Classic vs Modern and More Microsoft Search Questions Answered


Over the past several weeks we've had a number of community questions on classic vs modern search in relationship to SharePoint and Microsoft Search across social channels, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc. and here in the Microsoft Search community.  We've selected the most common questions and have created the Q&A below to help answer those.


As Microsoft continues to invest in modern experiences, including search, will existing SharePoint search administration options, such as Query Rules, Schema, Dictionaries, Type-Ahead Suggestions, etc. be deprecated over time or made available in Microsoft Search administration?

As we continue the journey of modernizing classic search experiences across SharePoint and other Microsoft Search endpoints, we’ll transition their configuration options (where supported with Microsoft Search) to the unified Microsoft Search admin center in addition to their programmatic model where applicable.


Microsoft Search is a cohesive search experience across Microsoft 365 and Bing so does not have affinity to a specific endpoint, such as SharePoint, but shares it’s underlying capabilities across Microsoft 365 apps and services.  As a singular search experience across Microsoft 365, configuration options for search will move to the unified search admin console as well as “cleaning up” the search settings when in SharePoint context.


Will there be changes to the web parts available to the “classic search” experience as search is modernized and transitioned to Microsoft Search?

As Microsoft Search continues to roll out across Microsoft 365 we’ll modernize web parts in conjunction.  For example, the Hightlighted Content web part will get an advanced capability to allow the use of KQL and CAML directly. This will help solve a lot of user configured roll-up scenarios. Secondly we are investing in making the modern search result page customizable in terms of custom verticals and the ability to add more refiners. We are also investing in an alternative to display templates, using adaptive cards, which will first arrive for the new custom connectors.

If you however need full flexibility on how to display results you may as an example use the PnP Modern Search web parts configuring the search box on a site to land on that page, as announced at SPC.


Are there plans to introduce classic search replacements for Refiners, Search Bar, and Display Templates?

We are working on providing the capability for custom verticals, custom refiners and the use of adaptive cards for the modern search result page.


Is it possible to ingest on-premises content into Microsoft Search, such as the ServiceNow examples shown at Microsoft Build in May 2019?

ServiceNow is an example of external data being indexed into Microsoft Search using the new connector framework announced at Build and SPC.  Any on-premises content or line of business content can be indexed the same way, much in the way hybrid search works today. Expect a number of connectors coming from Microsoft to support file servers, sql databases and SharePoint, as well as partner offerings.


Near term, if using SharePoint on-premises, the cloud search service application (hybrid search) can be used to index across on-premises content and brought into Office 365.  As Microsoft Search is a cohesive search experience across Microsoft 365, providing data can be brought into one or more endpoints, as described above, it will be available to Microsoft Search.  For additional information on these approaches see also


I read there is a 20M document limit for documents index using the cloud search service application (hybrid search) with SharePoint on-premises.

The limit is not 20 million, but there is a limit depending on the licensing and volume you have available in the tenant. Via a service request this number can be increased today.


Is Microsoft Search what had been called Bing for Business?

Microsoft Search in Bing (formerly known as Bing for Business) is one of Microsoft Search’ endpoints along with SharePoint,, Outlook, OneDrive, etc.


For ingestion the new connector framework is the way forward, and a new query api is being built via the Microsoft Graph.


Is there a relationship between the Microsoft Search pipeline and Microsoft Graph?

Yes.  Indexing and query will be provided via Microsoft Graph APIs.


Will it be possible to ingest content from non-Microsoft sources and enrich that content?

Any enriching can be done on the custom connector side before the data is ingested into the Microsoft Search search index.


How does Microsoft Search fit within the context of Enterprise Search?

Microsoft Search is an Enterprise Search solution. With the new investments to easier ingest your own content, and taking advantage of machine learning across all workloads in the Microsoft Graph to provide best of breed ranking of results for the individual, we believe that if you are using Office 365 as one of your primary data sources, then using Microsoft Search will make it easier for your end-users to get a unified search experience on all their data, across all devices.


We are investing in providing the same search results in all user experiences, that be, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Office applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, from your Windows 10 desktop search, or from any mobile device.


Bill Baer

Senior Product Manager

Search & AI


@Mikael Svenson 


7 Replies

@Bill Baer 

Great work on unifiying the experience!

I have been searching the web, the community and uservoice and I want to make sure that it is not already known before I submit an own idea.


The default behaviour working in SharePoint Online for Office Online versus client / desktop Office Application when clicking on Search Results from SharePoint in the classic experience was based on an individual setting that users could change in their Preferences (findable in Search Results Web Parts): it would open in (browser) Office Online (Excel Onlin / Word Online / PowerPoint Online) or in the (desktop) client application depending on this setting. (see for more info).

However in this modern search experience it will always open a result in Office Online in the browser first and after extra clicks someone can open in desktop client application. Am I missing something where this can be configured (other than SharePoint Admin, Site Collection, Library, individual search preference) that does work in Modern Search Experience Results?


@Bill Baer is there a public road map we can see on how all these features will be released to the Modern Search?  I couldn't find any information about Modern Search under the Microsoft 365 Roadmap page.


If no road map page exists, can you share some timelines?  When are you guys planning to release Refiners for example?


Thank you


@Bill BaerJust to clear up any misunderstandings. This sentence leaves a lot of room for interpretation: "As a singular search experience across Microsoft 365, configuration options for search will move to the unified search admin console as well as “cleaning up” the search settings when in SharePoint context." Can you elaborate on especially the "cleaning up" part? Actively managing the search schema is one of the most powerful tools in SharePoint (let alone SharePoint Search), so hopefully cleaning up just means some of the useless junk leftover from on-premises will be deprecated?


When can we get the new Microsoft Search Endpoint for Microsoft Graph. Is it in private Preview?

@Karl-Gerd Schneider Our Graph API is in Private Preview.  We plan on expanding to Public Preview in November (next month).

@Thomas Palsbjørn Pedersen Clean up is predominantly coherence, e.g. identifying duplication and creating a single "source of the truth" as opposed to removing functionality.

@MrUhderhill Refiners are planned for initial availability in November with GA following in CY20.  We'll be updating the roadmap with all of our Ignite plans and announcements later this month.