Set up external search providers

Use external search providers to federate the search of files, documents, and articles from data sources, such as SharePoint or another organization outside your current organization.

You can set up one of the following as a search provider:

  • Cross-Organizational Search: Lets you specify an organization within the Microsoft organization to search articles. The organization URL is automatically identified. If the selected organization is in another geographical region, data transfer occurs across these locations.
  • Sharepoint: Lets you specify the SharePoint URL that’s in the same Microsoft organization as the current organization in which you're configuring the search provider.
  • Microsoft Graph connector: Lets you specify the unique connection ID of the connector. Use this option if your organization uses Microsoft Search to index all external data. You need to specify the unique connection ID only when you create the connector.

In Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty, the external search providers feature is available for use in Government Community Cloud (GCC) only.

To view search results, your agents must have access to external content.

Use the integrated search provider option to set up third-party knowledge sources, such as enterprise websites that are based on the site map protocol. For more information, see Manage integrated search providers.

Set up a search provider


Before you set up a search provider, ensure that your firewall doesn't block the domain. Otherwise, users will encounter errors.

You can set up a search provider in the Customer Service admin center or Customer Service Hub app by performing the following steps:

  1. Go to External search providers.


    Search Providers on the Knowledge page has been renamed as External search providers.

    1. In the site map, select Knowledge in Agent experience. The Knowledge page appears.
    2. In the External search providers section, select Manage.

  1. Select New.

  2. On the New Search provider page, General section, enter the name and owner of the search provider. Optionally, you can enter a description.

  3. In the Details section, select the organization and the type of search provider you want to use from the Select organization and the Search Type dropdown, respectively.

    Search provider details

  4. Select Save.

Post-configuration agent experience

After you've configured the search providers, agents can view links in their search results for each search provider included in their current organization.


The configured value for the number of article search results won't be applicable, if you configure even a single external search provider. For each configured search provider, the search results will display three articles. Agents can select Show more to view additional results.

Agent view of search providers.

For more information about agent search experience, go to Search across external search providers.


Custom roles must have Read, Create, Append, and AppendTo access to the following entities to see search results from other search providers:

  • Knowledge Federated Article
  • Knowledge Federated Article Incident

See also

Add the Knowledge Base Search control to forms

Create and manage knowledge articles

Understand knowledge base search mechanisms

Search for knowledge articles in the Customer Service Hub