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Dynamics 365 Relevance Searching is a new feature which forms part of Dynamics 356 the 8.2 release. This is an additional way to search through the data held across multiple entities and have the results retuned in a single list sorted by the relevance to the search criteria.
I feel it is a more useful ‘on the fly’ advance find type of feature, as changes can be made to drill the data down by using the facets and filters and it will search across all the nominated entities without having to build the search query.
Once enabled the relevance search is accessed from the Global search magnifying glass on the navigation bar. It does not replace the categorized search as you can switch between them both as discussed later.
Relevance Search utilises the Azure search technology via external indexing of the data. Is it worth noting at this point prior to enabling the relevance search feature it might be worth defining the entities it indexes to control the data indexed by Azure. I will cover this in more detail further down, however to configure the relevance search feature you would open the customizations area, select entities and then click configure Relevance search
To enable the relevance search feature
First access the Administration area> system settings
Once the system settings page has opened, remain on the General tab and scroll down to the Set up search area.
Once there then place a tick in the ‘Enable Relevance search’ field. As per the notification below the check box and the notification which appears, Once the searching is enabled you are consenting to share data with Microsoft Azure.
To disable the Relevance searching, you remove the check from the box and the data which was shared is removed.
Configure the Relevance SearchEntities
As noted above when configuring the relevance search, you can specify the entities which are enabled for relevance searching by opening the customizations area, select entities and clicking on ‘Configure Relevance Search’
This will then present you with the ‘Select Entities’ window
Where you can add and remove any entities you wish to be included in the search or removed the ones you do not. There are some entities added out the box but custom entities are not. These would need to be added manually.There is a max number of fields which can be included of 1000 by design.You will need to save and publish any changes made for them to take effect.
If you want to add a custom entity to the relevance search, you would need to update the Managed Properties of the entity to allow it to “sync to external search index”
This can be accessed from the Customizations area, where selecting the custom entity and then Managed Properties
This will then allow you to set the ‘Can enable sync to external search index’ to ‘True’
Publish the changes and you will then be able to select this entity for relevance searching.
Configuring Relevance Search Fields
The fields which are searched and shown by the relevance search feature are the same fields which are used by the quick find view. This means that the fields added to the Find and View columns set the behaviour of the search. These have to be set per entity if you are wanting to alter the out the box selections. The find Columns set the searchable fields and the view columns set the fields that are displayed when there is a match to the search criteria
Again from the Customizations area, select the required entity and go to Views. Then open the ‘Quick Find Active’ View
Open either the ‘Add View Columns’ or ‘Add Find Columns’
Once the windows have opened select the fields you want to add to the search,
Then press OK and publish the changes. The changes made here will apply all the quick find configurations on the system.
Now that relevance search has been enabled and configured it’s is set as the default search. It can be accessed in the usual way of entering the search criteria in the ‘global’ search field on the on the navigation bar (via the magnifying glass).
You can switch here from Relevance Search to Categorized search by clicking on Relevance Search and choosing the search option you require.
Individual users can set their personal search preference on the Personal Options general tab in the section which is now visible as relevance search is enabled, titled ‘Select the default Search Experience’
Where you have the option for Relevance search, categorised search or use last search.
You can also set your own preference for the 'Facets and Filters' if you wish to over-ride the choices set earlier by the quick views.
As you can see below the criteria used was 3i which has returned a list of records which match the search criteria.This can be further filtered by using the ‘Facets and Filters’ on the left where we can limit the results by record types, owner etc.
I have set up Relevance Search successfully in 2 different Sandboxes, but now I'm in my UAT sandbox and for some reason the checkbox to set it up isn't even available. Any idea why this might be?
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