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The Search Refiners Panel for SharePoint 2010 Search Center can be Customized by Users

Joshua Noble prefaced his presentation for our webinar on SharePoint 2010: Search, by noting that ” . . . [he] wanted to take a look at . . . how we expose to the users the things we’ve done on the backend” (quoted from our webinar). It’s worth noting that these “things we’ve done on the backend” refers to the presentation that Robert Piddocke has just concluded.

Of course, the primary venue for what Joshua repeatedly refers to as the “search experience” for users is the SharePoint Search Center. As Joshua Noble notes, SharePoint 2010 offers a basic and enterprise version of the search center. The enterprise search center includes tabs for either an “All Sites” view of results, or a “People” view of results.

As Joshua Noble notes, if users are interested in adding custom refiners for managed metadata, they will need to deal with the fact that SharePoint will automatically include a refiner in the Search Refinement Panel for any managed metadata columns coming from the Term Store that are created by users. The real issue with this addition, which is transparent to the user, is that the user will have no control over the specific properties that the refiner is crafted to expose. If users have created three properties, then SharePoint will add three refiners to this panel, one for each of the properties created with managed metadata.

The refiners can be customized by opting to edit the SharePoint Search Center page. As Josh demonstrates, editing the page is an option that is exposed to users via the Site Actions menu of functions. In fact, any editing will need to be effected with XML, therefore, it helps to have some prior familiarity with this markup language. The first step is to select the Refinement Panel web part, and then to proceed to edit it.

It may be advantageous for users to use an external editor, for example Visual Studio, Visual NotePad, or the equivalent as working with the code via the editing box provided is cumbersome and potentially confusing. Josh opts for this approach and demonstrates how to edit the web part with Visual Studio. This section of the webinar may be particularly useful to viewers without a lot of experience with XML. Josh demonstrates how a special text string:

Show Counts=”Count”

must be added to the syntax for the Search Refinement Panel to instruct SharePoint to provide numbers for each of the refiners displayed for the managed metada added by users. He also demonstrates several short cuts that users can exploit to successfully accomplish the customizations they require, with minimal human interaction with the XML code.

We will continue with our commentary on this webinar in the next post to this blog.

Ira Michael Blonder

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