Annoying Navigation in Search Centers

I had two of my colleagues come to me with the same complaint – that the Basic Search Center site template in SharePoint 2010 doesn’t have any navigation to get ‘back’ to the rest of the site collection:

I pointed out to them that there are good reasons to consider having the Search Center separated from the rest of your content. I’d even suggest a separate Site Collection if using the Enterprise Search Center. (This uses the publishing features, and you might not want them turned on in your existing site collection).

However, my colleagues didn’t need all that, and really did just want a simple search center in the same site collection as their content. For example, a departmental site collection needed its own search center and search experience. But they’d really like users to be able to navigate back to the rest of the site collection.

So, I set forth to fix this dire state of affairs for them. Looking at the above page I noted that the page seemed to be using a different master page, and that the horizontal scroll bar was shown – why is unclear, but it doesn’t look good. Looking into the master page side of things in SharePoint Designer, I found that the master page being used was ‘Minimal.master’. I decided to change this to ‘V4.master’, and this is what I got:

Excellent, we’ve got our navigation controls back, and the horizontal scroll has gone. Sadly, so has our search box. I knew that from SharePoint 2007 that the idiot who had designed this page had put the search box into the PlaceHolderTitleBreadcrumb placeholder on the master page (what was wrong with the main content area?). So, I assumed that the same was happening here, which turned out to be true:

So, I started changing the page by putting the search box into the main content area of the page. I also added CSS to all the pages (default, results and advance search) to hide the left navigation. Next, each of these pages was adding it’s own ribbon and site actions controls to the top of the page, overriding the default ones, so I removed these content controls too. And so I had the following as pages:

Note the top navigation tabs, and the “up a level” control with breadcrumbs. And here is the results page:

Voila! Problem solved, and all through SharePoint Designer. And now that I’d done that, I could save my site as a template for others to use…

You can download the site template for this (for free!) and use it yourself.

Warning: This is one of those annoying download forms that asks for your contact details. Sorry; this wasn’t my preference.

Alternatively, I did a video about it, too.

To install:

  • Upload the solution to the solution gallery of your site
  • Activate the solution
  • Create a site using it.
  • Go into the Site Settings > Top link bar and click “Use links from Parent”
  • On both the Search Page and Search Results pages, edit the page and modify the Search Box web parts. In the Miscellanous section, fill in the correct Advanced Search Page URL
  • On the Advanced Search Page, edit the page and modify the Advanced Search Web Part. In the Miscellaneous section, fill in the correct Results URL

(Sorry about the last steps – for some reason this is determined to create the site breaking inheritance of navigation, and it’s too much effort to try to figure out why. And changing the URLs in those web parts seemed like too much effort, too. You’re not going to be creating hundreds of these, right?)

Annoying Navigation in Search Centers

3 thoughts on “Annoying Navigation in Search Centers

  1. DanWould love to see how you are going about customising the look and feel of SP2010..I must say I’m not hnivag much joy.. I had a great set of master pages that relied on CSS in SP2007 where I could change the header graphic depending on the site you were on.. Also I’m hnivag issues with the Search site, inheriting any sort of style / theme even if I manually set the search site use a particular master page of site theme is doesn’t seem to work.. Have you come across this ??Great blog by the way.. 🙂

  2. GEorg Greindl says:

    Dear Andy, thank you for your contribution to the community. Unfortunately the download via deltascheme does not work. I do get the email but the download link is not provided. Is there another way you could provide the site template?

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