Be given a SharePoint Online Modern website with 25 pages. The complete website is shared with external users over external Mail Address (Microsoft Account).

If external users use the search box on the top right corner (searching for *) they will only see 16 results. The results are libraries/lists and images from SiteAssets only. No pages are returned. No documents are returned.

Internal users can search all site contents. The issue is related to external users only.

Anyone experienced an issue like that? Is there a way to enable external search on the pages library? Search is enabled in the library settings of site pages.

EDIT: Seems to be by design. PLEASE UPVOTE ON USERVOICE TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM, THANKS: https://sharepoint.uservoice.com/forums/330321-sharepoint-search/suggestions/39040270-external-users-should-be-able-to-search-pages-and

2 Answers 2


I can reproduce this issue in my environment.

When I search as a site Administrator, it returns 720 results on the result page. But when I search as an external user, it only returns 14 results, all of which are images and OneNote files.

It seems the default behavior SharePoint Online, even when the external user is granted with Edit permission in the site. Searching directly in the document library or using a Search Result web part leads to the same result.

  • hm, so do you think it is a bug or "by design"? Should I open a case for this or is this expected behaviour? I am a little bit confused. AND: Thank you for testing in your environment!
    – PhilFancy
    Nov 14, 2019 at 11:14
  • @PhilFancy I’ll vote for “by design” as I’ve found these two posts: sharepoint.uservoice.com/forums/330321-sharepoint-search/… sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/234024/… There has been issue with external search for sure, but I don’t think you will get any solution even if you open a ticket. I would suggest you submit a feedback via UserVoice first. Nov 15, 2019 at 1:31
  • Thank you for your answer. Will take the Uservoice path.
    – PhilFancy
    Nov 15, 2019 at 6:05

Do the external users have permissions to the pages library? They will only see search results for items that they have permissions to.

  • Sure, they have permissions on all contents of the site. They can reach every document and page when clicking manually. Only the search results will not be shown for this content.
    – PhilFancy
    Nov 14, 2019 at 11:12

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