Use query parameters to customize responses

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

Name Description Example (click examples to try in Graph Explorer)
$filter Filters results (rows). /users?$filter=startswith(givenName,'J')
$select Filters properties (columns). /users?$select=givenName,surname
$expand Retrieves related resources. /groups/{id}?$expand=members
$orderby Orders results. /users?$orderby=displayName,userPrincipalName desc
$top Limits results. Typically used with $skipToken. /users?$top=2
$skipToken Used with $top to retrieve a page of results. See nextLink from the $top query for an example.
$count Retrieves the total count of matching resources. /me/messages?$top=2&$count=true

These parameters are compatible with the OData V4 query language.

Note: On the beta endpoint, the $ prefix is optional. For example, instead of $filter, you can use filter. For more details and examples, see Supporting query parameters without $ prefixes in Microsoft Graph.

Encoding query parameters:

The values of query parameters should be percent-encoded. Many HTTP clients, browsers and tools (e.g., the Graph Explorer) will help you with this. If a query is failing, one possible reason is failure to encode the values of query parameters appropriately.

An unencoded URL looks like this:

GET$filter=startswith(givenName, 'J')

A properly encoded URL looks like this:



$filter can be used to retrieve just a subset of a collection. For example, to find users whose display name starts with J, use startswith.

Try in Graph Explorer




    "@odata.context": "$metadata#users",
    "value": [
            "id": "e013b9f3-a1ab-48d1-907b-e716c39d6363",
            "businessPhones": [
            "displayName": "Jan Madden",
            "givenName": "Jan",
            "jobTitle": null,
            "mail": "",
            "mobilePhone": null,
            "officeLocation": null,
            "preferredLanguage": null,
            "surname": "Madden",
            "userPrincipalName": ""
            "id": "89efe8ed-d141-4151-a3e4-570a70022dff",
            "businessPhones": [
                "+1 425 555 0109"
            "displayName": "Janet Schorr",
            "givenName": "Janet",
            "jobTitle": "Product Marketing Manager",
            "mail": "",
            "mobilePhone": null,
            "officeLocation": "18/2111",
            "preferredLanguage": null,
            "surname": "Schorr",
            "userPrincipalName": ""

$filter has a very rich and expressive syntax with many built-in operators. Logical operators include equals (eq), not equals (ne), greater than (gt), greater than or equals (gte), and (and), or (or), not (not) etc. Arithmetic operators include add (add), subtract (sub), etc. String operators include contains (contains), starts with (startswith), etc. Lambda operators include any (any) and all (all). For additional details on $filter syntax, see the OData protocol.


In a collection or an individual entity, to specify a different set of properties to return instead of the default set, use the $select query parameter. The $select parameter 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 parameter.

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 specify the maximum number of items to return in a result set, use the $top query parameter. The $top query parameter 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 parameter. 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 parameter. 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 parameter. ]The $skipToken query parameter is 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 parameter 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.

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

Note: You can currently only search message and person collections. 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: