Global Search & Sidebar Search

Global Search

Note: this article discusses search in the context of Salesforce Classic; search within the Lightning Experience is discussed in the Chatter section.

Global Search is automatically enabled when Chatter is enabled.  It cannot be enabled otherwise.  As you can see, the position of the search bar is above the tabs.  Global Search returns personalized results, based on which records a user views most (opportunities are placed at the top if the user views opportunity most frequently).

Global Search will return more search results than sidebar search, as it indexes most custom fields and additional data (including articles, documents, products, and more).

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Sidebar Search

When Chatter is disabled, sidebar search is present.  Sidebar search does not return personalized results.  It also returns fewer search results than Global Search, as it indexes only select fields (name, address, phone, email, custom fields that are either unique or an external id).

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Here’s an account with a unique value populated in custom field “SLA Serial Number”:

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Global Search

Global Search indexes custom fields, therefore search results are returned:

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Sidebar Search

Disabling Chatter changes the org to sidebar search, which does not index most custom fields.  Therefore the same search using sidebar search returns no results:1-23-2013 3-24-05 PM

Comparison Summary

Limitations for Search in Salesforce Classic
[Should / Long /]

Global Search
Chatter Enabled
Menu Above Tabs
Personalized Results
More Results Returned
Sidebar Search
Chatter Disabled
Menu in Sidebar
Static Results
Fewer Results Returned

25 Responses to “Global Search & Sidebar Search”

  1. piyushsharma09 February 20, 2017 at 11:09 pm #

    Is now possible to enable Global Search without having to enable Chatter?

  2. saif.a.kader December 28, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

    Is there any way to disable/suppress Chatter while having global search enabled in Salesforce classic?

  3. jalcala December 11, 2015 at 7:39 am #

    I believe that it is now possible to enable Global Search without having to enable Chatter as of the Winter 16 release.

  4. Rena Bennett-Dellwo March 26, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

    What could cause search results in a Global search to not display records (or even have them show up in the record count for an object) that you know for a fact are there? I’ve had this happen on more than one occasion.

    • JohnCoppedge March 26, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

      Not having access to the record (from a security standpoint), having the tab where the record is stored hidden from the user – there are probably other reasons this would occur, but those are the first places I would check.

  5. Sonal Vaidya December 14, 2014 at 3:51 am #

    Once the Global Search is enabled can it be disabled by if i disable chatter?

    • Sonal Vaidya December 14, 2014 at 7:07 am #

      Got the Answer , Once i un-check enable checkbox in chatter settings and save , Global search is disabled and Sidebar search and Advanced search are available.

  6. Roger Bannister September 19, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    I’m a bit confused about the relationship between “Chatter” and “Global Search”. Your information seems to indicate if you DO NOT have Chatter enabled you DO NOT have access to Global Search. Is this correct?

  7. Mike Williams May 29, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    Somewhat confusing because under Sidebar Search you state that you can search custom fields that are either unique or an external id. Then you give an example of a field that is a unique number, and state that a Global Search would find it, a Sidebar Search would not. Seems contradictory.

    • JohnCoppedge June 10, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

      Ah I see what you mean – “unique” is a field-level specification (similar to an external ID).

      If you specify a field as “unique” then all values in that object MUST have unique values – AND search results are returned with sidebar search.

      However if you simply create a field (not required as unique) and all values in the field happen to be unique – then sidebar search would not search this field (as requiring unique values is what makes the field indexed).

  8. Kalloori Ramesh May 26, 2014 at 9:58 am #

    Hi All,

    I want search by contact name and also display the related Accounts as well.
    Please help on the above.


    • JohnCoppedge June 10, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

      If you are using contact roles (e.g. a contact can be related to many accounts), then you would need to a use a trigger to copy the related contact names to a text field on the account.

      By default you should be able to search for a contact and see the related (single) account.

  9. Kaira Bergstra February 23, 2014 at 12:25 am #

    so the assumption for the example is that “SLA Serial Number” field is configured such that both Unique & External ID checkboxes are set to false, correct?

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