XF 1.3 Searching a category - including sub-forums from the quick search box


Well-known member
In vB, our users were able to go to a category forum that had a bunch of sub-forums and do a "search this forum" from that page and it would search all sub-forums automatically. There is a lot of confusion because they cannot do that now in XF. We have an "Articles Archive" category with several forums under that category and the typical user behavior is to click on the category and do a quick search from that page, with the expectation that all of the forums under that category will be searched, which obviously they aren't in XF. It's causing mass confusion, and for good reason.

Is there a way to modify the search form to force it to search the forums under that category? Maybe add in some hidden fields somehow? I can't really expect users to just accept that it works differently and expect them to use the Advanced Search page when it was so easy to use before. I need to try and make it work as easily as it did before.


Well-known member
Why not?
XenForo is not vBulletin.

If you want it to mimic vBulletin then it will require custom development.
I realize there would have to be some customization to make this work like vB, which is why I posted in this forum and not the Support forum. I also didn't ask why this functionality isn't the same, as I know that XF is not vB.

I understand XF is not vB and that they are different, and I've been trying to push our users to change behavior on certain things - but it's hardly easy to ask users to change their habits, especially when the majority of the sites out there still use vB, which they are comfortable and familiar with. Users don't care if XF is not vB - to them, if something you've used regularly doesn't function the same or you have to click a few extra times to achieve the same thing it's annoying, and understandably so. I can try to explain all the benefits to them until I'm blue in the face. They get confused when something that was once simple to do doesn't work anymore, like clicking to a forum category page and trying to search all forums under that category. To them it just seems like this new software that was forced upon this is not as good or is broken.

Though I understand the reaction Brogan, as I'm sure you get bombarded with all of the same statements from site admins that are coming over from vB (and other forum scripts), and I'm sure it's exhausting. I try to look at things from your guys' point of view here too. I guess I'm just a little surprised at the belief that it's not a big deal for us to expect our users to change their behavior and expectations so easily. XF is not vB, and in some ways I'm happy about that. But at the same time, XF by nature, is targeting customers who, for well over a decade, have become used to managing forums that work a certain way. It should be expected that admins coming from vB will want certain things to function a certain way to appease their users. We have to keep our users happy. I feel I've tried hard to look at XF objectively. But as a site admin, I also realize that I cannot just expect our site users to do the same. It's just not realistic. I'm forced to try and mimic vB in some ways when XF doesn't function the same. I took a calculated risk moving over to XF knowing that I'd run into situations like this. And in many situations I've been able to solve these types of problems. Some are not solved.

I guess all I'm saying in this long winded post is that having a stand-offish attitude (maybe I'm just taking it wrong) when a thread like this is posted doesn't make a lot of sense. XF is not vB, and it's clear it's meant to be different from vB in many ways. But a good chunk of XF customers will be coming from vB, so these threads will never go away, especially if you're able to get more of the massive number of 3.8 admins out there to migrate over. Questioning why I expect my users to not change their behavior on our 13-year old forum site that has run one script consistently for that whole time seems strange.


Well-known member
If this thread fits better in another forum, feel free to move it.

If anyone can chime in on how to effectively change the search bar functionality so that if you have a category page loaded and perform a search in the search bar it automatically searches all forums within that category, please do share how I would do this. Can it be achieved through template edits or would it require file edits or a plugin to be created? In my opinion that should be the default functionality, as it just seems intuitive. I might be biased having come from vB, where this is the default functionality but nevertheless, it's something I need to figure out how to do because my users expect it to work that way.