Suggestions function in modern SharePoint forms
Vladi Gubler
Vladi Gubler
August 11, 2021 | Products


There are many situations in which users will be entering data that might already exist in the system simply due to lack of knowledge. For example, a user might be submitting a support request in the help desk system that has already been previously resolved in another ticket. This of course generates unnecessary delays, occupies resources and causes general inefficiencies in the business processes we are trying to improve.

This is why we are introducing the new Suggestions feature in our Form Designer component of Ultimate Forms. This component listens to the data being entered into the form in real time and presents relevant existing items, in preview mode, that match the data being entered. The items could come from the current list (such as existing support tickets, containing resolution steps) or from any other list, such as Knowledge Base, it's really up to you (and why not do both? :)). And as with all our features, it's ridiculously easy to set up!

  1. Create your Support Tickets list. In my example, it only contains Title and Description fields, but of course in your case, there could be any number of other fields, it doesn't have to have anything to do with support tickets either.
  2. Click on Design on the toolbar of the list to enter Ultimate Forms, then click on Form Designer. Allow it to create a form for you automatically or design your own.
  3. Locate Suggestions under Controls on the left and drag it on the form.
  4. You should now see the preview on the form.
  5. .Click on it to see the properties on the right. Let me explain them here

    1. Title (optional) - any message that appears above the results. You can also create messages in different languages, when creating multilingual forms.
    2. Search according to data in columns (required) - select at least one column on the form. The text being entered into that column[s] by the users will be used by Suggestions component to runs its search. When multiple columns are selected, it will search based upon the concatenation of text in all of them.
    3. Minimal characters to start search - how many characters does the user need to type in to start the search. There is no clear rule here, it depends on what kind of data you are working with. The more characters you require, the more precise the search will be, but of course it depends on how many meaningful keywords are being used.
    4. Maximum number of results - how many results to show. You don't want to overwhelm with too many results, but still give enough options.
    5. Search in list - select the list to search in, by default it will be the current list, but you can select any list within the site.
    6. Show creator and creation date - whether or not to show the item creator and date created below each result.
  6. Once you are done and published the form, add some existing items, so search has something to work with. Note that because we are using SharePoint's search engine here, there is a bit of a delay between the time an item is added and when it starts appearing in search results, but we are talking something like 5 minutes, at least from our experience.

As you can see, this could be a very valuable piece of functionality that makes your business processes a lot more efficient!


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