The Search Refinement article shows you how to let your customers filter their searches by certain criteria like price or brand, but you can also create your own custom filter categories – often referred to as Assigned Filters.

With Assigned Filters, you can create a level of search functionality specific to your requirements. For example, if you sell DVDs, you could create custom filters for genre and rating.

Getting Started

To create a custom filter, you essentially need to create categories and subcategories that will function as the search criteria. For our example above, the first category would be Genre and its subcategories would be Drama, Action, Comedy, etc.

To get started:

  1. Go to Settings > Config Variables in your Admin Area.
  2. Select the Enable Search Refinement and Enable Search Refinement on Category Pages check boxes.
  3. If you want the filter to be displayed as a drop-down menu of values rather than a list, select the Show Search Refinement As Dropdowns check box as well (optional).
  4. Make sure Manually Code Search Refinement In Template is not selected.
  5. Select Hide "By Manufacturer" Filter In Search Refinements and Hide "By Price" Filter In Search Refinements if you don't want these to display in addition to your custom filter (optional).
  6. Click Save.

Now you need to create your custom filter categories:

  1. Go to Inventory > Categories and click Add.
  2. Enter a name for your custom filter category in the Category Name field (for example, "Genre").
  3. From the Show in Menu menu, select an inactive navigation menu (that is, Not Used).
  4. Under Advanced Settings in the Misc tab, select the Filter Category check box.
  5. Click Save.

Next, you need to create the categories that products can be filtered by:

  1. Go to Inventory > Categories and click Add.
  2. Enter a name for your custom filter subcategory in the Category Name field (for example, "Comedy").
  3. Select the custom filter category you created above (Genre) from the Subcategory Of menu.
  4. Click Save.

Repeat these steps to create as many filter subcategories as you need. You can assign products to these categories as you would with any other category.

When you're finished creating your custom filters, you need to go to Settings > Maintenance and click Rebuild next to Search Index. This will index your newly created filter category within your store and allow it to be correctly displayed in your storefront.

You should now have a custom filter that will appear at the top of appropriate categories, enabling you to filter the displayed products into further subcategories.

If a Filter isn’t Displaying in the Drop-down Menu

Filter categories will not appear in the Filter drop-down menu if all currently displayed products on the category or search results page are assigned to the filter category.

For example, if you’ve set up a filter for Romantic Comedies and a customer chooses the Comedy filter from the Genre menu, the Romantic Comedies filter will no longer appear in the drop-down menu because all the movies under this category are already displayed when they select Comedy. A filter option will not appear unless selecting it will change the current set of products displayed.

Notes

Child products cannot be marked as Hidden if you want them to appear in custom filters. They must also be assigned to both the category and filter subcategory, as they are not automatically assigned to the same category and filter subcategory as the parent.

When using the Search Refinement feature, keep in mind that the use of custom filters within your store can be resource intensive, particularly if you're using a large number of custom filters and/or custom filters with many subcategories. Resource requirements will vary depending on your Volusion store plan.

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