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Search is built into SharePoint from top to bottom. SharePoint has a built in search engine that's very, very good and you'll find a search box on just about every page in every site in SharePoint. You will typically find it over here on the right-hand side of the Ribbon. Though do take care if you shifted your Ribbon into a different mode that may have gone away. But if you go back to your Browse mode on your Ribbon, you should see it and be able to search through the content of this site. It's common to think that search is just there in SharePoint and you just take what SharePoint gives you, but it can go much deeper than that.
Search is very customizable. Now some things can only be changed by your farm administrator, such as what content is being searched and what file types are being searched. SharePoint can search not only SharePoint sites, but also search things like external folders on a network drive, even public websites and Exchange folders. However, those are only changeable by the farm administrator, but quite a lot can also be configured if you're a site collection administrator and we're going to explore those things.
So what really are the differences? Well, what I've done here is take a normal team site and do a search for in this case Two Trees and hit Search. We're getting some results back, but notice up here what I have on this little dropdown. This is what's called the Search Scope and the scope is the idea of what are we looking at. In this case, it says we're looking at this site. We are searching only within this site, and that you'll see as the default behavior on a lot of website creation. You're searching just this site. Technically what happens here is you're searching this site and any sub-sites.
So if you are at the top-level site of a site collection, you're searching within the site collection, but you're not searching across other site collections and that could be a problem. We really want a wider search in a lot of cases, and this can be changed. This can be configured to be different, because if you have SharePoint Server, you can actually create what's called a Search Center site. It's a SharePoint site devoted just to searching and this can search all sites in all site collections. You take the same phrase, and you're going to get a lot more results come back.
In this case it's got about 200 results instead of 4 or 5. These results are security trimmed, which means different people searching for the same content will see different results based on what they're allowed to look at. SharePoint search engine will try never to give you a link you couldn't click on. So if you don't have permission to see a list or a document. You won't be able to see those in your search results. In this version of SharePoint, there is also the ability to quickly filter down some of this content, so filtering things down by Word documents or by author, allowing you really to pinpoint the kind of content that you're looking at.
Of course, we may sometimes want to take it even deeper than this and we can, but it's certainly very useful to have this available quickly. You'll see a couple of icons at the top- right of the search box, which are quite useful. For example, the rightmost one allows you to add what's called a Search Provider or Search Connector to your Windows system. What that really means is you're adding the ability to search inside SharePoint from just your regular Windows machine. So if you open up a Windows Explorer box and start typing-in something like Two Trees, you'll actually see not only the results that will be on your own machine but the results directly from SharePoint.
So if you do a lot of searching on Windows, you may find this very useful. There is a couple of other things like being able to have an RSS feed of that search phrase and even having an Alert Me button that allows you to be sent an email when the search results substantially change for that word or phrase. But really the key difference here is when you have a website created, such as a team site or indeed any other, are you just accepting what it is that SharePoint gives you which in a lot of cases will just be just this particular site, or do you want to create your own search site, what's called a Search Center, and then connect your other sites to it? Which for a typical large organization is the way that you want to do it.
Now you may already have a Search Center site that's been created by your farm administrator. In which case you may need to know how to connect other sites to this. Or if you don't have one, you can create this Search Center yourself. It's just another SharePoint site.
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