Searching for content in SharePoint

Searching for content in SharePoint

SharePoint's document index allows you to search for content inside documents, and in document/item metadata.

To search for documents/items or for content in documents/items:

  1. In the sidebar, click the search icon (The Search icon) in the navigation/search omnibox.
  2. Optionally, select the search scope (The folder search scope icon / The document search scope icon) to view search options:
    • This Library: <name> (Search this library icon) to search for content in the current library (this option is only available if the current location is a library or folder).
    • This List: <name> (Search this list icon) to search for content in the current list (this option is only available if the current location is a list).
    • This Site: <name> (Search this site icon) to search for content in the current site.
    • All Locations of Site: <name> (Search All Locations of Site) to search for content across all site collections of <name>. You may have two search scopes with this name - one for the current site, and one for the global search site (usually the social server), if it is different than the current site. Note that the global search site scope is available from all SharePoint locations, including the All Locations view.
    • People Search (People Search) to search for people.
  3. Type a word or phrase that you want to search for in the navigation/search omnibox.
  4. Click the Search icon again, or press Enter, to search for your phrase in the active SharePoint site, site collections, library, or list.
    -or -
    To repeat a recent search, click the navigation/search omnibox while it is empty to see the last 3 search terms. Select a search term to repeat the search.

From the search bar you can search the current SharePoint site or library for documents.

Limitation: When searching for content using the This Site / All Locations of Site search scopes, the information for the returned documents may be partial (for example, the document name may be shown with no extension). In such cases the Copy command is not available. As a work around, right-click the document and click Open Containing Folder. From there you can copy the document.

To view the search results:

  • Search results are displayed in the sidebar's document list. The sidebar sorts the matching items in order of relevance, as defined by SharePoint.
  • You can use the Visible Columns dialog to determine which columns are displayed in the search results. By default, the Icon, Name, and Path of each search result item are shown.
  • When selecting an item from the search results, the search context pane displays where in the document/item the searched phrase was found. The navigation search omnibox, at the top of the sidebar, shows the breadcrumbs of where the selected item is located on the SharePoint server.
  • The status pane shows the number of returned results, and offers to extend the search scope.
  • Click the Tree View Navigation icon (Tree View Navigation icon) to open a panel showing the location of the selected result in a tree view, for quick navigation.

The search results are displayed in document list, togehter with the search context and the breadcrumbs of each document.

To extend the search scope:

If you did not find the document you were looking for in the search results, you can extend the search to the parent scope, by clicking the Search link in the status pane:

  • If you searched inside a library, suggests to Search site: <name>.
  • If you searched inside a site, suggests to Search all locations of: <site>, which searches in all the site collections.
  • If you searched in all locations of site, suggests to Search all locations of: <global search site>, which searches in the global search site.

To open the containing location:

To open the location where the search result item is found, right-click the document and select Open Containing Site/Library/Folder/Location/List from the document context menu.

To close the search:

To return from the search results view to the previous SharePoint location, click the Close icon (The Close icon) on the search bar.


  • If you configured to hide subsites and workspaces for the current site in application options, (see Adding and editing SharePoint sites), search results from subsites and workspaces are not displayed.
  • To learn more about searching in SharePoint, read SharePoint Search.
  • In some cases the search results in and SharePoint's web interface are slightly different. Learn the differences in search results between and SharePoint.
  • If you used the All Locations of Site scope in order to search across site collections, only items from site collections you have access to are shown in the returned search results.
  • Documents from other people's OneDrive/My Sites are included in search results when All Locations of Site scope is used.
  • Limitation: Searching in Sharepoint Foundation 2010 does not return results unless it is performed from the server root site.