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8 ways to use Search in Windows 10 like a Pro

Search has always been one of the essential features of Windows. Although every 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:

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, music and so on. It even lets you search for things on the internet, without having to open your web browser. To start searching, click or tap on the search field first. When you do that, the search home screen shows up.

If Cortana is enabled on your PC, the search home screen lets you filter the search right from the start, just by selecting to look for Apps, Settings, Documents, Photos or Web. These are things that we are going to talk about in more detail in the next sections of this guide.

The Search home screen from Windows 10, when Cortana is enabled

If Cortana is not enabled, the search home screen is simpler but still lets you do what you came for: search.

The Search home screen from Windows 10, when Cortana is disabled

If you do not need to filter the search results right from the start, or if Cortana is not enabled on your PC, you should know that you can just 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 term, filtering the results as they are found. Also, the keyboard filters that we mention in this article work well.

Searching in Windows 10

You get a "Best match" and, if Cortana is enabled, you might also get a series of search suggestions based on the text that you entered. Also, 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 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.

Next, let's see how the search works for different types of queries and data:

2. How to fast start an app using Search and the 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. That's it!

Start an app fast by using the search and your keyboard

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. If Cortana is turned on, you can click or tap on the Apps button.

Filtering the search by Apps

If Cortana is disabled or if you prefer typing to clicking, you can type apps: inside the search field and then start writing the name of the app that you are seeking.

Searching for apps using the apps: filter

When you are searching for apps, the preview pane on the right shows you things you might want to do further. You can get quick links to Open, Run as administrator, Pin or Unpin the app to Start and to the taskbar, change the App settings, Uninstall, Rate and review, 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 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 (if Cortana is enabled) or type settings: (if Cortana is turned off), followed by the setting that you want to find.

Filtering the search to settings only

When searching for settings, the preview pane displays only the name of the setting and a link to open it in the Settings app. Unfortunately, this filter does not return settings that are available in the old Control Panel. The only results you get are settings found in the Settings app.

The preview pane for settings lets you open them

NOTE: 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.

5. Use Search to find documents in Windows 10

Similarly, you can also use Search to find documents. To filter the search from the start, you can click or tap the Documents button from the Search home screen (if Cortana is enabled), or type documents: (if Cortana is disabled or if you prefer typing to clicking) followed by the name of the document that you are seeking.

Starting a search for documents

A nice thing about the documents search experience is that Windows 10 can seek them both in File Explorer, locally, as well as in your OneDrive space. You can open any document that you found using its default app or open its location in your web browser if it is stored in your OneDrive. You also get search results from any other cloud storage service such as Dropbox or Google's Backup and Sync, but they are treated as regular local files which you can open only using appropriate apps.

Searching for documents locally and in OneDrive

6. 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 starting the search, you can type photos:, music: or videos: followed by the search term.

Searching for music using the music: filter

Alternatively, you can also start typing the name of the photo, music or video that you want to find, and then select Photos, Music or Videos on the top side of the search flyout.

Selecting the Music filter in the search fly-out

7. Use Search to find web results from the desktop

The Windows 10 search can look for results on the internet, but only if Cortana is enabled. Open the search home screen 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 the search results are powered by Bing and you can also 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

8. 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 your desktop, type email: in the search field from your taskbar, followed by the search term that you are looking for. Then, select the email that matches your request and use the preview pane to open it using your browser or email app.

Searching for emails in the Windows 10 Mail app

Alternatively, you can also filter the search results to include only emails by selecting Email on the top of the search flyout.

Filtering the search results to Email only

Do you use 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 for example. On the other hand, we do not use it often to look for things on the internet. How do you use Search on your Windows 10 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.