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I need to select what filter should appear for every category and sub category. the problem is that if I leave all the filters in the parent categories the website is too confusing to browse, also I have more than a filter with the same name in a single category. After a lot of unsuccesfull attempts I've found that using :

<reference name="catalog.leftnav">
</reference><action method="unsetChild"><alias>category_filter</alias>
</action>

in the custom design tab of every categories does the trick to remove the "category_filter" , so I would like to use it for removing other filters that I do not want.

This soultion could be perfect beacuse I have a complete control of what filter I wanted to show, and unset unwanted filters from viewing.

Unfortunately all the alias that I tried ( looking in the attribute menu and trying both 'attribute alias' and 'attribute alias_filter' ) are not working. there is a way to discover the correct alias? also, is this a correct way to do this?

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It is attribute code + '_filter' text. Like "price_filter" or "color_filter". See app\code\core\Mage\Catalog\Block\Layer\View.php:

 $this->setChild($attribute->getAttributeCode() . '_filter',
            $this->getLayout()->createBlock($filterBlockName)
                ->setLayer($this->getLayer())
                ->setAttributeModel($attribute)
                ->init()); 

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