The SharePoint Search engine indexes all the sites, pages, lists, libraries, folders, and files in SharePoint Online.
The software searches for the complete text of the documents and their metadata; this metadata includes all the keywords or taxonomies you have implemented. SharePoint only returns indexed results, so only results that the system has already registered previously.
To make the best use of the SharePoint Search feature, you have to know how and where to search. You can get better results by searching only on a specific site or in a library instead of automatically searching in all the various areas of the system.
If you know the list or library where that file is, but you have can't find it with a quick scan. Your search, limited to only one list or library, immediately removes all the results from other areas.
SharePoint Search in Office 365 provides you with two types of research experiences: classic and modern.
Both search modes are active in SharePoint Search by default; furthermore, the kind of search experience displayed by users changes depending on where the search takes place:
- Modern search: the search box is visible on the home page, on communication sites, and SharePoint sites and hub sites.
- Classic search: the classic search box is visible on the publication sites, on the traditional team sites, and in the research center.
The classic experience will probably be made obsolete in SharePoint Online, so be careful choosing the site for your intranet or team sites.
What file types are indexed from the SharePoint Search?
Basically any kind of file that you usually work with: all the files created with the Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote) applications both with your desktop or using your browser of course, zip files, PDFs, images and many more. PDF files are indexed if they contain a layer of text of course.
Can you customize the SharePoint Search result page?
Yes! And now, with the new SharePoint Online modern sites, you can do it very easily. You can give search results the same branding as your intranet, add custom filters or refiners and customize the way each single result is shown.
SharePoint Search not working?
This can happen for a number of reasons, but remember: the SharePoint Search finds by default all content on your intranet or specific team sites. If employees are looking for some information that are not written inside a document, a list or a page, they won't find anything and this will put them off using the intranet.
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SharePoint Search limits
The SharePoint Search feature has some limitations you need to be aware of.
SharePoint Search has two types of limits applied to all SharePoint Online plans:
1. "Boundary" indicates a border you can't exceed;
2. "Supported" indicates a recommended limit; if you exceed it, you could have unexpected problems or a significant drop in performance.
Most of the limits are Boundary. The most important are:
- Size of indexable document: you can index the contents of a document if its size is less then 150 MB.
The rest of the content can't be indexed. The limit is 150 MB for all documents.
- Size of analyzed content: the search interrupts the analysis of an element after it has analyzed a maximum of 2 million characters.
The search takes place within 30 seconds of each component. If an element is only partially processed, the item can't be processed and then indexed.
- Characters processed by the word breaker: the search divides the content into single words (tokens).
The system can produce a maximum of 1,000,000 per each element, in a maximum time of 30 seconds. Content that is not within the limits are not processed.
- Token size: the search can index tokens of any length, but the Word breaker used to produce tokens can limit the length of the token.
The size of the token depends on the word breaker, which depends on the language used.
- The number of entries in a custom dictionary: the number of terms allowed for inclusion and exclusion dictionaries to correct spelling errors in queries is limited to 5,000 terms per tenant.
See all the details inside the Microsoft documentation.
Among the Supported limits we can include:
- Mapping of managed properties: the crawled properties can be associated with managed properties. The limit of managed properties is 100.
- Authoritative pages: the advice is to use as few second and third level pages as possible. The limit is one top-level page per tenant.
With SharePoint Search, you will be able to optimize times thanks to faster and more effective searches.
Spend less time looking for the documents you need or the people you want to contact, save money and be more productive.
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