Classic Vs. Modern Search Experience in SharePoint Online

Topics: SharePoint Online, Microsoft Search

Classic Vs. Modern Search Experience in SharePoint Online


It is a well-known fact that SharePoint Online offers both a classic and modern search experience. The same search index is utilized by both search experiences to find results.

Being a  search administrator, you can neither enable nor disable  classic or modern search. A user will get the classic search experience on:

  • Publishing sites,
  • Classic team sites
  • Search Center

The modern experience awaits the users on:

  • SharePoint home page
  • Hub sites
  • Communication sites
  • Modern team sites

Without further ado, let's explore the major differences between classic and modern search.


Personalized Search Results
One of the most visible difference is that modern search is way more personalized than its classic counterpart.  Not just the search but also the results and thus you see results that are different from what other users see, even if you search for the same words. A user will see results even before he/she starts typing, and the results update as you type. 

Customized Search Experience 

Another important difference is that classic search experience can be customized by the search administrators whereas they can only impact some aspects of the modern search experience. In stark contrast to the classic search results page, the modern search results page is not built with web parts. Thus, you can't create additional search results pages or customize the modern search results page. 

Search Schema 

As mentioned earlier, both the search experiences use the same search index. Thus, any changes made to the search schema, applies to both the experiences. (The search schema essentially determines how content is collected in and retrieved from the search index). Further, the modern search experience doesn't support building refiners based on metadata or changing the sort order of results. Below mentioned is a list of  search schema settings that don’t affect the modern search experience:
  • Sortable
  • Refinable
  • Company name extraction

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