We have offered an InstantSearch / InstantReply feature since the very first version of ATS released back in 2011. The concept is simple and powerful. As your client types the title of their ticket ATS will perform a search using that title, presenting the user with relevant results. Typically, this reduces the number of tickets submitted because clients are very likely to find an answer in public tickets, documentation etc on your site.

Older versions of ATS only supported searching for public tickets or articles in Akeeba DocImport. This was very limiting as many sites do not use public tickets and very few people are using DocBook XML, the requirement to use Akeeba DocImport.

Instead, ATS 5 and later uses either Joomla's Smart Search or a third party search engine. This allows you to show search results from many different data sources to best help your clients find what they are looking for.

Smart Search menu items

By default, Smart Search shows search results from your entire site. In most cases this is not very convenient. Ideally, you'd want to show search results from select data sources, e.g. your public tickets and an FAQ, Knowledge Base or documentation core Joomla articles category.

Luckily, this is perfectly possible with Akeeba Ticket System and a hidden Joomla feature: Smart Search filters.

Creating Smart Search filters

First, we need to create a Smart Search filter. Go to the backend of your site and click on Components, Smart Search, Filters. Click on the New button in the toolbar. The full documentation of this features can be found by clicking the Help button in the toolbar when adding or editing a Filter. The following paragraphs are meant to be additional notes on what we have found as Joomla users to be useful to know. It's not meant to substitute the Joomla documentation nor does it mean that we will provide support for a core Joomla feature.

You will need to the Search by Type and Search by Category areas of the Filter. The Search by Type tells Joomla's Smart Search what kind of content items to return. This is up to core and third party extensions to register with Joomla. For example, Akeeba Ticket System registers the content type Ticket. Therefore if you want to search through public tickets you need to check the Ticket type under Search by Type.


Only public tickets will be searched by Smart Search. The reason is that Smart Search can only limit the display of tickets by Joomla view access level. All clients who can post to a category would have the same access level. If we allowed Smart Search to search private tickets it would return results from other people's tickets, including potentially private or privileged information. Therefore the search is limited to public tickets only.

Other useful content types are Articles (Joomla core articles) and Documentation (Akeeba DocImport articles).

Remember that this is just the type. By default, all content items of the selected types will appear in the search results. You probably don't want that; most likely you want specific categories to be searched. This is possible through the Search by Category options. Select the categories you want.


DocImport does not use Joomla categories. As a result its categories do not appear on that list. We will work on this issue in a later version of DocImport. You are unlikely to even notice; DocImport is used by all of ten or so Joomla extensions developers, including us. For most real world users of Akeeba Ticket System what matters is core Joomla articles whose categories do, indeed, appear here.

Please note that Joomla lists all categories across all core and third party extensions without any indication of which category is which. We agree with you that this is far for optimal. Please lodge your complaint to the Joomla forum and the Joomla Issue Tracker. You can mention @nikosdion (our lead developer) who will chime in and offer a solution. The thing is, unless someone other than us complains that this is far from being reasonable / convenient there is of course no impetus for the core Joomla maintainers to change it or take up our offer to make changes. We can't blame them for that; if nobody complains the understanding is that this feature works fine so why touch it?

Using Smart Search filters in Akeeba Ticket System

Now that you have a Smart Search Filter you can tell ATS to use it for InstantSearch queries when a client is submitting a new ticket. You can assign the filter either component–wide or to a specific category.


Category options for InstantSearch DO NOT cascade across nested categories. You need to explicitly define them in each category. If the Use Global value is used for InstantSearch (default) then ATS will fall back to the component's Options for InstantSearch.

Either in the component's Options or a ticket category's Ticket Options tab there's the InstantSearch Method drop–down. Set it to Smart Search. This makes the Search Filter drop–down show up below. Select the Filter you created there. ATS will apply that filter when returning InstantSearch results.

Using Smart Search menu items in Akeeba Ticket System

An alternative to using Search Filters directly is selecting which Smart Search menu item you want to use. Just like the Smart Search Filter above you can select it either in the component Options or in the Ticket Options of a tickets Category.

This feature can be used instead of or additionally to a search filter. In the latter case the search filter you have selected in ATS will override the filter selection in the menu item.

The menu item allows you to set up how the search results will be displayed by Joomla, e.g. whether you want to show advanced search options, date filters, the results taxonomy, the description of each search result, pagination, alternative search term suggestions etc.

Combining both options allows you to create a very customised search experience which will funnel your clients into past tickets, documentation, knowledge base articles etc instead of submitting new tickets. As a result clients will be happy that they got a solution to their problem quickly and you will have to deal with a smaller volume of support tickets.