Smart Search is not enabled by default in Joomla 2.5. To start using Smart Search you will need to enable the Smart Search content plug-in, which can be done using the following procedure:
IMPORTANT NOTE Be aware that if you have content items that are not available for public view then the auto-completion feature will still show terms contained in those content items. The content items themselves cannot be viewed and will not be listed in search results, but if revealing the presence of a word or phrase in a restricted content item is of concern then you should disable auto-completion. To disable auto-completion use the following procedure:
For content to be displayed in search results it must first be indexed by one of the Smart Search plug-ins. Before starting the indexer, it is recommended that you review the available plug-ins and disable any that will not be necessary for your site. To review the available Smart Search plug-ins use the following procedure:
After you have reviewed the search plug-ins, it is time to start the Smart Search indexer. This will scan the content on your website and build an index that will enable fast and intelligent searching by your site visitors. To run the indexer use the following procedure:
Once the indexer has finished, closing the modal window will cause the Indexed Content screen in the background to refresh with an updated list of all the indexed content. If you would prefer that specific items not be displayed in search results, you can unpublish them from the Smart Search database by selecting the checkbox next to the title of the item and then pressing the Unpublish button. For more information on the Indexed Content screen see the Manage Indexed Content help screen.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If your site has a large amount of content, or particularly large content items, or has restricted disk space, you should read about Smart Search on large sites.
Now that the Smart Search index is prepared and ready, you need to expose Smart Search to your website's users. Smart Search offers two ways to do this:
Smart Search includes a module that can be enabled to display a simple search form on any page in virtually any position. To enable the Smart Search module use the following procedure:
Smart Search can also be linked to via a Joomla menu item so that users can navigate directly to the main search form. To create a menu item link to Smart Search use the following procedure:
To test Smart Search, navigate to one of the menu items you created and enter a query in the search form or enter a query into one of the instances of Smart Search module. You should be taken to a list of search results if any could be found for the word or phrase you entered. If no results could be found, a message will be displayed indicating that no results could be found. If no results could be found and the system has a search suggestion based on your term, the suggested search phrase will display above the message indicating no results could be found.
To finalize the switch to Smart Search, you should remove all instances of mod_search and all menu items linking to com_search. Smart Search does not interact with the old Joomla search system and exposing both systems may create a negative user experience by giving inconsistent and confusing search results.
If you have the old Joomla search still available then you will probably want to remove once you have Smart Search running correctly. To remove old Joomla search modules use the following procedure:
Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy way to remove all links to the old Joomla search system. To remove all the menu items to the old Joomla search system you will have to browse the menu items in each of your site's menus and manually remove the links. To make this process somewhat quicker, adjust the order of the table to list menu items by type in reverse alphabetical order. Now scroll down and look for links with type "Search >> Search". Delete those menu items by checking the checkbox to the left of the title and then pressing the Delete button in the Menu Manager toolbar.