Introducing the Content Search Web Part

Source: Microsoft SharePoint Blog

If you ever dealt with publishing scenarios like creating an intranet portal or a knowledge management solution back in SharePoint 2007 and 2010 days, there is a good chance that you were using the Content Query Web Part. Content Query is great for showing dynamic content based on a set of criteria that you’ve set.  So if you wanted to show a list of news articles on the intranet homepage, or to roll up a list of sales reports on your knowledge center, Content Query was the way to do it.

There was one catch though: If you ever wanted to show items that were not in the same site collection, you were out of luck. The scope of the Content Query Web Part was (and still is) limited to the site collection that the Web Part is placed in.

In SharePoint 2013, FAST Search and SharePoint Search fused together and got deeply integrated into SharePoint. As part of that change, we added a new tool for publishing content for your intranet or Internet site that knows no site-collection boundaries. This tool is the Content Search Web Part.

Content Search can show anything that’s in the search index including content across site collections, and even content that comes from outside of SharePoint as long as it was crawled and placed in the search index. If search crawls it, you can display it, no matter where the content lives—provided the user viewing the page has permissions to see the item in question. Plus, thanks to the analytics capabilities that are built into SharePoint 2013, it can also show recommendations and popular items based on usage patterns.

If this sounds like something you want to try out, you can find Content Search in your SharePoint farms by going to the Web Part adder, and choosing the Content Rollup category. (Content Search is not available on Office 365 right now, but we are working on enabling it in the future.)

Figure 1. Two Content Search Web Parts from different contexts: on the left an intranet site that displays some PowerPoint files from another site collection, on the right the Contoso Electronics site that displays some items from the product catalog


At a very high level, using Content Search is easy by following these two steps:

  1. Choose the items to show (formulate a search query that will return those items as results).
  2. Format the items the way you want (use Display Templates to customize how items look).

Following is a little more detail about these two steps.

Choosing the items to show

The Content Search Web Part boasts a full-screen query builder that has several preconfigured queries to get you started, and a panel for previewing the results to enable you to tweak your query. It’s fully integrated with the new search concepts of SharePoint 2013, like Results Sources and Query Rules, and can use these to get to results. It also has an advanced mode: basically, an enlarged search box where you can write any query using Keyword Query (KQL) syntax, which you can then try out by using the preview panel.

Figure 2. Query builder with tools on the left and preview of results on the right


Content Search also supports a rich set of dynamic values (also called query variables) to be used in queries such as today’s date, the name of the current user, any field from the current page, or a custom property from the current web’s property bag. Query Builder and dynamic values each deserve blog posts of their own, but for now, you can try out the following query variables in your queries if you want to explore some of the possibilities:

{Today-7}: The date for a week ago, great for “what’s new this week” queries. {User.Name}: The name of the current user. Great for surfacing content for the user who is viewing the page. Also works for any property, including custom properties from the current user’s profile. {Page.MyCustomTextField}: Gets the value of a field that you added to the content type you’re using on the page. {Site.URL}: Gets the current site’s URL, or any custom property. Also works for SiteCollection. {Term}: The current term from managed navigation. For more information, see the blog post Getting friendly with FURLs.

Formatting the items the way you want: Display templates

One of the main pain points we kept hearing from customers was about how irritating it is to use XSL to format the output of a Content Query Web Part. XSL is a relatively obscure web technology and it has a reputation for making most seasoned folks go scratch their heads about the syntax whenever they try to do something a little unusual while formatting the results.

In SharePoint 2013, there is a new way to format items shown in Content Search Web Parts using HTML and JavaScript instead of XSL: Display templates.

Display templates make it significantly easier to:

  • Specify what managed properties to retrieve from search.
  • Manipulate values   of the retrieved managed properties in JavaScript, as needed.
  • Display the values   in HTML in the browser.
Figure 3. Same search results displayed using three different sets of display templates in each of the columns


Display templates are located in the master page gallery of your site collection. There are several display templates that come pre-installed in a folder named Display Templates for your convenience, so feel free to browse around that folder if you’d like to get a feel for them. The best way to create a new display template is to copy one of the existing ones, and change its properties and content. Note that you should always deal with the .html files in those folders; .js files are auto-generated by SharePoint whenever you modify an .html file of the same name.

Display templates also deserve another blog post to do that topic any justice, so let me wrap this section up here to keep this post short and sweet.


I hope this gave you a taste of what the Content Search Web Part can do for you in your SharePoint deployments. Be sure to look for future posts that will go into more detail about some of the concepts introduced here.

The new SharePoint Online Administration Center—more customer control

Source: Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog

The SharePoint Online Admin Center is evolving, and in the upcoming release we will introduce significant improvements in management, including configuration of Search, Apps, Project Online (if purchased), IRM, External Sharing, Start a Site, and more. We will touch on a few new scenarios below.

SharePoint Online Admin is embedded within the Office 365 management capabilities

The SharePoint Online Administration Center, included in the Office 365 Midmarket and Enterprise plans, is one part of the overall administration experience for Office 365, alongside the Exchange Online and Lync Online Administration Centers. You also perform certain tasks, like creating new users and assigning licenses, from within the global level of the Office 365 Administration Center.

What’s new?

The first thing you’ll notice about the new SharePoint Online Administration Center is its new look and feel—consistent across all of Office 365. We’ve also added a navigation bar across the top, which makes SharePoint sites and content more accessible as well as access to the other admin centers you have permissions to.

Figure 1. Access to various workloads and administration centers



We’ve added more control over how sites are used and shared. The sharing setting allows administrators to choose whether site collections are for internal access only, or enabled for external sharing—this is called External Access. It is now possible to share individual documents via the new feature referred to as Guest Links, which enable both authenticated and anonymous methods of sharing Office documents. The new sharing features make it easier for teams to work with people and groups outside their company, while site administrators can make sure access to data remains secure.

To read more, please see the previous “Sharing – simplified” blog post by our colleague, Gaurav Doshi.

Figure 2. Notice the three levels of external sharing: all off, External Access of sites only, and enabled anonymous Guest Links



A series of new search options make an appearance in SharePoint Online for the first time, which previously could be used only from inside the search service in Central Admin. You can manage search schema, dictionaries, and result sources, and remove search results you don’t want. The new features give you control over how search queries act in your SharePoint Online environment and also enable you to import search configurations.

To read more, see the article What’s new in search in SharePoint Server 2013.


One of the big investments this release is our new Cloud app model. Here, you can set up a corporate catalog to provide internal apps for your company, buy new apps, and manage and monitor how apps are to be consumed by your company and employees. To read more about the new Cloud app model, visit


Site collection management

The easiest way to manage site collections is through the site collections list in the SharePoint Administration Center. This will allow you to create, delete, and manage quota and upgrade for site collections.

Figure 3. The main site collection management page


For those customers who have a lot of sites and are looking for a more powerful way to control them, I’m now going to turn this article over to Phil Newman, who will tell you about the new, faster way to handle your SharePoint Online tenancy.

Introducing the SharePoint Online Management Shell

The new SharePoint Online has an all-new Windows PowerShell module for admins to manage their sites and users! Windows PowerShell unlocks a lot of new scenarios, including bulk site creation and upgrade, and better quota management and reporting.

The basics

To get started, download the SharePoint Online Management Shell. After you’ve installed the shell, you’re ready to start.

Given that you are running the SharePoint Online Management Shell on a computer that is not in SharePoint Online, you have to start each session by connecting to your SharePoint Online environment. To do that, use the Connect-SPOService cmdlet.  You always connect to the SharePoint Online Administration Center URL.

To connect, run this script in the SharePoint Online Management Shell:


Connect-SPOService –url


If you want to get fancy, you can also put credentials into the script. Be sure you protect files that have passwords in them.


$username = ‘’ $password = ‘MyPassword123’ $cred = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -argumentlist $userName, $(convertto-securestring $Password -asplaintext -force) Connect-SPOService –url –credential $cred


What can you do in Windows PowerShell?

We found that most of the activity in the SharePoint Online Administration center was around site management. As a result, we focused the new Windows PowerShell functionality on those scenarios. In Windows PowerShell, you can:


  • Create sites
  • Manage quotas
  • Upgrade sites
  • Manage site owners and admins
  • Manage permissions and groups

For detailed documentation, see the article Introduction to the SharePoint Online Management Shell.

Here are some details about a few handy scenarios:

Getting a list of all your sites

One of the common requests we get from large customers is for a way to get a list of all their sites and the characteristics of their sites.  Using Windows PowerShell, it’s easy:

  1. Make sure you’re connected.
  2. Run “Get-SPOSite”

Windows PowerShell can actually create a CSV you can open in Excel in just one line. In one line, just run this:


Get-SPOSite | Export-CSV –path MyReport.csv
Figure 4. Results returned within Windows PowerShell showing all site collections using the Get-SPOSite command


Bulk site upgrade

Current Office 365 customers get full control over when their sites get upgraded to the new experience. Site owners will be able to upgrade individual site collections from within the SharePoint Online user interface (UI), but SharePoint Online Administrators will have the additional choice of upgrading site collections through Windows PowerShell—one at a time or in bulk.

To upgrade all of your sites from the SharePoint 2010 (14) UI and features to SharePoint 2013 UI (15), simply iterate through all “14” mode sites using a script like this one:


$14ModeSites = Get-SPOSite -limit all –detailed | Where-Object {$_.CompatibilityLevel – eq 14} $14ModeSites | % {Upgrade-SPOSite -identity $_.url -VersionUpgrade}



As you deploy hundreds of sites, Windows PowerShell can help you get a good picture of what’s in your Office 365 environment. A slight variation on the script you used to get a list of all your sites can be used to get usage data.

Here is the new line that will give you more information. It can work with hundreds or thousands of sites.


Get-SPOSite –limit all –detailed | Export-CSV –path MyReport.csv


You’ll notice two changes:

  • The use of “-limit all”. By default, Get-SPOSite returns up to only 200 sites. Using “-limit all” gets you all of them.
  • The use of “–detailed”. We’ve optimized Get-SPOSite for speed by retrieving only properties that we can get quickly by default. There are a few properties that won’t come back unless you run in “-detailed” mode.  Those properties are:
    • CompatabilityLevel
    • ResourceUsageCurrent
    • ResourceUsageAverage
    • StorageUsageCurrent
    • WebCount
    • Title

Now that you have a CSV of all of the properties, you can see how your usage quota is being consumed in your office 365 environment and make adjustments as necessary.

Windows PowerShell for SharePoint Command Builder

To make it easier to build out a variety of Windows PowerShell commands for SharePoint Online, we’ve designed a web-based tool named the Windows PowerShell for SharePoint Command Builder. (Note: To see all relevant SharePoint Online commands, select SharePoint Online from the Products drop-down list.) This tool can help you visualize what actions you want to take and dynamically build a Windows PowerShell command that you can copy into your management session.

Figure 5. Main screen of the Windows PowerShell for SharePoint Command Builder when you select SharePoint Online from the Products drop-down menu


SharePoint Online Admin and the Cloud app model

All of the functionality we have in Windows PowerShell is available in the Cloud app model too!  I’m not going to go into too much detail in this blog post, but we’ve made sure that you already have everything you need to use the SharePoint Online Administration APIs when you have SharePoint developer tools. In any SharePoint client object model (CSOM) project, just add a reference to Microsoft.Online.SharePoint.client.dll and you’re all set.  The only caveat is that your app has to request and be granted tenant permissions.

Wrapping up…

We’re excited to present the new features and improvements in the SharePoint Online Administration Center. We’ve focused heavily on consistency across all of Office 365, invested in the features you requested, and made it possible to automate common tasks by using Windows PowerShell. Try it all out and keep the feedback coming!

Yammer SKU plan and pricing: details direct from SharePoint Conference

Source : Microsoft SharePoint Blog

Today, Microsoft announced the new Yammer SKU plan and pricing lineup at our annual SharePoint Conference. Yammer, the leader in enterprise social networking, was acquired by Microsoft earlier this year. The Microsoft/Yammer team has been hard at work designing a new pricing plan that makes it easier than ever for customers to experience Yammer.

Beginning March 1, 2013, Yammer will be available to Microsoft Enterprise Agreement customers.  Enterprise Agreement customers will be able to purchase Yammer Enterprise via Microsoft volume licensing. Microsoft has also created a set of combo SKUs for SharePoint Online (Plan 1 and Plan 2) + Yammer Enterprise. SharePoint Online + Yammer provides customers with a world-class collaboration platform and enterprise social capabilities.

Yammer Enterprise will also ship with Office 365 for enterprises (Office 365 E Plans 1–4).  Office 365 customers will have rights to run Office 365 for access to email, calendars, Office Web Apps, instant messaging, and file sharing and will have Yammer Enterprise for social.

Along with shipping Yammer with some of our most popular services, we will also be lowering the price for Yammer Enterprise standalone. Yammer Enterprise standalone will be available for $3 per user/per month (vs. the original price of $15 per user/per month). Yammer Basic standalone will also continue to be offered for free.

Beginning March 1, 2013:

  • Yammer Basic standalone:                                               $0
  • Yammer Enterprise standalone:                                         $3 per user/per month
  • New! SharePoint Online (Plan 1) + Yammer Enterprise        $4 per user/per month
  • New! SharePoint Online (Plan 2) + Yammer Enterprise        $8 per user/per month
  • Office 365 E Plans 1–4 + Yammer Enterprise                     $8–$22 per user/per month

(all pricing in USD)

Visit the Yammer pricing page to learn more. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months as we add more buying plans!

Discussion Board migration issue, solved using Powershell

I recently had the following issue.

A customer is migrating NNTP (news) groups from Exchange to SharePoint. The Exchange newsgroup will be migrated to SharePoint discussion boards. It’s possible for a (power) user to open the SharePoint list in outlook and “copy” the items to the SharePoint (discussion board) list. They have to keep in mind to start with the oldest item (to keep to messages in the right order) and they can only copy 500 items at once.

That was no problem, but ….. the newly created messages on SharePoint are the owned by the person that is copying the items (off course).

As a SharePoint enthusiast is immediately said i thought this could be solved using powershell. So i did some investigating, and indeed powershell was able to update the requested field (Author).

But, and now we come to the essence of this post, there was some unwanted side-effect.

Normal behavior of a discussion board, is that every reply has a folded quote of it’s parent item. It’s a hyperlink you can click to see the parent message.

What happened was that the post that had been updated by powershell, didn’t have this functionality anymore. The parent message was fully displayed in every edited post, and couldn’t be collapsed.

So what was causing this? Guess what, if the [Created] and [Modified] are not equal, this is what happens. I updated my script to not only adjust the Author, but also (at the end) synchronize the Created and Modified field.

Problem Solved !

Powershell and Registry: propertytype mappings

Since a few weeks i have been using and LOVING powershell for providing SharePoint functionality.
Working with SharePoint AND powershell is really powerfull 😀
But every now and then, it’s not easy to find the right information.

I wanted to create a powershell script that automates the creation of the registry keys for using the PDF iFilter.
The keys have been posted on the internet multiple times, but always from the point of view of using Regedit.

I wanted it to be done by using powershell.
Information on how to create regsitry keys and values is also greatly explained on the internet, but always based on string  values.
The pdf ifilter uses more. reg-dword for example.

So i started my search for the property types of the registry and how they are called in powershell. And that was not easy.
Eventually i ended up at …. technet. Where it should be :-)

But since i couldn’t find it easily, i decided to create a blog about it.
Hereby the mapping between powershell and registry of value mappings

Value Description
String Specifies a null-terminated string. Equivalent to REG_SZ.
ExpandString Specifies a null-terminated string that contains unexpanded references to environment variables that are expanded when the value is retrieved. Equivalent to REG_EXPAND_SZ.
Binary Specifies binary data in any form. Equivalent to REG_BINARY.
DWord Specifies a 32-bit binary number. Equivalent to REG_DWORD.
MultiString Specifies an array of null-terminated strings terminated by two null characters. Equivalent to REG_MULTI_SZ.
QWord Specifies a 64-bit binary number. Equivalent to REG_QWORD.
Unknown Indicates an unsupported registry data type, such as REG_RESOURCE_LIST.

Office 365 Becomes First and Only Major Cloud Productivity Service to Comply With Leading EU and U.S. Standards for Data Protection and Security

REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 14, 2011 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that Microsoft Office 365, the company’s next-generation cloud productivity service, is the first and only major cloud-based platform to offer leading information privacy and security standards for customers operating in the European Union and United States. As part of its contractual commitment to customers, Microsoft will now sign the EU’s model clauses, which will help customers certify compliance with the European Commission’s stringent Data Protection Directive, and the U.S.-mandated Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Link to full article

Backup exec Freezes after installing SharePoint 2010 – Symantec … So we meet again

In the past (in the days that sharepoint still was called MOSS ) we often used port 10000 for central administration. Until we installed it at a customer who had BackupExec as their backup solution.

Seems that the BackupExec agent uses port 10000 to communicate with the BackupExec server. This forced us to review our Central Admin port strategy. Instead of simply using a convenient port number, we decided to research what would be a good port number.

We asked our customer which ports the all used, and we finally decided on a new port number for CA.

When SharePoint 2010 arrived we kept using our chosen port number.

Today, a customer told me that they could no longer backup their server on which SharePoint was installed.
They were using: Backup Exec 😕

So my first guess was, backup exec changed the portnumber of their agent. But this wasn’t the case.

After some investigation it seems that BackupExec 12.5 agent stops working when SharePoint 2010 is installed.

The 12.5 version doesn’t support SharePoint 2010, but in this case was also not needed. We simply wanted to backup files fro the file system.
The SharePoint agent was not to be used.

But the backup exec agent thinks otherwise. It has 2 SharePoint dll’s on board and it really want to see if it can connect to SharePoint.

even when the dll’s are build for older version of sharepoint, it will try to make a connection. And that’s the issue. It simply cannot connect but the process hangs itself trying to connect.

The solution:

  1. Stop the backupexec service on the sharepoint server
  2. goto to the RAWS directory
  3. rename the sharepoint dll’s (bedssps2.dll, bedssps3.dll) so the no longer function as dll (add .old)
  4. restart the backup exex service

Your backup exec server should be able to connect to the sharepoint server again.

Symantec has a support page on this issue:

Changing Central Administration port number

As of SharePoint 2010 it’s really simple to change the port number of Central Administration.

When installing the stand-alone version of SharePoint (which generates a portnumber) or simply if you want to change it (maybe some other software wants to use that port)

The simplest way to accomplish this is by using a powershell command.

Type : Set-SPCentralAdministration -Port <your preferred portnumber>

It will change the portnumber on the fly.

BUT…… Keep the following in mind when changing the portnumber.
The moment a webapplication is created, a directory is created based on the original portnumber. When you change the portnumber, the name of the dorectory will NOT be changed and still refelct the original portnumber.

Directory: C:inetpubwwwrootwssVirtualDirectories<original portnumber>

If the names of these directories don’t match your expectations, always take a look at the configuration in IIS.
In IIS you can see both the directory and portnumber and you might see that someone changed the portnumber.

SharePoint 2010 Healthcare site templates

Microsoft released some SharePoint 2010 site templates related to healthcare, named:

Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Application Template for Health Organizations

There are 17 site templates, each with their own functionality. You can download them all in one download here.

  • Request for proposal Link
    The Request for Proposal application template helps manage the process of
    creating and releasing an initial RFP, collecting proposal submissions, and
    formally accepting the selected proposal from among those submitted. The site
    also makes it easier to notify individuals about the status of the RFP and the
  • Helpdesk Link
    The Help Desk application template helps departments such as IT, Facilities, and
    HR manage service requests. Team members use the application template to
    identify a service request, identify the root cause, and track solution status.
    The application template provides role-based dashboards that display information
    relevant to customer service representatives and managers, including performance
  • Physical Asset Tracking and Management Link
    The Physical Asset Tracking and Management application template helps
    departments such as Facilities, BioMedical, and Surgery manage requests and the
    tracking of physical assets. An asset manager approves asset requests and
    manages the properties of the assets—such as location, condition, manufacturer,
    model, current owner, and estimated value—in the system.
  • Team Work Site Link
    The Team Work Site application template provides a place where clinical and
    business teams, such as Medical Management or Environment of Care committees,
    can upload background documents, track scheduled calendar events, initiate
    discussion topics, and submit action items. The site also tracks the creation
    and purpose of subteams and enables discussion among team members.
  • Clinical Trial Initiation and Management Link
    For those who work in academic medical centers, the Clinical Trial Initiation
    and Management application template helps teams track clinical trial protocols,
    set objectives, select subjects, and manage the budget. The site provides useful
    Office Word 2010 templates as well as the capability to create, track, and
    assign trial-specific tasks and issues.
  • Employee Training Scheduling and Materials Link
    The Employee Training Scheduling and Materials application template helps
    nursing educators and other instructors manage courses and related materials.
    Instructors can use the site to add new courses and organize course materials.
    Employees can use the site to schedule attendance at a course, track courses
    they’ve attended, and provide feedback.
  • Employee Activities Site Link
    e Employee Activities Site application template helps departments such as HR and
    Marketing manage the creation of and attendance at employee events. Activity
    owners can use the site to review proposals for new activities and to create
    event-specific calendar items. Employees can use the site to sign up for
    activities as well as to track which ones they’ve attended in the past.
  • Budgeting and Tracking Multiple Projects Link
    The Budgeting and Tracking Multiple Projects application template helps project
    teams track and budget multiple, interrelated sets of activities. The template
    provides project management tools such as project creation, assignment of new
    tasks, Gantt charts, and common status designators. It also helps team members
    consolidate the status of multiple projects into a single view, tracking
    progress against the project budget and timeline.
  • Compliance Process Support Site Link
    The Compliance Process Support Site application template helps both teams and
    executive sponsors manage compliance implementation endeavors, such as HIPAA.
    The site lets users specify control tasks that allow the capture of compliance
    issues as they arise. The application template contains document libraries used
    by team members to store related files as well as a calendar to track key audit
  • Case Management Link
    The Case Management application template helps case managers track status and
    the tasks required to complete their work. When a case is initiated, standard
    tasks and documents are created; these can then be modified based on the work
    each case manager has completed.
  • Business Performance Reporting Link
    The Business Performance Reporting application template helps managers in
    healthcare organizations track the satisfaction of internal customers/patients
    through a combination of surveys and discussions. Surveys can be sent via Office
    InfoPath 2010, and the responses can be consolidated by the template to provide
    an overall view of the survey answers.
  • Discussion Database Link
    The Discussion Database application template provides a location where team
    members can create and reply to discussion topics. Discussions are organized by
    categories, which are created by a site manager and can be linked to Office
    Outlook 2010 via an RSS feed.
  • Document Library and Review Link
    The Document Library and Review application template helps people manage the
    review cycle common to processes like publication, knowledge management, and
    project plan development. It combines the functionality of a version-tracking
    document library with a threaded discussion list to provide a feedback and
    revision system. This template is intended for teams that need a central
    location for document review, discussion, revision control, and approval.
  • Call Center Link
    The Call Center application template helps departments such as Billing, HR, and
    IT manage customer service requests, from issue identification to cause analysis
    and resolution. Role-based dashboards display relevant information for each
    service request, and a knowledge base helps track related documents and items
    previously used to solve past Call Center issues. Management-focused dashboards
    track performance with metrics such as average resolution time and service
    request performance history.
  • Change Request Management Link
    The Change Request Management application template helps users track risks
    associated with a design change. Team members can submit a change request,
    notifying stakeholders of the risks involved with the change. The application
    template allows a team member to approve or reject the request.
  • KnowledgebaseLink
    The Knowledge Base application template helps teams manage the information that
    is resident within their organization. The template enables team members to
    upload existing documents or create new ones using Web-based content creation
    tools. Items are tagged with relevant identifying information so that others can
    more easily find the documents and learn from the collective knowledge in their
    organization. The template can be used in a “top down” approach, in which a
    centralized knowledge department “pushes down” relevant content to the rest of
    the business, or in a “bottom up” approach, in which knowledge is captured and
    shared by all users as a normal part of doing business.
  • Event Planning Link
    The Event Planning application template helps teams organize events efficiently
    through the use of online registration, schedules, communication, and feedback.
    Role-based dashboards offer specific information to various event participants
    via home pages tailored for speakers, guests, staff, vendors, delegates,
    attendees, and others.

SQL Express database limit

recently i noticed on a page that the database limit of SQl express was extended.

First of all: what is SQL express. It’s the free version of Microsoft’s SQL server.
because it’s free, it’s (ofcourse) limited. One of these limitations is the maximum database size.

this was always : 4 Gb.
But , as of version 2008R2 (express) this limitation is extended to 10 GB.

Although SharePoint comes OOTB with SQL express 2008 (without the R2), you can cheat during installation. That way you can have a larger database, but still use the free version of SQL. Install SQL 2008R2 express BEFORE installing SharePoint and install it using an Named Instance.

I already showed how this can be accomplished using the full SQL version here.

For more information about SQL express, take a look at the following URL’s

general info about SQL express 2008R2:

Limitation or differences between the versions of SQL 2008 R2 (including the 10 Gb db limit):