Applies to SharePoint Filter Web Part 3.0.
The new SharePoint Filter Web Part 3.0 lets you instantly filter SharePoint document libraries and lists with hundred thousands or millions of documents or items with great performance. But there are some important facts you should know when configuring the SharePoint List Filter Web Part 3.0 for large or even huge lists with millions of items or documents.
Configure the web part to display performance notifications. This will help you to improve the configuration.
Note: Search results will be cached for a few minutes to allow faster narrowing for repeating search result sets.
There are two ways (and a hybrid of course) to configure the web part to work efficiently with large lists. Both lead to the same result: You prevent the web part from loading distinct values from the sum of all items in the list, because this would be a very time-consuming operation.
Note: Don’t populate filter choices at startup with values from list items! This will only work well on views with a few thousand items.
Many field types have predefined value inventories with a very limited number of possible values – use them! User or Group, Lookup, Managed Metadata, Choice (, and Content Type of course) have a limited inventory and in most cases it’s much faster populating filter choices from definition than from existing values used in the list.
Configure the web part to “Start with Search, Date Ranges, and Values from Definition” to initiate the first run and populate filter choices after initially limiting the number of items.
Configure the web part to use Search and to initiate “Start with Search, Date Ranges, Values from Definition” on the first run. Using Search will effectively limit the number of items to filter when you subsequently narrow your search to extract the desired items. Every time you narrow your search you’ll be rewarded with a shorter response time.
Note: SharePoint Server Search or Search Server Express must be configured. If not, configure the web part to use the list query!
Understanding the way the Filter Web Part works will lead to better results when you start configuring. When you configure SharePoint Server Search or Search Server Express this will lead to a process with two steps and some more possibilities to optimize.
Step 1: The web part queries the SharePoint Server Search (and caches the result for a few minutes), only when Search is configured.
Step 2: The web part queries the list items contained in search results.
To start with when using a specific keyword SharePoint Server Search is always configured fast. It’s important to understand what happens when a user enters a very unspecific keyword.
In step 1 “Search”, if a keyword or phrase is entered in the search text field, the web part will query the configured search engine and fetch the results delivered. There are two parameters that impact query performance at this step, when a very unspecific keyword is entered:
The Max. size for Search Results parameter in the web part’s configuration can be set at a value of between 500 and 10,000. This means that a maximum of 10,000 rows of data will be returned from your search query and this will consume remarkable time (on our test systems up to 3 seconds on a list with more than 100,000 items). You have to figure out the best value.
In step 2 “Filtering” the Filter Web Part takes the search results and narrows the items to be filtered subsequently with it. This means that search will limit the number of filterable items to the items returned by search. Now the List View Threshold parameter in your web application’s resource settings becomes very interesting. This value limits the maximum number of items the filter web part will return. The web part will notify the user that the list view threshold limits the number of items (and values in filters) displayed and that there might be more items matching the criteria.
Hints for finding the best value for the max. size for Search Results parameter:
– The smaller the configured value, the better the experienced performance will be with unspecific keywords. Train your users to be specific!
– The smaller the configured value, the more often users entering unspecific keywords will receive a notification message, indicating that there might be more items than the configured limit allows to show. Train your users to be specific!
– If you have set a List View Threshold of 2,000 items, it might make sense to choose a lower value than 10,000 for the maximum search results size.