent of the search and allows users to find the information they need faster.


How Einstein Search Works

We’ve now seen what Einstein Search is and what benefits it offers. But how does it work? Based on what we’ve already mentioned above, once a user clicks on the search bar, they’ll be presented with relevant results and record previews.

Then, as they type their query into the search box, these results will automatically be refined based on what the user types. In addition, as with searches in Salesforce Classic, users can also perform lookup searches.

Behind the scenes, Einstein Search breaks up searchable content into smaller pieces called tokens every time a record is created. Each of these tokens has a link back to the original record. It then indexes the content by storing the tokens in a search index.

When the user searches for information, Einstein Search breaks up the search query into tokens as well. It matches these tokens to the tokens in the search index to find matching records. Once it matches records to the search query, it returns the results to the user and orders them by relevance.

How to Search in Salesforce with Einstein Search

Right off the bat, it’s important to note that Einstein Search is free and available to Essentials, Professional, Enterprise, Performance, and Unlimited Edition customers.

Step 1: Check Your Einstein Search Settings

Einstein Search is activated by default for an entire Salesforce org. However, there might be some settings you’d like to change. To do this, you’ll enter Einstein Search in the Quick Find box and select Settings. On the new page, choose the features you’d like to enable by checking the appropriate checkboxes.

If you’d like to use Natural Language Search, select Actionable Instant Results. Once you’re done, you can click on Save to save your changes.

Step 2: Customize Search Layouts

The next step is to customize the way you’d like search results to be presented to users and what actions they’ll be able to take:

  • Go to the Quick Find box in Setup and enter Object Manager.
  • Select Object Manager in the results that appear.
  • Choose the object that you’d like to edit and select Search Layouts.
  • You can then edit the layout by selecting Edit from the dropdown list.


Here, you can change what’s visible on the page by moving fields between Selected Fields and Available Fields. You can also customize the fields that appear as column headings and sort the fields in the layout. Once done, you can save your changes.
How to Search in Salesforce with Einstein Search

Step 3: Define What Data Users See

Finally, you can also define the results different users will see, so they always get the most valuable and relevant search results. To do this, you can personalize the search for different user profiles. (Remember, though, that this feature is still in beta.)

When activated, Einstein Search will, as usual, provide search results that it deems relevant based on the user’s recent activity and search history. It will, however, also provide search results based on the objects that you specify using this feature.

When using this feature, there are some things you’ll need to keep in mind:

  • You cannot disable Einstein Search’s intelligence that provides search results; you can only tailor it to your users’ needs with the personalization feature.
  • While you can remove objects from the list that will be included in the search results, they might still show up based on what Einstein Search believes is relevant.
  • While you can add objects that should be included in the search results, it’s no guarantee that they’ll show up. This is because the results a user sees are subject to your org and user permissions.
  • Einstein Search will also order the results based on relevance, and you can’t change how this is done.


Your Data at Your Fingertips

Search in Salesforce is an invaluable tool that can unlock incredible benefits for your business. With Salesforce Classic or Einstein searches, your teams will be able to find information faster and easier than ever before. And once they have the data they need to make excellent decisions, you can bet you’ll feel it on your revenue!

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