SharePoint’s search engine provides a powerful mechanism to locate content in SharePoint lists and libraries. With no additional modification, you can search entire farms, site collections, sites and lists. The search engine provides users with the ability to look for both “People” and regular content.

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/sharepoint-online-search-service-description.aspx

Did you know you can modify the search engine configuration to customize your search experience and make finding information even easier? Let’s look at some scenarios and the tools you can use to make this happen!

I want to look for a particular type of information.

Why does this matter to me? Let’s say you’re only interested in searching for work procedure documents. Rather than searching across all your content, you can “pre-filter” your search so you only search for information in content identified as “work procedure” documents.

You do this by creating “Result Sources”. You can create new result sources or modify existing ones. Result sources are generated by creating a specific query and saving this as a result set. The specific steps are outlined here: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Manage-result-sources-fd8d6ac6-c5d0-454d-80a9-51580902b25d

Custom Result Sources allow you to index content outside your SharePoint instance. This allows users to find information from other business data sources or even outside your network from the same search interface.

We’ve implemented our own terms and I want to filter results using those terms.

Why does this matter to me? SharePoint search can be configured to provide filtering of search results based on the custom metadata you apply to your documents. This allows users to focus on specific content based on labels applied to the content. This speeds their ability to locate the information they need.

You do this be creating “Refiners” and applying these to your search result page. Refiners are managed metadata term sets. You modify the search schema to map the managed metadata column as a “crawled property”, then utilize a user-modifiable “Text Property” to create “Mapped Property” so the column is available as a refiner. There are a number of steps involved to do this. Here’s a good example of how to do it:  http://nikcharlebois.com/creating-custom-search-refiners-in-office-365-using-term-sets/.

I want certain types of information to show up at the top of my SharePoint search results.

Why does this matter to me? By pre-defining the order of how different types of content are sorted in search results, you can help users see information you think is important to their job. This makes users more efficient by focusing search results on specific business information.

Search Results sorting is accomplished by creating “Query Rules” to identify the specific content you’re interested in, then applying a “ranking model” or “Dynamic Ordering Rule” to the query. Here’s information on how to set up query rules and sorting:  https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Manage-query-rules-53556bb4-3625-490b-aa89-1223e3d4ce3f#__toc343764780.

How Peters & Associates can help

Peters & Associates has been assisting organizations in solving business problems since 1981.  We can help you:

  • Identify the data you need to run your business process.
  • Document your existing work process and design how SharePoint Search can make users more efficient when they look for information.
  • Help define your Information Architecture and content Governance rules.
  • Update the SharePoint Search Schema
  • Provide training and assist in user adoption
  • Provide on-going technical support for your Microsoft applications.

Need help to evaluate your work processes and determine what solutions can work for you?  Give us a call or drop us a line.