Search is a handy tool in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2011. You can find the record or records you’re looking for quickly by name.

What if you aren’t sure of the whole name? Fortunately, Microsoft supports a “wildcard”, which allows you to search for unknown parts of names. As part of your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Training, follow along below and we’ll teach you how to use the wildcard.

What’s a wildcard? A wildcard stands in place of any amount of unknown text. In CRM Online, the wildcard character is the asterisk “*”.

CRM Online invisibly adds the wildcard to the end of every search string. That means it will look for anything that starts with whatever you type. For example, searching for “a” actually searches for “a*” and might result in “Aaron“, “Abby”, “Ace”, etc.

That’s pretty handy if you know the beginning of the name, but what if you only know the middle or the end of the name? For example, let’s say you’re looking for a certain Account with “sales” in its name, but due to your working with thousands of Accounts, you can’t quite remember the rest of the name. If you enter “sales” into the search box, you will likely receive no results (see below).

 Quick Tip Get Wild with Your Searches

That‘s because it’s unlikely that any Account names actually start with “sales” even though “sales” might occur in other positions. So how can we find Accounts with “sales” anywhere in their names? We can type the wildcard at the beginning of the search string, effectively surrounding it in wildcards. For example, we type “*sales”, which becomes “*sales*” when CRM Online adds the wildcard at the end, which instructs CRM Online to search for any amount of text followed by “sales” followed by any amount of text. Let’s try it right now, by typing “*sales” into the search box (see below).

Quick tip search tool in crm online 2011

As you can see above, the Microsoft CRM Online 2011 search has returned a list of all Accounts containing the word ”sales”.

Wildcard searches give you flexibility when trying to find records of any type, not just Accounts. You could find a list of all Contacts with the last name of “Smith”. You could also run a search for Opportunities with “big” in the topic, or E-mails with “party” in the subject. None of these are a problem with a wildcard search.

If you’re looking for more quick tips or quick fixes, keep reading the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Blog by xRM.com