Customize the Search Center site

The Search Center site template is designed to be easily customized or extended without the use of code, so you can provide the right search experience for your users. This article provides a high-level overview of how the Search Center site works, ways to get started customizing it, and resources for more information.

What do you want to do?

How the Search Center site works

Ways to customize the Search Center site

Edit a page in the Search Center site

Add a Web Part to a page in the Search Center site

Edit a Web Part by using its tool pane

Resources for more information

How the Search Center site works

Described at its most basic level, when a user types a query into the Search Box Web Part on the search page (default.aspx) in the Search Center site the query engine sends the request to the search service. The search service returns the results, which are displayed in various Web Parts on the search results page (results.aspx). The same process occurs when the user creates a query by using the advanced search page (advanced.aspx). Users are presented only with results that they have permissions to view.

The Enterprise Search Center site template, available with SharePoint Server and can be used as a site or a subsite. It requires that your admin has enabled the Site Collection Publishing Infrastructure and SharePoint Server Publishing.

You can add additional Web Parts such as Search Navigtation to help filter down your search results. Users can type a query and scope it for people to find properties such as name, job title, or area of expertise.

All of the search pages are Web Part pages and are pre-configured with one or more search Web Parts that can be configured depending on your needs. You can add and remove Web Parts, and move them around on the pages. The Web Parts are individual and separate components that can display results or accept queries, but they work together to create the user experience.

The Search Center site, just like other sites in your organization, inherits permissions. You can also set up the site to use unique permissions. Users must be granted permissions to access the site to query and see results.

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Ways to customize the Search Center site

There are several ways that you can customize the pages in the Search Center. One easy way is by modifying the properties of the default Web Parts. For example, you could change the number of results users see on the search results page by changing the properties of the Core Results Web Part.

Some Web Parts have an XSL Web Part property which allows further customization of the appearance and layout. With a little knowledge of XSLT, you can change how the results render on the page. For example, keyword search results are indicated in boldface type by default. By modifying the XSL, you could change the results to highlight keywords in yellow. For more on XSL Web Part properties and more, see Use the List and other Web Parts on classic pages.

To change the look and feel of a page, you can add, remove, or change the position of its Web Parts. Several out-of-box search Web Parts are provided and already programmed to display results or provide user interface design features. The following is a list of the search Web Parts and a description of how each one works.

Web Part name


Advanced Search Box

Entry point for advanced search. Allows more narrow queries, such as on document metadata.

Dual Chinese Search

Searches for content in the Dual Chinese language.

Federated Results

Displays results for a query entered in the Search Box Web Part against an external source, such as

People Refinement Panel

Shows a summary of people results, such as documents they have authored.

People Search Box

Location where queries related to people are entered.

People Search Core Results

Displays search results from queries related to people.

Refinement Panel

Displays a summary of results, such as by document type or by author.

Related Queries

Provides a list of links to queries similar to the keywords or phrases entered in the search box.

Search Action Links

Allows users to click on hyperlinks in the results set, such as RSS or Alert Me.

Search Best Bets

Displays results of URLs matched to specific keyword terms.

Search Box

Location where users enter keyword queries.

Search Core Results

Displays a set of results, tabular data, metadata, and URLs. Includes a description of results, also known as a snippet.

Search Paging

Page numbers and forward/back arrows for the result set.

Search Statistics

Shows the total results for, and how much time it took to process, a given query.

Search Summary

Provides alternate query spellings. Also known as “Did You Mean?” Web Part.

Search Visual Best Bet

An enhancement to Best Bets that allows the use of images and HTML-based content.

Top Federated Results

Displays a list of the top “x” number of results from the configured location.

The Web Parts that you see may vary depending on the product that you have installed. Also, the owner of the top-level Web site might have removed the Web Part or changed its title.

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Edit a page in the Search Center site

You can edit pages by using the browser or by using another tool, such as SharePoint Designer. To edit the Search Center site (default.aspx) or the results page (results.aspx), you must have Site Owner permissions or higher.

  • From either the Search Center site home page or the results page, on the Site Actions menu, click Edit Page.

The page is now in edit mode, which allows you to add and remove Web Parts, or change their position on the page.

If your site has publishing enabled, you need to check in your changes before users can see them.

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Add a Web Part to a page in the Search Center site

Web Parts are modules that contain pieces of code that can be added to Web Part pages and modified for your needs. More than 15 search Web Parts are provided with SharePoint Server, ranging from the Search Box Web Part, where users enter queries to several kinds of search results Web Parts. Results Web Parts allow you to choose and then configure the search results experience for users. Use the following procedure to place a Web Part on a page.

  1. From either the Search Center site home page or the results page, click Settings SharePoint 2016 Settings button on title bar. or the Site Actions menu, and then click Edit Page.

  2. In the Web Part zone to which you want to add the Web Part, click Add a Web Part.

  3. Under Categories, choose Search to display the search Web Parts.

  4. Click the name of the Web Part you want to add to the page.

  5. Click Add to add the Web Part to the page.

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Edit a Web Part by using its tool pane

Web Parts are highly configurable, which means they are flexible and can serve a variety of needs. You configure a Web Part after it is added to the page by clicking the edit menu and choosing either Modify Shared Web Part or Edit Web Part. To configure the Web Part after the page is in use, be sure to put the page in edit mode.

All Web Parts have at least one group of unique properties and several groups of properties that are common to all Web Parts. Common properties include settings such as appearance and layout.

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Resources for more information

For information about working with Web Parts and configuring common Web Part properties, see the following

Use the List and other Web Parts on classic pages

Configure a Content Search Web Part in SharePoint

When to use the Content Query Web Part or the Content Search Web Part in SharePoint

About configuring the Search Box Web Part

Connect a Filter Web Part to a List View Web Part on a classic page

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