Stage 3: How to enable a list as a catalog

This is a blog post in the series “How to set up a product-centric website in SharePoint Server 2013”.  In this series, I'll use data from a fictitious company called "Contoso" to show you how to use search features to set up a website based on product catalog data.
Note: Most of the features described in this series are not available in SharePoint 2013 Online.

For an overview of the blog posts in this series, go to How to set up a product-centric website in SharePoint Server 2013.


Quick overview

As described in Stage 2: Import list content into the Product Catalog Site Collection, we've imported content about Contoso's product line into the Products list. To display this product information in our Publishing Portal (the Contoso website), we now have to enable the Products list as a catalog.

These are the steps we'll take to enable a list as a catalog:

  1. Go to catalog settings page.
  2. Enable catalog sharing.
  3. Enable anonymous access.
  4. Define website navigation hierarchy.
  5. Define values to use in the URL to an individual product.


Start stage 3


1. On the Products list, from the LIST tab, click List Settings.

List Settings

On the Settings page, click Catalog Settings.

Catalog Settings

We'll define several things on the Catalog Settings page. I'm going to break all of this down into individual chunks.




2. For Catalog Sharing Select Enable this Library as a catalog.

Catalog Sharing

By selecting this, we'll be confirming that content from the Products list should be added to the search index.

Catalog sharing


3. For Anonymous Access, click Enable anonymous access, and then click Make Anonymous.

Anonymous Access

By doing this, we'll be granting anonymous visitors, that is, visitors who aren't logged on to Contoso's website, access to view content from this list.

Note that we're not granting visitors access to the list itself. All we're doing is granting anonymous visitors access to view the catalog content from the search index. Anonymous visitors will never be able to see the actual Products list.

Anonymous visitors view search index content

4. For Navigation Hierarchy (this section shows up after Catalog Item URL in the UI, but I prefer to tell you about this one first), select Item Category.

Navigation Hierarchy

In my previous blog post, Stage 2: Import list content into the Product Catalog Site Collection, I showed you how the managed metadata column Item Category is tied to the Product Hierarchy term set.

Item Category and Product Hierarchy term set

By selecting Item Category here, we're in fact specifying that the navigation on our publishing site (the Contoso website) will be determined by the structure in the Product Hierarchy term set.

In the next screenshot, notice that the structure in the Product Hierarchy term set, matches the navigation on the Contoso website.

Term driven navigation


The terms from the Product Hierarchy term set will also be used to create a friendly URL for our category pages on the publishing site (the Contoso website). For example, the URL to the page displaying camcorders is http://www.contoso/cameras/camcorders, and the URL to the page displaying camera accessories is http://www.contoso/cameras/camera-accessories.

Friendly URL


5. For Catalog Item URL Fields, select the list columns that should be used to create a unique URL to a product. For Contoso, we'll use Group Number and Item Number.


Catalog Item URL Fields

The URL to an individual product will be composed of the terms that we specify in Navigation Hierarchy (previous step), and the values from the fields we specify as Catalog Item URL Fields. When selecting these fields, we should use at least one field that contains a product unique value, because we want to use this unique value in the product URL. By doing this, the URL to the product Fabricam Home Movimaker M300 will be different from the URL to the product Fabricam Home Movimaker M400.

For Contoso, the unique identifier of a product is the value in the Item Number column. We also want to use the value of the Group Number column, so we'll add them both (I'll explain why I also want to use Group Number in a later post).

Friendly URL to a product

Our final Catalog Settings page looks like this:

Final Catalog Settings page

So now that we have set all these specifications, it's time to crawl the catalog.




Next blog article in this series
Stage 4: Set up search and enable crawling of your catalog content


Additional resources

Comments (24)
  1. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Dilis,

    You have to activate the Cross-Site Collection Publishing feature. For information on how to do that, see this article:

    Hope this helps.


  2. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Larsen,

    I believe you can do this, however we currently don’t have any documentation that shows you how to do it.

    But if you search for it, for example “How to enable a list as a catalog in SharePoint 2013 with PowerShell”, you might be able to find some pointers.


  3. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi SK,

    Could you describe what you mean by "it doesn't do anything"?

    To remove anonymous access, you have to disable Anonymous Access for the catalog, and then do a reindexing of the catalog, or a full crawl of the content source that contains your the catalog.

    Hope this helps.


  4. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Jose,

    Glad you like the blog 🙂

    Yes, you can use two (or more) term sets to drive site navigation. In your example, you could first connect the “Departments catalog”, and then the “News catalog”. I describe how to connect to a catalog in this blog:…/stage-5-connect-your-publishing-site-to-a-catalog.aspx.

    Hope this helps.


  5. Zgembo says:

    Could you create a list called Locations and enable it as catalog and reference it in other sites lists? Not looking to use it for navigation, just need a master list I can reference in other list (cross site).

  6. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Zgembo,

    Not quite sure what you are asking. Do you want the Locations list to work as a lookup in other lists in other site collections? If so, I don’t think it’ll work.


  7. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Sumit,

    Sorry, I am having some difficulties following your scenario.

    Have you enabled anonymous access, and now you want to disable it?

    Or do you want to enable anonymous access?


  8. Bella_Engen says:


    The images are there. Have you checked our browser settings?


  9. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Sankar,

    I suggest that you contact Microsoft Support with this issue.


  10. SK says:

    failed to enable anonymous access to the catalog using the Make Anonymous button. It doesn't do anything it. I have have to cancel it. I am using Farm Administrator privileges to do it.

    Can you help?


  11. SK says:

    Hi Bella,

    I am  unable to remove anonymous access. And while trying to disable it for the catalog i get stuck.

    I am trying to give Anonymous Access  

    "With this option enabled, users who aren't logged in can view, navigate, and search content from this catalog on connected sites. "

    So i am unable to click "Make Anonymous" button. when i click it it doesn't do anything. I have to close the window. Can you help?



  12. Jose B says:

    Great blog! Question – is it posible to have site navigation driven by 2 term sets and lists? For example – my company intranet's main navigation is driven by company structure (Departments), and that navigation would use a content list for the detail – but one of the top level Menu items is called News and that one menu would use a different term set that use a news list for the detail. How would that best be done or simulated?  

  13. mike says:

    In case anyone else runs into this issue…you must have your Managed Metadata List column (or, in my case a site column) NOT allow multiple values otherwise it won't be available for use in the Navigation Hierarchy.  It makes sense, but kind of a bummer if you want to have a 1:M between list items and metadata tags.  For example, multiple categories per product that can surface that product through multiple navigation paths.

  14. Pictures missing says:

    Hello, the pictures are missing from this series.  Could you please fix them?

    Thank you.

  15. hannah says:

    Thanks so much for this entire series – this has been very helpful!  I've enabled my list as a catalog, but I'm getting the following message in the Search Settings section of the Catalog Settings on my list: "It is not possible to retrieve crawl information as the system is configured in a way that limits access to this information."  Any idea what setting I need to change in Central Admin for this information to be displayed on the list.  Thanks.

  16. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Hannah,

    I'm glad you like the series 🙂

    Just so that I understand your scenario a bit better, are you trying to view the crawl log in Central Admin?


  17. khalil says:

    this was was helpful for me." >

  18. Larsen says:

    Is it possible to enable "Catalog Sharing" and "Anonymous Access" using Powershell?


  19. Dilis says:

    I am not getting the Catalogue settings links in General Settings for a publishing type of site. Any idea why it is not appearing.

  20. Derick O'Brien says:

    Thanks for sharing this information. I have just signed up for a free SharePoint site with cloudappsportal.

  21. Anonymous says:

    In this series of "how to’s" blog posts I’ll describe how you can use SharePoint Server

  22. Vijaya says:

    Hi Bella,

    Your series are extremely good.They are so useful !. They are so simple and easy to understand. And i am trying the same steps which you have given, it has worked good till now and would be hoping the same status till the end.Thanks a lot bella for giving such
    wonderful and useful posts.


  23. Sankar_1 says:

    Hi All,

    I have one list in that whenever i add a new item i am getting an error message.

    An unexpected error has occurred.

    Troubleshoot issues with Microsoft SharePoint Foundation.

    Correlation ID: ad859c7e-d4ff-47c7-a1d8-ea49a29ad68a

    Pl help me out.


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