Overview of Content search

Use the Content search tool in the Microsoft Purview compliance portal 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.


If you're not an E5 customer, use the 90-day Microsoft Purview solutions trial to explore how additional Purview capabilities can help your organization manage data security and compliance needs. Start now at the Microsoft Purview compliance portal trials hub. Learn details about signing up and trial terms.

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.

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 an email attack on your organization, you can delete the results of a search from user mailboxes.

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.

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 PowerShell.

To help make this easier, we've created several Security & Compliance PowerShell scripts to help you complete complex content search-related tasks.