Using SharePoint's search bar to search for metadata tags?

Copper Contributor

I might be mistaken, but I'm fairly sure when I've used SharePoint in the past, the search bar can be used not only to find document titles, but to search for metadata tags also. I've noticed that this doesn't seem to work (any more?).


Does anyone know if this is something that can be enabled? It somewhat defeats the purpose of the search bar if tags can't be used, since we have a number of teams who have began utilising tags to improve the searchability of documents.



10 Replies

Do you mean tags as in SharePoint tags and notes ( or SharePoint metadata columns?
I just tested it for one of our customers where they extract comments from drawings (e.g. pump number) and make them searchable via the search bar by placing them into SharePoint columns. That still works fine as expected.


Hi @Paul de Jong 


This is with regards to SharePoint custom columns on a document library, like below. Maybe I'm using the wrong terminology but we typically call these metadata tags.


2020-06-24 14_52_47-Window.png


Our users want to be able to use the 'search this site' bar at the top of the screen to search for these specific tags, such as typing in "risk" and it showing all documents tagged with that. As mentioned before I recall this working fine when I first noticed it a year or so ago, but now when we try this we just see no results.

Clear, we are talking about the same fields.
To investigate further I would start with:
- check if you can search for words in the document title
- check if you can search for words in the body of the document
- are the columns of a special type? 

The search bar works fine with custom columns in my tenant so the problem does not affect all tenants.


Hi @Paul de Jong 


The search bar works fine when searching for word in the document title. Searching for words in the body of the document does not return any results.

The column I am testing on is simply the built in 'keywords' column, which is simply a multi line of text field.

The built-in keywords column should be searchable. I just double checked it on one of my tenants.

One more check: does the file use encryption?  Simply open the Word file in the browser or local Word. If it is encrypted it will ask for a password.
If it does use encruption, that would then explain why the body of the file is not searchable.
If it does not use encryption then that is unexpected and indicates that the indexing of the document has failed. It may then also affect the indexing of the document's metadata.


Hi @Paul de Jong 


Looks like it must be an indexing issue then, since the test documents we've used are just simple word docs with no protection on them. I'll go ahead and raise a ticket with Microsoft's support, thanks for all the help.



Hi @Toby958

I have the exactly same issue as you had.

I know it's been a while since you reported this issue.


Had this issue been fixed or did you find the reason?


Really Appreciate your sharing.



I also have the same issue.

I have noticed that the = sign does not get returned. I have metadata tags with equations

e.g. P=IV

if I search on words or on IV, everything works as expected, results returned.

but if I search using the '=' sign, I get zero hits.


Not sure if this helps but it is a real pain for me!!


Quite old topic. Search in Sharepoint can be really complex.

Tip If you create site column within the sharepoint site, it's easier to search than to create "library" column.

When columns are created you can  play with the search schema to add your column in the search result.

For example, i've created a managed property in the admin GUI that refer to several site columns from different sharepoint sites. 


Using the aliases i can search then ONLY for the metadata and not in the content or file name.


It's working on the main sharepoint page but also on a site or library level.