October 8, 2011

Time to talk about an unsung hero in the provision of Search features supporting SharePoint starring Microsoft Office. This guide describes the procedure to enable Research and connect it to an on-premise SharePoint search facility. When the Research option is enabled, Microsoft word will then contact the relevant SharePoint site, gathering the service information.

In many scenarios, while building content using Microsoft Office application, one may need to look-up certain, terms, phrases, concepts, etc to complement content. For this there’s the usual trek to search the web using a browser. However, I’d like to demonstrate another method without leaving the application and specific to using SharePoint search services.

To show this, am going to show the features using Microsoft Word.

The Research feature (available in Microsoft Word versions 2007 and beyond) allows you to look-up anything you want under it’s own window. You do not need to go somewhere else for viewing extra articulation over desired document content. It has certainly begotten the new dimension of researching terms, words, concepts.

This concept extends to SharePoint, so you can connect the Search facility directly to Microsoft Word. This means that whilst in Microsoft Word you can look up content that is stored on your SharePoint site.

If you use SharePoint to centralize content in your organization, and you and your information workers use Microsoft Word to create, update and manage the document lifecycle of that content, then you can also use Word to search for that content without having to visit the Enterprise Search enabled on that site.

Finding the Research option

First, we need to know where the Research tool is – check out the following location in Microsoft Word. Here are the steps to locate this feature:

  1. Launch Microsoft Word
  2. Click the REVIEW tab in the Ribbon bar to display the Review section
  3. The Research button is located in the PROOFING section of the Review section.

Clicking this button will display the Research tab to the right of the Microsoft Word application:



The final options in this tab are related to using Microsoft Office Marketplace and Research options. The key one is Research options which we will be examining in the next section.

The Microsoft Office Marketplace link takes you to this page:


This page shows the old Office 2003 page relevant to the Research feature and provides links with explanations to other sites which provide the integration ability with Word.

Note – this page shows Office 2003?!?! Have reported this to MS so watch this space…

Another Note – if Research is not displayed simply add it to the ribbon (right click ribbon, customise, add from all commands).

Research Options Dialog



This is the Research Options dialog.

In it is listed services that are available for searching – these are divided into:

  • Reference Books
  • Research Sites
  • Business and Financial Sites
  • Intranet Sites and Portals
  • Other Services


The section we are interested in for this article is the ‘Intranet Sites and Portals’ section. That is where our SharePoint Site will sit after adding it in using the Add Services button in this dialog.

One other point. Research options is not just restricted to Microsoft Word – you can get to it using:

  • Excel
  • OneNote
  • Outlook
  • PowerPoint
  • Publisher
  • Visio

Check this link for more details:


Note. If you get a message stating ‘No Services are Available’ using on-premise SharePoint, this could be down to the site not being available on its host name. First thing to do is to ping the host name address, if that does not respond, check that the DNS entry resolves to its correct IP by accessing the server itself, and ensuring the IP designated against the DNS name corresponds with the relevant server IP addresses (or the cluster IP if Load Balancing is in operation.

Checking the Site Search Service

Before using the Research option, you could try a check against the host in SharePoint where you wish to carry out connected searches from using the browser.

Note that in my tests I have had some issues using Firefox for this test, so the results I have are against using Internet Explorer:

Enter the following in your browser – note that the site entry is simply an example:


Remember to replace the enteryoursitehere with the name of the host that you wish to connect with. Once you have done that, and pressed enter you may be asked to enter your credentials – do that and the response on the page should look like this:

If you see the above you have successfully connected with the relevant search service, and can safely use it in the Research options.

Connecting the Search Service in Word Research

See also: Research Options Dialog

Once the install button is clicked the search service is added:

Scroll down to the Intranet Sites and Portals section and you’ll see the site listed. Note there is a tick to the left of the site meaning that it will be available when using Research:

That’s all there is to it – I hope this article has been useful to you.

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