The Search & Preview search tab concept enables Search & Preview search forms and result lists to be fine-tuned to support each of many different situations. The name itself refers to a common way of using this feature: to create a single search/result interface that provides several different “tabs” among which the user can choose based on the type of information he or she is seeking. For example, your search interface might include tabs for searching documents, images, people and within specific departments, respectively.

Figure: An example result page showing search tabs

Technically, each search tab is its own ASPX page, even though they all might seem to be features of the same “page” from the user’s point of view. This means each tab can have its own selection of Web parts and that the various parts can have different configurations for each tab. Often the various tabs will be similar, but the results they show might look very different if, for example, the Search & Preview SharePoint Search Result Web Part might use a different XSLT template on each tab.

In addition to its “physical” on-page constructions, each search tab also has an active search-tab configuration, which controls many aspects of the way various Search & Preview Web parts will behave and can also modify the search form and/or result list by, for example, adding implicit search terms and/or scopes.

The Search & Preview Search Tabs Web Part is what gives search tabs their “tab” character. This control, which is usually part of all result pages in the Search & Preview Search Center, presents a link to each available ASPX result page as a tab above the result list. The Search Tabs Web Part shows a tab for each search-tab configuration that has been defined for the current site level; the URL of the result page associated with each tab is established as part of each search-tab configuration.

Search Tabs are configured in three different ways at each site level:
• Search tab site-level settings control the basic behavior of all search tabs for the current level
• The search tab properties for a given tab establishes that tab’s name, description, icon and target search, and result pages.
• The search tab configuration for a given tab establishes the actual search settings implemented by that tab. This includes search scopes, result actions, quick filters, searchable properties, result properties, sorting properties, and Refiner properties.

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