The WorkerThread Blog

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SharePoint Search From Office Applications

Posted by workerthread on November 28, 2008

OK I know that there are already blog posts out there on this subject, but I wanted to put something down in one place for my own clients.  Also I find it’s often the case that when I talk to users about this, they aren’t even aware of the existence of the Office Research pane and how they can use it from inside Word, Excel, or PowerPoint (and indeed OneNote or Visio).

So, a quick recap.  If you are using Office 2003 or 2007, you have a research pane available which will let you perform lookups against reference books and sites such as Encarta, Live Search, MSN Money etc.  You can also connect to external translation services and reference sites.  If you’re using Office 2007, applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint have a Research button in the Review tab, like so:

Review

And this will give you a good selection of resources against which you can “fact-check” your document or presentation, or perhaps get more detailed online information:

LiveResearch 

Indeed in some applications such as Word, Outlook emails and OneNote you don’t even need to open the Research Pane – you can just highlight the research term and right-click to select Look-Up.

So far so good, but if you also use Office SharePoint Server 2007 search, or WSS 3.0 search,  you can add either of these services to the list of available research options in Office.  This is achievable because both MOSS and WSS provide a web service which Office Research can connect to.  In the case of MOSS the web service is search.asmx and for WSS it is spsearch.asmx.  It’s located in the /_vti_bin folder under your portal.  So for example, if your MOSS portal is http://intranet then the URL for the search web service is http://intranet/_vti_bin/search.asmx .  If you navigate to this URL in a browser this is what you will see:

searchasmx 

And here is how we register the service in Office Research.  First you need to open the Research pane in one of the Office applications, for example MS Word.  At the bottom you will see a “Research Options” hyperlink:

researchoptions

Clicking on this will bring up an options dialog:

researchoptionsdlg 

Click on Add Services, and in the address line, enter the URL of the search web service from your SharePoint site – in my case that would be http://intranet/_vti_bin/search.asmx but if you are using WSS 3.0 it would be something like http://<myWSSPortalName>/_vti_bin/spsearch.asmx :  

addservices

Once you click Add, you will see this confirmation dialog:

researchconfirm 

and clicking Install will add the SharePoint search service to your research options, then you will be able to carry out SharePoint searches from inside your Office applications:

MOSSSearch 

And that’s it!  if you’re interested in what’s going on under the covers with this web service, the MOSSSearch site has a downloadable UI test tool which you can point at your search service.

Come to think of it, this would be a good add-in for Windows Live Writer

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3 Responses to “SharePoint Search From Office Applications”

  1. […] SharePoint Search From Office Applications (WorkerThread Blog)OK I know that there are already blog posts out there on this subject, but I wanted to put something down in one place for my own clients.  Also I find it’s often the case that when I talk to users about this, they aren’t even aware of the existence of the Office Research pane and how they can use it from inside Word, Excel, or PowerPoint (and indeed OneNote or Visio). […]

  2. […] SharePoint Search From Office Applications […]

  3. […] SharePoint Search From Office Applications « The WorkerThread Blog […]

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