5 minutes reading time (922 words)

Less than 5 mins to change the design of the search module

Less than 5 mins to change the design of the search module


"Joomla is complicated", "Joomla is for tech guys", "Joomla isn't user friendly", etc. are the most common (unfair) critics I read the most about this awesome CMS. 

In fact, Joomla is exactly like any other topic: cooking, astrophysic, woodcraft, scuba diving, etc. It's complicated as long you don't take time to learn and to train about a minimum.

But if you take few minutes to dive into Joomla, you'll definitly learn something new, something useful, and you will probably also change your mind.

And because I'm sure I'm right, I bet you'll learn to change the design of the Joomla search module in less than 5 minutes. Yes, less than 5 minutes!

Who is this tutorial for?

This tutorial is primarily for Joomla beginner users because newcomers need easy examples to learn, to understand, and to progress.

So yes, the explanations will be basic for advanced users, but I think it's worth reading it anyway.

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that everybody can learn and improve their Joomla skills very easily. You only need willingness, and 5 minutes!

What are you going to do with this tutorial?

In this tutorial, you'll learn to change the frontend display of the default Joomla search module.

And no need to take a deep breath, no need to have a computer PhD and no need to worry, you won't break anything.

By default, the Joomla search module (mod_finder) looks like this:

Search module by default

Thanks to this tutorial, your search module will look like that:

Search module modified

What do you need to follow this tutorial?

Joomla 5 installed on a server (local or distant) 5 minutes free time and because Joomla 5 is powered by Bootstrap 5, it might be useful to add the documentation of this framework to the bookmarks of your browser: https://getbootstrap.com/docs/5.2/getting-started/introduction/

Ready? Let's start!

1. - Open your Joomla admin panel

Login form Joomla backend

1.1 - Follow: System > Templates > Site Templates

Site templates access

1.2 - Click on your template's name to access to its files

Open your template files

1.3 - Click on the "Create Overrides" tab to open it

Create overrides tab

1.4 - Click on "mod_finder in the module list to create the override

mod_finder module


2. Edit the code of the override

2.1 - Click on: HTML > mod_finder > default.php

mod_finder default.php file

2.2 - In the text editor on the right of your screen, locate line 22 and replace:

class="js-finder-search-query form-control"


class="fs-6 border border-end-0 border-start-0 border-top-0 js-finder-search-query form-control"


2.3 - Locate line 35 and replace:

$output .= '<button class="btn btn-primary" type="submit"><span class="icon-search icon-white" aria-hidden="true"></span> ' . Text::_('JSEARCH_FILTER_SUBMIT') . '</button>';


$output .= '<span class="icon-search mt-3 ms-2" aria-hidden="true"></span>';


2.4 - Click on the "Save and close" button once you've done

3. Add a new CSS rule in the "user.css" file.

If you already have created a "user.css" or a "custom.css" file in your template, you can jump to step 3.4

3.1 - Click on the button "New file"

New file button

3.2 - In the tree displayed on the left, scroll down to "/media/templates/site/YOURTEMPLATE" and click on the "CSS" folder

CSS folder

3.3 - Fill the following fields and hit the "Create" button once it's done:

File name

3.4 - Add the following CSS rule in your "user.css" or "custom.css" file:

.mod-finder__search.input-group .awesomplete input{border-radius: 0;}


with this CSS rule, we remove the border radius at the bottom left of the search field.

3.5 - Click on the "Save and close" button once you're done

4. Create a new "Search" module

4.1 - From the admin panel, click on "+" next to "Modules"

Create a new module in Joomla

4.2 - In the list of modules, click on "+" next to "Smart Search"

Smart search module creation

4.3 - Configure your module settings according to your needs.

4.4 - Select your override in the module layout options in the "advanced" tab.

Module layout dropdown

4.5 - Click on the "Save and close" button once you've done.

5. Take a look at your frontend

Yeah, the design of your new search module is nice, clean and elegant!

Congrats, you did it and in less than 5 minutes as expected!

Best practices to create overrides like a Boss

with this kind of minimalist design, I would suggest to display your search module on a template position with a light background. instead of overriding the "default.php" file, you could create a copy and rename this copy. This way, you keep the "default.php" file as a model and you could create as many overrides of the same module as you need. if needed, use the "-" in the name of your overrides. With the "_", your override will not be available in the module layout dropdown. as much as possible, use the Bootstrap classes (or the CSS classes of the framework of your template) in your overrides to save time and performances. if your override isn't applied on frontend, check if you've selected it in the module layout options in the "advanced" tab. you don't need to learn code to create overrides, but knowing how to read code might help a bit. finally the best advice about overrides is simple: test, test and test again. You'll not fail, you'll learn how to.


As promised, it wasn't very complicated but the most important point is you've learnt new skills about Joomla and you can be proud of yourself!

There are tons of search bars designs on Internet. Find the one you love and following this example, create your own override.

If you like this kind of tutorials, let me know in the comments what Joomla core module you would like me to take as example, next month!

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Saturday, 20 July 2024

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