10 Features That Will Make Your SharePoint Search Shine

4 minute read
Chaitu Madala avatar

Search giants like Google and Bing provide powerful features that allow you to do great things with search. But, do you know about the possibilities available with SharePoint search? We’ve pulled together 10 ways to help you make your SharePoint search shine. You might be surprised at all of the exciting new features available with SharePoint search.

1. Content Findability Over Multiple Sources

Data can be crawled from multiple sources, including SharePoint sites, file shares, folder structures or content management systems. This makes it easy for users to find content that may have been difficult to discover before.

2. Search Content On Other Sites (Federation)

SharePoint allows the user to leverage other sites, such as bing.com or wikipedia.com to enable your search page to find pages related to keywords on other various sites that you choose. This is beneficial to the user because they are more likely to find what they are looking for even if it’s not on your site. This works really well for users to compare rates or prices from competitors. But of course, you want to make sure that your rate is cheaper before you enable their website to your search!

3. Highlighted Search Results

Best Bets in SharePoint are similar to sponsored links in commercial search engines like Google or Bing. To get the most out of Best Bets, you must understand how your end-users think when searching a topic and associate results with specific keywords. Best Bets make it easier for the end-user to find what they are searching for and allow you to feature results prominently to the user.

4. Drill Down Your Search Results

Refinements or Faceted Search help you filter search results based on metadata stored with result items. This provides users with results relevant to the filters they choose. An example of Refinements can be found on Google Images. Google Images, like Refinements, allow you to drill down your search by defining the size, color or post date of an image.

5. “Did You Mean” Suggestions

No worries if you misspell something in the search field. SharePoint’s “Did You Mean” function identifies spelling mistakes and offers you a “Did You Mean” suggestion.

6. People Search

You can search for people inside your organization by first or last name, title and department. This search function allows you to see lots of information about the person you are searching for, including skills, position, are they online or offline?, status updates, recent history and their picture. SharePoint also lets you add that person as a colleague so that other colleagues can see that you work with that person. This is very helpful for large organizations with a hefty number of employees.

7. Document Previews & Thumbnails

When searching a keyword, SharePoint can pull up previews of slides or pages from documents and show them in search results to save you time. This function requires a separate license for FAST search.

Learning Opportunities

8. Ability to Sort

By leveraging FAST search with SharePoint, you have the ability to sort by anything that you define. Yes, anything… that means if you want to sort content by zodiac months you can (although, that is up to you to decide). Not many commercial search engines offer this.

9. Search PDF files & Images

SharePoint has the ability to crawl content in PDF files, as well as metadata stored with images. No more spending time going through all of those PDF’s to find content.

10. Search Results Styling

Search results do not have to look like a standard search results page. SharePoint can help you target your search results more to the end-user. For example, you can style your search results to be Photo Libraries, Employee Directories or Content Rollups.

These are just a few of the many possibilities with SharePoint search. Microsoft even provides an API to extend and customize the features that come out of the box with SharePoint search.Overall, the SharePoint search platform gives you a flexible and extensible tool to deliver a cohesive solution to your users.

Editor's Note: You may also be interested in reading:

About the author

Chaitu Madala

Chaitu Madala is a SharePoint Architect and Microsoft Certified Professional with Ironworks Consulting, headquartered in Richmond, VA. He has extensive experience in the full life cycle of the software design, and specializes in Microsoft technologies with a focus on the development and integration of custom applications built within SharePoint Server.

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