I was at a presentation during the SharePoint Conference 2011 where one of the presenters said that she would like to have the option of turning off the phonetic search option when showing federated people results. She said she hoped this would be added as an ability in the next version of SharePoint.

I thought there had to be a solution to this, and finally the solution struck me. It was a matter of changing the federation location in a particular way. First of all, an example, using the downloadable VM image with SharePoint and FAST. If you search for “contoso”, you get this result:

search for bar

We want to avoid this, and just get people matches in names here, as shown here:

search for contoso - name only

To do this, we go into Central Administration and navigate to the search application and then “Federated Locations”, as shown here:

People search federated location

Change the “Query Template” under “Location Information” from

{searchTerms}

to

{searchTerms} AND (FirstName:{searchTerms} OR LastName:{searchTerms})

Click OK, and you’re done.

NOTE 1: This syntax seems a little more verbose than necessary, but I found that without the initial “{searchTerms}” entry, nothing was returned.

NOTE 2: There seems to be a small delay before this changed is picked up by the front-end, so please retry after a couple of minutes if it does not work immediately.