Level: 100

The Content Editor in Sitecore

In this article I will give an overview of one of the most important things in Sitecore, the content editor.

This article is intended for users who are new to Sitecore or users who would like to know the possibilities of the content editor better. I will not review every button in the content editor. Instead I will focus on the parts that make up the content editor.

Written by: Jimmi Lyhne Andersen
Wed, Jul 28 2010

The content editor in Sitecore is a very powerful tool for managing the content on your site. In the following sections, I will take a look at the different parts that make up the content editor.


Screenshot of the content editor


Depending on which security groups you are a member of in Sitecore, you may not be able to see all of the stuff I am showing in this article.


The System Menu

The system menu appears when you click the red Sitecore button in the upper left corner of the content editor.


Screenshot of the system menu


It is from this menu that users who are logged into the content editor user interface exits Sitecore. It also allows the user to get information about the properties of the currently chosen item, the license for Sitecore and information about the installed version of Sitecore.
The Application Options lets the user decide what parts of the content editor she wants to see. It is also possible to choose to view the keys of the items instead of the display names. The keys are the names that are used to compose the urls used in a browsers address bar.


Screenshot of the application options


According to the blog post Maximize Sitecore Content Editor Performance removing the parts that you do not use, could really speed up Sitecore, especially if you access Sitecore over long-distance and slow networks.


The Ribbon

On top of the content editor is the ribbon.


Screenshot of the ribbon


Users of Microsoft Office 2007 should feel familiar with this. As in Microsoft Office, the ribbon is designed to help you quickly find the commands that you need to complete a task.

Command buttons are organized in logical groups called chunks, the chunks are collected in strips under the tabs.
If you right click on the ribbon you are able to chose which tabs you want shown, and you can add buttons to the "My Toolbar" tab.


The Content Tree

In the left side of the content editor is the content tree.


Screenshot of the content tree


The content tree makes it possible to navigate through all the content on the website. Depending on how security is set up on your website, you might not be able to see all the items in the content tree.
A plus sign next to an item indicates that the item has sub items, and a minus sign indicates that the sub items has already been expanded.

The path through the content tree to a given item corresponds to the url for that items webpage.


The Quick Action Bar

Screenshot of the quick action bar


To the left of the items in the content tree is the quick action bar. By right clicking in this area, you can choose which informations, about the items, you want shown here. If any icons appear next to an item, hovering over that icon will make a tooltip appear that will tell you what the error is and where it is. It is possible to extend the quick action bar with other icons, but it will require custom development.

Above the content tree is a search box, this is very useful if you are working on a site with a lot of content or you just need to find an item but only knows some text from one of its fields.
To use the search box you should select the item you want to search from. The search will still display results from the entire content tree, but items under the selected item will be shown first. After selecting an item, enter your search term and press enter or click the search button.
If you need to do a more advanced search, click the drop-down arrow to open an extra pane.


Screenshot of the content tree search


This makes it possible to search only in item names or select the field you want to search in by clicking Name or Field.


The Editing Pane

Screenshot of the content pane


When selecting an item in the content tree, the fields of the item appears in the content pane. The content pane can include several tabs, as can be seen when selecting a media library folder, but in this article I will only look at the content tab.
In the top right corner is three drop-down menues. The first one, the navigator drop-down, can be used to go directly to a field. This is most useful for items with a large number of fields.
The language drop-down can be used to chose which language you want to edit.
The last drop-down is for choosing which version of the item you want to edit.


The first thing in the content editing pane is the name/display name of the items and help text if any. This is followed by any warnings in yellow boxes.

Screenshot  of sectiosn top


Sections and Fields

When choosing an item in the content tree, its sections and fields will appear in the content editing pane.

The first section is always the quick info section. This section contains useful information about the item. Remember that if this information is not useful for your tasks, you can hide it in the application options in the system menu.


Next is the sections containing the fields relevant to the chosen item.


Screenshot of a section


By clicking on the minus icon or double click on a section. The fields of this section will be hidden, this can make the content editing pane much more manageble.


To the left of every field is a validation indicator. If this is gray everything is ok. Yellow means a warning and red means an error. If the field is red or yellow, hovering over it will show the error or warning in a tooltip. It is possible to customize these warnings and errors to fit your solution.


The Validation Bar

In the right side of the content editing pane is the validation bar.


Screenshot of the validation bar


This bar displays a green square if everything is ok. If the item has warnings the first square will be yellow, if it has errors it will be red.
The following squares will display the warnings/errors when you hover over them, and clicking them will take you to the field that has the warning/error.


The Pages Bar

Screenshot of the pages bar


In the bottom of the content editor is the pages bar. This bar contains buttons that shift between the content editor, the media library and the workbox.


Customizing The Content Editor

Sitecore has made the content editor very customizable. Although I haven't explicitly written it for every part of the content editor, it is possible to customize almost everything in the content editor.
In future articles I will get back to how to customize the different parts of the content editor.


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  • Picture of Jimmi Lyhne Andersen

    About the author:

    Jimmi Lyhne Andersen

    Jimmi Lyhne Andersen is the co-founder of LearnSitecore, and is a partner at Inmento Solutions.
    Jimmi has been lead developer and architect on several large public websites with 200+ editors, and is therefore focused on usability and accessibility.
    Jimmi is a certified Sitecore developer and a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD).
    He has a bachelors degree in Computer Science and in Mathematics from the University of Copenhagen.


4 responses to "The Content Editor in Sitecore"

Good call! I've been looking for these settings for half an hour, yet so simple to find!
Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 1:32 PM
Hi Jimmi,
In my sitecore content editor(version 6.5),the fields are showing twice, on the left hand side, the field is editable while on the right-side the field id read-only. Does this have any setting so that the field appears only once? Thanks in advance.
Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2013 6:03 AM
Great article for content editor for new Sitecore developers !!
Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 2:16 PM
Hi Jimmi,

Is It possible to show the display names of fields in editing pane..
Posted: Friday, March 27, 2015 1:22 PM

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