SharePoint Wildcard Search: “Pro” Is Not a Stem of “Programming”

On the MSDN search forum, people often ask a question like this:

"I have a document named ‘Programming Guide’ but when I search for ‘Pro’ search does not find it."

It may not feel like it, but that amounts to a wildcard search.  The MOSS/WSS user interface does not support wildcard search out of the box.

If you dig into the search web parts, you’ll find a checkbox, "Enable search term stemming".  Stemming is a human-language term.  It’s not a computer language substring() type function.

These are some stems:

  • "fish" is a stem to "fishing"
  • "major" is a stem to "majoring"

These are not stems:

  • "maj" is not a stem to "major"
  • "pro" is not a stem to "programmer"

The WSS/MOSS search engine does support wild card search through the API.  Here is one blog article that describes how to do that:

A 3rd party product, Ontolica, provides wild card search.  I have not used that product.


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3 thoughts on “SharePoint Wildcard Search: “Pro” Is Not a Stem of “Programming”

  1. Josh Noble

    Ontolica is a proven web part which adds wildcard search capabilites across all sharepoint searches. Some of the issues I have come across in other solutions include errors when trying to use prepending *, Best Bets, Keyword Highlighting, People Search, RSS, Federated Search and Faceted Search. It isn’t free, but it doesn’t restrict users to very basic uses of wildcard. Feel free to email me for more information.


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