Get started with Work Item Search

Last Update: 4/7/2017

| Team Services |

Work Item Search provides fast and flexible search across all your work items over all projects in an account. You can use the Work Item Search full text search engine to easily search for terms across all work item fields and efficiently locate relevant work items. Use in-line search filters, on any work item field, to quickly narrow down to a list of work items.

Work Item Search offering in Visual Studio Team Services

Work Item Search is available as a built-in extension in Visual Studio Team Services. Users can get searching by default without any installation. By using Work Item Search you can:

  • Search over all your projects: Search in your own and your partner teams' backlog. Use cross-project searches over all the work items in your Team Services account to search across your organization's entire work items. Narrow your search by using project and area path filters.

  • Search across all work item fields: Quickly and easily find relevant work items by searching across all work item fields (including custom fields). Use a full text search across all fields to efficiently locate relevant work items. The snippet view indicates where matches were found.

  • Search in specific fields: Use the quick in-line search filters, on any work item field, to narrow down to a list of work items in seconds. The dropdown list of suggestions helps complete your search faster. For example, a search such as AssignedTo:Chris WorkItemType:Bug State:Active finds all active bugs assigned to a user named Chris.

  • Take advantage of integration with work item tracking: The Work Item Search interface integrates with familiar controls in the Work hub, letting you view, edit, comment, share, and much more.

Work Item Search Extension is installed by default. Get searching.

The Work Item Search textbox in the VS Team Services title bar

You can use the select search type selector to switch between searching for code and searching for work items.

Switching between searching for code and work items

If you don't see the select search type selector in the Search box, open the Manage extensions page and check that Work Item Search is installed.

Checking that the extension is installed

Get searching

From anywhere in Team Services, make sure the search text box in the title bar contains Search work items, enter a search string in the textbox, and press Enter (or choose the start search icon icon) to start your search.

The Work Item Search textbox in the VS Team Services title bar

By default, you get a full text search across all fields of the work items. The snippet view indicates where matches were found.

Or you can use the quick in-line search filters, on any work item field, to narrow down to a list of work items in seconds. The dropdown list shows work item field name suggestions that match your text and helps complete your search faster. For example, a search such as tags:Critical finds all work items tagged 'Critical'.

Quick filters as you type

You can repeat this to add multiple quick filters. As you do so, the list updates to show matches, letting you quickly narrow down your search to exactly the item you want to find. For example, AssignedTo: Chris WorkItemType: Bug State: Active finds all active bugs assigned to a user named Chris.

Open the search results in a new browser tab from a search box by pressing Ctrl + Enter or by holding Ctrl and clicking the start search icon icon. In Google Chrome, press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to switch the focus to the new browser tab.

Use the rich search results page

One of the major advantages of Work Item Search is the fact that it displays the full contents of the work item for each result in the rich results page. This makes it easier for you to scan each work item in the result, locate the work item you need and then directly work with it.

For every result, you see the work item ID, title, state, who its assigned to, and any tags associated with the work item. By default, search terms are matched across all fields. The snippet view indicates matches found in other fields. For example, your search terms might match in work item description, repro steps, test steps, or discussion comments.

Search results

The right pane of the results page shows the work item selected in the center column.

The selected work item

Choose projects and area paths

When you search from inside a project, the default is to search only within that project. When you search from inside a team, the default is to search only within the default area path of that team. When you have one project selected, you see a list of area paths in that project for which you have read access - you won't see any projects and area paths for which you don't have read permission. Select area paths in the tree to narrow your search if required.

The selected projects are always at the top of the list. Notice that hit counts are also shown for projects that are not selected.

Filter for projects

Clear all the checkboxes to search across all projects. Do this quickly and easily with the Clear all links to search in a different scope.

Search remembers your last settings, such as the project and area path you searched in.

Next steps

Go back Back to Search overview

Got feedback?

Question Send your feedback to vsosrch@microsoft.com. Post your ideas and feature requests on UserVoice.