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Azure Cognitive Search

Enterprise scale search for app development.

Uncover latent insights from all your content

Azure Cognitive Search is the only cloud search service with built-in AI capabilities that enrich all types of information to help you identify and explore relevant content at scale. Use cognitive skills for vision, language, and speech, or use custom machine learning models to uncover insights from all types of content. Azure Cognitive Search also offers semantic search capability, which uses advanced machine learning techniques to understand user intent and contextually rank the most relevant search results. Spend more time innovating and less time maintaining a complex cloud search solution.

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Fully managed search as a service to reduce complexity and scale easily

Auto-complete, geospatial search, filtering, and faceting capabilities for a rich user experience

Built-in AI capabilities including OCR, key phrase extraction, and named entity recognition to unlock insights

Semantic search capability powered by deep learning models that understand user intent to surface and rank the most relevant search results

Start, maintain, and scale with minimal investment

Deploy a search index quickly and avoid operational maintenance. This fully managed cloud search service reduces the complexity of data ingestion and index creation by integrating with popular Azure storage solutions and offering index functionality exposed through a simple REST API or .NET SDK. Deploy a fully configured search service with intuitive user experiences such as scoring, faceting, suggestions, synonyms, and geo-search—all while avoiding the operational overhead needed to debug index corruption, monitor service availability, or manually scale during traffic fluctuations.

An illustration demonstrating how you can easily create searchable content using integrated AI

Create searchable content using integrated AI

Take advantage of Azure AI speech, vision, and language services to transform raw, unstructured information into searchable content. Easily orchestrate AI services that bring structure to your data before it’s indexed by defining your own Cognitive Search skillset. Applying AI capabilities such as OCR, translation, key phrase extraction, location, people, and organization detection is as simple as checking a box in the Cognitive Search portal.

Surface the most relevant results for your users based on search intent and not just keywords

Leverage tried-and-tested deep learning models from Microsoft Research and Bing to provide contextual and most relevant results in your apps. Using semantic search capability, you can understand the intent of what your customers are trying to search, offer significantly improved search results and drive deeper customer engagement. Semantic search also enables summary results so your users can get quick snippet without the need to go through results links and full documents.

An illustrated search bar showing the most relevant results for the question When did humans land on the moon?

Comprehensive security and compliance, built in

  • Microsoft invests more than USD 1 billion annually on cybersecurity research and development.

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  • We employ more than 3,500 security experts who are dedicated to data security and privacy.

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  • Azure has more certifications than any other cloud provider. View the comprehensive list.

Get the power, control, and customization you need with flexible pricing

Azure Cognitive Search is available in combinable search units that include reliable storage and throughput to set up and scale a cloud search experience quickly and cost-effectively. Add search units to increase queries per second, to enable high availability, or for faster data ingestion. Remove search units during low traffic periods.

Free Basic Standard Storage Optimized
BEST FOR Estimating a projected index size and capacity planning. Running workloads requiring light compute and storage requirements. Most workloads, offering a balance of compute, memory, and storage. Running workloads with high volumes of data cost-effectively when you need less memory and compute.
SEARCH UNIT Free Basic option S1, S2, and S3 options L1 and L2 options
ADDITIONAL CAPABILITIES Document cracking: image extraction
AI enrichment

Get started with an Azure free account


Start free. Get USD 200 credit to use within 30 days. While you have your credit, get free amounts of many of our most popular services, plus free amounts of 55+ other services that are always free.


After your credit, move to pay as you go to keep building with the same free services. Pay only if you use more than your free monthly amounts.


After 12 months, you'll keep getting 55+ always-free services—and still pay only for what you use beyond your free monthly amounts.

See how customers are using the cloud for sophisticated search

Eliminating manual processes to reduce time, error, and risk

Global engineering company Howden uses Cognitive Search to scale its technical review process to more quickly and accurately bid on incoming products.
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Developer resources


Go to the documentation overview to learn how to consolidate searchable content into a single fast index for a broad range of scenarios, and learn more about the Cognitive Search pipeline.

Learning modules and quickstarts

See how to extract and enrich content using AI-powered algorithms with Cognitive Search resources and sample data, learn how Cognitive Search enables knowledge mining, and use the knowledge mining solution accelerator.

Azure migration

Explore resources to migrate apps, data, and infrastructure at your own pace. Use assessment, migration, and cost management tools free as you transition your on-premises workloads to Azure Virtual Machines.

Community and Azure support

Ask questions and get support from Microsoft engineers and Azure community experts on Azure Experts on Azure Community Support, or contact Azure support.

Popular templates and labs

Discover video walkthroughs and popular quickstart templates for common configurations made by Microsoft and the community.

Fuel App Innovation with Cloud AI Services

Learn 5 key ways your organization can get started with AI to realize value quickly.

Frequently asked questions about Cognitive Search

  • Cognitive Search is available in more than 20 countries/regions worldwide, and new ones are being added regularly.

  • We guarantee at least 99.9 percent availability for paid tiers.

  • Built-in indexers are available for Azure Cosmos DB, Azure SQL Database, Azure Blob Storage, and Microsoft SQL Server hosted in an Azure Virtual Machine. Use Azure Data Factory, with more than 80 connectors, or Azure Logic Apps to connect to your data source. Alternatively, push data into a Cognitive Search index, which has no restrictions on data source type.

  • Cognitive Search works with several popular formats, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel; Adobe PDF; and PNG, RTF, JSON, HTML, and XML.

  • Cognitive Search is a platform as a service that helps developers create their own cloud search solutions. Microsoft Search uses Cognitive Search technology to offer software as a service for enterprise search within Microsoft products.

  • Cognitive Search is available in more than 50 languages.

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