Templates & Placeholders

In this tutorial we’ll introduce Placeholders, and we’re also going to show how you can make your own HTML templates CMS-ready.


You can use HTML templates to customise the look of your website, define Placeholders to mark sections for managed content and use special tags to generate menus and more.

You can define multiple templates, with different layouts or built-in components, and choose them for each page as required. A page’s template can be switched for another at any time.

You’ll find the site’s templates in mysite/templates.

If you didn’t change the automatically-created home page’s template, it’s fullwidth.html, the first one listed in the project’s settings.py CMS_TEMPLATES tuple:

    ## Customize this
    ('fullwidth.html', 'Fullwidth'),
    ('sidebar_left.html', 'Sidebar Left'),
    ('sidebar_right.html', 'Sidebar Right')


Placeholders are an easy way to define sections in an HTML template that will be filled with content from the database when the page is rendered. This content is edited using django CMS’s frontend editing mechanism, using Django template tags.

fullwidth.html contains a single placeholder, {% placeholder "content" %}.

You’ll also see {% load cms_tags %} in that file - cms_tags is the required template tag library.

If you’re not already familiar with Django template tags, you can find out more in the Django documentation.

Add a couple of new placeholders, {% placeholder "feature" %} and {% placeholder "splashbox" %} to the template’s HTML structure. You can add them anywhere, for example:

 {% block content %}
     {% placeholder "feature" %}
     {% placeholder "content" %}
     {% placeholder "splashbox" %}
 {% endblock content %}

If you switch to Structure mode, you’ll see the new placeholders available for use.

the new 'splashbox' placeholder

Static Placeholders

The content of the placeholders we’ve encountered so far is different for every page. Sometimes though you’ll want to have a section on your website which should be the same on every single page, such as a footer block.

You could hard-code your footer into the template, but it would be nicer to be able to manage it through the CMS. This is what static placeholders are for.

Static placeholders are an easy way to display the same content on multiple locations on your website. Static placeholders act almost like normal placeholders, except for the fact that once a static placeholder is created and you added content to it, it will be saved globally. Even when you remove the static placeholders from a template, you can reuse them later.

So let’s add a footer to all our pages. Since we want our footer on every single page, we should add it to our base template (mysite/templates/base.html). Place it at the bottom of the HTML <body>:

  {% static_placeholder 'footer' %}

Save the template and return to your browser. Refresh any page in Structure mode, and you’ll see the new static placeholder. If you add some content to it in the usual way, you’ll see that it appears on your site’s other pages too.

Rendering Menus

In order to render the CMS’s menu in your template you can use the show_menu tag.

The example we use in mysite/templates/base.html is:

<ul class="nav navbar-nav">
    {% show_menu 0 1 100 100 "menu.html" %}

Any template that uses show_menu must load the CMS’s menu_tags library first:

{% load menu_tags %}

If you chose “bootstrap” while setting up with djangocms-installer, the menu will already be there and templates/menu.html will already contain a version that uses bootstrap compatible markup.

Next we’ll look at Integrating applications.