Sharepoint 2013 : Use the Advanced Search (in SharePoint Server)

Scenario/Problem: Sometimes when you want to search for a document or a list item, you don’t want to use free text to search on the content of the document or the list item. Instead, you might want to restrict the search to the metadata—the information stored about the document or list item in the columns of the list or library. For example, if you want to search for documents written by John Doe, performing a simple search for the words “John Doe” returns documents that were not written by that person. Instead, it returns any document that has the words “John Doe” in the body of the document, as well as in other columns, such as the column showing who modified the document last.

Solution: Advanced searching allows you to search for documents or list items in a more organized manner than just typing keywords. It lets you focus your search on a particular property of the documents or list items. For example, you can search for documents that person X wrote or documents that were created after the date 1/1/2008 or list items that have the word AdventureWorks in the company property but not in other properties.

To get to the advanced search page, you navigate to the Search Center and click on the Advanced button (see Figure 1). Depending on the configuration of the site, you might also have other links to the advanced search page.

FIGURE 1 The Advanced link in the Search Center.

The advanced search page allows you to search more specifically and in a more exact manner on parts of the document or list item (see Figure 2).

FIGURE 2 The Advanced Search page.

In this page, you can specify to look for words exactly as you do with the simple search option. When you type words in the Any of These Words box, the search results contain only documents or list items that have all the words that you type, but not necessarily in the same order. You can use the other options to refine your search. For example, if you select The Exact Phase, you can type a few words, and items will be returned in the results only if they contain the exact phrase. You can also specify words that you don’t want in the documents and select the None of These Words box.

Another way to narrow a search is to specify a language. This option is usually used for web pages and not for documents, unless the documents have a property called Language.

You can specify the result type to search for example, for Microsoft Word documents, Microsoft Excel documents, or Microsoft PowerPoint documents. Or you can just select Documents to make sure your search returns only documents—and not list items (see Figure 3). The site administrator can customize this box to include more types.

FIGURE 3 Selecting the result type.

Finally, you can specify a search on specific properties that the site administrator configured for you to search on. You can add up to five conditions, such as Property X Equals/Does Not Equal Y, as shown in Figure 4.

FIGURE 4. Searching on properties.

As shown in Figure 4, you can chain a few conditions together and choose whether they should be chained by using an Or operator or an And operator. For example, if you specify Author Equals John and Title Equals Example, the only results will be the ones whose author is John and whose title is exactly Example. But if you search for Author Equals John or Title Equals Example, the results will include documents that have been authored by John and documents whose title is Example—not just the documents where both conditions are true.


Site administrators often customize this interface. The possibility exists that your search experience here will be very different from what is shown here. You might, for example, be able to choose different operators, such as Contains.