In our SharePoint 2013 site I noticed that I was not able to find one specific MS Word file in the search, however I was absolutely sure it must exist.

I finally found it in the Document Library, I was able to open it there, but even if I entered the exact title of the file or some important (and quite unique) keywords, it did not turn up in the search results.

After checking it out and checking it in again (it was version 6.0 before and became version 7.0 afterwards) I suddenly was able to find it also with the SharePoint search.

So I lost trust in our SharePoint server's search index and I wonder:

  • how was that possible that a file is there and a published version exists, but it does not turn up in search results?
  • is there a way to systematically check for such hidden files?

Example: Version history of affected file

The above mentioned file has the following version history: enter image description here

Versioning settings of document library

enter image description here

  • 1
    Are there any clues in the version history? Where the file checked out for a longer period of time? Are you using any special versioning setting for the library? Mar 16, 2016 at 9:07
  • thanks, I've added a screenshot of the version history: last version 6.0 was checked in some months ago (Nov 2015). Only after checking in 7.0 with minor changes in metadata, it was available in the search results.
    – mBBe
    Mar 16, 2016 at 10:14
  • 1
    If you go to Document Library Settings -> Versioning Settings -> Draft Item Security, what setting do you use here? Mar 16, 2016 at 11:19
  • 1
    You can also check in the search logs to see if there was an issue with the file when the service attempted to crawl it. You can search by URL to see whether the system is attempting to crawl the file and if so, what happened. If you find that the document has issues being crawled, the search logs may provide a list of documents suffering the same issue. Mar 16, 2016 at 11:58
  • 1
    With your versioning settings attached, i can't see anything that would hide/remove the document from the search index. That is indeed strange. I would do what Any Dawson recommends and see if you can find anything. If SharePoint is unable to crawl an already indexed document/item, it will retry a couple of times and then remove it from the index if unsuccessful. Mar 16, 2016 at 13:13

1 Answer 1


Does the file need an "Approval Status". If so, I have seen Search skip content that was pending approval if the library was setup that way.

  • no, content approval is disabled (see versioning settings of document library now attached to the question)
    – mBBe
    Mar 16, 2016 at 12:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.