Search for content using the Content search tool
Use the Content search tool in the Microsoft 365 compliance center to quickly find email in Exchange mailboxes, documents in SharePoint sites and OneDrive locations, and instant messaging conversations in Skype for Business. You can use the content search tool to search for email, documents, and instant messaging conversations in collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 Groups.
Search for content
The first step is to starting using the Content search tool to choose content locations to search and configure a keyword query to search for specific items. Or, you can just leave the query blank and return all items in the target locations.
Create and run a Content search
Feature reference for Content search
Build search queries and use conditions to narrow your search
Configure search permissions filtering so that an eDiscovery manager can only search subset of mailboxes or sites in your organization
Run an ID list search to search for specific email messages
Search cloud-based mailboxes for on-premises users in Microsoft 365
View keyword statistics for the results of a search and then refine the query if necessary
Search for third-party data that your organization has imported to Microsoft 365
Retry a Content search to resolve a content location error
Preserve Bcc recipients so you can search for them
Perform actions on content you find
After you run a search and refine it as necessary, the next step is to do something with the results returned by the search. You can export and download the results to your local computer or in the case of a email attack on your organization, you can delete the results of a search from user mailboxes.
Export the results of a content search and download them to your local computer
Search for and delete email messages, such as messages that content a virus, dangerous attachments, or phishing messages
Export a report about the results of a content search, without exporting the actual results
Learn more about content search
Content search is easy to use, but it's also a powerful tool. Behind-the-scenes, there's a lot going on. The more you know about it and understand its behavior and its limitations, the more successful you'll be using it for your organization's search and investigation needs. Learn about:
Partially indexed items in Exchange and SharePoint and how to include or exclude them when you export and download search results
Investigate partially indexed items and determine your organization's exposure to them
Limits of the Content search tool, such as the maximum number of searches that you can run at one time and the maximum number of content locations you can include in a single search
Estimated and actual search results and the reasons why there might be differences between them when you export and download search results
De-duplication in search results that you can enable when you export email messages that are the results of a search
Use scripts for advanced scenarios
Sometimes you have to perform more advanced, complex, and repetitive content search tasks. In these cases, it's easier and faster to use commands in Security & Compliance Center PowerShell. To help make this easier, we've created a number of Security & Compliance Center PowerShell scripts to help you complete complex content search-related tasks.
Search specific mailbox and site folders (called a *targeted collection) when you're confident that items responsive to a case are located in that folder
Search the mailbox and OneDrive location for a list of users
Create, report on, and delete multiple searches to quickly and efficiently identify and cull search data
Clone a content search and quickly compare the results of different keyword search queries run on the same content locations; or use the script to save time by not having to re-enter a large number of content locations when you create a new search