Managing and Customizing Search (Windows SharePoint Services 2.0)

SharePoint 2003

Updated: 08-22-2005

Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services enables users to search all Web site content on your server or server farm — a broader search capability than offered in SharePoint Team Services 1.0. In that version, searching was implemented using Internet Information Services (IIS) catalogs and limited to documents on the file system; users were not able to search through lists, such as tasks and contacts, or through discussion board items. Because all site information (including documents) is now stored in a database, the search model has been changed to allow searching of all site content.

Search features are only available for Windows SharePoint Services with Microsoft SQL Server 2000 or SQL Server 2005. If you are running Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (Windows) (Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (Windows) (WMSDE 20)) for your database, no search features are available. If you want to allow full-text searching on your Web sites, you must upgrade to SQL Server 2000 or SQL Server 2005.

Understanding Search in Windows SharePoint Services

Search is available per server or server farm. This means that search is either turned on or off for all top-level Web sites and subsites in your server farm or server. If search has not been enabled, the search links will not appear in the Web sites in your server farm or server.

Search can query most lists and all document libraries on your site. Search cannot query lists of lists (such as the Quick Launch bar) or surveys. Users can search the entire site or a single list within the site (for example, to search for a particular contact in the Contacts list).

Searching with SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005

If you are using SQL Server 2000 or SQL Server 2005, you can enable full-text searching for your Web sites. SQL Server full-text searching is a good solution for searching Windows SharePoint Services Web sites in small or medium organizations; however, SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 full-text search does not scale well to large server farm. Search catalogs can use up to 40 percent of the hard disk space that data uses. There is a hard limit of 256 search catalogs per server; plus you will encounter performance issues when you reach 1 million rows in the search catalog table. If you are running a large server farm, it is not advisable to offer search features for all of the Web sites in your server farm. Consider adding search for premium customers if you are an Internet service provider (ISP) or Application service provider (ASP), or for only a limited number of sites if you are hosting Web sites based on Windows SharePoint Services inside a large organization.

SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 full-text search supports only one language for each database. If you are supporting Windows SharePoint Services Web sites in several languages and you want to enable full-text search in those languages, consider hosting each language on a separate virtual server with a separate database per language.

SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 use language resources packages with full-text search catalogs. The following list includes the languages for which language resources are available:

  • Neutral

  • Dutch

  • English (UK)

  • English (US)

  • French

  • German

  • Italian

  • Japanese

  • Korean

  • Simplified Chinese

  • Spanish (Modern Sort) - Spain

  • Swedish

  • Traditional Chinese

  • Thai

The neutral language resources package is provided for use with languages not on this list. For more information about SQL Server, full-text searching, and languages, see the SQL Server 2000 or SQL Server 2005 documentation.

When you enable full-text search in Windows SharePoint Services, a new, empty catalog is created by default and named ix_databasename. Content is added to this catalog as it is added to your new Web site. Aside from enabling and disabling full-text search, any search management or monitoring must be done from within SQL Server 2000 or SQL Server 2005 with the SQL Server administration tools. For more information about managing full-text search in SQL Server 2000, see "Administering Full-Text Features Using SQL Enterprise Manager" in SQL Server Books Online. For more information about managing full-text search in SQL Server 2005, see "Full-Text Search Administrator InfoCenter" in SQL Server 2005 Books Online.

About Searching Features

When you search SharePoint sites by using SQL Server full-text searching, the search is performed by using a FREETEXT statement. Using FREETEXT allows searching by intent — all terms are stemmed, so that the query looks for all inflectional forms of each query term. For example, if you query for "swim", the query also returns results including "swam", "swum", "swimming", and so on.

The following table lists and describes the searching features available when you use SQL Server full-text searching.

Search targets Searched with SQL Server?

List items






Boolean searches (AND, OR, Near, NOT)


File types other than .doc, .xls, .ppt, .txt, and .htm

Not by default. You can install customized SQL Server search filters to search other file types.

Searching for subsite content on a top-level Web site

No. You must go to the subsite to perform the search.

Non-text list fields (such as currency, number, lookup, Yes/No)


Attachments to lists


File properties used by Office 2003 documents (such as "Author" and "Company")


Survey lists


Hidden lists


Site administrators, site groups, users, or cross-site groups


External Web sites, file shares, documents


Narrowing search results by searching through previous results


Displaying the total number of items matching a search string


Enabling Search

You must enable search before your site members can use it. If you want to enable SQL Server 2000 searching, you must install the full-text searching feature for SQL Server 2000 and then enable search in Windows SharePoint Services.


Full-text searching is enabled by default when you install Windows SharePoint Services using the remotesql=yes property.

Enabling Search for SQL Server 2000

To use search with Windows SharePoint Services and SQL Server 2000, you must have full-text searching installed on your SQL Server computer. Full-text searching is usually installed by default, but if it is not installed on your server, you can install it easily with the SQL Server Setup tools.


You must be a member of the Administrators group on the computer running SQL Server to install full-text searching with SQL Server 2000.

Install full-text searching with SQL Server 2000

  1. On your SQL Server computer, run the SQL Server 2000 Setup program.

  2. On the setup screen, click SQL Server 2000 Components, and then click Install Database Server. The Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Installation Wizard opens.

  3. On the Welcome screen, click Next.

  4. On the Computer Name screen, select the computer type, and then click Next.

  5. On the Installation Selection panel, select Upgrade, remove, or add components to an existing instance of SQL Server, and then click Next.

  6. On the Instance Name panel, clear the Default check box, and then in the Instance Name box, select your SQL Server instance for Windows SharePoint Services and click Next.

  7. Select Add components to your existing installation, and then click Next.

  8. On the Select Components panel, in the Sub-Components list, select Full-Text Search, and then click Next.

  9. Click Next again to begin the installation.

  10. Click Finish.

Enabling Search in Windows SharePoint Services

After you have configured SQL Server 2000 to support full-text searching, you are ready to enable search for Windows SharePoint Services.

Enable search for Windows SharePoint Services

  1. On your server computer running Windows SharePoint Services, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click SharePoint Central Administration.

  2. Under Component Configuration, click Configure full-text search.

  3. In the Search Settings section, select the Enable full-text search and index component check box.

  4. Click OK.