Highlight query matches in EPiServer Find search results

This article was migrated from an older iteration of our website, and it could deviate in design and functionality.

Highlighted excerpts and titles in search results are used to visualize query matches, i.e. highlight text that matches the search keywords. This posts shows how to include these highlights in a basic search result.

Estimated read time : 3 minutes

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Create a view model for the search page (optional)

We create a basic view model that we will pass on to our search page to enable easy access to the search page itself as well as the search result:

public class SearchPageViewModel
    public SearchPage CurrentPage { get; set; }
    public UnifiedSearchResults SearchResult { get; set; }
    public string Keywords { get; set; }

    public SearchPageViewModel(SearchPage page, UnifiedSearchResults results, string keywords)
        CurrentPage = page;
        SearchResult = results;
        Keywords = keywords;

Specify highlight settings

For each search result hit we want a title and an excerpt where matching words have been highlighted. In order to achieve this we will pass a HitSpecification object to the GetResult method:

public class SearchPageController : PageController<SearchPage>
    public ActionResult Index(SearchPage currentPage, string q)
        UnifiedSearchResults searchResult = null;

        if (!string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(q))
            // Specify highlight settings
            var hitSpecification = new HitSpecification { HighlightExcerpt = true, HighlightTitle = true };

            // Search
            searchResult = SearchClient.Instance.UnifiedSearchFor(q).GetResult(hitSpecification);

        // Return the search result view
        return View(new SearchPageViewModel(currentPage, searchResult, q));

Render the search result

To display each search result item we’ll add the following to our search result view:

@if (Model.SearchResult != null)
    <div id="search-results">
        <p>Displaying the top @Model.SearchResult.Count() hits out of a total of @Model.SearchResult.TotalMatching matching your search for <em>@Model.Keywords</em>.</p>
        @foreach (UnifiedSearchHit result in Model.SearchResult)
            <a href="@result.Url">


Customize highlight styling

Each UnifiedSearchHit has an Excerpt and a Title property. These will contain HTML code where each highlight is an <em> element (this is why I use the Html.Raw() helper method to render them).

In order to customize the styling of each highlight we’ll add some CSS like this:

#search-results em
    background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.8);
    border-radius: 3px 3px 3px 3px;
    box-shadow: 0 1px #FFFFFF inset;

This gives us a search result view like the following: