Scenario: Your documents go through a series of steps (e.g. Started, Working, Complete, Cancelled) and you have a metadata column (e.g. Process Step) that tracks the status of a particular document. You have SharePoint Server 2010 and Enterprise Search you want users to be able to refine search results to a particular process step.
How To: As the metadata column for tracking document status isn’t managed metadata(http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee424403.aspx) the search crawler needs to be made aware of your particular column so that we can use it to configure search. To this we need to create a Managed Property:
Now that search is aware of the column we can go ahead and use it in the search refiners. This is done by configuring the Refinement Panel WebPart that is included on search results pages:
<Category Title="Process Step"
Description="Process Step of the document"
LessLinkText="show fewer" />
If you don’t see the refiner showing your options and you didn’t get any errors, there are a few things that will impact visibility of your custom refiner. Firstly, you need to make sure that you have re-indexed your content to make sure that there is data for the refiner to work with. Secondly, you need a big enough result set containing your column to make the refiner meaningful; if it’s too small the panel won’t display your refiner. Thirdly, the refiners are shown in the order they are defined in the XML so if you place yours at the end but configure the refinement panel to only show the first X, it won’t appear in the panel.