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Working with Filters for the Query Feature of the Search Service of SharePoint Server 2013

This blog post continues our commentary on a new set of video tutorials we have recently released titled SharePoint 2013: Search DVD. This set is authored by Agnes Molnar, an acknowledged subject matter expert on the topic and a published author. The set can be purchased for either individual, or enterprise (group) viewing. The set is also available for viewing by anyone with a subscription to our website; the title of the set, for access by our subscribers, is SP13-305 SharePoint 2013: Search Video Training Course.

Over a series of 3 video tutorials, Agnes Molner presenting a lot of very important information about the query feature of the SharePoint Server 2013 search service. The information has to do with query features, and the comparative rigidity of the query feature, which may prove challenging for end users. Our notes are as follows:

By adding a dash (-) prior to the name of a managed property in a filter, the query feature of SharePoint Server 2013 can be used to return any text string related to the managed property, with the exception of the text string included in the filter.

Query filter syntax does not include a fuzzy logic component. Therefore, it is important to educate end users on the importance of strictly implementing correct query syntax to successfully obtain the results they require.

An example of where end users can get tripped up involves blank spaces. Query filter syntax for SharePoint Server 2013 does not permit an arbitrary blank space between a text string and the colon (:) character for the filter. So care must be exercised to ensure the filter is put together as a continuous character string with only the colon (:) acting as a delimiter.

Another potentially challenging rigidity of the query feature has to do with the simple process of juxtaposing terms in a text string. The query feature automatically adds an “and” between two juxtaposed terms. End users will neeed to be trained to add a capitalized “OR” between two terms in a query text string if they are looking for any instances of either of the two terms (or both of them), across managed properties for the search service, or content reposed in SharePoint 2013.

Finally, a specialized filter is used to exclude one of a number of terms in a query string, but to still return links to instances where each of the other terms occurs in the index. Users will have the option to simply preface the specific term to be excluded with a dash (-) character, or to use a capitalized NOT along with the term enclosed in parantheses: “NOT(xyz)”.

Certainly the need to find an effective method end users can adopt to work with the otherwise rigid constraints of the query feature will likely be an important “must have” for any promising adoption campaign.

Ira Michael Blonder

© Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved