SharePoint Search Tip: Search for "title" where there is no "title"!




You find the strangest things in SharePoint when you are looking for something else! I'm writing the labs for a new SharePoint 2013 Search Administration class and was looking for a list that did not support a search on "title:sometext". The list I first tested that did not have a "Title" column actually did work with a search for "title:". Huh? So I next tried the Links List as this one has always been a problem with the Content Query Web Part due to not having a "Title" column. I found that I could search Links with "title:sometext"! How?


Everything has a Title?


Most SharePoint lists and libraries have a "Title" column. As "Title" is also an out of the box search Managed Property you can search these lists and libraries by using "title:airplane". If you browse around your sites though you will only find a few lists and libraries that have a "Title" column. For example: document libraries and announcements lists.

Out of the box lists and libraries that support a search on Title:

  • Some libraries and lists have an obvious Title column, so they are searchable on "Title". While libraries have a Title column, it is often not populated by users. Search will index the "Title" as the title field, when not blank, and otherwise index the "Name" column as "Title", so we can still search using "title:keyword".
  • Asset libraries have a "Title" column listed in the Library Properties page, but it's not listed on the Edit Properties page of videos, but we can still search using "title:keyword".
  • Custom lists where you have renamed the default title. Even after being renamed, it's still "Title" internally.
  • Lists with no displayed title column:
    • A Contacts list's "Last Name" column is internally named "Title". I.e. a search for title:smith works but a search for title:"mike smith" does not as "Mike" is not in the "Title/Last Name" column.
    • A Task list's "Task Name" column is internally named "Title".
    • A Discussion list's "Subject" column is internally named "Title".
    • A Categories list's "Category" column is internally named "Title".
    • A Content and Structure Reports list's "Report Title" column is internally named "Title".
    • A Links list has a hidden Title column that is auto-populated with the text from the "description" of the link.
    • A list created by importing an Excel file makes the first text column the clickable link column for the list. While the displayed name is whatever was imported, the internal name is "Title".

What does not have a Title?

  • Site Pages libraries.
  • Wiki libraries.
  • Visio Repository Site Process Diagrams libraries.
  • An external list (External Content Type) may not have a "Title" column.


Bottom line?

Almost every list is searchable using "title:somekeywords".



About the Links List

A Links list is special… or a least different. While many lists have a visible column with a name other than "Title" and an internal name of "Title", the List list is a bit different. A links list does not seem to have a end user accessible Title column, which is why its always been a pain with the Content Query Web Part. But… it does have a "Title" column, it's just hidden and Read Only. If you do a search using "title:", you will find links!  I guess its auto-populated and included just for searching. Here's the XML from the feature for the Links list:




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