Tip #1438: Turn on auto search for lookups

Today’s tip is from Amey “Anything But Code” Holden. You can drop your priceless tip into our tipping jar too, thank you very much!

I (Amey, not me – t.j.) often see users struggle with the confusing behaviour of lookups in model-driven apps. Typical sketch from an average week of consulting with model-driven apps looks like this:

UserClicks on the lookup column on a form
Lookup Column
  1. Shows nothing


  1. Shows a bunch of ‘recent records’ (do not get me started on the number of times I have turned this **redacted** (t.j.) feature OFF! (no tip ref but here -> Disable Recent Records from Dynamics 365 Lookup Control | Model-Driven Apps [Quick Tip] | D365 Demystified)
UserConfused – “there’s nothing there, it’s not working”
Expected behaviour Show me a list of available values to select
Actual behaviour Nothing

Me“Start typing – what are you looking for?”
UserTypes what they are looking for
Lookup ColumnDoes nothing
UserMore confused – “there’s still nothing there”
Expected behaviourFilter the list of available values that match what I am typing
Actual behaviourNothing

Me“Oh yeah ok now press ‘Enter'”
User“Where’s ‘Enter’?”
Me“On your keyboard. Return? Pointy Arrow Button? No not the delete one! Ok ok ok click on the search icon. No not that one. Aghhhh!”
**the process continues for a while until desired outcome is achieved or one of us gives up**
User“ahaaa found it”

Me“I’m sorry, lookups are confusing, **redacted** (t.j.) design, don’t worry it’s not your fault, you are still really smart” etc. etc.

How to make this go away

  1. Go to https://admin.powerplatform.microsoft.com/
  2. Select the environment you want to update
  3. Select the Settings cog in the command ribbon
  4. Expand the Product menu
  5. Select Behaviour
  6. Update the Lookup Behaviour to the minimum amount possible for each of the options
    • Minimum number of characters to trigger typeahead search: 1
    • Delay between character inputs that will trigger a search: 250ms
Screenshot of a lookup displaying list of matching records after typing just 1 letter

Rinse and repeat for all your customers and environments – send all thankyou gifts to **redacted personal details for Amey Holden**.

Cover image “Ben to the Rescue” by dafuriousd is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

6 thoughts on “Tip #1438: Turn on auto search for lookups

  1. Juan Simon says:

    This literally happens all the time! Great tip.

  2. Great tip! Thanks for sharing

  3. David says:

    Much wow, very cool

  4. […] Now, if you go to the Opportunity form, you will no longer see the recently viewed accounts. Want to take it a step further? Enable auto-search for lookup columns. […]

  5. Nicholas Austin says:

    I may not be smart, but I can lift heavy objects. 😁

  6. Malin says:

    I always remove recent items from lookups, but I had no idea about the lookup behavior. This is amazing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *