Search Saves the Day
What's that mysterious gray box with a magnifying glass so cryptically labeled "Search" you say? It could only be one thing- the search bar!
Alright, silliness aside, Discord's functionality as a forum and chat hub doubles as a pretty good archive as search enters the picture. The search function incorporates a few different tools and filters to help you find what you need in the smallest, friends only server, or an expansive community-wide server. Since Discord won't delete your messages until you decide to, you can refer to anything sent in your server as far back as when it was created!
Dust off the ole' magnifying glass
To start searching, just click the search bar in the upper right-hand corner of the app. You can also hotkey your way to search success within the currently-viewed channel by pressing ctrl + F (Win) or cmd + F (Mac). Opening the search bar will bring up a window with some search filter suggestions:
Typing any one of the filter keywords or selecting them in the dropdown in the search box will use that filter in your next search, as indicated by the dark background on the word. There are four filters you can use:
From: Use the From filter to narrow down your search results to a specific user. (Good place to start!)
Has: The Has filter lets you search through messages based on media contained within the message. Using Link or Embed filters will point you towards messages containing those items, whereas Video, Sound, and Image filters can sort through messages with any embedded media (from any source!) to give you those specifics. You can also combine filters for added search power.
In: Using the In filter will allow you to select which channels within your currently open server you want to search through. Typing this filter tag will pull up a dropdown menu of the accessible text channels in the server you currently have open.
Before, During, & After: These tags allow you to search chronologically and pull up an interactive calendar to choose the starting date of the search. You can combine both Before and After filters to search within a range of dates as well. Chronological filters aren't just limited to specific dates, you can also choose days of the week (before: Monday), weeks (before: Week), or months (after: May) depending on what you're looking for.
Say your super cool tournament server held an event on August 20th, back in 2015. If you wanted to look for tournament match results in your #results channel, you could use a during search filter to pinpoint the exact date you're looking for in your search filter:
With the filters in place, you can scroll back to August and click the 20th day in the calendar:
And you'll get a neat little search filter string getting exactly what you're looking for:
Search filters are also stackable, allowing you to use more than one in a search to zoom in a little more and find exactly what you're looking for. For instance, I can use from: Nelly#1234 to find everything she's said in the server, but I can add in: #general to find everything she's said in the general channel!
Narrow it down
Once you've narrowed down your search query, you'll see the list of results populate in the side menu.
You can choose between sorting the search results based on recency, which will sort the results starting with the most recent message that fits the criteria, or relevancy, which will sort the results based on the closest match to what you were searching for.
If you've found what you're looking for, you can click the Jump button in the top-right corner of the message when the icon appears.
And that's it! Don't forget that each server you search will be indexed all the way back to the beginning of each channel, so you can find any message typed all the way back to the beginning of the server. Larger servers may take a little bit longer to comb all the way through all of the messages, but once they've been indexed, you won't run into the same wait.