Sharepoint: Improve the search experience with the TermTree Refiner (September 1, 2020)

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Sharepoint: Improve the search experience with the TermTree Refiner (September 1, 2020)

Finding documents in Sharepoint online/Office 365 can be tedious. If you want to restrict your search to certain document types (like: reports, inquiries, CVs, sales orders, invoices) you either end up with too many irrelevant search hits or relevant documents don't show up because they don't include the search term. If you rely on Sharepoint's fulltext search capabilities only, then your users will be frustrated and spend too much time to find the right documents.

You can provide your users with a better search experience if you use search refiners. Users can further refine their search result by clicking on the refiner values, e.g. to retrieve "sales orders" or "invoices", only. Before you are able to create meaningful search refiners, you have to arrange for a couple of pre-requisites which include tagging documents with tags. This guide shows you how to automatically tag documents with their type (e.g. invoice, sales order, cv, inquiry) and how to provide search refiners that contain these document types.

Frustrating search experience without meaningful refiners:


Entering the search term "order" returns a lot of irrelevant documents (e.g. a CV) and even misses some sales order documents.

Better: filter documents by type, language, etc:


If you provide search refiners, then the users will be able to precicely filter for all "sales order" documents, for instance.

The following steps assume that you have Sharepoint Online/Office 365 and a library that contains at least dozens of documents or scanned documents (pdf or image formats). If you are familiar with certain configuration aspects of Sharepoint then you will need 30 minutes to go them through in your tenant. If you require assistance then we are happy to help!

Watch the steps in the video:

What's next?

  • Add refiners for the document language like: english, french, german, spanisch
    • The Easy Tagging App has a built-in predictor that detects the language that is used in documents. You can simply use that predictor in a tagger to tag all your documents with the language. Similar to the steps in section 3 you would simply create another refiner that allows users to restrict their search results to certain languages.
  • Add refiners for important words:
    • The Easy Tagging App is able to identify important words from documents and store them in the termstore as a new termset. If you let the tagger tag your documents with them, then your users can use them to filter their search results.


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