What is Plone?

Content management system (CMS)

"Content management" descrbes the process of organizing content, specifically in dealing with electronically generated documents.

Allows groups of people to manage shared information together.

Plone is a general application type of CMS that can be customized to fit special needs.

Plone Basics

Content Item Types

Each item type is specialized in carrying out various tasks.

  • Pages
    • Used for creating webpages with different content.
  • News
    • Announcement that would show up in news listing. Allows you to attach a thumbnail image which will appear in folder summary views next to the summary of the news item.
  • Events
    • Content type used for posting information about an event (e.g. conference). Events are shown in the calendar portlet and can be added to desktop calendars.
  • Images
    • Used for uploading image files that can be put on a page
  • Files
    • Allows uploading files to the site. Site visitors can download them.
  • Links and favorites
    • Link to internal or external.
  • Folders and collections
    • Folders group items from a Plone website together
    • Collections consolidate related items from multiple folders

Content Properties

  • Default
    • Title, description, and item-specific fields
  • Categorization
    • Where you can set keywords/tags along with the language and geographical location associated with them.
  • Dates
    • Where publishing and expiration dates are set.
  • Ownership
    • Set creators and/or contributors for the item as well as copyright status
      • Creator - Thos who add/edit content
      • Contributors - People who contributed to the item
      • Rights - Info about copyright or ownership rights
  • Settings
    • Comments about the item and its display in navigation
      • Options
        • Allow comments
        • Exclude from navigation
        • Enable next/previous navigation
        • Presentation mode
        • Table of contents


  • CMS provides you with a certain screen display of a given item depending on the action (view, add, edit, or move item from place to place within website).
  • For each item, Plone can produce a number of screen displays, each serving a different purpose. 
  • In addition to content that can be viewed by site visitors, there are display views for admins and editors.


  • Users must be made known to the website so that Plone can display the appropriate information and access options.
  • Registered users receiive more access capability to certain items.

Plone Interface


There are four main elements of a Plone page.

  • Page head
  • Content area
  • One or two sidebars
  • Page footer

Page head

  • Page head elements
    • Logo
    • Links in the head of page
    • Search field
    • Navigation bar
      • Main navigation tabs
        • Links that allow you to quickly access important areas of the website from any given page.
      • Personal bar
        • Contains links and information concerning current user.
      • Breadcrumb menu
        • Trace your whereabouts in the website at any time.

Content area

  • Content area
    • Plone can portray each item in your portal using various screen displays.



  • Sidebars may appear to the left and right of the content area.
    • If a sidebar does not contain portlets, the sidebar will be hidden.
  • There are two different portlets on the home page.
    • Log-in portlet
      • Contains fields for entering username and password.
      • Can access registration form.
    • Calendar
      • Displays current date and day of the week.
      • Dates that are highlighted in blue and set in bold type means an event has been recorded for that day in Plone.
        • Holding mouse cursor over that day gives you more information about the event.

Page footer

  • Page footer
    • Contains copyright information about Plone.

Working with Plone

Before logging in

  • The website will initially appear as it does to a visitor.
  • Take some time to get acquainted with the site.

After logging in

  • If you are given web editor capabilities, a green bar should be at the top of your content area.

Adding items to your page

  • In the green bar, select the "Add new" drop-down menu and select the type of item you wish to add (e.g. File, event, image, etc.).
  • Fill out the required fields in the "Default" tab.
    • For example, adding a new file will have a title, description and a file that you will upload from your machine.

Editing items

  • Click "Edit" in the green bar.
  • The same content properties should show up as it does when you add an item. The only difference is that the fields will be filled out with the content that was originally added. (See Plone Basics)

Sharing options

  • In the green bar there is a sharing tab.
  • Here you can control who can view and edit your item.
    • You can make it accessible for all, group, several or one user.
  • Note: Sharing and editing content options may vary depending on the item.

Using display view

  • Folders in Plone have a "Display" tab that controls how folder content is shown.
  • Folders can display their contents in different ways.
    • Standard view
      • Displays a list of all content items in the folder with their Title, Description, Creator, and Date details.
    • Summary view
      • Displays Title and Description of content.
    • Tabular view
      • Displays content items in a tabular form.
    • Thumbnail view
      • Displays small thumbs of contained items.
      • Useful for photo galleries.
    • All content
      • Displays the whole text of the contained items.
    • Custom views
      • Used if you want multiple displays for a folder.

Creating photogallery in Plone

  • For displaying images and photos in Plone.
  • Create a folder (click "Add new...")
    • Insert title, change publication state to "Published" and save.
  • Next, add images
    • In the folder you just created, go to "Add new..." and choose "Image".
    • Choose file
    • Repeat for as many images as you want in the folder.
  • Change display
    • Return to the folder and see the "Display" options.
    • Select "Thumbnail view" from the menu.
  • Images display as thumbnails with their titles beneath.

Add download link for a file

  • After you've uploaded a file to Plone, insert the relative or absolute link into the page or other content type.
    • The browser will display the file (pdf viewer) or download it.
  • Add specific link to the file

User roles and permissions

  • Site admins can give roles to users to enable sharing editing rights, specify which users can add read content, and which users can add or publish content.
  • Basic roles:
    • Contributor
      • Can add content and submit it for review.
      • Can view another user's content that is not published, but not edit it.
    • Editor
      • Can edit content by self or others.
      • Cannot add new content, but can edit existing content.
    • Member
      • Most common role for users.
      • Can see anything published on site.
      • Cannot add new content or edit it.
    • Reader
      • Can read content by others.
      • Can view content items that are in a private state, but not make changes.
    • Reviewer
      • Power to edit/publish content that has been submitted for review
      • Cannot create new content.
    • Site administrator
      • Has full access to manage content and configuration.
      • Cannot access ZMI
    • Manager
      • Can do everything.

Local Roles (Sharing)

  • Let users have specific roles on certain content using Sharing tab.
  • Allows Plone Admin to add user(s) or user groups to have rights to add, edit or review content at a specific place.