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The most important feature needed for any collaboration platform is the search and filter options to find the content you are looking for. With this article, you will learn the three simple tricks to search and find documents in SharePoint.

The three ways are:

  1. Search Box
  2. Document Library Search Box
  3. Wildcard Search


Every site has a search box at the upper right-hand side of the page which is very  helpful to find the content based on what you have typed inside the box.

Steps to complete the search for files:

  1. Click inside the search box on the upper-right hand corner of your SharePoint Site.
  2. Type the text you need to search, in the search area. Here I have typed in “Document”.

3. Hit Enter key and it will display all the results related to “Document”.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Search box

The advantage is, it is an out of the box functionality. It finds text, filenames, pdfs and metadata.

The main disadvantage is it searches everywhere i.e. the site and subsites. Sometimes based on the search it can bring too many results and it can be a little bit confusing.

Another disadvantage is by default SharePoint might think some files are duplicates of other files so sometimes it won’t even show files in search results.

By default, it searches for all types of content, not just documents. It will display any content like folders, events, tasks, contacts, and libraries that matches the keyword you typed in. If the search is not specifically configured by your SharePoint Administrators the search results might be a bit enormous for end users.


In document libraries you can find a similar search box to find items. For every document library in SharePoint a library search box is located above the documents. You can easily search for any specific documents from the library search itself.

Steps to complete the search:

  1. Navigate to the particular Document Library
  2. You can see a search box in the header portion of the document library

3. Type the text you are looking for

4. Hit Enter key

Advantages & Disadvantages of Library Search Box:

The main advantage is, it is an out of the box functionality.

It is similar to the first search in Option, the document library search box is also based on file name, metadata, and text inside the files themselves.

It has more accurate search results because you are searching inside specific document libraries.

You will only get results that are more relevant and  located on your site

The disadvantage of this search is, if you have documents located in multiple libraries, this option is not helpful.

You will need to search separately in those document libraries or try the first global search.


This is actually a very useful feature you can use with both the first and second searches as a wild card search.

When you don’t know the exact keywords or only a part of the text you are looking for you can use this option to find the document or file.

For this wildcard search to work in SharePoint., You have to start with the first few letters of the word.

In other words, in a word “Presentation”, you can’t search for text “rpes“, it has to be “Pre“

The wildcard character in SharePoint is “*“. You have to put the asterisk as a wildcard character after the first few letters, not before it .

For example, Pre*, not *Pre.

You can use SharePoint wildcard search with the global search and library search.

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