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Guides: What to do if you're unable to edit your guide

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It happens to the best of us. You're adding some new content to your guide -- maybe you're embedding a new widget, adding some new custom CSS/JS, or editing some of your rich text/HTML content -- and after saving your changes the editing controls on the guide freeze and you're unable to edit anything. What do you do next? Your first inclination may be to delete the box, page, or the entire guide, but before you go that route there are some steps that you can take on your end to save your content. 

And don't forget that you can always contact Springy Support for help if you're not sure!

Did this happen after adding a Media/Widget asset?

While the Media/Widget asset type does include a built-in review for things like jQuery includes, mismatched tags, and unclosed attributes, if you chose to save the asset without addressing the issues or if the coded you added was not flagged by the review (some external JS files may include code that conflicts with LibGuides) it could result in the newly added content breaking the controls for the page. When this happens, you can go to your assets library to edit or delete the widget accordingly.

To edit your Media/Widget asset from the assets library:

  1. Go to Content > Assets.
  2. Use the filters at the top of the page to filter the assets library (such as by type or owner).
  3. To edit an asset, click on its Edit () icon in the Actions column.
    • Changes made to the asset will be reflected everywhere the asset is being used.

Navigating to the Assets page

Filtering the assets list

Clicking an asset's Edit icon

Because you can edit/delete Media/Widget assets outside of your guide, this is the recommended method for adding embedded content, not via Rich Text/HTML content items.

Did this happen after adding/editing a Rich Text/HTML content item?

Unlike Media/Widget assets, there is no review or validation of the content that you add to a Rich Text/HTML content item. That means that if the code that you have added to the content item is malformed, has mismatched tags, has jQuery includes, or some other issue your guide may load incorrectly or freeze-up after saving. When this happens, you'll need to contact Springy Support for help. We can edit or delete the offending code from our side.  

Did this happen after adding JS/CSS code to your system-level or group-level custom code?

Admin users have the ability to add custom JavaScript (JS) and CSS code to your LibGuides Look & Feel options, and group admins can do the same for their group's Look & Feel options. The code that you add at the system or group-level is not validated by LibGuides, which can result in edits or additions to the code impacting the look of your public pages or breaking the controls of the guide edit page. When this happens, you can return to the Look & Feel options and check your code for the following:

  • That you've included all proper closing tags (HTML tags, brackets, quotation marks, etc.).
    • One common error with tags is missing the closing </style> tag for your custom CSS code.
  • Verify that any <script> tags that you've added DO NOT include the jQuery JS library (e.g. some version of jquery.min.js). LibGuides already loads jQuery on every page; including it again will create a conflict, preventing jQuery-powered elements (such as the various guide option menus) from working.
    • If you have included the jQuery JS library in your code, remove it.
  • That you have not exceeded the character-limit for the custom code. You are limited to a maximum of 65,000 characters. Code in excess of this limit will be truncated, which can break the functionality of your pages if you save it.
  • If the code that you've added is to modify the look of your public pages and you are unable to edit your guides or the appearance of the guide edit page is 'off' after your custom code, try enabling the Do not include this code on guide edit page option to restore functionality. 
    • Disabling your custom code on the guide edit page can be very helpful when you have added a significant amount of custom code to your site/group and you want to maintain a consistent editing experience with your guides.

Did this happen after adding custom JS/CSS code to your guide?

Unlike the custom JS/CSS that you can add at the system or group-level, there is no option to disable the code that you add to a guide's custom JS/CSS on the guide edit page. That means that if the edits or additions that you have made to a guide's custom code space break the controls for the guide, you'll need to contact Springy Support for help. We can edit or delete the offending code from our side.  

Also, remember that the maximum characters allowed for guide-level custom code is 2,000, and the code in excess of this limit will be truncated. 

Not sure how it happened?

If you are unsure of how or why you are no longer able to edit your guide(s), please don't hesitate to contact Springy Support! We're more than happy to help!

Best practices

Some things to consider as you are adding embedded content to your guides and your own custom JS/CSS code that will help to minimize your chances of breaking the edit controls, unintentionally altering the appearance of your guides, and/or freezing your guide pages include:

  • Add embedded content using Media/Widget assets, not Rich Text/HTML content items.
    • Because you can edit and delete Media/Widget assets from the assets library if you run into problems with your embedded content you can quickly address the issue on your own.
    • If your code fails the built-in validation when saving, don't ignore the alert -- review and correct the reported problems with the code before saving it.
  • Add JS/CSS to the system or group-level Look & Feel options whenever possible.
    • Because guide-level custom code is applied to the guide editing interface, try adding your custom code to the system or group-level code when you can. 
    • Remember that you can use a box's ID in your CSS code if you only want to target one box.
  • Keep an eye out for jQuery includes in the code you're adding. 
    • DO NOT include any <script> tags that load the jQuery JS library (e.g. some version of jquery.min.js).
    • For example, if you are adding an Appointments scheduler widget from LibCal make sure that you leave the option to include the jQuery library unchecked
  • Utilize a code editor when working on large amounts of custom code.
    • Using a code editor will allow you to more easily manage and edit your code, along with giving you an opportunity to save different versions of your code to your computer. All you need to do is copy and paste the code into LibGuides.
  • Avoid using Content Box widgets in your guides.
    • This widget type is specifically intended to make your Content Box look like it does in LibGuides when you embed it in an outside website. It contains code already present in the LibGuides Source code, so having this appear twice on the page will break it. Instead, reuse the box.
  • Double-check your code for unclosed tags. 
    • Consider using a code validator (there are many free options available) to check your code for unclosed or missing tags before adding it to LibGuides. 
  • Keep an eye on the total number of characters in your custom code. 
    • System and group-level custom JS/CSS code spaces have a maximum character limit of 65,000, and the guide-level limit is 2,000. 
    • If you have a large amount of custom code, consider adding it to a CSS file and upload it to Admin > Look & Feel > Custom JS/CSS.