The Must Have Tool While Working with Search and SharePoint Online

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One of my main frustrations with the search experience in SharePoint Online is the indexing process. Especially with managed properties. I am referring to the inability to check if a managed property is filled with a value. Let me provide you with a real-world example. We have developed a series of apps for SharePoint Portals. One of these is the Highlighted News app:

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The app contains an option to display a topic (e.g. security). These topics are assigned to news posts by using a site column:

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The Highlighted app, making use of SharePoint Search, needs to connect a managed property to the site column to display the topic. There is one major challenge! After assigning a topic, we have no idea when the managed property is actually connected to the correct topic. This is totally depending on a magical timer job that refreshes the search index. There is no menu where we can check if the index is refreshed and our managed property contains the correct topic. Although Microsoft really improved the speed, and quality, of the indexing process within SharePoint Online, there isn’t a 100% guarantee it works and no menu to check the index.

This is why I highly recommend downloading the SharePoint Search Query Tool. This tool, created by the awesome Mikael Svenson, allows you to check the search properties of your SharePoint content or people. This way, you know if a managed property is actually connected to a value.  Let me show you how this works by assigning a topic to a brand new news post:

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The Highlighted app makes use of the managed property ‘RefinableString100’ to display a topic. After we publish our news post, we have no idea if the topic is actually assigned to the managed property. This is where the SharePoint Search Query Tool steps into action. We need to login first:

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Once we logged in, we search for the title of our news post, apply the properties button and enter our refinablestring100:

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Now we can see the magic happens by clicking on the run button:

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Awesome! We can see the correct topic! Let’s take a look at our Highlighted app:

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The SharePoint Search Query Tool is a true life saver! I have been recommending the tool to all my colleagues, and new colleagues, for many years. Everyone truly loves the tool. Don’t wait and go download the tool now!