Search is a core part of the SharePoint user experience. It enables users to find relevant business information and documents more quickly and easily than ever before.
For this recipe, as a marketing manager in my organization, I am going to search for the visual design guide called "Branding Elements" that my team just helped put together.
All you need is Read access to the site where you will be performing your search. The results that SharePoint returns are "security trimmed," which means you will only see content that you have access to through permissions.
How to do it...
To perform a search within a site, follow these steps:
- Browse to any page on the site where you'd like to perform the search.
- Start typing your search keywords to see the relevant results. In this case, we will start typing Branding Elements. We'll notice that we immediately start seeing the results after entering the first two letters, as shown in the following screenshot:
- At this point, we can click the appropriate result if we've found what we're looking for.
- Otherwise, we can finish entering the search keyword(s) and then click the See more results link, toward the bottom, to be taken to the search results page to see the matching results from the current site. Note that these results are sorted in order of their predicted relevance to you.
- We can then expand individual results to see the matching text in context, as well as an inline preview of the matching document. You can also filter the results by the type of result and apply additional filters by clicking the Filters link, as shown in the following screenshot:
- Finally, the results you will initially see are those from within the site where you performed the original search. Clicking the Work @ Contoso link on the top, however, brings back results from the hub that this site is part of. Furthermore, clicking the Organization link on the top will expand the scope of the search results to the entire organization. Bear in mind that the results you see are always security trimmed, which means that you will only see documents and content that you have access to in the first place.
How it works...
Microsoft Search is a component of Microsoft 365 that helps you find information that you already have access to but do not know where to look for it. This information could be a document that you had previously created or it could be information that was shared by your colleagues. In its simplest form, SharePoint Search crawls and indexes information in lists and libraries. For libraries, the content that gets indexed includes the metadata associated with the respective documents. In addition to lists and libraries, SharePoint Search also indexes content in pages and the profiles of the employees in your organization. It then lets you search this indexed content using advanced filter criteria. Finally, it lets you view the results through a user-friendly presentation experience.
Some of the salient features of the search results page shown in the preceding screenshot are as follows:
- Search scope: Earlier, we discussed the ability to expand the scope of the search results from the current site to the current hub, and then to the entire organization. When you expand the search scope, you will still see what's most relevant to you first. So, if you have been working on a document in the recent past and that closely matches the search term, it will always be shown to you at the top, irrespective of whether you are searching within the current site, the hub that it belongs to, or the entire organization. Searching from within the Microsoft 365 home page or the SharePoint start page automatically defaults the search scope to the organization level. Similarly, performing a search from the hub site defaults the scope to the entire hub, meaning that it will show you results from all the sites within that hub.
- Search result verticals: The various tabs shown in the preceding screenshot are also commonly known as search verticals. Verticals are a way to group content of different types. The preceding screenshot shows verticals for Files (which only shows file and folder results), Sites (which only shows matching sites), and News (which only shows matching news posts). It also provides an All vertical that shows combined results from all the verticals. In addition to these, you may also be able to see a People vertical, which, as the name suggests, will show you matching people results. The People vertical is only shown when you expand your search scope to the organization level. We'll discuss People search in more detail in the Finding experts and people recipe in Chapter 8, Search in Microsoft 365.
- Result previews: Clicking anywhere in the blank area against the search result opens up the search preview. Here, you can see a preview of the text where the search result occurred within the document. As shown in the following screenshot, you will also see a small preview of the document within this section. You can scroll through the document using this preview capability. This is particularly helpful since it enables you to review the result inline to validate its usefulness, even before you click on it:
- Filters: Clicking this option currently lets you further filter the results by the last modified time. You should expect more capabilities to be available in this area in the future. However, the idea behind all the improvements being made to Microsoft Search is that the relevant content should automatically come to you, instead of you having to perform a search, apply filters, and so on.
Microsoft has been investing heavily in Search, resulting in numerous improvements being made to it. These improvements include things such as showing results based on their relevance to you. This relevance score could be based on the things you work on the most, the people you interact with the most, and the freshness of the content, to name a few. Recent enhancements to the platform have resulted in users being able to get the results back instantly, even as you click in the search box and start typing your keywords, and even before you click the search button to perform an actual search.
At the time of writing this book, Microsoft is rolling out a unified search experience through all of its Microsoft 365 workloads. This means that the search experience is going to be identical, regardless of whether you perform the search from SharePoint, Outlook, Teams, or other workloads in Microsoft 365.