In the Magento CE 1.9.2 demo store I've got installed, I'm using the responsive web design theme (3 column pages) and I'm trying to understand my options for having a search sidebar in either the left or right column that gives the customer the ability to search using some of my product attributes.

I've set the relevant product attributes up as searchable (Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attributes > Edit Product Attribute > Frontend Properties) but at the moment I can only see a couple of basic ways to use search functionality in Magento out-of-the-box. There is probably something really obvious I'm missing but all I see is the following two product search options in the frontend:

  • the simple search box in the top right hand corner of the home page
  • the advanced search page at mydomain.com/catalogsearch/advanced/

What's the right approach here - configure (e g. a search sidebar that comes with Magento that I just need to activate), build (something everyone designs and codes for themselves) or buy (a commercially available extension)?

I've googled it, I've looked through this site, I've tried searching for relevant extensions on the magento commerce site, I've looked through a couple of Magento books (they are pre-version 1.9 though, so not much use) all to no avail. I'm a Magento newbie - hopefully this question isn't too dumb but apologies if it is! I just can't figure this one out by myself... Thanks in advance for any help or pointers you can provide!

  • Have a look at the answer for the question raised here. It will give you some explanation too. stackoverflow.com/questions/18447515/….
    – Oshan
    Sep 13, 2015 at 9:15
  • Hi Oshan, thanks for your help however that link is to a different question and answer. I'm interested in searching using my product attributes (e.g. a couple of inputs for min / max price range, a checkbox for express delivery availability etc.) in the same way as the advanced search page does but in a sidebar. If you think of the Amazon search sidebar that does exactly this, that's the type of effect I'm trying to achieve although it doesn't need to be as polished as the Amazon search sidebar ;-) Thanks again for taking the time to respond.
    – Randall
    Sep 13, 2015 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


Have worked this out following some more experimentation. When you search using the simple search box and a relevant product is returned, the search refinement categories appear by default in the left hand column of the search results page.

This assumes product view pages have been set to 3 columns in local.xml file e.g.

<?xml version="1.0"?> 
      <reference name="root">
         <action method="setTemplate"><template>page/3columns.phtml</template></action>

The refinement categories are those where the Attributes "Use In Layered Navigation" properties are set to Filterable (with results) / Yes.

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