Design Mode

Specialists can add additional component options to pages.

On this page:

Last reviewed: October 21, 2021


Components that were not intended for a particular page type or layout may behave unexpectedly on published pages and their use is not supported.

Please only apply the standard components from our Components Library. These have been tested and are fully supported for general use in the UBCMS.

(In Design Mode, you'll also see untested and unsupported components that were in the original software installation, as well as experimental components that may change markedly during development.)


A 'design' is a UBCMS concept separate from page, template, or site. Your site's design is set in page Properties on the Advanced Tab of your home page. The design is where the settings for which components are available in each 'paragraph system' are stored. A new design is created for each UBCMS site, configured on the site's home page and all the child pages normally inherit it from there.

Normal users have no way of creating a new design, so it is very uncommon for a site to have more than one design. It is possible for the design value to be adjusted, possibly set to another site's design, but this is generally avoided because it can cause layout problems. Shared content pages have their own design settings, which are normally shared throughout all shared content, regardless of individual sites.

So while any author can change the design setting Properties, we ask them not to do so.

In normal conditions, authors are offered different component choices on different pages because the availability depends on the paragraph system (basically the page layout of the different columns shown on that page, like the main column or sidebars). The available paragraphs are limited by the page layout template chosen when the page is created, or later by any changes in Properties.

Specialists can enter Design Mode to change the 'paragrph' settings.

On any page, you can see the paragraph system names by entering Design Mode ("Design of par", "Design of leftcol", "Design of top", etc.). Click the associated Edit button and you can then see or change the options. Each paragraph must be changed separately -- there is no page-wide setting.

  • e.g. a home page layout might have top, col-1, col-2, col-3, col-4, and bottom
  • e.g. three column page with a banner might have par, banner, leftcol and rightcol
  • e.g. a two column page might have just par and leftcol.

Back in Edit Mode, if you double-click the "Drag components here" areas, it will show a list of just the components that can be added to that part of the page. For normal pages, every component in the Sidekick can be added somewhere, but most cannot be added everywhere. And even for pages adjusted using Design Mode, the changes just modify one paragraph -- additional components turned on using Design Mode cannot just be added globally anywhere on the page.

Changes made in Design Mode govern that 'paragraph system' for ALL pages that share that design, which in practice is typically your entire site. And the changes impact all users.

This all applies to Shared Content, too, except that most shared content is within a common area (/content/shared), not within any one site's path, and thus all this content shares one overarching design. So we don't recommend modifying shared content design, and thus only admin users can do so. Also, the design settings for shared content are stored with our code and will be reset to those tracked settings after each code deployment.

How to Use This Feature

Enter Design Mode by clicking the Edit dropdown in the upper right of the screen. Your page will switch to a view like Preview Mode revealing places to edit each of the page's 'paragraphs' (zones or columns).

Please note, any changes are site-wide for all authors.

  • Click any of the 'Drag Components Here' zones to reveal a folder icon ('Parent').
  • Click the Parent icon to reveal the familiar 'Configure' wrench icon.
  • Click Configure to reveal ParSys choices allowing you to engage additional component options for that part of your page(s).

Be very careful what you choose. The list includes ALL components in the UBCMS, including many we do not use as well, others that are not intended for that location,  as well as Experimental Components).

From the list, carefully choose the desired component, then select the entire group or choose one or more individual components from within that group.

Once you have made the changes, click the Checkmark and then the Edit icon at the top right of the window. Your changes will influence the options in the Component browser.

Changes made in Design Mode are applied site-wide but template-specific; i.e. they will impact all pages throughout your website that use that same template. You may need to adjust your home page as well as a standard template secondary page.

Changes made in Design Mode become available for all authors who have access to your website.

How to Reset Components after Unwanted Changes

Design mode is site-wide, but template-specific. There are often only two templates in use on each site (other than shared content, which cannot be adjusted). The home page uses one template, while usually all other pages (all the one-, two- and three-column variations) use the same template. Follow these instructions for your home page and also for one other page.

If you are not sure where you may have enabled extra components, the 'one other page' should be a page of type Three Column (with banner), which has every possible paragraph system on it. You can create a page like that just to follow these instructions and then delete it afterwards.

Are there non-standard headings in the Sidekick? You should ONLY see:

  • Core Components
  • Devloper Components
  • Experimental Components (added optionally!)
  • Form Components
  • More Components
  • Related Content Components (not on your home page)
  • Sidebar Components

If you see more than this, repeat the instructions above and carefully deselect any groups not on the list above. Some headings may be expanded with individual components selected.

If the heading is in the list above, leave that section alone. It is probably correct. If it is not in the list above, uncheck all components under that heading by de-selecting the entire section.

Repeat for other paragraph systems or continue to the next step and test and see if you need to try others. Remember to check both the home page and an inside page.

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