I did it, I launched myself into the unknown today and built myself a Display Template in SharePoint 2013. One of main factors that made me migrate to SharePoint 2013 is Search and all the upgrades it brings to the table.
Well I won’t go over the details again as I have in the past, but it was completely revamped, including the FAST technology.
If you want to learn more about those, check out my previous articles as I will assume you know how to build the Query in these Search Web Parts. As you can see above, the Control of this Display Template is the main container that says whether or not there should be paging for example and how to load the results. Note that Control and Item Display Templates are individual files that do not necessarily have to work with one another. Managed Properties: I wish I could cover Managed Properties as a small section of this article but unfortunately, I cannot. To tie this in to the Display Template we’re about to build, you can only show Managed Properties in your HTML. Now that we organized ourselves properly, we can start looking at the HTML and the CSS that actually make up the animated menu. There I can see that this is essentially an Unordered List with List Items for each item of the menu. As you can see, I removed the beginning of the HTML that is irrelevant for us such as the page heading. Remember one thing, your Display Templates should always have a div, the first one will not be rendered but is necessary for SharePoint to recognize where to start. This is where all the magic happens, the first thing we absolutely need to do is tell SharePoint what Managed Properties we plan to use in this Display Template.
The next thing I did was create variables, though it wasn’t necessary it makes it easier when writing our template. My hopes is that you see how powerful Search with Display Templates can be and start exploring this. Sharegate gives you immediate control over your SharePoint & Office 365 environments: Migration, Security & Reporting. Well known as the SharePoint Geek, Benjamin has been helping people all around the globe reach their goals by simplifying SharePoint solutions. To be honest, it’s a lot easier than I originally thought, as long as you have some basic understanding of HTML and CSS.
In the past, I was often limited to my Site Collection or finding a developer to get something done.


What makes it all worth it are the changes to the Search Results Web Part and the new Content Search Web Part. Display Templates are effectively simple designs that you build, that will be reusable by a particular Search Web Part. The Item tells SharePoint how to render each individual items returned by the Web Part in question.
Let me explain, if you build a Control and Item Display Templates to show something, it doesn’t mean that the Control part HAS to be used with the Item Display Template you have built, they are completely independent from one another. There is a lot to cover and I strongly recommend you learn what Managed Properties are and how to use them properly before continuing. Of course you can add your own custom content manually, but if you are looking to add SharePoint content in your template based on Search Results you will need to declare the Managed Properties you are about to use and only use those. Personally, I asked my colleague Yohan, author of Image Slider with SharePoint 2013 Search Results Web Part to help me get started.
They did that plugin to showcase how to do it and for the regular web, SharePoint already codes with tons of CSS. Of course you can store them somewhere else, as long as people will be able to read these files you are fine. What we need to do, is open the index file that came in the download and identify what will go in the Control and what will go in the Item Display Templates.
You’ll see a JS file with the same name automatically get created, do not touch that file. Now, wherever you add the SharePoint Search Results Web Part, you will be able to change the way results appear to make them like the menu we’ve built. Our hard work on the Display Template can easily be reused by everyone in our organization. I did this quickly with my very basic knowledge of Javascript, the purpose of the download is to help you learn and build your own. Hopefully the recording of building killer visuals with SharePoint Search and Display Templates will provide you with better insight on how to use this feature. My favorite feature in SharePoint 2013 is the Search and everything that comes with it, that’s why instead of building a custom HTML menu that will only work on one page, I wanted to build something that is reusable, requires little to no code and is powered by the Power Users entries.
For example, if you build a Display Template for the Search Results Web Part, it will be the only one to be able to use it.
It’s in there that you will write your HTML that will not get repeated as well as the references to your custom CSS or Javascript files if needed. This is usually where most of our custom HTML goes as we try to make individual items look good.


It’s in the Search Web Parts that you will specify which Control to use and which Item to use. The beauty of the Content Search Web Part is you will be able to do a lot of it manually through the Web Part settings.
Then we will change our Display Template to link to this new location, wherever you chose to store them.
I also added a min-height to my main container div to not make me dizzy every time I hover one of the menus and make the page move down because of it. What I mean by that is I want a regular SharePoint Power User to be able to choose what the menu is going to show. Of course, the menu there is not made for SharePoint at all, which means we’re going to have to do a lot of changes for this to work in our context.
But since we are using the Search Results Web Part, we can show anything we want with this menu and that is truly wonderful.
See it this way, if you build an animated menu, well it’s the Search Results that will populate the content. We can adapt the Search Query to show Tasks from the Site Collection that are assigned to the current user and still not completed. Not sure which badge we’re aiming at with this delivery, however it improves the user interface of the task list with the use of the new development teqniques of SharePoint 2013.
So I am always looking to find ways to build things that are easy to use for me and my Power Users. So you can use it to show Tasks, Documents, Pages, etc… Very useful, especially for Cross-Site Publishing in SharePoint. Or show the organizations latest announcements, tailored to each user that visits because remember, this is using Search. We can easily create contextual queries based on who visits the page, filter by User Profile properties and more. The possibilities are incredible, because with Display Templates all we do is build a beautiful design, any type of content returned will be able to fit and use the Display Template. Even a Task list can be a Slider or Image Carousel, as long as you have a column with a hyperlink to a picture.



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