Hands-on editing an article: Joomla! 1.5

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This is a 'hands-on' tutorial which introduces you to the editor and shows how an Article can be modified. Top tip - don't try to be too ambitious to start with unless you have a lot of experience with this kind of editing.

An Article is the main way that content is displayed on a Joomla! site. A collection of Articles are the building blocks of a Web site on any subject.

Who is it written for?

  • Everyone

You also need:-

  • to have access to a Joomla! site with an Article to edit
  • to login with a username with an appropriate level of permission


  • Login using your username and password, which must have permission to edit Articles.
  • Find the page you want to edit using the Menu.

There is a pencil icon by the title for the entries that you can edit

  • An orange pencil Edit.png icon means that it is published and any information you enter can be seen by others (with the right access rights) as soon as you save it.
  • A blue pencil Edit unpublished.png means that the information is not published and can only be seen by those with high level access rights. Those with standard Author permissions will not be able to view (and thus edit) unpublished information.

Edit an Article

  • Click on the edit button.

This will open the editing screen. In some editors, this is called "Submit an Article"

If you are using the 'localhost' example, the editor is a very simple one. Most sites install a better editor - such as JCE - so what you actually see will vary. So too will the range of editing that you can do.

All editors have small icons for the various functions needed. They are less sophisticated than a word processor but the principles are the same.

  • Scroll down the screen to see the full extent of the editor.

Underneath the Editor window there is a section called Publishing. This has details about where the Article is located and who can read it. There is more about this part elsewhere.

The editor and the icons

The icons along the top of the editing window enable you to format text and do other things. The standard keyboard short-cuts also work - (for example Ctrl-b makes highlighted text bold).


Different editors have different choices.


Most editing is done using one of the icons, so it is worth exploring them:-

  • Point your mouse pointer over each of the icons. A balloon help gives some clue about what it does.
  • The HELP button tells you about the editor - the JCE one is quite extensive: Tiny tells you very little.
  • Some buttons are in grey which shows that they are inactive until that action is possible

Doing some editing

If you are using the sample data in 'localhost' on your own machine - you can make alterations and save them. (You could keep the original text by copying it and pasting it to a text file).

  • Edit the Article called 'We are Volunteers' on the Front page of the sample site.

Note that part of the screen displays the content of the article and with a box containing the title. The text in both can be altered.


For people with some experience: There is HTML code behind the text so if you are experienced with HTML you may find it interesting to look at the code. Some editors allow you to Toggle between the text and the code. Some have an icon (sometimes called HTML or Edit Code). You can edit the code and then Update the WISIWIG edit screen. Be warned that the code does not always translate into text as you might expect.

The Save and Cancel buttons

When you have done some editing, click on one of these. The Cancel button reverts to the previous information.

  • When you Save or Cancel, it does not return to the edit screen, so if you need to continue editing, click again on the edit icon. (Irritating but there you are!)

It is good practice to save frequently incase something goes wrong.


Alter the title. Make sure it is meaningful as it will appear in some menu lists and if the page is printed.

For example - alter the title to 'The Joomla! team are all volunteers'

Add a paragraph

This is a simple document with only one paragraph.

To add another paragraph - press Return (You only need to press it once. )
Add a few extra words to show what happens.
  • For a new line without a new paragraph - use Ctrl+Return

Put the cursor after a full-stop somewhere and press Ctrl+Return.

Sometimes the layout on the screen looks a bit different from that in the editor - the editor is not a word processor.

Bullet points

These are much used in presenting content intended to be read on the screen. They are a useful way of emphasising things and of breaking the screen into manageable sections.

Using the document that you are editing:-

Start a new paragraph
Type a short line of text - press Return
Type another line of text and press Return
Highlight all or part of the two paragraphs
Click on the bullet-point icon (which is sometimes called an unordered list)

To have a numbered list:-

Click on the icon for an ordered list

You can remove this formatting by clicking again on the icon

Formatting words

You can highlight parts of the text and add text much as you would in any editor/ email screen.

Highlight any word
Click on B icon - or you can also use Ctrl-b - for bold
Click on I icon - or you can also use Ctrl-i - for italics

Editors also have underlines and strike through icons.

If you are using one of the other editors, you will also be able to alter the colour of the text of words, as well as the background colours.

If you have some experience using HTML, view the HTML code. This will let you see the mark-up that the editor is using for the colours and the emphasis..

Headings, paragraphs and fonts


Headings are very useful in making text easier to read on the screen. Even the simple editor has a facility for a few levels of heading. The display on the screen may look different from the display on the page, so it is worth trying a few headings in order to choose the right one.

Place the cursor in one of the words in the heading (or select the whole heading).
Pull down the choices
Select the one you want

A plain paragraph is also selected in this way.

  • Change the format of a paragaph
There are four icons (similar to those on word processors) which enable you to change the alignment of the paragraphs.
Change the format on one of the paragraphs to demonstrate the effect.
  • Change fonts and font sizes.
This is allowed on the more sophisticated editors - but if you are just beginning to edit Articles - keep it simple!

Moving text around

This uses 'copy and Paste' to copy text (and images) somewhere else but keeps the original in the same place.. The facililty to 'cut and paste' which moves something from one place to another. Most people who have used a keyboard have done this - but it is worth a go here to assure yourselves that it can be done.

  • use the keyboard short cuts - Ctrl-C for copy, Ctrl-X for cut and Ctrl-V for Paste. They are more reliable than the icons.
Highlight the text that you want to copy or paste
Press Ctrl-c for copy or Ctrl-x for cut. If the text is cut - it is removed when you press the keys.
Position the cursor to where you wish the text to go
Press Ctrl-v to paste the text into that position

You can copy/paste text from a word processor to the editor. If you do this, you will probably need to alter some of the layouts, but this does depend on how complex the layouts were in the original document.

Keep it simple to start with!

Summary - and where next

This has introduced editing facilities and demonstrated that you can layout an Article to have a good appearance using headings, bullet points and different formatting using the icons at the top of the editing screen.

  • Everyone - go next to the tutorial on creating your own article.
  • If you want to learn more - there is another tutorial about including more varied content - such as tables, images and links to other pages or web sites.

--Lorna Scammell December 2010