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Look & Feel: Customize your LibGuides homepage

In this article

The LibGuides homepage serves as an index of your guides. It allows users to browse your guides by title, type, subject, owner, and (if you have CMS) group. There's also a search box so your users can search for relevant pages.

The homepage's layout is determined by a template that is organized in two columns:

  • The first column contains the index listing of your system's guides.
  • The second column contains different boxes highlighting other content, such as your blog, A-Z Database List, or librarian profiles (to name a few).

There are easy-to-use options available for customizing the content in both columns. However, advanced users can also create custom HTML templates for more control over the homepage's layout and design. You can also choose to use one of your guides as a homepage, as well.

Example of the default homepage 

Accessing your homepage settings

  1. Go to Admin > Look & Feel.
  2. Click on the Page Layout tab and select Homepage from the dropdown.
  3. You will find the available options under the Customization tab, including:
    • Default View: this sets the default guide list users see when visiting your homepage. For example, if you select "Subject List", then the "By Subject" view will display by default.
    • Boxes: you can add, remove, and reorder boxes in the second column of the homepage.
    • Welcome Message & Introductory Text: this allows you to customize the page title and description.
    • Featured Profiles: this is where you can choose which librarian profiles to highlight in the "Your Friendly Librarians" box.
    • Help is Just a Click Away: this is where you can customize the text of the button in the "Help is Just a Click Away" box.

Selecting Homepage from the Page Layout tab

Customize the default homepage view, boxes, and text

When using the default homepage, you'll find several options for customizing its content and layout:

Default View

The Default View option determines which guide list users will see when first visiting your homepage. For example, if you select "Subject List", then the "By Subject" view will display by default. Users can still switch between the different views (e.g. By Owner, All Guides, etc.) once the homepage loads.

  1. In the Homepage Boxes / Redirect panel, use the Default View option to select your preferred default homepage view.
    • Guide List: this will display the "All Guides" list by default.
    • Subject List: this will display the "By Subject" list by default.
    • Guide Type List: this will display the "By Type" list by default.
    • Guide Owner List: this will display the "By Owner" list by default.
    • Group List: if you have CMS, then choose this to display the "By Group" list by default.

Default View options

Important note about custom homepage templates

If you are using a custom homepage template (i.e. not the "System Default - Homepage" template), the default view must be set within the template's Keyword Parameters. Simply edit your homepage template, select the desired view from the content : content list keyword parameter, and save your template.

The content : content list keyword parameter


You can add, remove, and reorder boxes from the second column of the homepage. This includes several default boxes that provide your users with quick access to your A-Z Database List, blog, staff profiles, discussion board (if you have CMS), and E-Reserves homepage (if you subscribe to E-Reserves). However, you can also add any box you'd like from your guides. For example, if you created a box containing your library hours, you could add that to your homepage, as well.

  1. In the Homepage Boxes / Redirect panel, use the Boxes options to manage the boxes on your homepage.
    1. Drag & drop any box to reorder it. The homepage will display the boxes in the same order as they appear here.
    2. To remove a box from your homepage, click on its Delete () icon.
    3. To add one of the available default boxes (such as A-Z or Blog), click on its button below the list of boxes.
    4. To add a box from one of your guides, enter its ID number in the Enter Box ID field and click the Add This Box button.
      • The new box will appear in your list just like the default boxes.
      • You can reorder it the same way you do any other box.
      • If you remove the box, you can always add it back later by entering its ID again.
  2. When finished making your changes, click the Save button.

Options to add, reorder, and remove homepage boxes 

How to find a box's ID number

An easy way to find the ID of a box number is by editing the guide containing that box 

  1. Edit the guide and navigate to the page containing the box.
  2. Click on the Edit this Box () icon in the box's heading.
  3. In the Edit Box window that appears, you'll find the Box ID listed under the Box Info tab.

Viewing a box's ID number

Welcome Message & Introductory Text

The Welcome Message and Introductory Text fields allow you to customize the title and description at the top of your homepage. These are entirely optional: if you do not want to display any text, you can leave both fields blank.

Example of the Welcome Message and Introductory Text on the homepage

  1. In the Welcome Message & Introductory Text panel, click on the underlined text to customize the text.
    1. Welcome Message: this appears as the page title in an <h1> element with a font size of 24px. This will display below your page header/banner and bread crumbs.
    2. Introductory Text: this appears as the page description a <div> element with a font size of 12px. This will display below the Welcome Message.

Welcome Message and Introductory Text options

Featured Profiles

The Featured Profiles setting allows you to customize which user profiles appear in the Your Friendly Librarians box on the homepage.

  1. In the Featured Profiles box, click inside of the text field.
  2. Select the users you want to add from the dropdown menu. To narrow the list, you can start typing a name right into the text field.
    • If you do not select any users: each time someone visits the homepage, they'll see 4 profiles selected at random from all available users.
    • If you select between 1 and 4 users: those same profiles will appear each time someone visits the homepage.
    • If you select more than 4 users: each time someone visits the homepage, they'll see 4 profiles selected at random from that list of users.
    • If you have LibGuides CMS, please note that this setting only applies to your system-level homepage. Groups have their own Featured Profiles setting for their homepages.
  3. To remove a user, click on its Delete () icon.

Selecting featured profiles 

Help is Just a Click Away

The Help is Just a Click Away box allows you to provide instructions for contacting the library for help. If you subscribe to LibAnswers, the button in this box will automatically be configured to take users to your LibAnswers homepage, where they can search your FAQs, fire up a chat, or send in a ticket. However, if you don't have LibAnswers or would prefer to direct users to a different page, you can configure the button to use a different URL.

  1. In the Help is Just a Click Away box, click on the current URL in the Button URL to edit it.
    • Want to also change that box's heading, body, and button text? You can do this under the Language Options tab.
    • Under Language Customization, click on Global and modify Key IDs 34, 168, and 169.

Button URL option in the Help is Just a Click Away box

Use a guide as your homepage

If you are looking for a more customized landing page for your site, you can actually set a guide as your homepage. This can be especially helpful if you would like to use LibGuides as your library website, since a guide makes it easy to add and manage multiple types of content on your homepage.

Before getting started, please keep the following points in mind:

  • When a user visits your LibGuides URL, they will be redirected to your homepage guide. So, although they may visit yourlibrary.libguides.com, the browser will be redirected to yourlibrary.libguides.com/guide-url.
    • As a result, you will see the guide's URL in your browser once the homepage loads.
    • Because of this, we recommend that you give your homepage a guide a friendly URL so users will know they're at your homepage. Popular friendly URLs are /home, /homepage, and /library.
  • Due to that redirect, you will no longer be able to access your default system homepage (i.e. the default list of guides).
    • Be sure to provide some way for users to browse or search your other guides via your homepage guide (such a Guide List content item, Guides widget, search box, etc.).
    • If you have LibGuides CMS, consider keeping your subject guides in their own group. Since each group has its own homepage, that group's homepage could use the system default homepage template. You could then link to that group and allow users to browse and search your guides.

Creating your homepage guide

Your first step is to create the guide you want to use as your homepage. Since this is just like creating any other type of guide, the sky really is the limit when it comes to the content you can add. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Library hours: if you subscribe to LibCal, an Hours widget is an easy way to display your current library hours. Just create your widget in LibCal and add the embed code to a Media/Widget asset on your guide.
  • Blog posts: you can use your LibGuides system blog (or, you could even add a blog page directly to your homepage guide) to share news and notes. You can then create a Blog widget to display your most recent posts directly on your homepage. Just create the widget and add its embed code to a Media/Widget asset on your guide.
  • LibAnswers widget: if you subscribe to LibAnswers, you can add a LibAnswers asset to quickly and easily add your LibAnswers widgets to your guide. This is a great way to embed an FAQ search box or question form.
  • Chat widgets: whether you use LibChat or another chat reference system, you can embed your widgets right onto your homepage using Media/Widget assets.
  • Search widgets: if your catalog, discovery service, or other electronic resources provide search widgets, you can also embed these on your guides using Media/Widget assets. Consider using a tabbed box to keep these organized.
  • Gallery box: you could use a gallery box to cycle through new/trial databases, new book releases, LibCal events, or images.

Once you've created your guide, don't forget to:

  • Give your guide and each of its pages a friendly URL. That way, the full URL users see in their browser will reflect that they're on your homepage.
  • Give your guide a different title from your system name. Your System Name (from Admin > System Settings) displays right before your guide's name in the breadcrumbs.
    • To prevent having the same name listed twice in a row (which may confuse users), try to give your a guide a different name.
    • For example, if your system name is "Springy Library", you could name your guide "Homepage". That way, the breadcrumbs would show "Springy Library | Homepage".
  • Publish your guide. If your guide is not published, then users will see an error saying the page is unavailable.

Setting a guide as your custom homepage

Once you've created and published your guide, you're ready to set it as your LibGuides homepage.

  1. Under the Customization tab, in the Homepage Boxes / Redirect panel, set the Homepage option to Use Custom.

Entering a redirect URL

  1. Set the Redirect URL to the relative URL of your guide.
    • The relative URL of a guide is the part following your domain name.
    • For example, if you gave your guide a friendly URL of "home", you would enter /home as the redirect URL.
    • If this field is left empty, then your default homepage will still be used.

Switching back to the default homepage

You can revert back to the default homepage at any time by switching the Homepage option back to Use Default. This will not unpublish your guide, but users will no longer see it when visiting your LibGuides URL.

Advanced: Create a custom homepage template

Homepage templates are the underlying HTML code of the default homepage. Admin-level users can create custom templates, giving them the ability to add, edit, move, or remove elements from the page.

Because LibGuides pages are built on the Bootstrap framework, you can incorporate the Bootstrap grid system, components, and helper classes in your code.

 CAUTION: Be careful when editing template code

Editing HTML is a core part of customizing custom templates. If you are not 100% comfortable with HTML, your best options are to either:

  1. Find someone at your library/institution with knowledge of HTML to help you, or
  2. Leave this area untouched and just use the default templates.

Creating and customizing homepage templates

  1. Go to Admin > Look & Feel.
  2. Under the Page Layout tab, choose Homepage from the dropdown.
  3. Under the Templates tab, click on the Customize Homepage Templates panel to expand it.
  4. Click the top dropdown to select a template to work off of (e.g., System Default - Homepage).
  5. In the Template Name field add a new name or modify the name for an existing template.
  6. Modify the template as needed in the Template Code box. Some basic things you can change in the template include:
    • Add / rearrange / comment out / remove whatever HTML you'd like.
    • Change the width of the columns by changing the col-md-n class, where n is a number between 1 and 12, and where the ns in that row add up to 12.
    • Add additional rows/columns to the template.
    • Add custom boxes to the page using the appropriate keyword/box ID.
  7. Adjust the Keyword Parameters:
    • content: content list: choose which list to display by default on the homepage.
    • content: guide / subject / group / type / owner columns: choose the number of columns to display that content when users select that area.
  8. Click Save as a NEW template or Save changes to this template

creating and customizing a homepage template

 If you get stuck or break a custom template

The default template will always be there. If you get stuck when editing a custom template, cannot remember the original order of content, break the HTML code/have unclosed tags that you cannot find, or something else you can always jump back to the default template.

And for any future changes we may make to the template code, you'll always have that version to compare your customized versions with. So you can add in any new placeholders / make whatever changes are necessary.

Or you can delete the custom template and the system will revert to using the default template if it was in use. As always, remember that we cannot recover deleted content, so delete with caution! 

Placeholder keywords used in the Homepage template

Keywords, delimited by 2 curly braces, are used to indicate where on the homepage LibGuides-generated content will be displayed. For example, the {{breadcrumbs}} keyword is used to display the breadcrumbs for the site. The keywords that can be used in a homepage template are:

Keyword Output
{{public_header}} Outputs the header from the system level or group level, as appropriate.
{{breadcrumbs}} Outputs the breadcrumbs in the format System Name > Group Name > Guide Name > Page Name.
{{title}} Outputs the Welcome Message text.
{{system_intro}} Outputs the Introductory text.
{{button_all_guides}} Outputs the All Guides list button.
{{button_by_group}} Outputs the By Group list button.
{{button_by_subject}} Outputs the By Subject list button.
{{button_by_type}} Outputs the By Type list button.
{{button_by_owner}} Outputs the By Owner list button.
{{content}} Outputs the content of the guide lists area (that is displayed based on the list type selected).
{{search_guides}} Outputs the search box on the homepage.
{{guide_list_controls}} Outs the Display list: Alphabetically, By Popularity, or Most Recent option.
{{content_col_<id>}} Outputs the boxes belonging to the column designated.
Replace <id> with the appropriate identifier for the column. (e.g., {{content_col_1}}, {{content_col_2}}, etc.)
{{content_box_<id>}} Outputs the content box with whatever ID you define in the keyword.
Replace <id> with the appropriate box ID.
The box ID must already exist in a guide the system (e.g., a reusable content guide) for this to work.
{{content_boxes}} Outputs the profile box for the guide owner.
{{system_footer}} Outputs the "Powered by Springshare" footer.
{{public_footer}} Outputs the footer defined either at the system level or group level, as appropriate.

Note: some of the above keywords are not in the default homepage template (e.g. {{content_box_<id>}}), but can be added to the template to display additional content.

Changing your site's homepage template

If you just created a new template, the changes won't appear to the public until you've set your template as the homepage layout.

To apply a custom homepage template to your system:

  1. Click on the Templates tab.
  2. In the Layout Options for Homepage panel, select the template you want to apply.
  3. Click the Save button.
    • Please note: if you have LibGuides CMS, each group has its own separate homepage settings that will override the default template you select here.

Saving the homepage layout

Reverting to the default homepage template

You can switch back to your system default template at any time. Just return to the Layout Options for Homepage panel, select the System Default - Homepage template, and save.

Example: Hide guide list buttons on the LibGuides homepage

As an example of how you can customize your homepage layout, let's look at how you can hide the guide list buttons (i.e. "All Guides", "By Subject", etc.) from your homepage using two methods: custom CSS code and a custom layout template.

Option 1: Custom CSS code

One way you can do this is by adding some Custom JS/CSS code to your site. To get started, go to Admin > Look & Feel, then click on the Custom JS/CSS tab. Then, add as many of the following CSS rules as you'd like to hide the tabs of your choice (just make sure they stay inside of those <style></style> tags).

    /* Hide the "All Guides" button */
    #s-lg-index-all-btn {
        display: none;
    /* Hide the "By Group" button */
    #s-lg-index-group-btn {
        display: none;
    /* Hide the "By Subject" button */
    #s-lg-index-subject-btn {
        display: none;
    /* Hide the "By Type" button */
    #s-lg-index-guidetype-btn {
        display: none;
    /* Hide the "By Owner" button */
    #s-lg-index-owner-btn {
        display: none;

Option 2: Custom homepage template

If you are currently using a custom homepage template, you can easily remove one or more of those guide list tabs by removing their corresponding keywords from your template:


Simply delete one or more of the keywords from inside the <ul class="nav nav-pills"> element, then save your template.

Don't have a custom homepage yet? Not a problem! Check out the Links & Files section below for more info. :)