It is quite common now for many SharePoint sites to use custom search pages to display results. This is because with a custom search page with the search web parts added such as a search box, search results and refinement and you can make it completely flexible for your site as opposed to working with the out of the box search page. An example below with the refinement located to the right:

One of the more common changes people make to search pages is the way in which the search results are displayed. These can be customised by changing the Display Templates with the use of SharePoint Designer and then changing your web part properties to use your custom display template. To understand more about customising display templates visit this blog here.

Now when people are creating custom display templates it is best practice to take a copy of an existing display template and then make the necessary changes to that copy. This is in the event of something going wrong with your custom template and you can therefore revert back to an existing template which works.

Now once you save your custom template in SharePoint Designer. The changes will happen immediately in SharePoint. Once you are happy with your changes there is one more step which you will need to perform in order for all users to see your changes.

If you are creating custom display templates. Once they are added to the Display Templates gallery they actually require approval before being published for everyone to see. A situation I found myself in was as an admin was that I could see search results being pulled through using my custom display template but for any users who were not an admin they were getting a ‘Sorry, something went wrong’ message and it was to do with the custom display template not being found. In order to solve this navigate to the Display Templates for your site:

For SharePoint 2013 it is located at (siteURL/_layouts/15/DesignDisplayTemplates.aspx)

This is a list of all the display templates for the site. You should hopefully be able to see your custom display template from this list and you should also notice the ‘Approval Status’ column indicating the status of the display template. Initially when you create your custom display template through SharePoint Designer and save it to SharePoint, it will be added to this gallery but the approval status will be ‘Draft’. Admins will be able to see and access these display templates in a ‘Draft’ state but normal users will not. To solve this issue, simply publish the custom display template and it should become ‘Approved’ and available for all users to see. This can be done by selecting the ellipsis (…) associated with the display template and navigating to the option to ‘Publish a Major Version’.

So this blog is to provide you with some very basic knowledge of display templates and how you can customise them to suit your needs, but also make you aware of how display templates are stored in SharePoint and are made accessible to all users.

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