Advanced Find Tip: Using the Wildcard

Hopefully you are already aware of the power of using the wildcard in Dynamics 365 searches. This allows you to use a * to represent any number of characters. So if you do not know what a name starts with you could search for “*smith” and get results for all records that contain “smith” not just start with it. Similar to a “contains” search in Advanced Find. 

However, you may have turned on Full Text searching. When using Full Text Searching, all of your searches are like wildcard searches (but a bit better) so you can quickly forget about the power of the wildcard.

But wait – you can use the wildcard in Advanced Find! Of course, you would not want to use it in the case above (“*smith”) because you could use a contains search. Think of instead an example where you knew some of the characters at the beginning (but not the first characters) and some towards the end. How could you accomplish this in Advanced Find?

I used this recently when searching for Notes. The Notes in question contained a timestamp in the format of 00:00:00 which was different from other notes (that I wanted to exclude) with a format of 00:00. I wanted to return the Notes that had included the seconds value in the Note title.

To find this I can search for Notes where the Title contains “*:*:*”! This found the notes I was looking for perfectly!

Also Pro Tip: Try to narrow down your Advanced Finds as much as possible especially when dealing with entities with a large volume of records. In this case, I knew the notes I was looking for were all created after a certain date so I could use that to shrink the universe of records I was searching before heading to the results.

How do you use the *Wildcard*?

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