SharePoint 2013 Cross Site Publishing Overview

What is Cross Site Publishing

SharePoint 2013 preview introduces new feature called "Cross Site Publishing"! This feature will address several scenarios like, content authors want to author content in a controlled environment and share it with multiple publishers in different scope boundaries. The core of Cross Site Publishing feature is SharePoint Search and Search Driven web part that can be used to access search index based on search queries.


Above illustration shows content authors create content under authoring site collections, once content is created and published SharePoint Search will crawl published content and store it in SharePoint  search Index. SharePoint search index can be shared inside same SharePoint farm or across multiple farms. Content publishing sites can access and reuse the content from search index using Content By Search web part. 

Components of Cross Site Publishing


 Cross Site Publishing Feature

This is new site collection feature in SharePoint 2013 preview. This feature should be activated on the site collection which is going to be used for authoring content (List/Libraries).
Cross site publishing feature will add URL Action "Catalog Settings" under List General Settings and will link to _layouts/15/CatalogConfiguration.aspx page.
CatalogConfiguration.aspx page will give options to declare a list/Library as a Catalog. This feature will also add Analytics Reports commands to the Ribbon. 
By default this feature will get activated with Product Catalog Site Collection Template along with several other features.


A catalog is a list or library that is shared out to search for consumption on publishing sites. Catalogs enable content to be published across site collections—the cross-site publishing features depend on catalogs.
Any List/Library can be marked as catalog by going to Catalog Settings page and selecting "Share the list as a catalog for other sites and collections".

When a List/Library is selected as catalog an indexable property [IndexedRootFolderPropertyKeys : {PublishingCatalogSettings, IsPublishingCatalog} name-value pair is added to List's Property Bag. When a full crawl is completed this propery is added and crawl property and also added as Managed Property "IsPublishingCatalog".

Catalog Settings page has following other options:

Allow anonymous search access: this option will allow anonymous user to search results from this catalog.

Primary Key: when catalogs will be shared, columns selected as Primary Key (max up to five) will be used to identify unique items in catalog. When selecting columns as Primary Key make sure they will be unique, otherwise result in wrong item selection.

Catalog Navigation: Other sites that consume this list as a catalog will be able to display it in its own navigation hierarchy.

Content By Search Web Part

The Content Search Web Part (CSWP) is a new web part introduced in SharePoint 2013 Preview. Content Search Web Part is associated with a search query and shows the results for that search query. Content Search Web Part displays search results in a way that you can easily format it. You can use display templates to change how search results appear on the page. Display templates are snippets of HTML and JavaScript that render the information returned by SharePoint.


Category Product Page

A Category Product Page is an .aspx page in Pages library, this is used to display search results of products belong to same category. Category Product Page uses Category Product page layout and have a  "Content By Search Web Part" to get search results from indexed catalog based on a search query. This page will be created when a publishing site connects to a published catalog.

Catalog Item Product Page

A Catalog Item Product Page is an .aspx page in Pages library, this is used to display individual products based on URL passed from Category Product Page. Catalog Item Product Page uses Catalog Item Product Page layout and have a  "Content Item Reuse Web Part" to display search results. This page will be created when a publishing site connects to a published catalog.

Managed Navigation

Managed Navigation can be specified when connecting to catalog. Managed navigation will be based on catalog navigation column that was selected when marking list/library as catalog.One thing to make sure is term set used by this column should be either a global term set or should have read access to subscriber site collection by adding "Site Collection Access" under "Term Store Management Tool".

Asset Libraries

Asset Libraries are used to store any blob resource used by Items in a catalogs, like product image. Search crawler will only store blob URL in search index not actual blob object. In order to render blob object, it should be accessible from authoring and publishing location. Asset Library can live on separate site collection or in a separate web application based on design choice.

Step by Step Configuration 

 Benefits Of Using Cross Site Publishing

  1. Provides a broad range of possible site architectures.

  2. Separates content authoring from branding and rendering.

  3. Allows content to be shared anonymously with users on the publishing site.

  4. Can be used across site collections, web applications, and also across farms.

  5. Allows for a mix of authored pages and list content.


Comments (4)

  1. Cern McAtee says:

    For public internet-facing sites, we recommend that the asset library be placed on the publishing side, not the authoring side. Generally speaking, the asset library has to be in a location accessible by users with the least amount of privileges. The rest of your guidance in Step 3 regarding adding the asset library to the Suggested Content Browser Locations list is correct. For more information, see Plan the logical architecture for cross-site publishing in SharePoint Server 2013 (…/jj635882.aspx) and Plan authoring sites for cross-site publishing in SharePoint Server 2013 (…/jj635877.aspx).


    Cern McAtee

    Content Publisher, SharePoint User Assistance team

  2. Hi says:

    Can i change " Catalog Item Product Page layout" of Catalog Item Product Page.

    If Yes?

    How can i?

    Please help me.

  3. hemantrhtk says:


    I have a senerio under which , we are exploring if we  can use cross site publishing.

    My client has a intranet site available for employees.  He wants to expose this web site to internet , but not all content will be available to employees on internet .

    Say a document library has 10 documents , all 10 are available on intranet . But when same user access this site on internet out of office , he can see only 5 documents .

    Is it possible to plan an architecture based on cross site publishing  in this case ?

  4. shawn says:


    From your diagram, would the external farm also access the managed metadata service from internal farm like the search service? In order for the external farm to access search and MMS from internal farm, do we need to open up firewall ports from DMZ to internal?


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