SP2010: Where’s my search center?

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been heads down doing a lot of “stuff” – a large portion of that stuff was dedicated to working with SharePoint 2010 search.  It didn’t take long for me to notice that there’s been some fundamental changes to things. I’m not saying this as a negative – in fact I think there’s a lot of positives here but SharePoint 2010 takes a slightly different approach to some search basics. I’ve dealt with users long enough to know that small changes can cause some confusion so I hope to clarify things with this post.

Let’s start off with the title of this post – Where’s my search center? Great question!  For those of you might not know what I’m referring to, go try to create a new site collection based on one of the publishing site templates – either Enterprise Wiki or Publishing Portal.  By any chance do you happen to see a search center?  Probably not.  Users of MOSS 2007 might remember that search centers used to be automatically created as part of the publishing site templates before. 

To clarify, if you are using a Publishing Portal – don’t worry.  Your search center is there already. Go check View All Site Content and look at the subsites if you don’t believe me.  The problem in this case is that the default search scope is set to only search This Site.  If you run a search you’ll notice that you can change the scope from the results page.  To avoid having to do this and have the search box run the All Sites scope you can do the following:

Setting up your Publishing Portal to use the All Sites Scope by default

1. From the top level site in your site collection click Site Actions > Site Settings then go to the Search settings link from under the Site Collection Administration section.

2. Change the option in the section section for Site Collection Search Dropdown Mode to “Do not show scopes dropdown, and default to target results page.”  Press Ok.  VOILA!  Just like MOSS 2007!

Manually setting up SharePoint 2010 Search on your site

Let’s pretend you’ve got the Enterprise Wiki or possibly another template.  They actually don’t have the Search Center created for you – what now?  You’d just have to follow these simple steps:

1.  Create a new subsite with one of the search templates.

2. Once the site has been created, go back to the site settings page on the top level site in the site collection.  Assuming you are logged in as a Site Collection Administrator (which you’ll need to be if you are not) click on the Search settings link under the Site Collection Administration section.

3. In the first section called Site Collection Search Center change the radio button to “Enable custom scopes” and specify to use the URL of the new search center you just created.  Usually something like “/search” (without the quotations).

4. Then just as with the publishing portal, change the option in the section section for Site Collection Search Dropdown Mode to “Do not show scopes dropdown, and default to target results page.”  Press OK and again – back to MOSS 2007 behavior.

Why the change?

Why the change in behavior for the Publishing Portal and Enterprise Wiki?  The reason for the change to default the scope to the This Site scope was because it was determined based on research that most users would first look for content within the current site.  Although different, it is easy to configure as we showed above.

The biggest change in the new search philosophy can be seen with the Enterprise Wiki. Why is there no search center?  The reason behind this is because in many organizations there’s a need to have a centralized place to do searching. So the idea is that a single search center would be created for an organization that all site collections would point to.  However the great thing about SharePoint is that there’s a ton of flexibility to set things up to best suit your individual needs.  If you preferred the MOSS 2007 way of doing things you’ve got that option as well.  It only takes a few moments to make the change.

I’m very excited about the new search features in SP2010 and plan to be talking about it in upcoming posts!

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