Get started with search

Azure DevOps Services | Azure DevOps Server 2022 - Azure DevOps Server 2019 | TFS 2018

You can quickly find work items, code files, wiki pages, or packages based on a keyword, wildcards, and other supported search filters with the search function.

See the following quick links to more information:


  • Every project member can use the search functions, including project members granted Stakeholder, Basic, and higher levels of access.
  • When you search across the organization or collection, only results for which a project member has access are listed.
  • Stakeholder wiki search results are limited to provisioned wikis. Because published wikis require access to regular repositories, which Stakeholders don't have access to, results for published wikis don't appear in the search results. Similarly, Code search results don't appear for Stakeholders.


For Code search, a Collection Administrator must Install and configure search.

Start your search with a keyword

Start your search using a keyword. You can then apply other options, as needed, to broaden or narrow your search results.

Search boxes in Azure DevOps

Search boxes in TFS 2018 and earlier

  • To get results that match the input, you may need to remove filters and search again. After you see the search results, you can narrow them down by applying appropriate filters and searching again.
  • Make sure your search terms are spelled correctly. Work item search doesn't ignore spelling errors.
  • You might get a message that no matching files are found if you use a wildcard search with too many hits, such as a simple wildcard search string. In this situation, make your search more specific to decrease the number of matches. Add more characters of the word or words you want to find, or use a condition or filter to restrict the number of possible matches.
  • Searches aren't case sensitive.

Search features, usage, and examples

The following features apply to all searches, including work items, code, wikis, and packages.

The following features apply to all searches, including work items, code, and packages.

Search feature




Search based on one or more keywords.

validate finds instances that contain the word validate.

Exact match

Search based on an exact match, enclosed in double-quotes.

"Client not found" finds instances that contain the exact phrase match Client not found.


  • Add wildcard characters, * and ?, to keywords to extend the search criteria.
  • Add * at the end of a keyword to find items that start with the keyword.
  • Add ? in the middle to represent any alphanumeric character.
  • Use wildcard characters anywhere in your search string except as a prefix. You can use prefix wildcards with the other search filter functions.
  • You can use more than one wildcard to match more than one character.
  • alpha?version finds instances of alpha1version and alphaXversion.
  • Browser* finds instances of BrowserEdge, BrowserIE, and BrowserFirefox.
  • CodeSenseHttp* finds files containing words that start with CodeSenseHttp, such as CodeSenseHttpClient and CodeSenseHttpClientTest.

Boolean operators

  • Find two or more keywords using Boolean operators: AND, OR, and NOT (must be uppercase).
  • Add parenthesis to clauses to support logical groupings.
  • Because AND is the default operator, an entry of two keywords with no operator is the same as an AND search.
  • Validate AND revisit finds files that contain both the words validate and revisit.
  • Validate OR revisit finds files that contain either of the words validate or revisit.
  • Validate NOT revisit finds files that contain the word validate but not the word revisit.
  • (Validate NOT revisit) OR "release delayed" finds files that contain the word validate but not the word revisit or files that contain the phrase release delayed.


  • Search for files based on vicinity using proximity operators: NEAR, BEFORE, and AFTER (must be uppercase).
  • By default, proximity search looks for terms within five tokens distance.
  • term1 BEFORE term2 returns all files where term1 occurs BEFORE term2 within a distance of five tokens between them.
  • term1 AFTER term2 returns the same results as term2 BEFORE term1.
  • term1 NEAR term2 returns all files where term1 is within five token distance from term2 in any direction. term1 NEAR term2 returns the same results as term1 BEFORE term2 OR term2 BEFORE term1.

Special characters

  • Escape the special characters ()[]:*, and ? by enclosing them in a phrase delimited with double-quotes.
  • Include special characters in a search string, or search specifically for special characters, according to the following rules:
  • CodeA23?R finds files containing words that start with CodeA23
  • Have any alphanumeric character next, and end with R. For example, CodeA234R and CodeA23QR.
  • Search for any special character that isn't a part of the query language.
  • "flatten()" finds the literal string flatten(). Search for a literal occurrence of the double-quote character " by preceding it with the escape character \ and enclosing the search string in double-quotes.
  • "\"react-redux\"" finds the literal string "react-redux."

Search from a different page

You can search from any of the following pages:

  • Organization project page: Starts a search across all projects.
  • Project overview page: Automatically applies a filter to search within the selected project.
  • Boards page for a project: Automatically displays recent work items and backlogs accessed by the user.
  • Azure Repos, Pipelines, Test Plans, or an Artifacts page for a project: Automatically displays functional filters for code searches.
  • Wiki page: Automatically go to a wiki page you recently opened.

For more information, see the following articles:


No results found for ...
Too many hits from a simple wildcard search can result in no matching files. You can narrow your search by adding more characters or using a condition or filter.

More search functions

See the following table for more search tasks and actions.

Search task


Find an organization setting

Go to your organization and select Organization settings.

Find a project setting

Go to your project and select Project settings.

Find a user setting

Go to your User settings page.

Find a user

Go to your organization and select Organization settings > Users, and then enter the name in the filter box.

Find an organization

Scroll through the left side of your screen, which lists all organizations.

Find a project

Go to your organization, and then enter the project name in the Filter projects box.

View file history and compare versions

Go to Repos > Files, highlight your file, and then select History.


When you search from the Organization settings page, your search results include both organization-level and project-level settings.

Search re-index requirements

Search for Azure DevOps Server has the following limitation:

  • If you do a disaster recovery (DR) operation and move your server back to an earlier snapshot of your SQL database, re-index all your collections.

Marketplace extensions

  • Code search - Extends search with fast, flexible, and precise search results across all your code. Required for searching repositories.
  • Azure Paths Search - Adds a special search hub to Boards for searching within iterations and area paths without having to create and maintain custom queries.


Azure DevOps doesn't support some extensions. For more information or assistance, go to the Visual Studio Marketplace.

Next steps