All about Microsoft Search and SharePoint Online Search

What is Microsoft Search? 

Microsoft Search is an enterprise search platform.  Driven by Bing’s search engine and leveraging AI. Microsoft Search brings data from within your organization and from the web in a single experience.  

Micrsoft Search is consistently placed across the apps you work with every day—desktop, mobile, and web. It is designed to bring personalized searches across Office 365, Windows, and Bing.

[Image Source: Microsoft Documentation]

How does Microsoft Search Works?

Micrsoft Search brings the search result from several data sources in Office 365 including SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, Teams, Groups and more.Microsoft Search experince is personal, that means two users can use the same search parameters, but different content will be presented due to previous searches. Microsoft Search uses the insights from Microsoft Graph to show the relevent results to the each user.

Microsoft Search is able to index your internal files on Office 365 and lets you find the things you’ve been working on using all of Microsoft’s products. It shows the result that the user has permission to see are presented on the search results page.

With Microsoft Search, we have the flexibility to target specific groups of information to be shared with. It is visual, intuitive and easy to navigate, the modern search experience provides ease of access and use for your users.

Essentially, Microsoft Search allows user to help them complete what they are working on, and find things such as files, charts, and providing result they are seeking.

Key Points for Microsoft Search in SharePoint Online

  • SharePoint Online offers both classic and modern search experience 
  • A search administrator cannot disable either classic or modern search but can influence which experience their users see most often.
  • The modern search results page is mobile friendly.
  • Modern search offers a great experience without a search administrator configuring it.
  • The modern search experience is available on all site types (Home, Hub, Communication and Team Sites).
  • Search is personal, and the search results are even easier to explore. Another user will see different results than you, even when you both search for the same words.
SharePoint Online - 4 Levels of Search

Document Library Search: If we know that a file is somewhere in one specific document library, use the Document Library Search as it will give you the most relevant results.


Site Level Search: A site where your document library resides might contain multiple document libraries, and the only way to search them all at once would be to execute a site-level search

Hub Search: Hub Search searches all the sites associated with the Hub. Since you are now searching across multiple sites, you will also get results that are not just documents (your results will include news, posts, pages as well).

SharePoint Start Page Search:
This is the most powerful search in SharePoint as it searches any site that you have access to. It also searches your OneDrive for Business (personal work files) as well.

Microsoft Search Admin Features:

Being a Search Administrator, can configure the search features from Microsoft Search Admin center.  which helps users to find direct and relevent information easily.

Organizaation level search gives the result of all these key features.

Enterprise Bookmarks - It helps to highlight information including sites and tools within your enterprise.

A bookmark can have several keywords and several bookmarks can share the same keyword, but a reserved keyword can't be shared. 

When a Bookmark is created or modified, the search index is refreshed and available to users immediately.

Add any existing organisation PowerApps as Bookmarks, so users can easily find how to request resources, enter vacation time or report expenses. 

Acronyms  – Help users to identify and understand unfamiliar acronyms and abbreviations used by their organization or team.

Q & A - Your organization’s information can be scattered across multiple sites. Q&A can help new joiners and even existing employees to quickly find answers to commonly asked questions. Enterprise Q&A can be accessed from anywhere in office 365. 

  • Top result if keywords matches (Bookmarks precedes if they have same keywords).
  •  Updates Immediately available, no waiting for index/crawl time
  • Bulk Import/Export
  • Targeting by device, country/region and groups
  • Set availability date range
  • Supports .html content
  • Keywords Supports

Location & Floor plans -  Location helps your users find addresses and locate your organization's offices, campuses, and buildings, along with directions and navigation. Floor plans help users find people and meeting rooms within a building. Currently unlike Bookmarks and Q&A, the index is not refreshed immediately, and it can take several hours for new or changed locations to appear in search results.