Advanced Search Query Operators in SharePoint KQL

KQL on kryptonite

Mikael Svenson

by Mikael Svenson on 4/16/2014

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This is the second episode my series “ SharePoint Search Queries Explained - The Series ”. See the intro post for links to all episodes.

In episode one I covered the basic query operators of KQL. In this episode I will cover the advanced ones, as well as show samples of how it can all be put together in useful scenarios together with some nice to know managed properties.

Note: Search terms entered are case-insensitive but the operators must be in uppercase.





NEAR NEAR operator

Specifies that terms in the query must appear within a specific distance or tokens where the operator takes two or more terms and a numeric value to specify the distance N. The default numeric value is 8. <expression> NEAR(n=4 <expression


<expression> NEAR(n) <expression>

Searching for recipe NEAR(3) meatballs NEAR(2) Swedish returns items where the term recipe is within 3 terms of meatballs. And the term meatballs is within 2 terms of Swedish


This is a recipe of tasty Swedish Meatballs


A Swedish cook creates tasty meatballs from an old family recipe

ONEAR Ordered NEAR Ordered variant of the NEAR operator, where the terms must appear in the specified order. The default numeric value is 8

<expression> ONEAR(n=4) <expression>


<expression> ONEAR(n) <expression>

Searching for recipe ONEAR(3) meatballs ONEAR(2) Swedish returns items where the term recipe is within 3 terms of meatballs. And the term meatballs is within 2 terms of swedish. The terms are also in the order: recipe, meatballs, Swedish


A recipe for good meatballs comes from Swedish people


Show me a recipe for Swedish meatballs

XRANK XRANK rank modifying operator XRANK allows for modification of the ranking values in the result set based on an expression and a boost value. XRANK can be applied against both the full-text index and managed properties.

The queries take the following format. <match expression> XRANK(cb=100, rb=0.4, pb=0.4, avgb=0.4, stdb=0.4, nb=0.4, n=200) <rank expression>

Searching for swedish meatballs XRANK(nb=0.5) spicy returns all items with Swedish and meatballs and gives a normalized boost to any item by 0.5 with the term spicy in it.

The XRANK operator can take 7 different parameters. As noted on MSDN, you will typically only use the normalized boost parameter (nb) as this parameter provides the necessary control to promote or demote a particular item, without taking standard deviation into account. If you are using the Dynamic Ordering capabilities of the Query Builder, you will note it uses a combination of Constant Boost (cb) and Standard Deviation Boost ( stdb). I have found cases where nb don’t give any value at all, so using cb with stdb might be a good approach.

The only way to actually get this working is by trying out different values and on real data. Using the SharePoint 2013 Query Tool is an excellent way to get started to look at the rank values per item.


Putting it all together

Parenthesis can be used to group together different parts of a query, and may be used on either side of an operator (AND, OR, NOT, NEAR, ONEAR, XRANK). They may also be nested.

Sample 1

The query below will match items which include either swedish or norwegian together with both meat and sheep, without having the term awful in them. In addition the items has to be last modified within the past year. Items which contain michelin guide in the title will be promoted by 0.5 rank points. Items which contain the term fish, will be promoted by 0.1 rank points. Items which have both michelin guide in the title and contain fish will in total get 0.6 rank points added.

((((ANY(swedish norwegian) AND (meat sheep)) XRANK(cb=0.5) title:”michelin guide”) write:”last year”) XRANK(cb=0.1) fish) -awful

Sample 2

The query below will match items of the Document content type which are Excel files.

SPContentType:Document fileextension:xlsx

Sample 3

The query below will match items with the term finance in documents which are either Word documents or PowerPoint presentation.

finance fileextension:doc fileextension:docx fileextension:xls fileextension:xlsx

Sample 4

The query below will match web sites, lists, libraries and folders which have the term secret in the name.

IsContainer:1 secret

Sample 5

The query below will match files which have the term secret in the name.

IsDocument:1 secret

Sample 6

List only documents store in OneDrive libraries.


Sample 7

List all documents from a specific library or list, limited on the id of list.


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