Build advanced queries in Microsoft Graph with $count, $filter, $search, and $orderby

Microsoft identity platform team

UPDATE 9/22: read the General Availability announcement.

Some of the top asks we have received on Azure Active Directory were for better sorting, counting, and filtering capabilities. We are excited to announce that we are now providing these capabilities on Azure Active Directory objects to developers through Microsoft Graph! In addition to addressing these important requests, we’ve added the ability to provide keyword-based searches.

In the past, if you’ve tried to filter and sort users in the same request, using a query like this:

GET$filter=startswith(displayName, 'al')&$orderby=displayName&$select=id,displayName

You might have seen the following response:

"error": {
        "code": "Request_UnsupportedQuery",
        "message": "Sorting not supported for current query."

Now, this will result in a sorted list of users, with a new @odata.count property:

"@odata.context": "$metadata#users(id,displayName)",
"@odata.count": 2,
"value": [
      "id": "4782e723-f4f4-4af3-a76e-25e3bab0d896",
      "displayName": "Alex Wilber"
      "id": "c03e6eaa-b6ab-46d7-905b-73ec7ea1f755",
      "displayName": "Allan Deyoung"

To achieve this, you need to:

  1. Select the beta endpoint
  2. Add $count=true in the QueryString
  3. Add ConsistencyLevel = eventual to the Request headers

graph explorer query

Supported Objects

In the table below there are all the objects and related links that currently have the new advanced querying capabilities.

Object Links
Users Member Of, Transitive Member Of, Owned Objects, Registered Devices, Owned Devices, Direct Reports
Groups Members, Transitive Members, Owners
Applications Member Of, Transitive Member Of
Service Principals Member Of, Transitive Member Of
Devices Member Of, Transitive Member Of, Registered Users, Registered Owners
Org Contacts Member Of, Transitive Member Of, Registered Users, Registered Owners
Administrative Units Members

What is eventual consistency?

Azure Active Directory stores multiple copies of data to handle large read volume and provide high availability. When data is updated, the change will eventually be applied to all the copies. $search and $count queries require the client to opt-in for eventual consistency by setting the header ConsistencyLevel = eventual. For example, this means that when you add a user, you need to wait for all the copies to be updated to search or count them.

Sample Queries

Count the number of users, groups, applications, contacts, devices, service principals in a tenant, answering questions like:

◾ How many users are in the tenant?


◾ How many guest users are in the tenant, and who are they? Note: $count can also be a QueryString parameter.

GET$count=true&$filter=userType eq ‘Guest’

◾ How many members are in the engineering group (including transitive and direct members of a group)?


Note: A group can contain nested groups, so we are using the transitiveMembers linked property to include all the nested groups’ members.

Search terms using tokenization. We are using a tokenization approach for our searches, detailed as follows:

  • Spaces: hello world will be tokenized in hello and world
  • Different casing: HelloWorld and helloWORLD will be tokenized in hello and world
  • Special characters: will be tokenized in hello, . and world
  • Characters and Numbers: hello123 will be tokenized in hello and 123

Note: tokenized search is currently limited to displayName and description properties for now. All the other properties default to the startsWith behavior. We currently don’t offer true substring searches because it will affect the overall search performance. Searching for world will not find helloworld.

◾ Search for users with “de” in the displayName


◾ Search for all users in a with “al” in the displayName or with mail starting with ‘admin’, sorted by displayName

GET$count=true&$search="displayName:al" OR "mail:admin"&$orderBy=displayName

◾ Search for service principals with “team” in the displayName


◾ Search in a group transitively for all members with “br” in the displayName


Note: OData Cast provides a way to trim the results to a specific object type. Group members can be of the following types: users, applications, service principals, devices. In the previous example, specifying /microsoft.graph.user in the URL will return only the users in the group.

Sorting can be combined with filter or search, but is limited to displayName and userPrincipalName properties for now.

◾ Sort users in building 18 by displayName:

GET$count=true&$orderby=displayName&$filter=startswith(officeLocation, '18')

As always, you can send multiple requests at the same time using JSON batching.

Try it now!

We’ve heard your feedback and have addressed some of the top requests on UserVoice such as:

We cannot wait to see what you can create with these new features. To try our queries, just click the “GET” link in the examples above.

As you use our APIs, please let us know what other objects, properties and fields you need to query to enable your scenarios in this brief survey and UserVoice.

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