SharePoint 2010 Search Set-up

November 29, 2010

[Update] Following comments to this post, please note that this refers to using the Enterprise Wiki template when creating a site collection. The Enterprise Wiki template is the only one that will create a root site with all features available. All other templates limit the features for the site collection and the Publishing Portal template is the worst of all.  Within a site collection, you can use any site templates you want for sub-sites.

[Update 2] You must be a Site Collection Administrator to perform these steps. Being added to the Site Owners group (Full Control permission) is not enough.  The search settings are under Site Collection Administration. If you can’t see them, you’re not a Site Collection Administrator.

—- Original Post —-

In SharePoint 2007, if you created a new site collection using the ‘Collaboration Portal’ template, it would come with a number of sites, including the Search Center. In SharePoint 2010, this is no longer the case. There isn’t a Collaboration Portal template for starters, the nearest you’ll find is the Enterprise Wiki template which is my recommended starting point for Intranets, KM and Collaborative Sites. (Side note: Another example of poor usability on Microsoft’s part. The Enterprise Wiki template is available in both the Standard and Enterprise editions of SharePoint 2010. When you read about features with ‘Enterprise’ in the title, don’t assume they are limited to the Enterprise Edition, in most cases they are also available in Standard.)

In SharePoint 2010, the clue is in the search box:

Default search settings

When you create a new site collection, the default search settings limit search to within the current site only and uses built-in search pages. If you want to search across multiple sites (a fairly normal requirement for most internal SharePoint deployments), use search scopes and configure different types of results pages, you will be wanting a dedicated search site. Here’s what to do:

Create a Search site

  1. At the root of the site collection where you want the Search site to live, click Site Actions and select ‘New Site’
  2. Select the search site template you want to use
  3. Enter a title and URL (Search works for me…) and create the site

There are up to three search site templates to choose from (and you should use a search template if you don’t want to create a lot of extra work for yourself setting up search query and results pages):

  • Basic Search – available with all versions of SharePoint
  • Enterprise Search – requires SharePoint 2010 Server: Standard or Enterprise edition (yes, another of those ‘Enterprise’ features also available in Standard)
  • FAST Search – requires SharePoint 2010 Server Enterprise Edition (or FAST add-on/dedicated)

The search query box is automatically integrated every SharePoint site within the global navigation bar (as shown in the first image above). Unless you particularly want to also have the Search site listed in navigation, go into the Navigation settings and hide it.

Configure Search Settings

Once you’ve got your search site, you can now configure the search settings to use it. This step needs to be repeated for each site collection that you want to point to the Search site.

  1. At the root of the site collection, go to Site Actions – Site Settings.
  2. Under Site Collection Administration, click on Search Settings
  3. Within Search Settings:
    • For the Site Collection Search Center, enter the URL to your search site in the format /search/Pages (replace the word ‘search’ with the site URL for your search site, if different))
    • In Site Collection Search Scopes dropdown mode, select ‘Show search scopes’
      The image below shows the settings for my demo machine:
      SharePoint 2010 Search Settings
  4. Click OK and you’re done.

Once the search settings are configured, the search box will show scopes with the default set to search across all sites instead of just the current site:

SharePoint 2010 search settings configured

Don’t forget, you’ll need to configure search settings for each site collection that you want to point to the Search site. Whilst the URL will be relative for the site collection where the search site is located, for all other site collections you will need to enter the full path (for example, on my demo the URL is http://sp2010/search/ for all other site collections)

Enter a search query in the new search box and you will be routed to the Search site to display results:

SharePoint 2010 Search Results

In the image above, I’ve configured the default results page in the Search site to also include federated search results. When I enter the query ‘SharePoint’ I can see documents and items on the Intranet (along with refiners on the left to filter results), people who have SharePoint in their profile and federated results YouTube.

I’ve also modified my Search site to include 2 additional tabs – Staff Directory and Internet. The Staff Directory is discussed in a follow-up post (see links at the end of this page). The Internet tab shows more federated search results from sites such as Twitter, MSDN, TechNet and Google News. I’ve even got a page for querying Facebook but haven’t managed to federate that one yet. Federated results are great for finding relevant information inside and outside your organisation using a single query.

This post is filed in the SharePoint 2010 Handbook under Install & Configuration and Enterprise Search.

Related blog posts

Sharon Richardson


70 responses to SharePoint 2010 Search Set-up

  1. Hi Sharon
    Thanks for the info. I eanbled the drop down but when choosing “this site” or this list it returns with no results but when choosing all sites it works. Why do you think it is happenning?

    Thanks for your response.

  2. Hello Sharon
    May I please get some of ther other info you were referring to.

  3. Hi Ali

    I’ll add it to the queue. They’re a little crusty as they were originally written for SP2007 and I’ve got a governance book still to finish first :-) Keep an eye on the site or Twitter feed – a blog post will go up at some point hopefully in the first half of this year. i.e. before the next version starts getting talked about :-)

  4. Hi Sharon,

    Just followed your steps to change the default search scope on our Sharepoint site.

    Everything worked exactly as you have specified, thanks!

  5. Hi Ali/Sharon,
    At the setting where you define the new search page to use, you may also want to change the “Site Collection Search Result Page” to “/Search/Pages/Results.aspx”. This way when you use the scope option, it uses the new search page.

  6. Hi Chanthone

    The results page is the default for scopes, so should open any way when you configure to use the search centre. On a related idea, it can be useful to create customised results pages for different scopes, when appropriate – e.g. displaying multiple federated searches for a ‘social media’ scope. You can specify what page to use as part of the scope settings

    Thanks for contributing


  7. Thanks for the feedback Steven, always appreciated

  8. Hi,

    At the top of this article you mention:

    “The Enterprise Wiki template is the only one that will create a root site with all features available”

    Well….I have a team site and an enterprise wiki running both as top level sites and looking at the site collection features for both shows they are identical…..hmmm.


  9. Hi Steve – the reference is for creating the site collection – the root site. It will determine what features and templates are enabled by default. Those features will then be available under site settings for all sub-sites, including your top-level ones. So yes, your team site and enterprise wiki sites should show identical site settings.

  10. Hai

    i am trying to searching for local file in SharePoint 2010.

    I follow the same process

    I can search for local files it will display results perfectly in EnterPrise Search Center site And Basic Search Center BUT

    It don’t display results in SharePoint Home.aspx

    It is possible to search local file in normal site(Home.aspx)

    Please provide any information to get the results of Local files in SharePoint 2010


  11. Hello Kamesh

    If you want search results to be displayed on the root home page, you would need to add the relevant search results web parts to the page and configure the search settings to point to the page instead of using the search site. I wouldn’t recommend it.

  12. Thank you for the tip. When specifying to allow the scopes drop-down, it defaults the search page to “_layouts/OSSSearchResults.aspx”. In our setup, anonymous users appear to not have permission to this page and the login prompt appears. Any suggestions on how to fix this? Thanks.

  13. Hi Michael

    Sounds like two separate issues

    First – you are defaulting to the built-in search results that is generated for every site. You need to make sure that you are using the Search Center and its results pages instead. Then it’s just a case of enabling anonymous access for the Search Center site. I say ‘just’. Usual caveats about being cautious with enabling anonymous access apply.

  14. Hi…
    I am using Enterprise Search Wiki with a search text box filter value (similar to your example above). When the result page is initially displayed, I click one of the links and get all results associated with the clicked link. Is this correct or should the results be filtered by the value in the search textbox?

    What is the “out of the box” behavior for SharePoint 2010?

  15. The following is replaces my previous “out of box” SharePoint 2010 question…sorry got cut off.

    What is the “out of the box” behavior for SharePoint 2010 Enterprise Search using a textbox filter? After search results are initially displayed…what is supposed to happen when a customer clicks one of the links?

  16. Hi Charles

    Depends what you are referring to.

    The links you see on the left-side of a results page are search refiners. They will narrow down the existing results set. If you mean the drop down menu next to the search box, that is used to select a scope before performing any search, i.e. narrowing the results initially returned.

    Hope that makes sense.

  17. No…I was referring to the links returned from the initial search using the textbox value (See screen shot above…middle of page, under the heading “1 – 10 of 84 results”. It shows four links with the word “SharePoint”. What is the default behavior when one of these links is clicked? Are all items associated with the clicked link retrieved? Are items retrieved filtered by the value in textbox?

  18. If you mean the individual item links, the default behaviour is to open that link. Same as if you clicked on a result on Bing or Google.

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