MOSS Search Scopes Missing in Action?

Are you suffering from your custom search scopes not showing up in your scopes dropdown on your site?
Do you add a scope and wonder why it has not turned up?

Well suffer no more! For as little as a few dollars a day your ........ ahhhh you get the idea! 🙂

A friend of mine (we will call him Ryan for argument sake) was trying desperately to add a new search scope to his site. He went where most would go Central Admin > Shared Service Provider Settings > Search Settings > View Scopes. Added his scope to the list under the "shared" group, added his scope rules and waited for the scopes to be updated (couple of mins). Then low and behold his scope did not turn up in the search scopes drop down on his portal site.

He dropped me an email to see if it was something in his set up. I tried it out and funnily enough it didn't work for me either.

I did some digging with another buddy of mine who pointed me to a critical setting that I had missed.

You need to go into your Site Collection Settings menu > Search Scopes page. In there you will see your new scope ... but set as un-used.

To use it you need to:

  • Click on the "Search Dropdown" link

  • Tick the checkbox beside your new scope and set the order

  • OK

  • Wait a couple of mins (not sure how long ... but wait 5 mins ... probably caching the scopes somewhere)

Your scope should now be visible!

Comments (20)
  1. NOTE: You also need to be a Site Collection Administrator to "see" the links for the Site Collection Settings in Central Admin.

  2. Sharepointer says:

    There is no such "Search Dropdown" link in my installation. And even if I add one nothing turns up in the dropdown (apart from "this website"). I’m using a German user interface and english administration, maybe that’s the problem…

  3. Yadnesh says:

    I have developed search center and am having custom search scopes for my portal… Also am having 8 to 10 subsites (team sites) under parent search center..

    I want to display search scopes available in parent search center, in all the sub sites..also the scopes should be visible in default search dropdown at the top of all the sub sites.

  4. Yadnesh says:


    I have developed search center on MOSS 2007. Am having custom search scopes which works fine on this parent portal..

    This search center is having 8 to 10 sub-sites (team sites).

    I want the scopes that i have created in search center should be available in all the subsites.

    The search dropdowns in all the subsites should display the search scopes available in search center.

    what i mean is ..the search scope that i have created in search center i.e. Parent site should be available across all the sub sites for that parent site.

    Is there anything that i have to do for this… ?

    AM i mssin something?

  5. Franz says:

    Thank you very much for your hint.

    It worked perfectly for me.

    Best regards,


  6. j t says:

    I was having a similiar problem, there was no ‘Search Dropdown’ display group, so i created one but the search scopes still were not being displayed on the portal pages.  

    There is another setting that must be set in conjunction with the dropdown

    Site Settings -> Search Settings

    ensure the ‘Use custom scopes’ radio button is ticked, and the URL refers to the search center results page (as listed in the example).



  7. Aditi says:

    The Search Dropdown appears beside the "Display Group" below Title 🙂

  8. Paulie says:

    Thanks.  That was helpful.  How do you then get the search scopes to appear in the tabs on the search centre page?

  9. Geoff says:

    Ditto what Paulie said…  Great, I’ve got my scopes defined, but how do you actually USE them on the search page?

  10. Deepak says:


    If the managed Property is of type integer then how we can set scope for that.

    Example. Is Document is the managed property of type integer. I want this scope to be used in search results. How should i do this?

  11. majidalibaig says:

    Thanks for this tip. I had all this settings well defined. But still scopes were not appearing until I checked ‘Use custom scopes’ radio under Search Settings.



  12. Irina says:

    Hi Chris,

    The problem I’m having is that I do not see the "Search Dropdown" link under Site Collection Settings menu > Search Scopes page. Any ideas?

  13. fred says:

    i wasted a bunch of time until i found your article.

    thank you very much!


  14. Dilhan Jayathilaka says:

    Go to Site Collection Settings -> Search Scopes -> and create new Display Group and name it "Search Dropdown".

    and select scopes that you want to display.

  15. Michel says:

    I just spent 3 days trying to get these scopes to show up ….thanks for the information.

  16. epidemiq says:

    "Search Dropdown" is “Suchdropdown” in German, if you have a german Installation…

  17. grateful says:


    Thank you for reminding why I am so happy to not ever have to support, recommend or create custom solutions for SharePoint ever again. With every iteration, MOSS becomes more random and convoluted to the point of complete chaos and unusability.

    But… that new MOSS feature is only 17 clicks away! If only you had read the fine print that you didn’t know you needed to read on a page that you didn’t know existed, you would be so much better off!

    This is one product built by Microsoft that I will no longer recommend or support. I refuse to drink the MOSS koolaid anymore. I’ve never before or since seen a bunch of developers and marketing people so stuck in "group think" about a product that never was. Troubleshooting MOSS is like searching for a better seat on the Titanic.

  18. David Klein says:

    I had this problem after recreating my Shared Services provider due to a Search Crawling issue. Note that the Display group has to be named correctly for the scope to show in the dropdown itself. See for more info.

  19. Gaurav says:

    I am unable to get Search Scope page in the Site Collection Settings. If I try to access the URL directly, it works. ANy known issue here?

  20. Kevin says:

    Great helpful article, saved me loads of time!  As I’m just only beginning to pioneer in to some complex search scenarios for an enterprise, I am now off to the right foot in truly understanding how granular the search scope can be.

    Grateful, what product would you recommend instead of MOSS with a comparable featureset?  Alfresco?  How about with ERDMS being considered?

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