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Customize Help

The customize page allows you to control the look and feel of your search results. It also allows you to enable and disable some optional features.

Contents Easy Customization Upload template Customize Search page text Result page options Index feature options Site map Search feature This list on the right corresponds to each group of controls on the customize page of the Control Center. You can use those links to go directly to help on the item you are interested in.

In general, when you use an option link in the Control Center a "dialog" with controls will appear. After setting the control values you press and your changes will take effect, or you can abandon your changes by pressing

Some dialogs also have a button which you can use to preview your changes.

Easy Customization
The controls in this section allow you to conveniently change the look of your search results by using some easy-to-run dialogs. Often the look of you site can be matched quite closely. If you are looking for a more precise match, try uploading a template which allows you to "drop" the search results into a page of your design.

Note that you can use easy customization or you can use templates, but not both at the same time.

Change Background
Use this link to change the background of your search results. When the dialog appears you will have three options:
Use this background
This allows you to select one of the pre-existing backgrounds we have provided. To see them, use the "view gallery" button. To choose one, be sure that this radio button is checked then simply select the name of the desired background.
Use custom background
Use your own background image by specifying the URL of a JPG or GIF file. Note that you should specify the address of the image file itself, not the address of a page using the image file.
Use solid background
To use a solid color instead of an image, choose this option and select the color from the list. You can also specify the actual hex color value by entering it into the hex value field, like "#999999" (without the quotes).
Use this link to add a logo to the search results. Although FreeFind logos are available, their use is not required. When the dialog appears you will be able to select the logo to use and to position it in the results page.

To select the logo to use, choose from the two available options:

Use this logo
This allows you to choose one of the pre-existing logos we have provided. To see them, use the "view gallery" button. To choose one, be sure that this radio button is checked then simply select the name of the desired logo.
Use custom logo
Use your own logo image by specifying the URL of a JPG or GIF file. Note that you should specify the address of the image file itself, not the address of a page using the image file. In addition to the image file URL you will need to enter the size of the image in the provided fields.
To position the logo in the search results page, choose from the two available options:
Use this position
This allows you to align the logo as you choose: left, center, or right.
Use custom position
This allows you to position the logo a specific distance from the left page margin. Be sure that this radio button is checked then simply enter the pixel offset desired.
Position your results
Use this link to change layout of the results. This is used to ensure they have the correct position relative to the background and/or logo.

There are three options:

Pixels from left margin
Use this to move the results left and right. If you increase this number but the search results do not move to the right it means that the pixels width option (below) needs to be set to a larger value.
Align top of results with top of logo
Check this to have the logo and search results displayed side-by-side. Uncheck this to display the logo above the search results.
Pixels width
This determines the overall width of the search results, including the left margin.
Text color
Use this dialog to specify the color of text in the search results. You can vary the color of generic text, as well as the colors assigned to text links.

There are four options:

Text color
This is the color of non-link text. Choose the color from the list or specify the actual hex color value by entering it into the hex value field, like "#999999" (without the quotes).
Normal link
This is the color of an inactive link which has not been visited before. Choose the color from the list or specify the actual hex color value by entering it into the hex value field, like "#999999" (without the quotes).
Active link
This is the color of an active link. A link is active when the mouse is over it. Choose the color from the list or specify the actual hex color value by entering it into the hex value field, like "#999999" (without the quotes).
Visited link
This is the color of an inactive link which has been visited before. Choose the color from the list or specify the actual hex color value by entering it into the hex value field, like "#999999" (without the quotes).
Upload template

If you are a more advanced web designer and want to make the search results page match the rest of your site exactly, you can use a "template". This allows you to "drop" the search results into a page of your own design. If you are a beginner or are looking for something easier to use, try easy customization which allows you customize your search results using friendly "dialogs".

Note that you can use templates or you can use easy customization, but not both at the same time.

For more complete documentation on using templates, see Using Templates for the Best Look.

Upload custom template
This dialog allows you to set the template to be used for your account or to stop using a templates altogether.

After you have created your template, enter the name of the template file in the dialog's field then use the button to get an idea of how the search results will look. When you are satisfied, use the button to start using the new template, or press to leave things unchanged.

Note: The template filename is not a web address! It is the location of the template file on your local computer's hard drive.

If you want to stop using templates, press the button.

Customize search page text
Certain text strings in the search result pages may be customized, including the title of search result pages and the result headlines. These customizations are applicable even when templates are used.
Edit site search text
This dialog allows you to set site search headlines and site search page titles.

There are two types of site search pages:

Query page
This is the page you get if you have are using a simple text link for searching. It contains a simple search panel in which the user enters the search keywords.
Search results page
This is the actual page of search results.
Each type of page has two text strings you can change:
Title
This is simply the page title.
Headline
This is a headline displayed near the top of the page in small bold letters.
Edit web search text
This dialog allows you to set web search headlines and web search page titles.

There are two types of web search pages:

Query page
This is the page you get if you have are using a simple text link for searching. It contains a simple search panel in which the user enters the search keywords.
Search results page
This is the actual page of search results.
Each type of page has two text strings you can change:
Title
This is simply the page title.
Headline
This is a headline displayed near the top of the page in small bold letters.
Link back text
This dialog allows you to configure a link in the search results page which leads back to your home page.

Like any text link, there are two elements:

Text on results page
This is the link text that is displayed to the visitor. It is commonly set to "home" (without the quotes).
URL text is linked to
This is the address of your home page. Be sure to start this address "https://..." or "http://...".
The search results page normally contains a "search tips" link that is displayed at the upper right of the search results. By default this link opens a window containing search tips written by the FreeFind staff. These tips describe the operation of the search engine, how to use wildcards, search phrases, and perform boolean search operations.

Web designers who wish to replace the standard search tips window with their own search tips can do so using this dialog.

Once you have created your own search tips page and put it on your website you can use the controls below to link to it.

Use standard search tips
Select this radio button if you would like to use the standard search tips written by the FreeFind staff.
Specify custom search tips
Select this button if you would like to use your own search tips that you have on your website.
Search tips text
Enter the text the user will click on to get help (i.e. "search tips" or "search help").
Search tips url
Enter the URL of the help page that you have created and placed on your website. (Something like https://www.example.com/tips.html)
Result page options
In response to a user's search the search engine produces one or more pages of search results. Use the Result page options to alter the standard result page according to your needs.
Result item format
A result page is made up of one or more result items (by default up to ten result items are shown per page). Use this dialog to change the look and content of each item. Advanced users can also specify a custom item format using a specially formatted snippet of HTML.

Standard settings include:

Numbering
By default each result item is numbered (first result is 1, second result 2, etc.). You can use the numbering control to turn this off if you choose by selecting "no" in the dropdown menu.
Result title
By default the title of the page is used as the result item's title. If the page has no <title> tag, the URL of the page is used as the result item title. Using the Result title control you can elect to use the URL as the title of the page at all times by selecting "url" in the dropdown menu.
Description
Normally each result item includes a bit of text from the page that it refers to. If the user's search terms are found in the available text these terms are shown in context and highlighted in bold. Using this dropdown menu you can select the length of the text to be shown (or show no text at all).
Show url
Each result item typically shows the URL of the page it refers to. You can choose not to show the URL by setting this dropdown menu to "no".
Show date
If your website supports document dates you can show the document's last modified date along with each result item. Note that you should read the date info before choosing to show document dates. This is because some websites do not support dates so you need to check to see if yours does before you use this feature.
Time zone
Your server sends us the document's last modified date using GMT time zone. If you are showing document dates on your website you may choose to have the document date displayed in a time zone other than GMT by using this dropdown menu.
Date format
We recommend using international format dates (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss) as this format in non-ambiguous. However, you can also choose from a selection of other date formats using the dropdown menu.

Advanced Settings include:

Item format
The search engine normally creates your result items using a standard format. Advanced users who are comfortable working with HTML can create a custom format for the result items. See the custom item format documentation for details on creating custom formats.
Use table
By default result items are not placed in a table and this works well for most websites. However, web site designers with special needs may elect to enclose their result items in an HTML table. Enclosing results in a table enables the web designer to show more than one result per row.
columns
This specifies how many cells will be in each row of the HTML table.
table attributes
Attributes you would like added to the HTML <table> tag. For example: width="100%" or border=1 etc...
tr attributes
Attributes you would like added to the HTML <tr> tag. For example: class="resultrow"
td attributes
Attributes you would like added to the HTML <td> tag. For example: bgcolor=red or align=right
Image sources
This option allows you to specify which images on your site to include in the search results. There are three general ways of doing this:
HTML tags
While indexing each page, the search engine can look for a special tag and, when found, associate the image specified in that tag with the page.
IMG pattern
While indexing each page, the search engine can look at a page's IMG tags, trying to find one whose URL matches a provided pattern. If a match is found, that image is associated with the page.
URL pattern
You can specify an image to be used when a page's URL matches a given pattern. This is useful, for example, for providing a PDF image for any file ending with ".PDF".

For more details, see How to Use Images.

Image placement
This options controls where images are placed in the search results. There are a variety of layouts available. As you use the drop-down menu to choose image placement type, the graphic will be updated with a reprentation of the chosen layout.
Results per page
This dialog allows you to choose the maximum number of result items shown per page. By default the search engine shows up to 10 result items per page. Using the dropdown menu you can select between 1 and 25 results per page.
Result ordering
Normally the search results are ordered with the most relevant results first. You can alter this ordering using the controls in this dialog.

Be sure to read the date info prior to changing these settings.

Two controls are available:

Sort results
When a search is done the results can be sorted either by relevance or by date. Relevance sorting shows the most relevant documents first. Date sorting shows the most recent documents first. Select the appropriate radio button for your choice of sorting method.
User controls
If your site supports document dates you can enable the user to switch between date sorting and relevance sorting by showing the sorting controls on the search results page. Check this checkbox to show these controls (currently available in English only).
Index feature options

This section controls the generated index. The index are a set of pages that list all of the words that occur on your site.

Set index options

This option allows you to enable the set of index pages for your site. The available options are:

index on, linked from results pages
The index pages will be available and there will be a link from all search results pages to the index.
index on, not linked from results pages
The index pages will be available but there will not be any link to it.
index off
The index pages will not be available.
Site map
Use the dialogs in this area to customize your site map, including turning it off or on, and changing the level of detail it shows. After changing your site map settings you will need to respider your site in order to see the changes. Note that the site map is an overview. It typically does not show all the pages that were indexed.
Set map type
This dialog allows you to set which types of site maps are available to your visitors. It also allows you to turn off the site maps altogether.

There are two sections:

Map Types
Check which site maps you want your visitors to be able to view. Typically the "outline" format is most useful. Note: to turn off the site maps completely, uncheck all three types of site map types.
Default map
Select your preferred site map type. This is the one that will be displayed by default.
Edit site map text
This dialog allows you to set the site map headline and page title:
Title of the site map page
This is simply the page title.
Headline of the site map page
This is a headline displayed near the top of the page in small bold letters.
Select separator
This dialog allows you to set the look of a visual separator that separates areas of the site map. You can choose the separator type and color.
Separator type
There are two types of separators available. The "horizontal line":

and the "colored bar":
 
Choose the type of separator you like.
Separator color
This is the color of the "colored bar" type of separator. Choose the color from the list or specify the actual hex color value by entering it into the hex value field, like "#999999" (without the quotes).
Map depth and format
This dialog allows you change the size of your site map and the number of columns the "table" type of site map uses.
Map depth
This controls the level of detail displayed in the site map. Larger numbers result in "deeper" areas of your site being mapped. Use the value "0" to allow the site map code to make it's own decision as to the level of detail appropriate for your site. Note that there is an absolute limit on the site map size. Usually entering a value of "9" is enough to get this "maximum sized" site map.
Columns wide
This is the number of columns used in the "table" site map.
Search feature
Use the dialogs here to enable or disable search features available in the result pages.
Web search
This dialog allows you enable or disable web searching in the site search results. Check (or uncheck) the "enable web searching..." box to choose which you prefer.
Site map search option
This dialog allows you enable or disable searching from the site map. Check (or uncheck) the "disable search..." box to choose which you prefer.
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