9 Search

ExtendedSearch replaces the default MediaWiki search engine. It is based on the Elasticsearch engine and provides many improvements over standard MediaWiki search both in terms of quality of indexed content and user interface. Pages and files are indexed immediately and available for searching in real-time.


Extended search offers two ways of searching for content:

  1. Title search using the quick search
  2. Fulltext search using the search center

By default, the search indexes:

  • wiki pages: all content pages, except for pages in the MediaWiki namespace
  • special pages: all pages in the namespace Special
  • repo files: files uploaded to the wiki - for text files like Word documents and PDFs, this includes content and metadata
  • external files: files from arbitrary locations from accessible storage paths (e.g., mounted drives)
  • social entities: entities (pages) created by the BlueSpiceSocial extension, like blog posts and user profiles


The search box in the main toolbar offers with autocomplete functionality is available from any page on the wiki. Autocomplete matches only page and file titles, but does not provide a full-text search.

After typing in the search bar, an autocomplete popup appears:

Autocomplete popup

This popup is divided in two columns.

Left column:

  • Primary results: These are the results that are direct matches for the search term. The exact matches are shown in bold letters.
  • When looking for the term "quality management", it is also possible to type in "qual man" and the search starts looking for matches
  • The best match is often shown with a thumbnail preview as a top search result

Right column:

  • Tools and secondary results: Tools are displayed in the top portion of the right column and contain:
    • a button to create the page with the current search term as the title (only if user has permission to create new pages)
    • a button to execute full-text search for the current term. Selecting this option leads to the Search Center.

In the bottom portion of the right column, secondary results are displayed. Secondary results are matches that do not directly match the given term, but might be relevant for the user. These show up only in certain contexts:

  • If there are significantly more matches for a similar term than the term actually searched for (in a situation of a typo for example)
  • If the namespace or subpage pill is present (see next section). In this case, secondary results will show direct matches in other namespaces/pages.

Namespace and subpage "pills"

Autocomplete search bar supports pills for namespaces and subpages.

Namespace "pill"

If a user types Manual:, a pill for the namespace "Manual" appears and the search for the following term is limited to this namespace. . Subpage pills work in the same way. If the user types in PageName/, any term after that is matched in the context of that page. If you search for "TestPage/Te", for example, the search will match only subpages of "TestPage" that contain "Te" in the title, like "TestPage/Test" and "TestPage/TestSubpage".


Previously explained is the full version of the autocomplete popup. Wiki admins can also choose to use "Simple autocomplete", which contains only one column with primary results and tools, without secondary results. This type of autocomplete is also more compact. This setting is available from BlueSpiceConfigManager, under Extension > BlueSpiceExtendedSearch > Use simple autocomplete.

Dates as search terms

The search recognizes certain date formats. In the search center, these date formats are treated with surrounding quotation marks.

Search Center (extended search)

As soon as you trigger the full-search with the magnifying glass symbol or the Enter key, the wiki switches to the Search Center. This is a special page that offers the full functionality of the search. The search in the Search Center is carried out using the same search bar that is also used for autocomplete. Here, the search engine carries out a full text search, which also includes the metadata of documents. It does not index the wikitext of a wiki page, but rather the rendered content, that is the output by the browser.

Search Center

Search operators

Important!Search operators only work in the search center (fulltext search). You cannot use search operators in the title search.

If you are searching for contiguous words, they should be enclosed in quotation marks (") for performance reasons and to support a unique search.

Search operators have to be written in all-caps.


  • admin AND docu: Returns pages that contain the exact term admin as well as the exact term docu
  • admin* AND docu: If the term administration should be found, you need to provide a wildcard asterisk (*).

Compare: The search admin docu automatically is a wildcard search. It returns pages that contain both admin* and docu* . This search normally finds more results than the serach admin* AND docu (because in the second case, the exact term docu is returned).

" (apostrophes)

Apostrophes around a search term triggers an AND search for all terms in the query:

  • "admin" docu: same result as admin AND docu (i.e., also the precise term docu will be searched).


  • admin* NOT docu*: Returns pages that contain words that start with admin , but that don't contain words that start with docu .


  • admin OR docu: Returns pages that contain either the exact term admin or the exact term docu.

* (wildcard)

  • admin*: Returns pages that contain words that begin with admin .


  • Hit count - shows how many matches a search has returned. It may be exact or approximate. Approximation is due to dynamic check for permissions to view each page in the results, some results may not be shown to the user with no adequate permissions event if it matches the search term.
  • Tools - these are located in the top right as a set of buttons:
    • Create a page - represented by a "plus" button - will create a page with current search term as a title (only visible if user has permission to create pages)
    • Add filters - represented by a "funnel" icon - opens a dialog where users can select the type of filter to apply to the search.
      Adding filters
    • Search options - represented by a "gear" icon - opens a dialog where users can change settings for the current search. It provides options like the number of results per page, sorting field and order.
      Options dialog
    • Export search - represented by the "export" icon - opens a dialog to export current search results to a dedicated page (only visible to authorized users, by default admin users).
  • Filter: Filters are displayed in form of pills below the results counter. Each filter pill represents a different attribute. Filter values can be changed by clicking on the filter pill and selecting the desired options from the popup that will open. Filter can be removed by clicking on the "x" button in each pill.
    Editing filter
  • Results: If current search criteria field any results, a list of results is displayed. The information available in the results is depending on the result type):
    • Main title of the result (page title, file name...)
    • Result type
    • Size and extension (for files)
    • Thumb image (for images) or file type icon (for other file types)
    • Redirect information
    • Original name (for wikipages, if the page display title is different than the actual page title)
    • Secondary information like page categories, modification and creation date, author, etc.
    • Snippet of the matches in the content of the page (if there are matches in the page content),
    • Sections with matches in the content (for wikipages)

In case there is an exact match for a given search term, the result that matches exactly is displayed as a "featured" result. Such a result displays a preview image of the page and always displays the content snippet, regardless of whether there are matches in the content or not.

Results relevance

All logged-in users can mark certain results as "favorites" by clicking on the star symbol in the right corner of each result. Files marked as "favorite" will score higher in future searches - this is not visible immediately, however, but happens over time. One user's relevance settings won't affect other user's searches. Results can be unmarked as "favorite" by clicking on the "star" symbol again.

Exporting search results

After executing the search, administrators can export (save) the results to a specific page using the "Export" command from the "Tools" menu. The list is exported to MediaWiki:PageCollection/LISTENNAME.

Only valid wikipages are exported. The pages contained in a list can be included in a book in the book function via Mass add> Source: Page collection.

Export search


In the BlueSpiceConfigManager, under settings for the extension BlueSpiceExtendedSearch, the following configuration options are available:

  • External file paths: External locations to scan for and index files from. These locations are entered in key/value pairs of Physical path and URL prefix.
    • Physical path: Storage path. For mounted drives, for example: X:\Documents
    • URL prefix: All files indexed from the indexed physical location are prefixed in the search results. It should be used if files are available from a web server. By default, the URL prefix is set to the same value as Physical path.

Examples for external file paths
Example file Phys. Path URL Prefix Link in results list
S:\Sales\Info\glossaryy.pdf S:\ file:///S:/ file:///S:/Sales/Info/glossary.pdf














Add an external file path
Add an external file path: (1) confirm the checkmark and (2) save the settings.

  • Use simple autocomplete: forces a more compact autocomplete (1-column Sales thumbnail preview).
    compact autocomplete
    compact autocomplete
    regular autocomplete

  • Automatically set language filter: The search only returns pages whose language (PageLanguage) is identical to the user language (Language). Users can set their language in their preferences. By default, the language of content pages is the same as the installation language (ContentLanguage) of the wiki. Some extensions can set the language of individual pages independently of the content language of the wiki.. (See: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Manual:Language#Page_content_language). In many wikis, activating this filter has little effect.
  • Exclude patterns: Files at external file locations can be exluded from search based on regular expression patterns.


Special:SearchAdmin is a special page for wiki admins. This page provides stats on documents indexed in the search.

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