Like the standard search feature of SharePoint 2013, Search & Preview makes use of a search center, which is a SharePoint subsite that provides pages for displaying search-result (possibly in each of several styles) and advanced search forms as needed. All search forms in the collection must target one of the result pages stored here, which handles the query and displays results. Of course, the Search & Preview search center is quite different from the standard SharePoint one and incorporates several different types of Search & Preview search controls.
As you develop your search feature, you may add extra pages to the search center. For example, if you take advantage of Search & Preview search tab feature, then each search tab will exist as a separate page within the search center subsite. Users can select among these tabs depending, for example, on whether they are looking for documents, images, people or Web pages.
The Search & Preview search center exists as its own “site” in SharePoint and is, therefore, part of a site collection. It is usually shown as its own tab in the SharePoint application seen by users. Often, users will come to the search center after entering a query in the site-wide search box or when searching from another site in the collection. Users can also visit the search center directly, in which case a search form is provided, typically also with a link to an advanced search form.
Figure: Example of an Search & Preview Search Center that includes several search tabs, showing search results
The search site is able to respond differently depending on where the user was when initiating the search. For example, if the user was browsing the user directory and searches from there using the Search & Preview Search Box, then the search center can be configured to display results in a format that is best for finding users—e.g., with photograph, title and phone numbers for each record and with results filtered to show user records, not Word documents.
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