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Five great little timesavers in Joomla 2.5

Joomla 1.6 and 2.5 introduce a bunch of improvements. You may have heard about ACL (giving you much more control over what users can see and do) and nested categories (making it easier to organize content). But in your day to day content management routine, you may even benefit more from all sorts of little usability improvements in the Joomla backend. Here’s my top 5 of Joomla timesavers.

Timesaver # 1: jumping home

Here’s the first little change that will save you a few clicks: the backend now has its own “home” link. In previous versions of Joomla, the “Administration” text in the header bar was static. Now, it’s a hyperlink that takes you back to the backend ‘home page’, allowing you to jump quickly to the main control panel from any backend location.

Joomla 1.6 Administration home link

Timesaver # 2: adding new items in one click

Some of the drop-down menu items now feature an extr level of “fly-out” menu items. Here's an example:

Joomla 1.5 fly-out menu

When you navigate to Content | Category Manager, a new second-level menu item will appear: Add new category. Clicking this menu item takes you to the Add New Category screen in just one step. You don't have to first open the Category Manager, Article Manager or any other manager screen and clicking New.

Again, a small interface change, but a giant leap for content managers! By clicking the Add New ... fly-out menu item, you get to the “Create Something New” screen in one go.

Timesaver # 3: Save & New

In Joomla! 1.5, the backend toolbar would allow you to Save (for example an article, or a new menu item), Apply (to save and keep on working in the same screen) or Close the screen without saving changes. In 1.6, there’s a new button called Save & New. When you hit this button while editing an item, this will save the current article and and open an (empty) article screen for you to create another article.

Save and new button - Joomla 1.6

What’s the use of Save & New? Imagine you want to add a set of new categories to make room for new content on your website. You can now create one category, click Save & New. A new, empty Add New Category screen will appear. Enter the details of the second category and click Save & New again. A new screen appears, allowing you to enter the details of the third category. In other words, the Save & New feature enables you to create series of new items with lightning speed.

Timesaver # 4: Save as Copy

Now what’s the difference between Save & New and another new toolbar button, Save as Copy? Hitting this second button not only saves the current article, but leaves the current screen and its contents open for you to edit a copy of the article you just saved. The Save as Copy will help you when you need to create items that have much in common – such as categories that share a specific combination of settings or articles that all have the same dummy content are only different in their title and categories.

This can benefit you when you need to set up a new website fast and include a series of dummy articles. After you’ve saved an article for the first time, a message is displayed (Article successfully saved) and a Save as Copy button appears.

Joomla 1.6 - Save as Copy button

Your first article is saved now. Just change whatever you need to change now for the second article. Now click Save as Copy.The copy with the new article title (Example article #2) has been saved.

Timesaver # 5: tabbed screens

When you’re working with categories, chances are at some point you’ll want to switch to the articles screen to add some content to the categories you’ve just managed. Previously, this would involve clicking around in the backend interface, closing one screen and opening another. In Joomla 1.6, this is much easier thanks to the introduction of tabbed screens.

Beware: in the default backend template, Joomla’s tabs don’t actually look like the tabs as used in other software or on websites. They’re more like a set of horizontal menu items. However, they function as tabs: whatever option you click, defines what content is shown below it.

When you’re working with categories, the Category Manager screen offers two shortcuts allowing you to quickly jump to screens with related functionality: the Articles screen and the Featured Articles screen.

You’ll find tabbed screens on many different places in the backend. When working with Menus you can quickly jump to Menu Items, when managing Users you can instantly switch to User Groups and Access Levels.

More to explore in Joomla 2.5

Of course, these five improvements are just a few of hundreds of changes - big and small - in Joomla 2.5. In the Joomla 2.5 Beginner's Guide, you can read all about them.

Eric Tiggeler

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