You may already know that you can create filters your customers can use to shop for specific criteria, like price or brand, (see our Search Refinement article). But did you know that you can also create your own custom filter categories, often referred to as Category Filters?

With Category Filters, you can create a level of search functionality specific to your requirements.

Getting Started

To create a custom filter, you need activate the Search Refinement settings, then create categories and subcategories that will function as the search criteria. Here is a video walking through the process.

Activating Search Refinement

From your site's Admin Dashboard, go to Settings > Config Variables in the main menu.

Click the Search button, and in the Name field, enter for the word "search". Click the blue Search button at he top right of the page.

The following Config Variables control the Filter Category Function:

Enable Search Refinement- This activates both Filter Categories and Search Refinement for the entire site. It should be checked.

Enable Search Refinement on Category Pages- Activates Search Refinement and Filter Categories on Category Pages, specifically. It should be checked.

Enable Search Refinement Result Count On Category Pages- Shows a number count next to each product type in the Filter dropdown. Optional, but checking it is recommended.

Hide "By Manufacturer" Filter in Search Refinements and Hide "By Price" Filter in Search Refinements- Both are typically used for Search Refinement, rather that Filter Categories. Optional, but if you are not using Search Refinement, checking is recommended.

Show Search Refinement As Dropdowns- Creates a dropdown menu at the top left of a Category showing Filter Results. Optional, but this is the best way to display the results, Checking is recommended.

Manually Code Search Refinement In Template- Allows Search Refinement and Filter Categories to be created manually in the store's Template file using HTML. Leave unchecked.

Click the blue Save button at he top right of the page.

Creating Custom Filter Categories

From your store's Admin Dashboard, go to Inventory > Categories on the main menu.

Click the blue Add Menu Item button at the top right of the Category Page.

Enter a name for your custom filter category in the Category Name field (for example, "Dishes").

From the Show in Menu menu, select an inactive navigation menu (that is, Not Used).

Under Advanced Settings in the Misc tab, select the Filter Category check box by checking it.

Click the blue Save button at the top right of the page.

Creating Filter Subcategories

From your store's Admin Dashboard, go to Inventory > Categories on the main menu.

Click the blue Add Menu Item button at the top right of the Category Page.

Enter a name for your custom filter subcategory in the Category Name field (for example, "Bowls").

Select the custom filter category you created above (Dishes) from the Subcategory Of

menu.

By creating this category as a Subcategory of your Filter Category, you are ensuring that any product assigned to this subcategory will show in the Filter Category dropdown.

Click the blue Save button at the top right of the page.

Repeat these steps to create as many filter subcategories as you need.

Viewing Filter Categories/Subcategories

Your Filter Category and it's associated Subcategories will not be visible on your site's standard Category Page. To view these Categories, click the Show Hidden Categories and Menus link at the bottom of the Category Display.

Assigning Products to the Filter

You can assign products to these subcategories as you would with any other category.

From your site's Admin Dashboard, choose Inventory > Products from the main menu.

From the Product List Page, click your the Product Code for your product and scroll down to the Category section.

Click the Edit Categories link and add your Product to it's specific filter subcategory. In this instance, we added the Soup Bowl to the Bowls subcategory of the Dishes filter category. Make sure your product still stay assigned to its original category, so it remains visible on the store's frontend.

Click the blue Save button at the top right of the Page.

Repeat this action for all the products you wish to have available in the filter, placing each one in its specific subcategory.

Final Steps

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.

⚠️Good To Know

Filter Not Displaying in Dropdown Menu

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

A filter option will not appear unless selecting it will change the current set of products displayed.

Child Products & Custom Filters

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.

Resource Intensive

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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