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Corey Roth [MVP]

A SharePoint MVP bringing you the latest time saving tips for Ionic, SharePoint, and Office 365.

What you give up with Full Text SQL Queries using Wildcard Search

I am very glad to see that the Wildcard Search Web Part has been so well received.  It's nice to know so many people are getting good use out of it.  I have had a number of comments about it regarding what else works with it and what doesn't so I thought I would address them today in a post.  We'll start with how the Search Center works out of the box.  It uses the Enterprise Search Keyword Query syntax.  As you probably know by now, this syntax does not support wildcard searching.  To implement Wildcard Search, I had to use  Full Text SQL Query syntax which does support wildcard searching.  Unfortunately, a lot of the functionality on the search results page only works with keyword syntax.  Here is a list of things that will not work or will work differently.

  • SearchSummaryWebPart - Provides the "Did you mean..." functionality.
  • Best Bets - Keyword based so it will not work.
  • Keyword Highlighting - Obviously keyword based as well.
  • RSS - This is keyword based as well.
  • Federated Search - Works but treats your search term as a keyword ignoring the wildcard.
  • Faceted Search - Keyword based, but I am confident we could write code on both our parts to make this work.

Ok, so this may sound like a lot, but in my experience a lot of people don't use some of this functionality.  It is just a trade off between having wildcard search or not.  This really isn't a result of the Wildcard Search web part alone.  It's the result of using a Full Text SQL Query and what Enterprise Search's limitations are.  We can confirm this by using the Advanced Search results web part.  Depending on the type of query you submit, it will do a Full Text SQL Query and the same functionality is missing.  It's been my experience that customer's really do like having the wildcard functionality and rarely miss the other features.  Thanks again for all the comments.



Daniel2ThePoint said:

One of the most commonly asked for feature are wildcard searches. There is lots of solutions to provide

October 3, 2008 1:17 PM

JoshNoble said:

Although it is not free, Ontolica Wildcard by SurfRay does not have any of these issues.  It was free at one time, but due to the number of people illegally modifying it and its reliability it is no longer free.  You can find it at

November 24, 2008 5:57 PM

SharePoint can have Wildcard searching… » Andy Burns’ SharePoint Blog said:

Pingback from  SharePoint can have Wildcard searching… » Andy Burns’ SharePoint Blog

May 27, 2009 3:24 AM

Kyle Goulding said:

Hi - Is there anyway to bring back the Best Bets after you have activated/deactivated the wildcard search?


August 17, 2015 8:29 AM

CoreyRoth said:

@kyle afraid not!  Time to upgrade!

August 18, 2015 12:29 PM

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About CoreyRoth

Corey Roth is an independent SharePoint consultant specializing in ECM, Apps, and Search.
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