Use the Search box to find work items by ID or keyword

Visual Studio 2012

Both Team Web Access and Team Explorer have a search function you can use to quickly find a specific work item or a group of items. You can search by ID, status, a keyword or phrase within the Title or Description fields, a specific state, or a work item type. You can also find work items based on who created them or who they are assigned to.


  • You must be a member of the Readers group or have your View work items in this node permission set to Allow. See Change permission levels.

To find a single work item by its ID, type the ID in the Search work items box and then choose the search icon Search (Team Web Access). In Team Explorer, choose the Search icon (Team Explorer) search icon or choose the Enter key.

Search box (Team Web Access)

Team Web Access search box

To find work items by a field other than ID, you can type a filter or add a filter to the search box by opening the Context Menu Icon shortcut menu and then choosing from the options. In Team Explorer, you can choose the Search box clear icon (Team Explorer) Clear button to remove content from the search box. To switch your context to the search box from within Visual Studio, choose Ctrl+'.

Shortcut menu for search box (Team Web Access)

Search box shortcut menu (Team Web Access)
Shortcut menu for search box (Team Explorer)

Search box menu (Team Explorer)

Or, you can also type these shortcuts into the search box:

  • A =for Assigned To, (for example, A:Annie or A=@me).

  • C for = Created By, (for example, C:Peter or C=@me).

  • S for = State, (for example, S=New).

  • T for = Work Item Type, (for example, T=Task).

Use the @Me and @Today macros to specify your user name or today’s date.

Use the =, :, and operators to specify the operations Equals, Contains, and Not, respectively.

Finding work items using the search box (Team Explorer)

Find a work item using the search text box

You can combine shortcuts and use search operators within the search box. For more examples, see Work Item Search Syntax. To create more complex queries, see Work with a flat list (default) query.