We are trying to expose some advanced search capabilities for a SharePoint Online document library in the "new" format. We've uploaded a number of files to this library that may need to be produced in litigation. Our users are finding the limits of the built-in search though.

Filters are good, but there's no display of all of the different types of metadata columns I've added to the library. Only a subset.

Using keyword search:

  1. No overview of the different types of metadata, or ability to specify the fields to search.
  2. Results are a little unpredictable. Using standard qualifiers like "", AND, OR doesn't work the way you expect.
  3. There's no indicator as to how many results you've retrieved, and you can't perform an action on the result set that was returned. The dynamic display of results makes this frustrating.

I've tried using the enterprise search, and at least out of the box, it has a different problem: clicking on a search result brings you to a view where it's not possible to update the metadata on the result. It's a scroll/view-only display. (this is for PDFs and .msg files).

How can I improve the search results and search filtering options? Is there a simple, out of the box way, or do I have to build a bunch of forms? I did find

which give some indications for SharePoint 2013, and I assume similar for 2016 and Online. Is there a solution we can buy that exposes searching on metadata columns out of the box? We have limited resources to build custom solutions.

Thanks for anything that will help get this started! The searching I've done on Google gives very limited relevant results, so if there's a great overview somewhere let me know.

1 Answer 1


All of the metadata that you have added to the library should be searchable (since its Online it might take a bit of time for the crawlers to pick up those).

Once its crawled you can create Metadata properties and attach it to crawled property.

Then you can also make the relevant properties Refineable.

You can also go to Search Settings -> Result Sources -> And use the query editor to try out what queries works best for you and tune it accordingly.

Also on the result web part properties you can configure a bunch of settings that allow you to display the number of results, paging, sorting etc.


  • Amal, the link you gave doesn't seem relevant for Sharepoint Online new experience as of 2017. It looks like a lot has changed...
    – Quinten
    Oct 20, 2017 at 17:30
  • The idea is similar.. I didn’t find 2016 link which has this much information Oct 20, 2017 at 17:31

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