We are storing quite a lot of pdf documents (images with no dual layer text) and do not wish to add a pdf iFilter (with the resultant storage and search performance costs).

As we do not have an iFilter, SharePoint crawls the documents as list items (bringing back the metadata only) and displays the result link as a link to the DispForm.aspx instead of to the actual document.

How do I get Search to return the results witha link to the document itself instead of DispForm.aspx?

I want something easier than a custom PDF iFilter that ignores the document content or hacking the search result fields into a document link.

2 Answers 2


I had this problem and found a solution. I had to make sure the PDF file type was added to the list of file types on my search service application.

To verify this go to Central Admin > Manage service applications > Search service (your instance) > File Types (found under the crawling section). If pdf isn't there then add it. Once I restarted the search service, reset the index and ran a full crawl. The search results now linked to the document itself instead of the DispForm.aspx. I have no iFilter installed.

Hopefully this helps.

  • 2
    This was exactly what I needed and was much simpler and more comprehensive than the accepted answer. I wrote up your solution on my blog with screenshots here: thechriskent.com/2012/04/10/… Thank you very much! Apr 10, 2012 at 14:43
  • Thank you so much. I can't understand why other people keep giving the most complex way to do things that could be done easily.
    – ameliapond
    Dec 16, 2015 at 11:04
  • Years later, but helped me a lot! Thanks! :)
    – Nsevens
    Mar 31, 2017 at 7:06

Well, first off, have you checked what data you're getting back in the response to your search? Try changing your results display for a while to see the XML returned, by changing the XSL. If the information you're after isn't there (I suspect it might be), you might be able to add another managed property to the response from the search service.

You may also find that you need to treat PDF documents differently to other types - you can add the file extension to the query and then change your XSL to handle .PDFs differently

  • The issue is not with the Xsl as we are familiar enough with that to do whatever we want.
    – Nat
    Jun 21, 2010 at 21:01
  • XSL is the only way to accomplish what you want to do, that's what it's there for, to customise the way the returned xml is formatted. No other choice I'm afraid. Jan 4, 2011 at 14:17

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