I want to use SharePoint Online to store images (PDF) of invoices. There will ultimately be 100,000+ documents, stored in a 3 level folder structure by YYYY -> MM -> DD.

Associated with each document will be a number of metadata elements / attributes - such as Vendor Name, Invoice Number, Invoice Date, Invoice Amount.

I want to allow users to search on any of those specific metadata elements, and bring back only documents which have the specific value entered by the user. For example - InvoiceNumber - "INV123". Ideally the search results page will provide a grid-type listing, showing the full set of metadata in columns.

Is this possible with SharePoint Online, using out-of-the-box functionality?

I've played around trying a few things - filtering, managed metadata etc - and nothing seems really applicable to this type of usage.

In other situations, we have used SharePoint hosted in-house, and we found we had to develop a search page and use the SP search API to get what we wanted. That's not so easy with SP Online, and was hoping we could use something more configured as opposed to developed.

Any help / guidance / suggestions would be much appreciated.


  • Thank you for the answers. I am very familiar with other ECM platforms, such as Opentext Content Server, where the ability to easily perform metadata searches is available out of the box, with very little configuration, and provides good user experience. I'm surprised that SharePoint isn't able to easily provide what are really very basic ECM capabilities, without having to revert to development. I thought I must be missing something, but maybe not. Thanks again. Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 22:27

2 Answers 2


If you have Managed Properties setup for the fields you want to search, then you can search by specific field. Be sure to read the section in that linked article titled "Define which content that users can search and get results for".

Once that is configured, the user can search by specific field in the search box, by typing the name of the searchable field followed by a colon, then the keyword to search for.

If you are searching that field for a phrase instead of single keyword, wrap your phrase in double quotes, for example: NameOfTheCustomSearchField: "thing I am searching for"

Note that in SharePoint Online you have no control over how often new or modified content is re-indexed, nor any visibility into when it is going to be re-indexed.


Just like willman said, you can have a try with managed property to search. The link he provide is quite useful.

Just add some contents about searching, you can use the KQL(Keyword Query Language) to build your own query for searching. You can make the end users learn it or create custom search web parts with a query to improve user experiences.

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