2/7/2012 6:54 AM
by Ben Tedder
International School of Beijing
Note: This article is part of a collection of posts from four years of the Get the Point blog for SharePoint end-users.
One of the most powerful features of SharePoint 2010 is its search capability. In addition to being able to search entire site collections for pages, documents, and list items, SharePoint users can take advantage of a customizable feature of search called search “scope.” Learning to use search scopes effectively will save you a lot of time, especially within intranets that have tens of thousands of items for you to sift through.
Search scopes and how to use them
Search scopes are simply search options. Out-of–the-box, SharePoint 2010 gives you three search scope options:
All Sites (the default) – Search all sites in your network for a specific string
This Site – Search the current site for a specific string
People – Search the list of people in your network for a name
But in addition to these three, site collection administrators may have created others to refine search results. It’s always wise to take a look at any search scope options (whenever they’re present) before hitting the search button.
To choose a search scope on a SharePoint site:
Click the drop-down menu to the left of the search box at the top of the page and select a scope.
Enter a string of characters that you want to search for, then press ENTER or click the search icon.
Site collection administrators have the option of narrowing down and focusing search results. They can focus on property values of documents, on specific sites, or within individual lists and libraries.
To define search scopes, site collection administrators:
Choose Site settings from the Site Actions menu
Select Search scopes under the Site Collection Administration heading
Fill out the scope definition form (you can follow the guidelines in a separate article I’ve written on how to create a new search scope)
Search scope focused on document values
All PDF documents
Documents modified in the past fiscal year
Documents created by a specific author (think smaller team site where you have several major authors of documents)
Search scope focused on a specific site
All excel documents in the business office subsite
All HR material created by the HR Director
Search scope focused on a specific library or list
Employee master calendar
Policy manual so employees are able to find out information about vacation days quickly
Best practices for defining scopes
As well as focusing on those properties, the site collection administrator can also exclude results based on those same properties. Once you start to combine includes, excludes, and requirements, you’ll probably begin to realize the endless possibilities with search scopes. But there are a few important things to remember.
Try to find that delicate balance between being useful and becoming unwieldy. There might not need to be a search scope for a result set that can be filtered using out-of-the-box filters.
Learn what search scopes your end users need; use search analytics to see what people are searching for - and respond with excellent search options.
Finally, don’t rely on search scopes alone. Remember the other tools in your belt: metadata filters on search results; Best Bet suggestions; and well-designed navigation.
9/5/2012 9:06 PM
Good article. Thanks
6/4/2012 9:51 PM
ps re: SharePoint Search Scopes
2/15/2012 1:52 PM
Good tips, Ben. Thanks for sharing. You're definitely right: "One of the most powerful features of SharePoint 2010 is its search capability". And creating search 'scopes' improves usability for SharePoint Search. Configuring custom scopes is an important feature in SP2010 that's often overlooked. Defining different scopes for different roles can offer a lot of impact within organizations by delivering the RIGHT content quickly (via search results). If search results are overloaded with ambiguous or tertiary items, it takes valuable time for knowledge workers to sort through the results to find their desired content. Refining search result types with custom scopes helps tune relevance to meet the needs of different employees/ roles. And that leads to better labor force efficiency. Improved relevance in search results saves employee time and, in turn, saves the enterprise money.