Thursday, October 17, 2013

SharePoint 2013 Search tips and tricks

Search is a very big part of almost every SharePoint site but searching through the content is not the goal, finding the correct content is. In this post I will give 8 tips to get better search results!
1 Refinement panel
Use the refinement panel on the search results page to narrow down the results. When SharePoint displays the search results you can filter the results by using the refinement panel. Common refinement options are result type, author and modified date.
Refinement planel
2 Use Boolean operators
Boolean operators are used to narrow or expand the search results. Capitalization usually does not matter in search, except for operators. For Boolean operators to work correctly they need to be written in capitals.
ANDUse AND to narrow your search results. The returned search results include all of the free text expressions
NOTUse NOT to narrow your search results. The returned search results don’t include the specified free text expressions or property restrictions.
OR Use OR to expand your search to include more terms. The returned search results include one or more of the specified free text expressions or property restrictions.
Example: “Project plan” OR “Business Case”
3 Use wildcards
Use a wildcard * if you want to be sure to get variations of the term you are looking for or if you are not sure about the spelling.
Example: Project* to search for all item starting with the word project.
4 Use double quotes
Use double quotes ”" to find exact phrases if you are sure about the phrases.
Example: “Progress report”
5 Use Search shortcuts
SharePoint search has a few handy shortcuts that make searching for specific types of content faster and easier. When using a shortcut SharePoint combines property filters to narrow down the search results. When searching for a document called Projectplan search for projectplan doc instead of projectplan. In the background SharePoint will change the search shortcut from doc into filetype:doc OR filetype:docx, filtering the results and displaying only Word documents.
Search shortcutsResult
Deck or decksOnly PowerPoint presentations will be shown
Slide or slidesOnly PowerPoint presentations will be shown
DocOnly Word documents will be shown
VideoOnly video files will be shown
SiteOnly SharePoint sites will be shown
Blog or blogsBlog sites will be shown
PostOnly shows the news feed activities
ConversationOnly conversations (discussions) will be shown
6 Use Specifying properties
The most easy way to explain what properties are is to use the less technical term SharePoint uses which is; metadata. Metadata is the data captured to describe the content. By default SharePoint captures a lot of metadata such as document title, document type, last modified date. The main purpose of using metadata is to make sure all the content stored in SharePoint can be found easily.
A basic property restriction consists of the following three parts: a property name a operator and a value
<Property Name><Property Operator><Property Value>
Example: Author:John or Title:Projectplan
7 Use Property restrictions (operators)
When using properties to narrow down the search results it is possible to make the search query even more specific with the use of different property restrictions. The most used and best known is the : operator. When using the : operator the returned results will all be equal to the specified value . There are a lot more operators available a few examples are:
:Returns results where the value is equal to the property value (short description)Author:John
=Returns results where the value is equal to the property valueTitle=Projectplan
<Returns results where the value is less then the property valueCreated>9/20/2012
>Returns results where the value is greater then the property valueModified<10/10/2012
Search in SharePoint 2013 supports several new property operators. See the full list of the property operators on Keyword Query Language (KQL) syntax referene table 2.
8 Try again
If you did not find the correct document, change the search query a bit. Add or remove terms, operators and properties. Not all documents will be found with the first attempt.

SharePoint 2013 new search features

Author refinement 
The refinement panel shows refinement options relative to the search results. For example it shows the authors. With SharePoint 2013 it possible to click on Show More and enter the name of the author you are looking for.
Modified date refinement 
Another example of a refinement options is the modified date. With SharePoint 2013 it possible to select a period on the timeline. A very easy and powerful way to refine the search results.
Document search results
When hovering over a document in the search result the fancy new preview panel is loaded. Not only can you open the document itself, with the view library button you can open the library where the document is stored! In the preview panel it is possible to fully scroll through the document, a very fast way to ensure you found the correct document.
Per user search preferences
User can configure search preferences to make the search experience more personal.
1. Users can activate or deactivate search suggestions in the search box and suggestions and favorites based on personal query history.
2. Users can clear there Clear personal query history, resetting Personal Query Suggestions and Results You Have Clicked.
3. Users can select if a document will open in the client application or in the browser.
4. Users can select a preferred search language.
5. Users can view and edit there existing search alerts.

Courtesy -Ben Prins

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