I am doing a search query in SharePoint Online that uses "=" to look for an exact match on a managed property. This works properly for some users, but for other users, it performs a partial match query, as if I'd used ":" instead of "=". What could be causing this?

The query looks something like this: RefinableString120="ABC Fund VII". RefinableString120 is mapped to the managed property ows_EntityName. For some users, this only returns documents where ows_EntityName is exactly "ABC Fund VII", as it should. But for other users who run the exact same query, it also returns documents where the Entity Name includes ABC Fund VII as a substring.

What could cause the same query to behave differently for different users. I have confirmed that this is not due to permissions: all users have read access to the location in the result source.

2 Answers 2


See: https://www.koskila.net/using-sharepoint-search-query-tool-investigate-search-index-issues-sharepoint-online/

And: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/manage-query-rules

And: https://www.sharepointdiary.com/2019/07/sharepoint-online-fix-search-results-count-inconsistent-issue.html

Things to check:

  • Do you have any query rules that is affecting the behavior? They can promote certain results or change the ranking of search results.
  • Are users using both the classic and modern experience? This could lead to different search results.
  • Otherwise this could be indexing or permissions issues.

Please refer to the sources above, test, and let me know if this helps.


It's possible that the behavior you're seeing is due to differences in the search schema for different users. In SharePoint Online, a single crawled property can be mapped to multiple managed properties, and multiple crawled properties can be mapped to a single managed property. Additionally, managed properties can have different settings for different result sources. It's possible that the users who are seeing partial matches have a different search schema or result source configuration that is causing the behavior you're seeing.

Another possibility is that the behavior is due to differences in the tokenization of the search terms. SharePoint Online tokenizes search terms differently depending on the language setting of the site and the language of the content being searched. If the users who are seeing partial matches have a different language setting or are searching content in a different language, this could be causing the behavior you're seeing.

To troubleshoot this issue, you may want to compare the search schema and result source configurations for the users who are seeing different behavior. You may also want to check the language settings and content language for the users who are seeing partial matches.

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.