Stage 16: Add a Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part to a publishing site

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

In the previous blog post, I showed you how to add refiners for faceted navigation to a publishing site.  By using category-specific refiners, visitors can easily find the product they are looking for. However, visitors can't easily see the different subcategories within a particular category.

In this blog post we'll learn:


Start stage 16

Throughout this series, whenever I have introduced a new feature, I have started by explaining the feature, and then showed you how to configure it. In this post I will flip the sequence, as it will be easier to explain what’s going on by using screenshots of the Web Part.

How to add a Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part to a page

Browse to the page where you want to add the Web Part. In our scenario, let's browse to "Cameras".

  1. Click the Settings menu, and then click Edit Page.
  2. In the Web Part Zone where you want to add the Web Part, click Add a Web Part.
  3. In the Categories list, click Search.
  4. In the Parts list, click Taxonomy Refinement Panel, and then click Add.
  5. Save the page.

That’s all there is to it! Without having to do any configuration, the sub-categories under "Cameras" are displayed. Also notice that refiner counts are automatically displayed.

Taxonomy Refinement Panel added

If we browse to "Audio", the Audio subcategories are displayed with counts.

Taxonomy Refinement Panel on Audio page

Now let me explain how these sub-categories are able to "magically" appear.
About the Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part

Let's start with a definition of this Web Part: The Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part filters search results from an associated Search Web Part, which show refiners based on the current navigation term.
For example, in our case the Web Part showed the sub-categories of “Audio” and sub-categories of “Computer”.

For the Taxonomy Refinement Web Part to work correctly, there are two conditions that have to be taken into account:

  1. The Taxonomy Refinement Web Part must be associated with another Search Web Part on the page that it is added to.
  2. The Taxonomy Refinement Web Part must be associated with the managed property that represents the managed navigation of the site.

At this point in the series, you probably understood this, but just in case you didn’t, let me explain it in the context of our Contoso scenario.

Let's start with the first condition.

Unlike the Content Search Web Part, the Taxonomy Refinement Web Part doesn’t contain a query. Because it doesn't query for content, it needs to receive search results from elsewhere to display content.

In the screenshot below, the Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part is shown in the default edit mode. In the Web Part Tool Pane, in the Query section, Refinement Target is set to Content Search - Default.

Refinement Target in Web Part

This configuration means that search results returned by the Content Search Web Part will be used as input by the Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part.

Check it out: first condition accomplished!

Now for the second condition: The Taxonomy Refinement Web Part must be associated with the managed property that represents the managed navigation of the site.

Remember that:

  • Managed navigation is site navigation as defined by a term set.
  • The term set is mapped to a site column.
  • During crawl, the site column is represented as a managed property.

In the Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part tool pane, in the Query section, Refiner is set to owstaxIdProductCatalogItemCategory.

Refiner configuration in Refinement Panel

Explaining owstaxIdProductCatalogItemCategory requires a bit of back-tracking, but try to bear with me on this.  Here we go:

Check it out, second condition accomplished!

So, let's summarize:

  1. A visitor browses to "Cameras".
  2. The CSWP on the category page automatically issues a query for catalog items that are tagged with "Cameras" or any children of "Cameras", and displays this in the Web Part.
  3. The Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part uses the search result from the CSWP.  Instead of displaying individual catalog items, it displays the categories to which the search results belong as refiner values, for example "Digital cameras" or "Camcorders."

So that’s pretty cool, but what makes the Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part even cooler, is that it accounts for previous queries or refinements that a visitor might have made when showing its refiners.

For example, on our Contoso site, if a visitor browses to "Cameras" and selects Fabrikam as the BRAND refiner, the Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part takes this refiner selection into account when displaying its refiner values.

Refiner values for Fabrikam

To visitors, this makes browsing for products really convenient, because they can immediately see which sub-categories have Fabrikam camera products, without having to click back and forth.


So, that was all for this series.
If you are setting up your own site, I hope you will make good use of some of the features I have described.

Comments (67)

  1. Anonymous says:

    I'm working on a site that's on SharePoint 2010. The Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part is not available in the list of web parts, so I can't add it to my page. Is it not available in 2010?

  2. Great! Can I translate this series and put it into my personal blog?

  3. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Raj,

    Thanks for the feedback 🙂  Glad you like the series.


  4. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Aravind,

    I have not tried to add ratings or discussions to an item, but I assume that you would have to create custom controls for that.


  5. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi SamoIPP,

    It’s difficult to say what your particular issue could be.

    From my understanding, you want to use the Taxonomy Refinement Web Part in a Search Center. If so, remember that the Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part uses information from the managed property that drives managed navigation (the second condition that I talk about in this blog). Have you set up your Search Center so that the Web Part can get this information?


  6. Do you have the TOC for this series of articles?

  7. Iseesharp says:

    Hello Bella, thank you so much for this excellent Blog! I really enjoyed reading it. Best Blog by far regarding such a complex matter! Great work!

  8. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi dplotnikov,

    Apologies for the delayed answer.

    Yes, you can translate the series and post it on your blog, but please provide the following attribution:

    Written by Bella Engen, © 2013 Microsoft Corporation.



  9. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Ben,

    Thanks for the feedback 🙂


  10. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Andriy,

    I don’t quite understand what type of Web Part you are looking for.  However, you can narrow the query in a Content Search Web Part to use custom scopes. For more info, see…/jj679900.aspx

    Hope this helps.


  11. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Jona,

    From your description, it sounds as if your managed property, owstaxidTopic, is not set to Refinable. If this is the case, you should set owstaxidTopic as Refinable and then re-crawl. Hopefully this will fix your issue.


  12. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Przemek,

    Thanks for the feedback 🙂


  13. Bella_Engen says:


    The Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part is not available in SharePoint 2010.


  14. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Gary,

    Thanks for the feedback 🙂


  15. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Rob,

    Glad to hear that you found the tutorial useful 🙂

    As you mention, cross-site publishing can be an excellent solution for an intranet portal, however at the moment, there are no plans to write additional articles that would cover this particular use case.


  16. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Eoin,

    Glad you find the series helpful 🙂

    About your issue. I tested it on two separate Office 365 E3 sites, and the refiners showed up nicely on both sites. I know that in rare cases the refiners are displayed as you describe, but I would suggest that you try again with another RefinableString managed property.

    Hope this helps, and good luck!


  17. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi rick,

    Glad you like the series.

    The display templates are not available for download.


  18. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Navaneetha,

    Thanks for the feedback. Glad you like the series 🙂


  19. Bhanu Prasad Chintha says:

    The tutorials are very clear and easily understandable. Thanks a lot for taking out your time in posting this useful information.

  20. Hi Bella,

    I'll write what you ask, and also I'll add the link of the original blog post.

    Thanks a lot!

  21. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Mark,

    Please contact MS Support with your issue.


  22. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Per,

    I’m sorry, but I don’t have any tips on how to solve your problem 🙁
    I suggest you contact Microsoft Support with your question.


  23. Bella_Engen says:

    Yes, you can use OR, AND.
    For more information, see this article:

  24. Its an awesome tutorial. All posts are clean and neatly posted. Thanks bella for awesome tutorial.

    Looking forward more tutorials from you 🙂

  25. Ben McMann says:

    This is the best blog series I have ever seen from a Microsoft employee in regards to creating a solution with SharePoint.  Terrific work Bella.

  26. Gary Zhu says:

    I second Ben. Though said many times by many people, I still want to say THANKS BELLA!

  27. przemek says:

    Hi Bella, I was looking very long time a features which will help me to create a portal for different articles based on SharePoint 2013. The biggest challenge was to have taxonomy categories on the left panel and dynamic content results. My idol page is where the content is changing automatically.

    You're the best, I wish to work with people like you.

  28. Rick says:

    Hi, great series. Are the display templates used in this demo available for download somewhere?


  29. Andriy_z says:


    my name is Andriy,

    i have one questions,

    i need to create dropdown web part on the publishing web site

    with search scopes categories, something like pages from only top menu(custom scope) .

    Maybe you can help me ?



  30. Mister Rob says:

    One of the best written, most useful tutorials I've red in a long time! I would be curious to see how a company intranet portal could use something like this from other department site collections to roll up targeted info to a single publishing portal. I'm thinking of documents, pages, and other assets, assuming they are all tagged or at least has defined term sets. Perhaps additional articles describing intranet use cases would be something you might consider. Thanks again for the tutorial. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  31. Awesome Work says:

    Hi Bella

    These are one of the best blogs I have ever read in my entire life. Just fantastic work.

    Good Luck & Thanks


  32. Eoin McMahon says:

    Hi Bella, firstly thanks for the great series it's been a great help.

    I am using Office 365 E3 and have managed to get my managed metadata column setup so it can be used as a refiner in search results by mapping a crawled property to an existing managed column RefinableString00. I have added the RefinableString00 as refiner value in the refinement panel and when I now run a search it works correctly apart from the text that is displayed for each item in the refinement panel. It seems to list out the values using some kind of internal name. I expect the following refiners to be shown:




    But I get the following:


    -LO|f#Of8abb9b9-a8f7-46dd -bebf-7504589ee05611|Invoice


    Do you know why this would be the case?



  33. Juanjo Sevillano says:

    Impresionante!!! good work!!!

  34. Subash says:

    Very Useful and great …. Posts

  35. JEAT says:

    This series shows precise and clear thinking. The language reflects these qualities. It makes reading this series a treat. I'm a one-woman shop. I was going to buy a Business 365 subscription. I'm going Enterprise now as a result of this. I don't even know if I will ever need this product-centric capability. Bella, however, has convinced me there are smart people at MS who have thought about 'what if I did'. MS has obviously upped its hiring game. Who knew there were people at Microsoft who could speak and write English instead of technolese.

    One small suggestion: on page one you gave a visual example of what the end product would look like. In future, could you include a visual of what it would look like without the new capability?

  36. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi JEAT,

    Wow! I am extremely flattered by your comment. Thank you 🙂 But I really can’t take all the credit. I had a lot of help from other, non-technolese speaking Microsoft colleagues.

    You mention that you were looking into buying a Business 365 subscription. I don't know what your requirements are, but in case you didn’t know, many of the features that I describe in this blog series are now available in SharePoint Online. For more information, see…/search-driven-publishing-features-are-now-available-in-sharepoint-online.aspx.

    Also, I will keep your suggestion regarding the visual example in mind for future blogs.


  37. Nir says:

    Hi Bella

    Very nice and clean post. helped me a lot for planning.

    Any chance to get the mater page and css + display template and page layouts? Thanks Nir

  38. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Nir,

    No, the design files are not available.


  39. thomas says:

    Hi Bella,

    a real cool tutorial, thank you very much. I have a library with a Content type. this Content type has three columns: capacity (number), stars (choice) and Country/City (Managed metadata). the Field Country/City is a term set with two hierarchy Levels (coutry and city. example: Germany / Berlin, Munich…, or USA / LA, New York…). What i now try to solve is a search Center where i could search for a specific keyword, and then have on the left side a refinemant Panel for each of the fields. my Problem there is the managed metadata field, i wish i have there one refiner for the countries and one addtional for the cities. is there any way to accomplish this ? ist no product catalog site, just a Standard teamsite with library

  40. Bella_Engen says:

    Hi Thomas,

    As far as I know, the Refiner Web Part that you use on a Search center will not be able to do what you’re trying to accomplish.

    I can try to find out some more, but since I’ll soon be out for the Holidays, I will not be able to do that until beginning of next year.


  41. Nora says:

    Hello Bella, Thank you so much for this excellent blog !! It is easy to understand, clear and very informative! It's really great to find answers to all my questions in one place and more.

  42. HARISH says:

    Hi Bella,

    This is one of the best posts that is neatly explained with screenshots and in detail.

    Keep up the good work!!


  43. Harry says:

    This is the best series of posts I have ever seen online. Awesome!! Keep up the best work!!

  44. SaMolPP says:

    Hi Bella,
    thanks for the article.
    even after successfull crawling i am unable to see the refiner value. i have created a mytaxonomy column in my entreprise search center site collection as a site column and done the managed metadata navigation settings.
    can you psl tell where i am missing! i have a another site collection -which is a team site – not a publishing portal. where i need to perform search !


  45. I'm struck at two places.

    In Item template, I'm able to read and show the cross site list items.

    Is it possible to update the items from content search webpart?

    If so, Please help me with two below items.

    1. How to update the ratings of an item?
    2. How to add a discussion around an item?


  46. Guilherme Carvalho says:

    Amazing Series of posts! Thank you!

  47. Marc McVey says:

    Bella, This is excellent. I really DID enjoy the series I was able to follow this tutorial and get a product catalog and publishing site up and running and connected. I am very happy with the results. Do you have any suggestions on tutorials regarding how to leverage it by putting together orders with items from the catalog? It should be noted that, I haven't combed through all the comments on each section, so I am uncertain if the question has been asked already.

  48. Alen Austin says:

    Bella such a wonderful series 🙂 really enjoyed it now will implement and get back to you if any doubt comes up

  49. Darwin Leung says:

    The most complete series about catalogs and cross site publishing ! I enjoyed it and will refer to your blog if anyone has questions about this. Keep up the good work.

  50. Viktor Andreev says:

    Impressive! Thanks from Russia! You are the best 🙂

  51. Vivek S Bhat says:

    Hi Bella, in the beginning of this Blog series you have mentioned some of the features used in this blog series are not available on O365. Is it still the case or it is possible to make it work on O365 environment now?

  52. Jona L Titus says:

    We've set up a system very similar to your cross-site publishing example. We've also connected the catalog. We do have a search webpart on the page that is correctly displaying the items from the catalog. When we add the Taxonomy Refinement Panel Web Part
    we receive an "Invalid refiner: owstaxidTopic" error in the area below the Refiner drop down list. The Refiner drop down list displays owstaxidTopic. owstaxidTopic is the managed metadata field we used for the column that categorizes items for navigation.

  53. SP George says:

    The best series I've seen. 🙂 Keep it up!

  54. Sreenu Vadluri says:

    Hi Bella,

    One of the best article I have seen in TechNet blogs, you explained very well.
    Thank you very much Bella.

  55. Tom Ford says:

    Brilliant! Simply awesome, really. Very well put together! A complicated process explained so well with such a deep understanding of the concept it makes it simple.

  56. Girija Sundararajan says:

    Very well explained. Unlike other articles this is complete with a business requirement around the post. Keep up the good work. One of the best articles to come across on SharePoint 2013 and from Microsoft.

  57. Mark says:

    I cannot find Taxonomy Refinement Panel web part on my SP2013 on-premise standard. I can only find 4 web parts under "Search" category. Do you know why?

  58. Per says:

    Hi! Thanks for the nice tutorial. We have integrated this refinement panel, but have problems when using Internet Explorer from our internal net (infrastructure). This panel is not showing. It's working in IE outside on other network-infrastructure, and
    also in Firefox, Chrome etc. Any tips why this don't shop up in IE internal?

  59. Anoop C Nair says:

    Awesome, I did not know that this kind of functionality is possible OOB with SP 🙂

  60. Hello Bella says:

    Excellent series of articles. Is there a way I can query with Boolean operations (OR, AND) in Search Web Part?

  61. Denny Davis says:

    Awesome blog series Bella. The best I have ever seen. Looking forward towards more articles from you.

Skip to main content