Enable content to be searchable

Content can display from many sources such as columns, libraries, and pages. A site owner can decide whether or not to include content in search results. Permissions on content also affects whether it appears in search results. A good understanding of how permissions and search settings work can help ensure that people have access to the right documents and sites.

What do you want to do?


Plan to make your content available in search results

As a site owner you can use settings to control whether or not content appears in search results. Content appears in many places including sites, lists, libraries, Web Parts, and columns. By default, the content contained in a new site, list, library, Web Part page, or column will be crawled and appear in search results. The permissions that are set on items, lists, libraries, sites, and so forth, also affect whether or not the viewer can see the content in search results.

Site and content owners may be able choose whether or not to include content in search results. By default, the content of a site will appear in search results. If a site owner or administrator specifies that the site content will not appear in search results, then the other search results settings such as those for lists, libraries, ASPX pages, and columns would not have any effect.

Similarly, if a site administrator or owner prevents list or library content from appearing in search results, then excluding columns would not have any effect. It is important to know what settings are inherited from higher levels in order to plan effectively

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Understand search settings and permissions

One of the responsibilities of a site owner is to control who has access to content. You can give some people permission to read and change content, allow others to only read content, and prevent others from viewing content entirely. In order to accommodate this flexibility you use permissions groups, which are assigned specific permission levels. To allow users access to the site or to content, a site owner assigns users to one or more security groups. By using permissions settings in conjunction with search results settings the site owner can manage whether users can view content in search results.

For example, let’s say Joe is working on a Request for Proposal (RFP) in Microsoft Office Word and is collaborating with a team of 10 people. His team site has 50 users, all of whom are Site Members. Joe isn’t ready for the whole team to view the RFP. Therefore, when he uploads it to the team site he sets the permissions so that only the team of 10 can view and edit it. Until he grants all 50 people read permissions, only the 10 people who have permission to view the document will see it listed in search results. This concept is called security trimming.

Permissions can be applied to lists, sites, views, and Web Parts, and can be customized at the administrator’s discretion. Also, permissions can be dependent on other permissions. All of this can affect what the user sees in search result. Therefore, it may be important to familiarize yourself with SharePoint’s permissions model, the permissions model of your site or organization, or to plan what the permissions model will be for your site before adding content.

 Note    Recently uploaded documents may not immediately show up in search results. This may be due to the interval for which the search crawler is set. Once content is crawled it will appear in search results.

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Show or hide content on a site in search results

As a site owner, you can choose whether or not the content on your site appears in search results. By default, all site content appears in search results. The person who is viewing search results must have permission to view the content.

 Note    To change this setting, you must have the Manage Permissions permission level. This permission level is included in the “Site Name” Owner group.

  1. Navigate to the site for which you want to allow or prevent content from being included in search results.
  2. Click Site Actions, and then click Site Settings.
  3. Under Site Administration, click Search and offline availability.
  4. In the Indexing Site Content section, under Allow this site to appear in Search results, select Yes to allow the content of the site to appear in search results or No to prevent the content from appearing in search results.

 Note    When you prevent the content of a site from appearing in search results, the content of its subsites is not automatically blocked from appearing in search results for that site. To block the content of a subsite from appearing in search results on a site, you must do the following for the subsite: In the Indexing Site Content section, under Allow this site to appear in Search results, select No.

Show or hide content from lists or libraries in search results

As a site owner, you can decide whether items in lists and libraries on your site are included in search results. By default every list and library is set to include all items in search results.

 Note    To change this setting, you must have the Manage Lists permission level. The Designer and “Site Name” Owner groups contain this permission level. When you do not have Manage Lists permissions, the menus described in this procedure are not available.

  1. Navigate to the site that contains the list or library that you want to change.
  2. Locate and click the list or library you want to customize.
  3. Click Site Actions, and then click Site Settings.
  4. Under Site Administration, click Site Libraries and lists.
  5. Click an item from the list, for example, Customize “Shared Documents.”
  6. On the List Settings page, under General Settings, click Advanced settings.
  7. In the Search section, under Allow items from this document library to appear in search results, select Yes to include all of the items in the list or library in search result or No to exclude all items from search results.

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Choose whether to include the contents of ASPX pages in search results

As a site owner you can control whether the content of ASPX pages are included in search results. When you create a site, many content pages are created automatically, for example, default.aspx, allitems.aspx for your Web Part gallery, editform.aspx as an edit form for your announcements list, and several others. You can also create custom ASPX pages. By default, when a Web Part displayed on an ASPX page uses information from a list or library that contains restricted permissions, otherwise known as fine-grained permissions, none of the content in any of the ASPX pages on the site is included in search results. This prevents non-authorized users from viewing content.

For example, let’s say there are five documents displayed in a Shared Documents Web Part on a team site where there are 50 members. One of the documents has restricted permissions; only a few people are allowed to see it. Content is automatically hidden from that site in search results so that the content from that document does not appear when users conduct a search. This prevents the content of the ASPX page from accidentally being exposed to people who are not supposed to see it.

You have the option of ignoring this setting to display all content in search results regardless of permissions. In this case, all content will appear in the search results, but unauthorized users may not be able to access the actual documents. Another option is to not to include any ASPX content in search results, regardless of the permissions set on it.

 Note    To change this setting, you must have the Manage Permissions permission level. This permission level is included in the “Site Name” Owner group.

  1. Navigate to the site for which you want to control the Web Parts in search results.
  2. Click Site Actions, and then click Site Settings.
  3. Under Site Administration, click Search and offline availability.
  4. In the Indexing ASPX Page Content section, under This site does not contain fine-grained permissions. Specify the site’s ASPX page indexing behavior , select one of the following options:
Option Description

Do not index Web Parts if this site contains fine-grained permissions

When permissions of the ASPX page are different from the parent site, then none of content on the site appears in search results.

Always index all Web Parts on this site

Show content of all ASPX pages in the site appear in search results regardless of how permissions are set.

Never index any Web Parts on this site

Hide content of all ASPX pages in the site in search results regardless of how permissions are set.

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Exclude content in columns from search results

As a site owner you can control whether the content in specific columns in lists or libraries appears in search results. By default, all content is included in search results. This setting is useful when you want to prevent sensitive data from appearing in search results.

 Note    To change this setting, you must have the Manage Permissions permission level. This permission level is included in the “Site Name” Owner group.

  1. Navigate to the site that contains the list or library.
  2. Click Site Actions, and then click Site Settings.
  3. Under Site Administration, click Searchable columns.
  4. In the section Excluded Columns from Searching Indexing, under Excluded check the box next to the Column Name for the column you want to exclude in search results.

 Note    Columns that appear are those that belong to the current site you are working with.

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Related tasks

Define scopes for searches

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Applies to:
SharePoint Server 2010