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I think we have three options, correct me if wrong:

  1. Implement a feature
  2. Override the search classes in my style.css (.s4-search table, .s4-search input, .s4-search .ms-searchimage)
  3. Implement a new custom search box control.

What's the easiest among these and appoint me to others if there's any?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You should make it a feature, whatever way you choose. Then you could inject a delegate control with a tag unless you prefer creating a master page with a custom CSS.

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I have a custom master page... so what you suggest? – Bassel Alkhateeb Sep 27 '10 at 8:24
add a custom CSS file (avoid inline style elements) and then override the search box CSS classes. – Wictor Wilen MCA MCM MVP Sep 27 '10 at 16:56
after a huge research I found out that the best way is implementing a feature.. it can be done manually without visual studio, I followed steps of method 1 in this link:… – Bassel Alkhateeb Sep 28 '10 at 14:13

Check this link out - I just wrote up how I normally go about styling the search box in sp2010 (MOSS) Restyle a Sharepoint 2010 Search Box - - This works for an out of the box install without having to do any masterpage editing. Editing the CSS is miles easier than trying to implement a custom feature or altering the master page to include a new control. However, if you do want to go that route, check out (it says 2007, but i can verify it works on sp2010).

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Another writeup, this time using the advanced search control. Style the OOB SharePoint advanced search control - Hope this helps as well.

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