Does anyone have experience in showing search results in a treeview (thus filtering the treeview)? I know it's not best UX practice, but I am designing a program in which I may have to implement this solution.

  • @ido: Do you mean "display search results from a treeview"?
    – JohnGB
    Sep 22, 2011 at 16:06

5 Answers 5


Visual Studio 11 has a function to search for symbols in the Solution Explorer tree view:

Visual Studio 11: Search symbols in Solution Explorer

See Visual Studio 11 (Developer Preview) IDE Improvements.


I don’t think you fill find a example or at least a good one. The thing is that when u show results in a treeview (map structured) people still need to search (open and close levels).

A solution cloud be to categorize the results by type or in your case maps (so you still got the levels). Keep in mind that a good interface design is very important to still give a clear overview. One of the most simple examples is the mac spotlight:


If you decide to stick with the treeview it’s maybe a option to highlight your results. You show all of your data and just point out where they can find what they’re looking form. This only works if the data is limited, loads of data in a long list won’t work. A example is the search at the system preferences on mac:



Unfortunately, i am currently working for a project manager that insists on displaying the search results in the systems` entities treeview...

I cannot seem to persuade him differently (guess most of us have been there, right?) So i moved on to UX damage control mode.

I recognized 3 things that are important in the UI:

  1. indicating visually that the treeview is in "search results" mode
  2. summing for the user how much data is currently not shown, and where was it filtered
  3. creating an easy way to return to "full treeview".

I am still looking for a system that implemented this kind of solution...


I'm confused. You say:

...i am designing a program in which it can be a good solution.

If it's poor UX practice, how is it a good solution? I presume that your application is designed for people to use, so anything that makes it good but at the same time bad for people to use, is a bad solution.

Take some effort and think about what information you are trying to show and how it would make the most sense for people to see it. What would help the interface get out of the way so that people can work?


Jira has a "Portfolio" Feature which features search on a treeview (the searchbar filters the list on the bottom).

jira portfolio

I also found an example from tibico. Adobe XD and Apple's finder also search on treeviews but flatten the search, so that could also be an option.

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