How to search in Windows 10. Ten tips to become a Pro

Search has always been one of the essential features of Windows. Although every version of Windows lets you search for things like files, folders, apps or other stuff, none of them offers such a powerful search experience as Windows 10 does. In the newest version of Windows 10, Microsoft took the search to a whole new level, eliminating the need to browse through our computers or devices to find what we need. Whether it is a document, a website, an app, a setting, or even a person, Windows 10 can find it. If you want to know how to master the Search feature of Windows 10, read on:

NOTE: This guide is created using Windows 10 May 2019 Update. On older versions, some of the features we present may not work the same, or they may not exist.

1. Use Search to find anything on your PC and the web

In Windows 10, the search field found on your taskbar lets you look for apps, settings, documents, settings, music, and so on. To start searching, click or tap on the search field first. When you do that, the search home screen shows up.

The search home screen lets you filter the search right from the start, by selecting to look for Apps, Documents, Settings, Email, Folders, Music, People, Photos, or Videos. These are things that we are going to talk about in more detail in the next sections of this article.

The Search home screen from Windows 10

If you do not need to filter the search results right from the start, or if you want to find everything that matches your keywords, you should know that you can start typing the thing that you are looking for. That can be almost anything: an app, a setting, a document, a video, and so on. Windows 10 immediately starts searching for anything that matches your search terms, filtering the results as they are found.

Searching in Windows 10

You get a "Best match" and, on the right side of the search flyout, Windows 10 displays a preview of the selected search result. This is a place that changes its contents depending on the type of search result. For example, if the search result is a folder, you can see its location and when it was modified the last time, as well as do things like open it or copy its full path. If the search result is an app, you can launch it, pin it, uninstall it, and so on.

What you get in the preview pane when the selected search result is an app

2. Search and fast start an app using your keyboard

One of the best things about the Search in Windows 10 is that it helps you open apps fast, using only your keyboard. Instead of clicking or tapping on the search field from your taskbar, press the Windows key on the keyboard. Then, start typing the name of the app that you want to open. When it appears in the search results, press Enter and, voilá, the app starts. Take, for example, Google Chrome: press the Windows logo key, type chr, and then press Enter.

Start an app fast by using the search and your keyboard

That was fast, wasn't it?

3. Use Search to find Windows 10 apps

When you open the Search home screen by clicking or tapping on the search field on your taskbar, you can filter the search right from the start to show only Apps. Click or tap on the Apps button from the topside of the search box, or type apps: inside the search field. Then start writing the name of the app that you are seeking.

Filtering the search by Apps

When you are searching for apps, the preview pane on the right shows you additional things you might want to do. You can get quick links to Open, Run as administrator, Pin or Unpin the app to or from Start and taskbar, change the App settings, Rate and review, Share, Uninstall and so on. The quick links can differ from app to app, depending on the options that apply to it. For example, if the search result is a desktop app, you cannot Rate and review it in the Microsoft Store, because it is not available in the Store.

The options available for apps in the preview pane

4. Use Windows 10 Search to find documents

To filter the search from the start, you can click or tap the Documents button from the Search home screen, or type documents: if you prefer typing to clicking. Then, start writing the name of the document that you seek.

Starting a search for documents

A nice thing about the search experience is that Windows 10 can seek documents both in File Explorer, locally, as well as in your OneDrive. You can open any document that you found using its default app, as well as open its location or copy its path.

Searching for documents in Windows 10

5. Use Search to find Windows 10 settings

The Search home screen also lets you filter the search only to settings. If that is what you want, you can click or tap on the Settings button or type settings: followed by the setting that you want to find.

Filtering the search to settings only

When searching for settings, the preview pane displays the name of the setting and links to open them. Unlike in previous Windows 10 versions, in the May 2019 Update, this search filter also returns settings that are available in the old Control Panel, not just those found in the Settings app. Also, for some settings, you might also get links to online tutorials for how to use them, as well as additional links to related settings.

The preview pane for searching settings lets you open the results

We would like to see Microsoft implement a way to change settings directly from the search preview pane, without having to open the Settings app, but maybe this might come in a future update for Windows 10.

6. Use Search to find emails in Windows 10

Windows 10 knows how to work with Microsoft's Mail and Calendar app and lets you use Search to find emails that you have sent or received. To do that directly from the desktop, open the Search and click or tap on Email or type email: in the search field, followed by the search term that you are looking for.

Searching for emails in Windows 10

Then, select the email that matches your request and use the preview pane to open it using your browser or email app.

Filtering the search results to Email only

One thing that we found odd is that choosing to Open an email on our Windows 10 PC with May 2019 Update always resulted in launching Microsoft Edge to outlook.com. In previous versions of Windows 10, emails were opened by the Mail app.

7. Use Search to find folders

The Windows 10 search can also help you find your folders. To filter the search results, click or tap on More and then on the Folders filter from the Search flyout. Alternatively, type folders: in the search bar.

Searching only for folders

Then, type by the name of the folder that you are searching for. Select the one that interests you and, on the preview pane, you can choose to open it or copy its path. Interestingly, you also get an option to "Open file location" but clicking on it does not do anything: it is probably just a bug and an option that shouldn't be there.

Details and options available in the preview pane for folders

8. Use Windows 10 Search to find people

Windows 10 can also search for contacts found in your address book, in the People app. If you want to do such a search, click or tap More and then People, or type people: in the search field on your taskbar. Then, start writing the name of the person that you are looking for. Once the results are shown, select the contact that interests you: on the preview pane you can then see that person's picture, contact details and a few links for things such as sending emails or copying his or her details, which usually means an email address.

Searching for people in Windows 10

9. Use Search to find photos, music, or videos

The Windows 10 search can help you find photos, music, and videos. To filter the search results before or after starting the search, you can select the filter you prefer from the top side of the Search flyout, or type photos:, music: or videos: followed by the search term.

Searching for music in Windows 10

10. Use Search to find web results from the desktop

Windows 10's search can also look for results on the internet. Open the search and click or tap on the Web button, or type web: followed by what you want to find on the internet. The web results you get can vary a lot: you can get quick answers, news, websites, word definitions, and so on.

Using Windows 10 to search for results on the web

It is worth noting that Bing powers the search results. Also, you can further filter the results by clicking or tapping on the Images or Videos links at the top of the preview pane.

Further filtering web search results by Images or Videos

Do you use Windows 10 Search often?

We have come to rely heavily on the Search from Windows 10. It is often the fastest way to open an app or find a setting. How do you use Search on your Windows 10 computers and devices? Do you find it useful, or do you think it still needs improvement? Share your opinion, questions, and tips in the comments section below.