Searching the data in your Zendesk

Searching the data in your Zendesk

Searching works pretty much the way that you would expect: you enter search terms and you get results that contain those words. A simple word search for something like 'camera' returns any results from your entire Zendesk (ticket properties, user properties, comments, tags, forum topics, and so on). You can also use filters and keywords to refine your search.

Administrators can search your entire Zendesk and agents can search the tickets and users that they have been given permission to see. For example, if as an agent you are limited to only seeing tickets in the groups that you belong to, you will only be able to see those tickets in your search results. End-users can search the knowledge base, their own tickets, and their organization's tickets (if they belong to a shared organization).

Simple text searches

You can search your Zendesk by using the search tool. You'll get results that contain those words you enter in the search.

To begin a search
  • Click the Search icon () in the sidebar, then enter your query in the search box.

    As you enter the word or words in your search, results are displayed immediately.

    Zendesk Classic: The search field is in the upper-right of the top toolbar.

Identifying items in search results

Search results contain colors or icons to indicate each type of search result that is returned.

Ticket results are preceded with a colored icon indicating it's current status. Here are the corresponding ticket statuses and colors:

Other search results types are preceded with the following icons:

Icon Description
User profile. The user's photo appears instead of the icon, if it's available. Administrators and agents have a green circle in the bottom-right corner of their photo or icon; end-user's do not.
Forum topic
Community question
Idea or feature request

Using search filters

In addition to the full text search, you can narrow your search results using search filters. You can filter on the primary data objects: tickets, users, organizations, and topics. You can also limit your results to the past day, week, month or year.

To refine your search with search filters
  • Click the Search icon () in the sidebar, then click any of the options on the left.

    You can select a filter before or after you enter your search query.

Zendesk Classic: Search filters are not available in the interface but you can use search keywords to refine your search. See Using search keywords below.

Using search keywords

As described in the Zendesk search reference in the Zendesk Administrator Guide, you can create more complex search statements using search operators and keywords.

You can restrict your searches to just ticket, user, topic, group, and organization data. To do this, you use the data object properties as keywords in a search. For example, the following search returns all pending tickets.

Zendesk also supports common search operators that you use when searching the Internet such as: (equals), > (greater than), < (less than), and "" (phrase search).

Searching for user, organization, and group data returns user profiles and group and organization summary pages that display each entity's activity, including tickets.

For all of the details about searching the data in your Zendesk, see the following topics in the Zendesk Administrator Guide:
Have more questions? Submit a request


  • Avatar
    Gary Skinner

    I think I have found a problem with search in Zendesk with two different search methods. 

    a) When I go to Admin - (Manage) People, and select Organization and put a partial name in there (for the sake of this example I type 'Broadcasting' - from British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) ) and click the Search button I don't get any results. If I then type British (ie the first word) and click the Search button then I get a result.

    b) However, if I just click Search and type 'Broadcasting' it filters and successfully finds the results as I type (ie instant search).

    Why the two different types of searches between (a) and (b)?

    Ideally I would expect search (a) to work like search (b)... 

    Thoughts please!


  • Avatar
    Laura D.

    Hi Gary, 

    That sounds like odd behavior to me too! I'm going to create a ticket for you and send it to Advanced Support so that someone can look into this. You'll see a message from from support in just a minute and then we'll send you an update as soon as we can!

  • Avatar
    Brian Pavlovich

    I see similar problems with the search - what came of this?   Seems the knowledge base we're about to devote time to building out will be fairly ineffective if people enter more than one word... even if they are both matches to a forum topic it doesn't return the result  Type one of the words, bam - result returned.  (Put the two words in single quote then it works, but people don't actually search like this.)

  • Avatar
    Laura D.

    Hi Brian, 

    There are some differences in how search works in the two different areas Gary noted, there isn't anything that has changed there.

    I found you submitted about this and tried doing some searches in your Zendesk - I think there may be something happening because it doesn't make sense to me. Additionally, when I search for single words in my test account they are bringing up articles I expect it too - when it's one word of several in the title, plural versions of the word instead of the singular keyword I typed into search etc. I'll add some notes to your ticket and someone from Advanced Support should be able to give you more information soon.  

  • Avatar
    Adrian Maynard

    I am trying to find tickets by searching for a custom field named "issue type". Every search for "issue type:xxxxx" is identical. How can I search for tickets by a custom field? I'm seeing the correct counts in my reports, but how do I find the tickets being reported? 

  • Avatar
    Seth Wylie

    Custom fields put tags on your tickets, so give it try searching for the tag for the value that you're looking for, instead of the value itself.

  • Avatar
    Adrian Maynard

    Thanks for the suggestion. I tried your idea and was able to find some tickets, but I know I'm missing others.

    For me there were issues. First, the results don't always match the tag in a very inconsistent way. You get randomly unmatching tickets when you search for a tag. Some results are right, some are not, and the ones that are not have no pattern. But at least you get some. You just have to look through 79 tickets to find 4 with the right tag, and you never end up finding the 3 others that are being reported with this tag in a saved report. Even after looking through 79 tickets about 10 times to make sure you didn't miss one. 

    Second, when you create a custom field, you are right that it assigns a tag. But the tag has a bunch of underscores. If it's more than one word, odds are you won't remember how it was named so you can't just search for it without first going to find out how many underscores to use. 

    Regardless, I still can't find the tickets referenced in my reports. It says that I have X tickets with a specific custom field. How do I find them? This seems like it would be so easy; I know I am doing something wrong. 

    Would also be nice to search by more than one filter (custom field + type, for example). 

  • Avatar

    Hi Adrian, 

    The search string you mentioned in your first post would work for searching a custom user or organization field; it will not work for searching a custom ticket field. As Seth mentioned, in the case of a custom drop-down field like your "Issue Type" ticket field, each selection from the drop-down menu tags the ticket, so it's best to search for tickets containing the appropriate tag for the field selection in question.

    I just tested out a tag search for Tags:billing and Tags:printing in your Zendesk, which were two of the selections from your Issue Type custom ticket field. Each time I performed these tag searches, I received the correct number of tagged tickets (identical to the number of tagged tickets showing up in your report). On our end, the tag search appears to be working in your account. Since you say it's not working on your end, I've created a ticket on your behalf to troubleshoot further. I'll see you in that ticket shortly!

  • Avatar
    Adrian Maynard

    Thank you. Try searching for "Passbook". We also use custom field named "Other". Can you try these?

  • Avatar

    Hi Adrian, 

    Let's continue the conversation in that ticket I created for you. If the issue turns out to be something that affects many customers, we'll post the resolution here when we're finished troubleshooting!

  • Avatar
    Alvaro Olivencia


    I would like to know if it is possible to add a tag or a color tag to different tickets to then perform a search by word and find the specific tagged tickets.

    For example, I would like to find all the tickets that are tagged (or marked with some color if possible) with the word "development". I already tried by adding the tag "development" to tickets  but the search result shows all the tickets that have the word "development" on it and not the specific ones that I want.

    It is possible to do what I've explained?

  • Avatar

    Hi Alvaro, 

    If you tag a bunch of tickets with 'development,' then run a search for only tickets tagged with that word, you'd want to use the search reference 'tags:development.' If you just enter 'development' by itself into the search bar, you'll see all tickets with any type of reference to that word. Let me know if that doesn't resolve your issue, and I'll create a ticket on your behalf!

    The system already uses color to indicate ticket status. When running a search, you'll notice along the left side of the results a box to indicate the ticket's status, each in a different color. For example, yellow = New; red = Open; blue = Pending; black = On-Hold; dark gray = Solved; light gray = Closed. So as not to confuse this workflow, the system doesn't let you further color-code anything.

  • Avatar
    Alvaro Olivencia

    Thanks for the answer Emily, now it works fine!




  • Avatar
    Sharna Bahrani


    Actually I have a search option on my website that says "Search Forums/KnowledgeBase" for end users. On the click the of search I want the users to be redirected to the page if I was to search from Zendesk. I know it involves API calls and sending search query in the form of JSON. I wanted a clearer idea on this or steps I should do.


  • Avatar
    Sharna Bahrani


    Thanks a lot. I have got the solution for this. 

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