The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Introduction to Blocks

About Blocks

Blocks exist as separate pieces of content to add to one or several pages within your site. The Footer of a website is an example of an HTML block that is added to every page of your site. If you make a change to the footer on one page, that change will appear on every page.

You can identify blocks when hovering your mouse over them by the gear icon that appears in the upper right corner.

Note: Though blocks may appear on several pages, they are tied to a specific location (region) of the page.

Examples of Blocks

  • Default (HTML)
  • Menu
  • Slideshow
  • News
  • Events

Block Administration Page

In the Admin Toolbar, hover your mouse over Structure and click Blocks to view the Block Administration Page.

Note: Changes to the Blocks Administration Page will not take affect until you click Save Blocks at the bottom of the page.

Block
This column displays regions in bold. The regions represent the different locations on a page that you can add a block to. Under each region is the name of a block with a move icon that can be used to order blocks in a specific region or move them to a different region.

Region
The region column features a dropdown list of regions to quickly move blocks to different regions without using the move icon. Selecting - None - will move the block to the list of Disabled blocks.

Visibility
Any block that is restricted to display based on page, content type, Role, or User will display a message in this column. If you hover your mouse over the message you will see the criteria specified. This is very useful for displaying a list of which pages a block is visible on, which content type it is visible on, etc...

Operations
This column provides a configure link that you can click to edit any block (similar to clicking the gear while hovering your mouse over a block). There is also a delete link that lets you delete any block from the site. There is no undo once you delete a block, it will be removed from every page of your site permanently and there will be no history that it ever existed.

Note: This is the only place that you can delete a block from your site.

Disabled
Scrolling down to the bottom of the Block Administration Page, you will see a list labeled Disabled. All the blocks listed here are not active on the site. Blocks that are disabled can be moved to any of the sites regions and will be activated when you click Save Blocks at the bottom of the page.

Block Administration

 

Adding Blocks

In the Admin Toolbar, hover your mouse over Structure > Blocks and click Add Block. The Block Administration Page also includes an Add Block link directly above the list of blocks.

Add Block

Add Block Page

The Add Block Page controls a number of important fields and settings from Block Title, Block Description, and Block Body to Region Settings and Visibility Settings.

Block Title
If filled out, this field will display on your website as a title above the block. If left blank, it will not display.

Block Title

Block Description
This field displays the name of the block as it appears on the Block Administration Page. It will not appear to visitors on your site.

Region Settings
Use the dropdown to choose which region of the page the block will appear on.

It is important that you don't overlook this setting - if you do the block will be displayed in the Disabled list on the Block Administration Page.

Note: You can create a block for future use by setting the region to - None - and then moving it to an active region in the Block Administration Page when you're ready to use it.

Region Settings

Visibility Settings
The most common setting is Show block on specific pages. You can choose to display the block on 'All pages except those listed' or 'Only the listed pages' via the radio button. Pages should be specified by using their node id (the id displayed in the URL when a page is in edit mode). You can only include one page per line. If you want a block to appear on the Front Page of your site, use <front> instead of the node id. You can also use * as a wildcard to display the block on any page within a specified section.

Show Blocks

 

Block Regions

There are a number of different regions that blocks may be placed in. For an overview of block regions, on the Admin Toolbar, hover your mouse over Structure and click Blocks to bring up the Block Administration Page. Above the + Add Block and + Add Menu Block links, click the Demonstrate Block Regions link. Click Exit Block Region Demonstration in the top left corner when you are done.

Header / Main Menu Bar

Header and Main Menu Bar can be ignored - they are reserved for the sitename and Main Navigation Menu.

Featured Panel

This region contains the default Slideshow Image Gallery on the Front Page of many sites.

Featured Panel

Three Column Region

This is a set of three regions: Three column 3x33 - left, Three column 3x33 - center, and Three column 3x33 - right.

Empty by default, this regions is specifically set up for promoting three blocks of content, usually only on the Front Page. Commonly in conjunction with the Featured Panel.

Three Column

Help

This region is reserved for Drupal Messages and should be left empty.

Note: From time to time security notices will appear in the help region. Security updates are handled by UMass IT on a broad scale and will be addressed accordinly. Local Admins can ignore these warnings.

Help Region

Secondary Panel

Empty by default, the Secondary Panel displays a block on a gray background.

Secondary Panel

Two Column Region

This is a set of two regions: Two column 50/50 - left and Two column 50/50 - right.

Empty by default, this regions is specifically set up for promoting two blocks of content, usually only on the Front Page. Commonly in conjunction with the Secondary Panel.

Two Column

Highlight (content top)

Blocks in the Hightlight region appear above the name of a page.

Highlight

Main Content

The Main Content region is set directly below a page's title and displays the content of a page by default. It's advised to add content directly to a page's Body field rather than add an additional block to this region.

Content Bottom

The Content Bottom region displays directly below the Main Content region.

Note: Printer-friendly Version and Send by email links appear below Main Content but above the Content Bottom region and can cause undesirable effects.

Sidebar First

By default, Sidebar First houses the Secondary Main Menu navigation links. It's advised to place blocks below the navigation for ease of use.

Sidebar Second

This is the most commonly used region for blocks. It allows users to add important information about a page in a column on the right side of a page.

Sidebar Second

Tertiary Panel

By default, the Tertiary Panel region houses your sites Social Media Icons in the lower left of your site below your main content. If you don't have any icons, this region is hidden.

Tertiary Panel

Four Column Region

Similar to Two and Three, this region is a set of regions: Four column 4x25 - 1, Four column 4x25 - 2, Four column 4x25 - 3, and Four column 4x25 - 4.

Empty by default, this region is specifically set up for promoting four blocks of content, usually on every page of your site. Commonly in conjunction with the Footer region.

Typically these blocks are used to provide important information at the bottom of every page of your site. Information may include: Contact info (address, phone, email, location), Affiliations, Related sites/projects, etc...

Four Column

Footer

Empty by default, the Footer region is a wide region at the bottom of your site for displaying content across all pages on a black background.

If your website belongs within a College or large organization, it is recommended to display that info in the footer region.

Footer

Common Block Placement

The most common regions to place blocks on a page are as follows:

  • Sidebar Second (to the right of the page content)
  • Sidebar First (below leftside navigation)
  • Highlight (above the page's title)

The remaining regions are usually only used on the Front Page, or in the case of the Footer, the bottom of every page. These regions are often times pre-populated by University Relations and shouldn't be moved.