All posts in User Experience

How to get to the classic search UI from a modern page in Office 365?

As a follow-up to my recent post (Modern vs. classic search experiences in Office 365) I’ve got this questions from several people, both as a comment on the blog and social media, and also by e-mail. So here is a quick step-by-step. Read more…

Search Pages

Create and Configure Search Centers and Search Pages

When working with Search, I often get the question how to set up the Search Center, and how to configure and customize its Search Pages. In this blog post, I am summarizing the basic configuration steps to follow.

Please note, these steps can be applied in SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2016 on-premises as well as in Office 365 / SharePoint Online.

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How to make sure your user profiles show up in search

In my many years of working with enterprise search, the one thing which companies want solved first is finding people. They might have an employee directory or they might already be using SharePoint user profiles, but there are always tweaks to be made to make it better.

It’s not rocket science from a technical perspective, as the hard part is figuring out which pieces of data about a person should be stored in the SharePoint user profile, where does it come from – the age-old question about master data, and how do you want to use this information in a findability scenario around your employees. Read more…

SharePoint Online Search Isn’t Displaying What I Expect – Trimmed Duplicates [by Marc Anderson]

Marc AndersonMarc Anderson, Co-Founder and President of Sympraxis Consulting, LLC. provides a good overview of an issue (challenge?) in Office 365 (and SharePoint) search: how to identify and manage duplicates in the result set, especially when you don’t know the reason of your issues is having duplicates. Very good post, with a lot of great details and suggestions. Read more…

Advanced Search - Custom Property is added.

Configuring Advanced Search in SharePoint 2013 and 2016

“Advanced Search” is a great feature, although not utilized in many cases. Out-of-the-box, it provides a default set of available options, which are too general for most businesses. However, it can be enhanced with some easy customizations.

In this post, I’m going to demonstrate one of the most powerful configurations of “Advanced Search” in SharePoint 2013/2016 and Office 365: how to add our custom property filters.

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Document Search custom Display Template

Custom Document Search Experience (Display Template)

When it comes to the search experience, the look-and-feel of the search results are always a big question. In most cases, the out-of-the-box “ten blue lines” experience is not enough, creating custom Display Templates is almost always required.
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Time Travel Mystery to Singapore by Emirates

Unexpected User Context – Really?!

Last week, I traveled to Singapore for the annual Innovations in Knowledge Organisation conference. I flew there by Emirates – an easy trip via Dubai.

While in Singapore, I made a decision to stay a day longer and leave on Saturday instead of Friday night.

I supposed nothing could be easier than this: I logged in to Emirates portal, found my flights, chose “Manage Booking”, selected the desired new date, selected the flight, entered my credit card information, and then…

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Enable PDF Previews in SharePoint 2013

SharePoint 2013 and Office Web Apps is a great fit together. Users really like the document previews both in the document libraries and on the hover panels of search results. But the *very* first question I always get: how about PDF previews? Are they available?

The answer is yes, with some customization. Here are some GREAT resources I always reference to:

Refiners in SharePoint 2013 Search

The concept of refiners is not new, it’s been in SharePoint since the version 2010. But there was a big difference between SharePoint 2010’s refiners and FAST Search for SharePoint’s refiners: while we had shallow refiners in SharePoint 2010 (SP2010), we had deep refiners with item counts in FAST Search for SharePoint (FS4SP). I’ve made a comparison on them earlier, please find my related blog post here.

As you’re already aware of, there’s only one, integrated Search core in SharePoint 2013 (see more details in our e-book here).

After this short introduction and historical info, you might expect we have deep refiners in SharePoint 2013, right? It’s so logical. But when you open a SP2013 Search Center, you find something like this:

It’s nice we have some visual refiner in the bottom, but why we don’t have item counts for the text refiners? Are they shallow refiners? If they’re shallow, how come the counts can be represented on the visual diagram-like refiner?

The truth is the following: we do have deep refiners in SharePoint 2013 (this is why the counts can be represented on the Modified Date refiner above), but by default the counts are hidden for text refiners.

In order to display the counts, please let me introduce you the new Refiner Panel.

Refinement Panel is still a web part, but very different than it was in the previous versions. When you open its properties, you’ll see something like this:

Although there are some very exciting options here, please let me focus on the button “Choose Refiners” for now. Once you click on it, a nice and fancy wizard will be displayed:


Let’s see what we have here.

First, there’s a visual control for selecting the refiners we need on our Search page. Wow, no more Config XML magic! Cool!

On the left side there’s the list of available refiners (managed properties), on the right side you can see your current selections. Of course, you can add and remove as well as reorder the refiners here.

When you select a refiner in the list above, you’ll see its configuration in the bottom half of the screen. Things you can configure here:

  • Display name
  • Display template (see below)
  • Sort by
  • Sort direction (ASC / DESC)
  • Max number of refiner values

As MSDN says about Display Templates:

“You may want to control the format and presentation of search results on your website. You can do that with display templates, which extend the options available for customizing search results through the user interface beyond mapping the predefined fields that you want to display.

You can use display templates when you want to customize how content displays on your site in a way that goes beyond mapping predefined fields. Display templates are part of the Designer Manager workflow in SharePoint 2013. There are three contexts when you may want to use display templates with search results—when you want to map how the overall structure of search results are presented, when you want to show groups of results, and when you want to show how each result, or item, in the result set is displayed. These are called Control, Group, and Item templates, respectively.”(See more here.)

So that, in case of refiners, the selected Display Template defines how to display the given refiner. If you open the dropdown, you can see and select the existing templates – out of the box, you have the followings:

  • Refiner Item
  • Multi-value Refiner Item

If you want to display the item counts, there are two options:

  1. You can modify the existing “Refiner Item” display template, OR
  2. You can create a custom display template.

Let me choose the 2nd option and create my own display template, with the name “Refiner Item with Item Counts”.

To do this, you can go to the Design Manager and create a new one, or you can take the existing “Refiner Item” (stored as the Master Page gallery / Display Templates / Filters / Filter_Default.html). You can either modify it (if you want to modify the behavior of the default one) – or create a new one (cop this one and modify what you want to get changed).

There are two things to modify here in order to get the item counts:

  • Give a new Title to it, something like this:

    <title>Refinement Item with Count</title>

  • Look for the value “ShowCounts”. By default, it’s set to “false”, this is why the item counts are hidden. Change it to “true”:

    this.Options = {

    ShowClientPeoplePicker: false,

    ShowCounts: true


Save your file and upload to the Master Page Gallery.

Note, there’s a .js file for each other design templates. Don’t worry about it, this will be created when you upload the HTML.

That’s it. If you go back to the Refiner Panel’s properties and open the Display Template dropdown, you’ll see the option “Refiner Item with Count”. Select this for each refiner value you would like to see the counts – that’s it!

You’ll see the deep refiners with item counts, in the very same way as you did in FAST Search for SharePoint 2010. And don’t forget: you can do this even on Office 365!