Starting with Joomla! FAQs

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How do I eliminate the pathway or breadcrumbs?[edit]

The pathway or breadcrumb is a hierarchical trail that shows your current location on the site. The breadcrumb follows the Section, Category, Content Item hierarchy and a site's home page is always listed as the root of the hierarchy as "Home".

An example is as follows; You are currently reading a content item "New Page". This content item is a member of the "Pages " category. In the turn the pages category is a member of the "Books" section. In this case the breadcrumb for that page would look like: "Home >> Books >> Pages >> New Page".

Joomla 1.0

If you wish to eliminate the pathway entirely, edit your template html (index) file. Usually it will look like this:

 <?php mosPathWay(); ?>

If you wish to eliminate it on a specific page, such as just the home page, you can modify the template to look like this:

  if($option != "" && $option != "com_frontpage")  {
  <div id="pathway">
  <?php mosPathWay(); ?>
  <?php } ?>

Keep in mind: The first line says that if the option in the url does not equal com_frontpage (!="com_frontpage") display the pathway. In php ! means not.

How do I exit the wrapper?[edit]

(needs permission or rewrite)

How do I get rid of the Newsflash or other module?[edit]

To disable the newsflash (or any other) module from being displayed on the front end of the website, you first need to log into the administrative back end.

  • Once in the back end, on the top menu click Extensions => Module Manager.
  • Locate the Newsflash module. You may need to navigate to another page as there are many modules and they are not all displayed on the first page.
  • Click the "Next" or "Previous" links at the bottom of the page until the module is located.
  • Once the module is located, click on the icon next for this module name in the "Published" column.

The icon should change to a red "dot" which indicates that the module is now unpublished and invisible on the site’s front end.

How do I control what items appear in my newsflashes?[edit]

Newsflash is a module that displays content from specific sections and/or categories.

  • In the administrative back end from the top menu select “Modules => Site Modules”.
  • Click on “Newsflash” to edit the module.
  • Go to the parameters section of the page.
  • Next to the “Category” parameter click on the drop down menu to select which category of content items will be displayed by this module. (In older versions of Joomla! the section and/or category id numbers have to be manually entered).
  • Click the "Save" button to make your changes permanent.

How do I change the image(s) in my template?[edit]

One common template change is to use your own graphic/image. Simple graphics (not banners) are usually linked in your template's html file. Simply change the reference to the image of your choice in the your template's html file.

Joomla 1.0

In the adminstrative interface do this by going to Site =>Template manager and then selecting your template. Click the icon for html.

Keep in mind that if it is a different size than the original image this may change the appearance of the site in unexpected ways.

Additional information:

The images for a given template are generally located in this folder: /templates/templatename/images (Substitute the name of the template you are using in place of "templatename").

A trick for finding the name of the image is to put your cursor over it and click right. Select view image. This will display the image and give its full url. Sometimes the images are background images. This is viewable in Firefox or you can look for the background tag in your page source.

How to upload an image:

There are many ways to upload images. Which one you use will depend on your host and server.

1. You can use the media manager. 2. You can use an FTP client. 3. You can use a cPanel file manager. 4. You can use various extensions that allow uploading.

How do I change the introductory text for weblinks?[edit]

By default Joomla! 1.0.x uses the 'We are out on the web ..." introductory text. If you wish to change you have two options. 1. In your menu link to the weblinks component, add introductory text to the parameters. This replaces the default text. Note: to see all of the parameters you need to create the component link and then edit it.

2. Change your language file (e.g. english.php). It is found in _WEBLINKS_DESC.

Why can't I edit my content from the front end?[edit]

The most common cause of this problem is the item is "checked out." Either the item is being edited by another user or (more commonly) that the last time someone opened (edited) the file it was not closed properly (or saved).

If you were the person that last edited the article, log into the back end of the site, go to the content manager and find the article in question. It will have a lock next to its name. Open the file and then save it (or cancel). When the content list is reloaded the lock should be gone.

Alternatively, someone with superadministrator privileges can use Global Checkin to checkin all checked out items. If using this option, make sure that no one is actively editing a file or their work may be lost.

It is possible to check in your own items that you may have accidentally locked if a link to checkin is available. This may be called something else. You can add this link to a menu by creating a URL link like this: index.php?option=com_user&task=CheckIn

Note: It is important that whenever you open an article for editing you should close it using either "save" (floppy icon) or "cancel" (red x icon) when finished with your edits. Failure to do so will cause this lock as described above.

How do I link from inside content to another content item?[edit]

The simple answer is that you get the page URL you want to link to and then make a link using whatever text editor you are using or (if you have no wysiwyg) with html.

The more complicated answer is that some text editors have fancier links managers. A number of these editors are available in the Joomla! Extensions Directory.

How is access control set up in Joomla!?[edit]

Joomla! has a limited access control system. By default there are the following groups: Front End Only

  • Public
  • Registered
  • Author
  • Publisher

Back End

  • Manager
  • Administrator
  • Super Administrator

There are two basic ways that access control is used:

  • To control the ability of users to see modules, content and menu items;
  • To control the actions that users can take.

Access to content, modules and menu links

All groups except Public and Registered are considered "Special."

When creating content or setting parameters for modules, you can set access to: Public, Registered or Special.

These groups are hierarchical. Groups further down the list have all the rights of those above them.

Control of privileges to create and edit content and modify administrative settings.

Group Front End Back End
Public Can view public pages None
Registered Same permissions as "Public"

Can view content and modules limited to registered. Can submit weblinks

Author Same permissions as "Registered"

Can submit but not publish content. Can edit his own content once published.

Editor Same permissions as "Author"

Edit any content.

Publisher Same permissions as "Editor"

Can publish and edit any content.

Manager Same permissions as as "Publisher" Limited
Administrator Same permissions as "Publisher" Most privileges
Super Administrator Same permissions as "Publisher" All privileges

Each group can view the content and modules at the same level or above on this table.

There is no way to create additional access groups without modifying Joomla!'s core files.

There are some extensions available which provide additional access control capabilities.

You can learn more about access control here:

Where are the web pages?[edit]

If you are coming from a traditional website made up of separate html pages, you may well wonder where the pages are.

In Joomla! almost everything that you would normally think of as a web page is actually stored in a MySQL database. When you create a new page, your content is stored in a database record, not in a separate file.

Then when your site is viewed, Joomla! calls up different items from your database and puts them together to make what is displayed to the user.

One exception is that your images are usually stored in the images directory and not the database.

Your MySQL database usually is created by you during the installation process (unless you use a Fantastico or a similar installer that will create the database automatically). If you have a control panel on a linux host, you can usually access MySQL through a program called phpAdmin. This will allow you to view your database.

For a short tutorial on converting a static HTML web site to Joomla!, see Converting an existing website to a Joomla! website.

What determines what is shown on my frontpage?[edit]

Frontpage is a component that is part of the core of Joomla!, like the front page of a newspaper, it shows (usually) multiple pieces of content arranged in some way.

When you install Joomla! the front page component is by default set as the homepage of your site (that is it is the first link on your Main Menu) but front page does not have to be your "home" page.

What exactly appears on the front page and how it is laid out is controlled in two ways. First, if you open the menu link in your menu manager in the back end there are numerous parameters that control the number of items shown, the number of columns etc.

To control which items are shown you must also indicate that an item should be placed on the front page by editing the parameters for the content item. In the back end this will be indicated by an icon in the front page column of the list of content items/articles.

In addition, you can use the front page manager (in the content menu of the backend) to control the publication dates and other variables for content items that are on the front page.

What determines my home page?[edit]

Your "homepage" in a traditional html site--the page that shows when you type for example-- would be the page displaying that is in the index.html file.

Joomla! is a database driven CMS so it does not have html pages, but rather pulls up the pieces of pages from a mysql database.

When you install Joomla! by default it has a menu link to the frontpage component as the home page. However, any content or component or other link can be used as the "home" page. The default page is controlled using the Main Menu.

Changing the default page.

Joomla 1.0

The "page" that shows when a user navigates to is the page created by clicking on the first link on the Main Menu. The link can be called anything (Home, Bob it does not matter), that is the page that will show.

This menu can be displayed anywhere and can be displayed vertically or horizontally or not at all. The menu does not even need to be published.

Joomla 1.5

The "page" that shows is determined by the Default item, which is indicated by a yellow star. This may be on any menu. For example, you may Go to Menu ==>Main Menu. Select the item you would like as the homepage and click the default icon. (Make sure the link is published and set to public).

What are section, categories, content items and articles?[edit]

Joomla! is a content management system. Sections and categories allow you to organize your content.

The basic structure is: Sections include Categories. Categories include content items (1.0)/articles (1.5).

Section A

Category A1
content items/articles
Category A2
content items/articles
Category A3
content items/articles

Section B

Category B1
content items
Category B2
content items
Category B3
content items

Section C

Category C1
content items
Category C2
content items
Category C3
content items

The content items/articles are what you would think of as web pages in a traditional html site.

Both section and category "pages" can be created to serve (more or less) as the home pages for the categories and sections, respectively.

Although it makes sense to organize your work into categories and sections, you do not need to show these to your users. Using your menus, you can link directly to sections, categories and content items. You can also select numerous options for the display of content associated with each type of link.

What are components, modules and plugins?[edit]


Content elements or applications that are usually displayed in the center of the main content area of a template. This depends on the design of the template in use. Components are core elements of Joomla!’s functionality. These core elements include Content, Banners, Contact, News Feeds, Polls and Web Links. Members of the Joomla! community produce third party Joomla! components on a continuous basis. They are freely available to download from and a number of other web sites. See also Modules.


A plugin is a small, task-oriented function that intercepts content before it is displayed and manipulates it in some way. Joomla! provides a number of Plugins in the core distribution, e.g. WYSIWYG editors, but there are many other Plugins available for specific tasks. Some 3rd Party developer components have their own Plugins which need to be installed in order to make the component work properly.


Modules extend the capabilities of Joomla! giving the software new functionality. Modules are small content items that can be displayed anywhere that your template allows it to be displayed by assigning them to positions and pages through the module manager in the administrative interface. Modules are installed in the Admin Section. Joomla! modules may include: Main Menu, Top menu, Template Chooser, Polls, Newsflash, Hit Counter, etc. Members of the Joomla! Community produce Joomla! modules on a continuous basis. Many are freely available at for download.

In addition, some 3rd party components, modules and mambots themselves have plugins.

How do I change the favicon?[edit]

Favicon is the favorites icon that is associated with your site and appears in the browser address bar. Both Joomla! 1.0.x and 1.5.x come with a default favicon that displays the Joomla! Logo. You may change that as long as your new favicon is in the ICO format and sized 16×16 pixels. Here's how to do it:

Joomla 1.0

  • Upload your new favicon into Joomla!'s /images/ folder.
  • Delete Joomla!'s default /images/favicon.ico file and rename your file into favicon.ico OR
  • Go to your site's back-end and change the name of the favicon file that's being loaded at Site > Global Configuration > Site > Favourites Site Icon (make sure configuration.php is writable before you commit your changes).

Joomla 1.5

Unlike the 1.0.x series, the only name you are allowed to use for your favicon is favicon.ico but you are offered the flexibility to associate different favicons with different templates. You only need to upload your favicon.ico into the main folders of your front-end and back-end templates, which are found in the /templates/ and the /administrator/templates/ folders respectively, overwriting any favicon files that came with your templates.

However, if you'd rather use a single favicon.ico for all your templates, just upload it into Joomla!'s main folder (that's where your index.php resides) and into the /administrator/ folder. Make sure you delete all favicon.ico files found in the template folders mentioned above because Joomla! will check your template folder first for the favicon.ico file.


To see the new favicon you will need to empty your browser cache.

Why do the pop ups in my WYSIWYG editor not work or show gibberish?[edit]

Depending on the editor, this problem may occur when trying to edit the html, insert tables or perform a similar function that requires javascript.

Most likely the problem with the livesite...

You look in your site configuration (General Configuration, select the Server tab) you will see that the livesite is given. Usually it is either or

When you log into your site, you must log in from the exact livesite. if you don't the javascript in your editor will not work.

One way to deal with this is to put a redirect from, for example, to so that you and your users always login from the correct url. You can do this with .htaccess.

What are positions?[edit]

Site templates divides the "pages" displayed on a site into a series of positions, each with a different name.

Joomla 1.0

You can view the location of positions in your default template from the administrator go to Site =>Preview=>Inline with Positions.

You can only preview the default template.

You can annotate your positions through the administrator (backend). Go to Site=>Template Manage=>Module Positions.

Joomla 1.5

Extensions => Templates. Select the template you wish to preview and click the edit icon. Click the preview icon.

You can add or remove positions by modifying your template html.

You assign a module to a position using the module manager.

Joomla 1.0

Modules=>Site Modules==>edit the module On the left side of the page, on the third line, there is a drop down menu that lets you select the position.

Joomla 1.5

In the module manager, edit the module. In the left column select all, none or the specific pages you would like it to appear on.

Notes: Modules that are not pubished (1.0) or enabled (1.5) will not display. Modules can be assigned to unused positions (positions not in the template) if you want to have them published but not displayed in a position (for example, if you want to display a module in content using {mosloadposition} (1.0) or {loadposition} (1.5)). Multiple modules may be assigned to the same position. They will be displayed in the order shown for modules in that position in the module manager. If you want to display a module in more than one position, use the module manager to create another copy. 1.0 copy the module and assign the copy to the second position. 1.5 use the new icon and create another instance of the module.

Why are the backgrounds of my WYSIWYG editor fields colored?[edit]

The simple answer as to why this happens is in the term 'WYSIWYG'. Content editors like TinyMCE attempt to allow users to see what the text they're entering will look like when it appears on the front-end of the website. To this end, they show the text against the color or image specified in the template_css.css file of whatever template the front-end of the website is using.

This often presents a problem for users when their website is designed to appear as a lighter content pane floating over a darker-colored background. The darker background is what appears in the editor windows, making the text almost impossible to see. In such cases, it may be necessary to tell the editor not to use the template_css.css file as a reference, but rather to use a different css file instead.

Note [added by mod]: Some editors (such as JCE and FCK) have configuration interfaces that allow you to override the template_css file or to ignore template classes. You may wish to explore this option before trying the solution below.

Step 1: Create a customized CSS file. The first thing you'll need to do is to write a customized .css file for your editor. It doesn't have to be very complicated, and you can use the file below for reference (Many thanks to jxl, who wrote the sample file).

Note: Changes to the image urls would be need to use this file in 1.5

 /* CSS Document */

 /* Editor Assigned Styles */
 /*make sure that any styles you put here also exist in your template_css.css file or they will have no effect in the front end */

 p.rightalign {
 text-align: right; 

 .red {
 color: #c00;

 .green {
 color: #0c0;

 .highlight {
 background-color: Yellow;
 color: Blue;
 padding: 0;
 p.code {
 background-color: #ddd;
 border: 1px solid #bbb;

 .small {
 color: #999999;
 font-size: 10px;

 /* Body Tag for Background Color and Font Specs. */

 body {
 font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Sans Serif;
 font-size: 12px;
 color: #333333;
 background: #ffffff;

 /* Optional Basic Stuff you can use to make everything look like it does on the site itself */
 /* you can get this stuff right out of your template_css.css file, or you can just leave it out */

 margin: 0;
 padding: 0;
 list-style: none;

 line-height: 16px;
 padding-left: 16px;
 padding-top: 0px;
 background-image: url(../images/arrow.png); /* use the real image path that you have on your site. An absolute path is   OK */
 background-repeat: no-repeat;
 background-position: 0px 2px;

 td {
 text-align: left;
 font-size: 12px;

 a, a:link, a:visited {
 color: #c64934; text-decoration: none;
 font-weight: bold;

 a:hover {
 color: #900; text-decoration: none;
 font-weight: bold;

Make careful note of the comments in the file above. The first section is comprised of text classes; you'll want to go into your template's template_css.css file and find the text classes (.highlight, .small, etc.) it specifies that you'll be likely to use in your content and make sure to copy them into the editor_content.css file as well. The same is true of the styles defined in the last section (a:hover, td, ul, etc.).

The key part that fixes the background issue is the 'body' style specified in the middle. You can change parts of this to match your template if you like, but leave the 'background' rule set to #FFFFFF. This will make the editor windows white, as opposed to the dark background color of your site template.

Incidentally, if your website uses a background IMAGE in addition to a color, the same thing applies.

Also, if this is too much work, you CAN just copy and paste your template's template_css.css file into a new CSS file and change the BODY style so that the background is set to #FFFFFF. This is less neat and orderly, but you'll be sure you have all of the classes and such defined properly this way.

When you've finished, save your new CSS file as editor_content.css

Step 2: Upload your CSS file to the correct directory.

You'll use an FTP client for this, which hopefully you're already doing. If Joomla! is in a separate folder, you'll navigate to:

joomla/templates/[the template you're using]/css/

If you don't have Joomla! in a separate folder, just go to whatever directory houses your Joomla! files. The key is to make sure you're in the correct front-end template folder for your website. Upload your editor_content.css file to the CSS folder under this template directory.

Note that in most cases, the only other file in this directory is a file called 'template_css.css'. If you see that file, you're probably in the right place. Also, note that there is a 'css' directory in joomla/templates/ as well, but this IS NOT the directory you're looking for. You want the css directory under the template you're using.

Step 3: Point your Editor to the new CSS.

Now go back to your site and into the administration area. Click on 'Mambots" and "Site Mambots" to see the list of Mambots currently in use in your website. Check TinyMCE WYSIWYG (or whatever WYSIWYG editor you're using) and then 'Edit' to open the editing pane for the editor.

Look to the right side under 'Parameters' and scroll down until you see the option entitled 'Template CSS Classes'. Click the radio button to 'no'. Right under this is a field entitled 'Custom CSS Classes'. In this field type:

templates/[template you're using]/css/editor_content.css

Then save and exit.

This should correct the background issue in your editor. If it doesn't, you've either set up your editor_content.css file incorrectly or you've uploaded the file to the wrong directory.

How do you install an extension?[edit]

Before starting it always is wise to read the documentation associated with an extension. Most extensions have homepages and forums, and it is a good idea to look at them first. If there is a README file included with the extension, you should read it.

For most extensions and most users, the procedure will be:

Joomla 1.0

  • Download the extension to your local machine
  • From the backend of your joomla site (adminsitration) select Installers and then the type of extension (module, component, mambot/plugin, site template, administrative template, language
  • Browse for the package file
  • Click the install icon
  • Follow any instructions

Joomla 1.5

  • Download the extension to your local machine
  • From the backend of your joomla site (adminsitration) select Extensions.
  • Browse for the package file
  • Click the install icon
  • Follow any instructions

There are some situations in which this procedure will not work.

Sometimes you need to unzip the file locally prior to installing. If you get an error saying that the file is not in the correct format, the need to unzip is a common cause of this. After unzipping try installing the individual items. Note that the files you upload using the installed still need to be zipped.

Sometimes you cannot use the automated installer. For example, very large extensions may exceed the maximum upload size allowed by your host.

In this case, unzip all of the files locally. Then transfer the files to a folder in the the install directory(for example administrator/components/com_installer/components) for the type of extension you are installing (using FTP). Then use the installer, but select "install from directory" indicating the correct folder name.

For modules and mambots/plugins to work, you must make sure that they are pubished (1.0) or enabled (1.5).

Why doesn't the pdf of my page show the images?[edit]

Images are not supported in Joomla! 1.0.x in the pdf creation script. Images are supported in Joomla! 1.5.

How do I make a menu link that is not clickable?[edit]

To make a menu link that does not connect to anything (is not clickable) use the link type Separator/Placeholder

What does a simple Joomla! installation include?[edit]

If you simply install Joomla! without any modifications or extensions, the following (incomplete) list of features will be included.

  • Content component which allows creation and display of "content items" usually in the middle of the page.
  • Front page component, which displays multiple recent content items designated as "front page" in the content manager. Configurable for layout and number of items.
  • Weblinks component for entering and displaying a list of weblinks.
  • Media manager for uploading and managing images and other media.
  • User manager (administrative end) and user registration module (front end).
  • Newsflash module for displaying specific content items as "newsflashes."
  • Modules for latest items, most popular, and related items.
  • A simple poll component
  • A menu system
  • A choice of several templates for your site[/li]
  • Installers for third party extensions (templates, components, modules and plugins/mambots).
  • The TinyMCE wysiwyg editor. 1.5 Also includes xStandard Lite
  • Administrative interface for managing your site