Hidden Gems in TFS–Part 7 Searching and Finding Work Items in Team Foundation Server

In this series of blog posts I like to highlight some features of TFS/Visual Studio that people seem to overlook. In my day to day job I often see that people don’t know about certain feature that are available in Team Foundation Server, Visual Studio or some of the Powertools.

Some features are available as a Powertool. These can be downloaded from here

Earlier Posts

In this part……

Searching and Finding Work Items in Team Foundation Server

Searching work items is something you need to do on regular bases. In Visual Studio Team Explorer you can look for work items by ID. Most of the times it is more useful to search for work items by a text in the title or description.

In order to do this in Visual Studio you should make a Work Item Query and use the “Contains” field with a certain text.


Luckily in the TFS powertools there is the full work item search. When you have this powertool installed you can search for text in multiple fields at the same time.


The weird part is that in the Web Access client this functionality was already there for a long time, only it is not really obvious that this feature is present (almost hidden in the UI (in my opinion))

When you open the web Access Client (normally http://servername:8080/tfs/web) you can search for work item ID in the top right corner.


This is somewhat confusing because on the left side (almost greyed out) you can search for work items.


When you type the search term in here, it will query all work items in your selected Team Project.



2 Responses to “Hidden Gems in TFS–Part 7 Searching and Finding Work Items in Team Foundation Server”

  1. You can also specify a keyboard shortcut in visual studio to jump directly to a work item by providing it’s ID. In Tools->Options->Environment->Keyboard there is a Team.GotoWorkItem command. By default this isn’t bound to a keyboard shortcut, but you can provide one yourself. This makes it easier than having to go to the web access to search for a specific work item by ID.

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