Search Like a Pro using the M365 Search Bar in SharePoint

Is there a right and wrong way to search? Long story short, yes, and it all starts with understanding where you’re searching. Here are a few tips to help you search more effectively. 

Throughout different Microsoft 365 applications, the search bar is designed to give you different search results depending on the application you are using. Typing the same query into the Microsoft Search bar brings up results based on where you perform your search. You could perform this search in several areas, and in our 3-part series, we’ll break them all down for you. Today, we’re focusing on SharePoint.  

This post will show you how to best use the search bar when using SharePoint and provide some context around the results. 

Hub Search

The search box text provides some insight into what information will be searched, for example, on the home page of a SharePoint Hub site, the default search searches across sites.  

The recommended results will display items within the SharePoint site:

Searching the term brings up results within that hub on the search page. In this example, it displays matching results within the Spot Project Hub.

Site Search

On a site not associated with a hub, the search box now displays “Search this site.”  

Searching for something will only bring up results within the current site. In this example, it only brings up results within the 
PixelMill Process site.

Site Content Search

In site contents, the search text changes again to just “Search. 

Searching for something on a site contents page will only search for items within the direct context. For example, searching pages brings up the Site Pages folder but not individual pages or documents that may use the term “pages.”

List/Library Search

In lists and libraries, the context changes again to search that list, and the text in the search box helps you know this by displaying “Search this library.” 

Searching a term will bring up results within the specific list/library you’re in:

When searching inside a list or library, there’s a link at the bottom of the page to expand the search to all items in that site.

Organizational Search

Clicking “Organization” expands your search out further to bring you relevant results across your entire tenant. 

Below the title of the result, the first part of the second line Indicates the site where the information lives. For example, results starting with Crisis Communications are from that site. It is important to note that organization results also include files from your personal OneDrive.

SharePoint Start Page Search

Finally, what happens when  you search from the SharePoint Start page?  

The search box displays “Search in SharePoint”  

Performing a searching from this page brings back organization results not limited to any single SharePoint site along with your personal OneDrive results.

Pro Tip: If you find yourself getting confused about why you don’t see expected results, first look at the words in the search box for context. If you’re getting too few results, expand your search out to the organization and then look at the results’ location.  

Want more information? Microsoft has additional 
tips on how to search in Microsoft 365. 

Does your team need some assistance making the most of Microsoft Search? One of our Microsoft 365 experts would love to have with you today!  

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A big thank you to David Leveille and @CrushNetworks for having our President + Co-Founder @EricOverfield on this episode of #TheVirtualWaterCooler!

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