Difference between “Items matching a tag” and “Content Search” webpart

A client wanted to move their knowledge management  to SharePoint 2013. They had a big folder structure on a fileshare, but were running into issues when a certain document had to appear in more folders.

With the new Search possibilities in Sharepoint 2013, we suggested a metadata field “Chapter” where the client could add one or more chapters to a document. Every chapter would get its own page where we add a content search solution to display all documents in the site collection that have that chapter as metadata.

Items matching a Tag

To add the webparts to the pages, we opened up the “Search-Driven Content” webpart category and chose the “Items matching a Tag” webpart.

items matching a tag webpart

This enables us to do the things we require: add a tag to filter all documents on the chapter.

New requirement: Sort documents in your Search driven webpart

Now, a new requirement emerges: we need to sort all the documents shown in the webpart on a specific date in metadata. That shouldn’t be a problem, because we can go into “advanced mode” and add a sorting to the webpart.

But  when we go into the webpart settings, there is no “Advanced mode” for this webpart. This means you cannot do sorting or advanced building your query with this webpart, while with the “Content search” webpart this is not a problem.

To make a long story short(er), you have to use the “Content Search” webpart if you want to go into “Advanced mode” and do sorting!

Items matching a tag webpart options
Items matching a tag webpart options
Content Search webpart options
Content Search webpart options

It seems like the rest of the webpart options are the same. All available options and actions in “normal mode” are there. This makes me question why these 2 webparts exist. Why create the “Items matching a Tag” webpart when it is just the same as the “Content Search” but with an option less? I hope I am missing something because this doesn’t really make sense to me.

About: Marijn

Marijn Somers (MVP) has over 12 years experience in the SharePoint world, starting out with SP2007. Over the years the focus has grown to Office 365, with a focus on collaboration and document management. He is a business consultant at Balestra and Principal Content Provider for "Mijn 365 Coach" that offers dutch employee video training. His main work tracks are around user adoption, training and coaching and governance. He is also not afraid to dig deeper in the technicalities with PowerShell, adaptive cards or custom formatting in lists and libraries. You can listen to him on the biweekly "Office 365 Distilled" podcast.

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