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How do I change the layout of my home page & blog type pages?

This applies to Joomla 1.0.13 and 1.5
Building a great looking home page is important to a Joomla site.  And, it may be one of the most difficult, depending on the purpose of your website, and the features that are built into your template.

However, let me look at one of the most basic customizations that people want to make to a site front page, and that is the number of columns that the articles appear in.

 

The default Joomla front page layout

Although this article is written about the "home page" layout, the "category blog" type of page uses the same settings and the same  layout options are used there.
The default Joomla front page shows articles as follows:

  • 1 article is shown full width
  • 2 more articles are shown, introduction only, in 2 columns

Frequently, this is not the layout that you want, and it can be frustrating to find where in Joomla these configuration options are set.

You might think that these settings would be found on the “Front Page Manager,” but you would be mistaken.  The Front Page manager is used to manage the articles that appear on the front page, but it does not allow you to change the layout of the front page.

An Important Joomla Secret

Here is a Joomla secret that you need to learn and remember: The layout options for the front page are actually controlled by the menu item that titled “Home” on the menu manager for your “Main Menu.”  That seems strange at first, that the layout of a page would be controlled by the menu manager rather than the front page manager, but that is the way Joomla does it.

The settings for a page are set by the menu item that generates the page, and Joomla uses the first menu item on the “main menu” as the “home page” of your website.  (Note, Joomla 1.5 slightly changes this.  It does not require the “home” page to be the first menu item on the “main menu.”  It allows you to select any page to be your “home” page.)

So, let me say it again:  you determine the layout of the articles on your home page through the “home” page menu item on the “Main Menu” menu manager.

Front Page Layout Options 

So, let’s look at the options available to you to control the number and layout of articles on your site front page.

Go to the menu manager for the “Main Menu.”

Click on the “Home” menu to bring up the menu editor.

On the right side of the menu you will see a number of parameters that control the page that is generated when this menu is clicked, or when the “home” page is shown.

Down a bit on the right you will see four items that you can adjust to get you the layout that you want.  

In Joomla 1.0.13, it looks like this:

ss_frontpage_options_1.gif

In Joomla 1.5, the screen looks like this:

ss_front_page_options_15.gif

Let’s take a look at what each of these options mean:

#Leading  How many articles will be shown full width?
#Intro
After the leading articles are shown, how many more articles will be shown (introduction only) in how many columns.  The columns are defined in the next item.
Columns
How many columns wide should Joomla use for these introduction only articles?

#Links

                   

After the leading articles (full article) and the introduction only articles are shown, how many more articles should have their titles shown (with a link to the article).

Once you set these options the way that you want, save your changes and check your home page.  You should see the number of articles in the layout that you want there.

Still More Choices

In addition to knowing how to arrange the articles on the front page, you often have to spend quite a bit of time working with the modules on the front page to get just the design that you want.  So, learn about module positions and configruation, and build that great Joomla front page!