Search multiple Active Directory attributes from one search field


Web Active Directory’s PeopleSearch and PeopleUpdate solutions provide powerful tools for searching Active Directory by allowing you to quickly and easily configure an intuitive search interface for your users. You might want to enhance how you search Active Directory, though, by providing a search field that will actually search more than one attribute. Microsoft has engineered Active Directory to provide exactly this option through a feature called Ambiguous Name Resolution (ANR).

What Is ANR?

Ambiguous Name Resolution, or ANR, allows you to search multiple object attributes for a match while only using one search field. Basically, ANR searches through the following attributes for a wildcard match when you pass a string to search. You can even add additional attributes to this list and the references at the bottom of this article include instructions to add new ANR attributes in your Active Directory configuration.

For example, if you search for “Smith,” ANR will expand the search filter to search not only on Surname, but also on the remainder of attributes in the list. This allows you to easily find objects in Active Directory when you may not know exactly which attribute you need to search.

How Do I Configure ANR in PeopleSearch and PeopleUpdate?

PeopleSearch and PeopleUpdate make it very easy to add ANR capabilities to your search configuration. Follow the simple process below to set up an ANR attribute in your environment.

Open the PeopleSearch/PeopleUpdate Admin Console.
Navigate to the tab-level Attributes page for the tab(s) where you want to provide the ANR search.
Add a new attribute to the configuration. You can set the Alias value to anything you would like and please ensure that you set the LDAP Name to “anr” so the search will work properly.
Navigate to the Page Layout for the Search page on the Task Item for which you want to provide the ANR search.
Add the new attribute to the Page Layout.
Test the configuration in the Search Console by entering a search term into the new attribute’s search field on the Search page. Ensure that the results include objects where any of the listed attributes match the search term.

More Information

Ambiguous Name Resolution provides a powerful tool for you to expand the utility of your Active Directory searches. Please note that you can incur possible performance issues because of how Active Directory expands an ANR search, especially in large environments with tens of thousands or more users, so you may want to restrict the search scope for the Tab (on the Directory page) or Task Item to limit the size of the search.

You can find more information about ANR in the following articles.

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