Microsoft Graph optional query parameters

Microsoft Graph provides several optional query parameters that you can use to specify and control the amount of data returned in a response. Microsoft Graph supports the following query options.

Name Value Description
$search string A property and value pair separated by a colon.
$select string Comma-separated list of properties to include in the response.
$expand string Comma-separated list of relationships to expand and include in the response.
$orderby string Comma-separated list of properties that are used to sort the order of items in the response collection.
$filter string Filters the response based on a set of criteria.
$top int The number of items to return in a result set.
$skip int The number of items to skip in a result set.
$skipToken string Paging token that is used to get the next set of results.
$count none A collection and the number of items in the collection.

These parameters are compatible with the OData V4 query language.

Note: On the Microsoft Graph beta endpoint, you can omit the $ prefix for a simpler experience. For example, instead of $expand, you can use expand. For more details and examples, see Supporting query parameters without $ prefixes in Microsoft Graph.

Encoding query parameters

  • If you are trying out query parameters in the Microsoft Graph Explorer, you can just copy and paste the examples below without applying any URL-encoding to the query string. The following example works fine in the Graph Explorer without encoding the space and quote characters:
GET$filter=from/emailAddress/address eq ''
  • In general, when specifying query parameters in your app, make sure you appropriately encode characters that are reserved for special meanings in an URI. For example, encode the space and quote characters in the last example, as shown:

To restrict the results of a request that match a search criterion, use the $search query parameter.

Note: You can currently search messages but not contacts or events. A $search request returns up to 250 results. You cannot use $filter or $orderby in a search request.

Search criteria are expressed using Advanced Query Syntax (AQS). The results are sorted by the date and time that the message was sent.

You can specify the following properties on a message in a $search criterion: attachments, bccRecipients, body, category, ccRecipients, content, from, hasAttachments, participants, receivedDateTime, sender, subject, toRecipients

If you do a search on messages and specify only a value, the search is carried out on the default search properties of from, subject and body.

The following example returns all messages in the signed-in user's Inbox that contains "pizza" in any of the three default search properties:


The next example searches all messages in the user's Inbox that were sent from a specific email address:



To specify a different set of properties to return than the default set provided by the Graph, use the $select query option. The $select option allows for choosing a subset or superset of the default set returned. For example, when retrieving your messages, you might want to select that only the from and subject properties of messages are returned.



In Microsoft Graph API requests, navigations to an object or collection of the referenced item are not automatically expanded. This is by design because it reduces network traffic and the time it takes to generate a response from the service. However, in some cases you might want to include those results in a response.

You can use the $expand query string parameter to instruct the API to expand a child object or collection and include those results.

For example, to retrieve the root drive information and the top level child items in a drive, you use the $expand parameter. This example also uses a $select statement to only return the id and name properties of the children items.


Note: The maximum number of expanded objects for a request is 20.

Also, if you query on the user resource, you can use $expand to get the properties of only one child object or collection at a time.

The following example gets user objects, each with up to 20 directReport objects in the directReports collection expanded:


Some other resources may have a limit as well, so always check for possible errors.


To specify the sort order of the items returned from the Microsof Graph API, use the $orderby query option.

For example, to return the users in the organization ordered by their display name, the syntax is as follows:


You can also sort by complex type entities. The following example gets messages and sorts them by the address field of the from property, which is of the complex type emailAddress:


To sort the results in ascending or descending order, append either asc or desc to the field name, separated by a space, for example, ?$orderby=name%20desc.

Note: If you query on the user resource, $orderby can't be combined with filter expressions.


To filter the response data based on a set of criteria, use the $filter query option. For example, to return users in the organization filter by display name that starts with "Garth", the syntax is as follows:


You can also filter by complex type entities. The following example returns messages that have the address field of the from property equal to "". The from property is of the complex type emailAddress.

GET$filter=from/emailAddress/address eq ''


To specify the maximum number of items to return in a result set, use the $top query option. The $top query option identifies a subset in the collection. This subset is formed by selecting only the first N items of the set, where N is a positive integer specified by this query option. For example, to return the first five messages in the user's mailbox, the syntax is as follows:



To set the number of items to skip before retrieving items in a collection, use the $skip query option. For example, to return events sorted by date created, and starting with the 21st event, the syntax is as follows.



To request second and subsequent pages of Graph data use the $skipToken query option. The $skipToken query option is an option provided in Urls returned from the Graph when the Graph has returned a partial subset of results, usually due to server-side paging. It identifies the point in a collection where the server finished sending results, and is passed back to the Graph to indicate where it should resume sending results from. For example, the value of a $skipToken query option could identify the tenth item in a collection or the 20th item in a collection containing 50 items, or any other position within the collection.

In some responses, you'll see an @odata.nextLink value. Some of them include a $skipToken value. The $skipToken value is like a marker that tells the service where to resume for the next set of results. The following is an example of a @odata.nextLink value from a response where users have been requested ordered by displayName:

"@odata.nextLink": "$orderby=displayName&$skiptoken=X%2783630372100000000000000000000%27"

To return the next page of users in your organization, the syntax is as follows.



Use $count as a query parameter to include a count of the total number of items in a collection alongside the page of data values returned from the Graph, as in the following example:


This would return both the contacts collection, and the number of items in the contacts collection in the @odata.count property.

Note: This is not supported for directoryObject collections.