Joomla User Manual

Manual Index

Article Categories


Imagine a library without a classification system: books are just placed on the shelves in the order in which they are received. That is not very helpful if the library has millions of books and you are looking for something on History, Gardening or Science. The same sort of argument applies to Articles. If you have dozens, hundreds or thousands of articles you really need a method to classify them so that you can easily find what you need. That is what Categories are for.

A Joomla! category can contain both articles and sub-categories in a tree-like structure nested to any depth, although it is unlikely that you will want to go beyond a depth of three or four. For example, if your articles are about Nature you might classify them as follows:

  • Animals
    • Birds
      • Hawks
      • Finches
      • Gulls
    • Mammals
      • Apes
      • Monkeys
      • Rodents
  • Plants
    • Flowers
      • Daisies
      • Roses
    • Trees
      • Oaks
      • Elms

In this example the Animals category might contain articles about animals in general as well as sub-categories for articles on different types of animal.

Joomla provides a single default category named Unclassified. Any article not assigned to a specific category that you have created becomes a member of the Unclassified category. You create categories as required to suit the nature of your articles.

An article can only be in one category. In some circumstances that is not quite enough. Suppose for example you wish to look for books of all sorts written in a particular language, or all plants that are poisonous or all animals that are dangerous. That is where Tags come in useful. They are covered elsewhere.

Using Categories

In the administrator Articles list the Filter Options form has a - Select Category - drop-down list that displays your category tree allowing you to filter for articles in the selected Category. You can also create Category Blog and Category List menu item types to display articles from a selected category to site visitors.

Adding Categories and Sub Categories

Via the Home Dashboard

Home dashboard add category icons

Dependant on whether your Home Dashboard has been customised after installation, you will have one or two options to generate a new category:

  1. In the Sidebar Menu click the Content link, then from the dropdown menu click the plus (+) symbol to the right of the Categories link.
  2. If it is displayed, in the Home Dashboard Site Panel click the plus (+) symbol to the right of the Articles Categories icon.

Via the Article: Categories List

Article categories list new button

Click the New button.

Either of these options will open up a page: Articles: New Category that is ready for input.

Save button in article category edit form

Add the name of your new category to the Title field. This is the only mandatory information required.

You can add a description for the category using the editor. This is a matter of preference.

When you create a new category, by default the settings panel Status will be set to Published. You can change the status to Published, Unpublished, Archived or Trashed.

Article category form right column settings

Besides Status, the other settings are:

Parent: The process for adding a new category or sub-category is almost the same. The only difference is that you set the category as -No parent- (the default setting) or select a parent by choosing an existing category which makes your new category a sub-category of the selected parent.

Access: By default access is set to Public. Other options to restrict access are Guest, Registered, Special and Super Users.

Tags: If you use them, you can add one or more tags to the category. Setting tags at category level is a good way to maintain consistency.

Note and Version Note: Use these to add relevant notes if required.

Click Save & Close. If you are creating more categories you can click Save & New instead and will open up a new input page.

Article category save confirmation message

Once the category has been saved you will be returned to the Articles: Categories page.

Articles categories list view

The screenshot above, for articles on pets, shows an example of how some categories have been set up. It is easy to see that the list includes sub-categories (grouped and shown offset to the right below the parent).

Once you have created your categories they are available for use in your articles.

Quick Tips

  • You can also create article categories from within an article.
  • Remember that you can only assign one category to an article.
  • As both parent categories and sub-categories can have further sub-categories, plan and organise categories carefully. A complicated category hierarchy can become a challenge to manage.
  • Another method of grouping content in Joomla is the use of the Tags Component allowing you to add multiple tags to your articles. Using categories and tags can help minimise the number of sub-categories and provides an efficient way to structure your website content and provide visitors with more features to navigate your website content.