Blocks

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Blocks are pieces of content that you can reuse and share among websites while being maintained in one place only. Typical types of content blocks are campaign teasers and banners, videos, news feeds, and contact forms. As for pages, you can have different block types, such as an editorial block, a form, or a page listing block.

Manage blocks from the Blocks tab under the Optimizely Content Management System (CMS) assets panel, where you can create blocks and organize them in folders. You can then use blocks by dragging them into the content area of CMS pages. You can manage block versions like other types of content, and blocks can also be personalized to be displayed for a selected audience.

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Find the block location

Use the search field at the top of the panel to enter search criteria and retrieve blocks. Clicking a search result will expand the folder where the block is located. To browse for blocks, click a folder to expand the folders and content beneath it.

If you have an already-inserted block in the rich-text editor and want to find out where it is stored, select the block in the editor, and an Edit button is displayed. Click Edit to open the block or hover over it to see where it is stored.

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Views when you create and edit blocks

You can create and edit blocks in different types of views.

Using On-Page Editing or All Properties view, you can see properties belonging to the block, drag and drop images from the assets panel, and so on. Using Quick edit view, you can edit the block without leaving the current context, and relevant properties are found in the same view (which properties you see depend on your site configuration). If no approval sequence is set up for the block, you can publish your changes directly from the Quick edit view.

Block editing in On-Page Editing or All Properties view:   Block editing in Quick edit view:
Image: Block editing in on-page edit view/all properties view   Image: Block editing in quick edit view

Create a block

You must have Create access rights to the global or site-specific folder under For All Sites or For This Site where you want to create a block, or to the current page when creating a block in the local For This Page folder.

Create a block from the Blocks tab in the assets panel

This option lets you choose where to save the block in the block folder structure. If you save it under For All Sites or For This Site, the block is available for other pages on the website. If you save it under For This Page, it is only available on the current page. Creating a block from the assets panel will use the On-Page Editing or All Properties views.

  1. Select the folder in the structure where you want to create a block, and select New Block in the context menu, or click one of the New Block buttons.
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  2. Select the block type among those available, and provide a name for the block.
  3. Depending on the type of block, add content as appropriate.
  4. Publish the block immediately or schedule for publishing later. Unpublished blocks are not visible to visitors and display dimmed out in edit view when added to a content area.

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Create a block directly from a content area

When using this option, the block is saved in the For This Page or For This Block folder for the selected page or block, which means it is not available on any other pages on the website.

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  1. Click Create a new block in the content area from the On-Page Editing or the All Properties view.
  2. Select the block type among those available and give the block a name.
  3. Depending on the type of block, add content as appropriate.
  4. Click Create. If an approval sequence is set on the page or you do not have publishing rights, the block is created as a draft; otherwise, it is immediately published.

Edit a block

Changes made to a block being used in content on the website affect instances where the block is used.

You can edit blocks directly from the content area where they are being used or the Blocks tab in the assets panel.

  1. Select the desired block to edit. Select Quick Edit from the context menu to open the block in Quick edit view or Edit to open it in On-Page Editing or All Properties view.
  2. Depending on the type of block, change the content as appropriate.

    If you want to rename the block, use the All Properties view.

  3. Depending on which view you are using, the system configuration, and your access rights, you have the following options:
    • In Quick edit view, save the block to return to the page, or set the block to Ready for Review, Ready to Publish, or publish your changes immediately.
    • In On-page Editing or All Properties view, set the block to Ready for Review, Ready to Publish, or publish the block immediately. In these views, you can also schedule it for later publishing.

Use blocks in content

You can add blocks only to content areas that support blocks. In edit view, select the desired block in the assets panel and drag it into a page's content area. A blue frame indicates where you can add blocks on the page.

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You can add several blocks to the same area. Drag the block above or beneath an existing block and drop it when the separator displays. The blocks can be rearranged later. You also can add blocks to a content area in the All Properties view.

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Like blocks, pages from the page tree can also be dropped into a content area. Depending on how the page template is built, the content of the selected page is rendered in the content area.

You can also add blocks to a rich-text editor area through drag and drop.

To remove a block from a content area, select Remove from the context menu.

You can personalize blocks to display targeted information to selected audiences; see Personalize with audiences. Personalized blocks are not displayed in the edit view. Select a content area to display personalized blocks.

You cannot link to blocks because they do not have a web address (URL). However, you can create links to other pages and media files if the block contains the rich-text editor (XHTML string property).

Arrange blocks in a content area

You can change the display order of blocks by rearranging them in the content area, through drag and drop, or by selecting Move up or Move down in the context menu.

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Display blocks in different styles

You can select display options for blocks on a page in different sizes and styles. The rendering of blocks needs to have built-in support for managing different widths for the content to be properly displayed.

The following options are available:

  • Automatic – Select this option to display the block using an appropriate built-in style option selected by the system.
  • Manually – Select this option to display the block using the specific style option, such as Full, Wide, or Narrow presets for the specific context where the block is used.
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Move, copy, and remove blocks in folders

Moving, copying, and removing a block works similarly to pages using the context menu. Because blocks and media files share the same folders, removing a folder from the tree structure affects content within the folder. If any block or media within a folder is used on the website, you are notified about the usage before the content is moved to the trash.

A block is no longer available on the website when it is moved to trash. You can see removed blocks by selecting View Trash from the context menu of the block gadget.

Versions, content languages, and access rights for blocks

  • Versions for blocks are managed in the same way as for other types of content. When you update the properties for a block, a version is created, which is listed in the versions gadget. See Publish and manage versions.
  • Content languages for blocks are managed like for other types of content; see Translate content.
  • Access rights can be defined for creating and viewing blocks. This is done directly for a block in the All Properties view or an entire block structure from the admin view. It is also possible to restrict the block types that can be added to a content area from code. See Set access rights from edit view and Access rights.

See also Self-optimizing block.