Search for work items

Azure DevOps Services | Azure DevOps Server 2019 | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017

Work Item Search provides fast and flexible search across all your work items over all your projects.

See also: Adhoc vs managed work item queries

Start searching

  1. Open the Azure Boards section in Azure DevOps (see Web portal navigation).

  2. Choose the start search icon icon at the top right of the window to show the search textbox.

    The Work Item Search textbox in the title bar

  3. Enter a search string in the textbox, and select Enter (or choose the start search icon icon) to start your search.

    Access your recently visited boards, backlogs, queries, and sprints.

    search-box-azure-boards.png

    You can also search for the boards, backlogs, queries and sprints across your project by entering the board name in the search box.

    search-other-items-in-boards

  1. In the search textbox at the top right of the window, check that the text says Search work items.

    The Work Item Search textbox in the title bar

  2. If you have the Code Search extension installed, the search text box may say Search code. In this case, use the drop down selector to change it.

  3. Enter a search string in the textbox, and press Enter (or choose the start search icon icon) to start your search.

  1. In the search textbox at the top right of the window, check that the text says Search work items.

    The Work Item Search textbox in the title bar

  2. If you have the Code Search extension installed, the search text box may say Search code. In this case, use the drop-down selector to change it.

  3. Enter a search string in the textbox, and press Enter (or choose the start search icon icon) to start your search.

View the results

  1. Search results are displayed in a snippet view, where matches found are shown in bold.

    Search results

    This is a full text search that uses simple search strings for words or phrases. Work item search matches derived forms of your search terms; for example, a search for "updating" will also find instances of the word "updated" and "update". Searches are not case-sensitive.

  2. Select a snippet of a work item to display it in the right window. You can edit and manage this work item in the usual way.

    Display a work item

    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 or Firefox, press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to switch the focus to the new browser tab.

  3. Fine-tune your search by specifying the fields to search. Enter a: and a user name to search for all items assigned to that user.

    Static drop down

    The quick filters you can use are:

    • a: for Assigned to:
    • c: for Created by:
    • s: for State
    • t: for Work item type

  4. Start typing the name of a field in your work items; for example, type ta.

    Quick filters as you type

    The dropdown list shows work item field name suggestions that match user input, helping the user search faster. For example, a search such as tags:Critical finds all work items tagged 'Critical'.

  5. Add more filters to further narrow your search, and use Boolean operators to combine terms, if necessary. For example, a: Chris t: Bug s: Active finds all active bugs assigned to a user named Chris.

  6. Widen your search across all projects, or narrow it to specific types and states. Use the "filter" icon to show the selector lists.

    Showing the filter lists

  7. Select the criteria you want in the drop-down selector lists, or search across the entire organization.

    Selector drop-down lists

  8. Sort the results as you need using the drop-down list of field names, work item types, or by relevance.

    Sort drop-down list

  9. Quickly search for code containing the same search string, or search for the same string in your project's wiki.

    Search for code or wiki containing the same search string

Next step