Templates: The Basics

The HelpSpot portal is fully customizable to allow integration with any website or intranet.


HelpSpot templates are HTML with PHP, not an esoteric template language. This means PHP can be used within the templates themselves to call user-defined functions, includes, an other PHP constructs. This can make customizing an installation easier to allow the inclusion of templates from a main site, thereby preventing the duplication of code.

Editing Templates

The easiest way to edit the portal templates is by navigating to Admin > Customize > Portal Templates. Here you can view and edit the templates for your primary portal and any secondary portals. HelpSpot automatically versions your changes and allows you to roll them back if needed.

If you with to edit the files on the server directly, templates are located in the folder: /helpspot/templates. While it's possible to modify the files there directly it is not recommended. Instead it is recommended that the files be copied and placed in: /custom_templates. HelpSpot's template system will automatically check the /custom_templates folder and use the template from there instead of from /helpspot/templates. Using a custom templates folder prevents customizations from being overwritten during future version upgrades.

Common Files to Modify

These files are included on each page of the portal. For a basic level of integration (ie: standardizing 'look and feel), modifying only these files, in most cases, would be enough.

  • header.tpl.php
  • footer.tpl.php
  • navigation.tpl.php
  • css.tpl.php

List of All Templates

Each template contains specific documentation inside it, so please see the templates themselves for more details.

Template Description
captcha.tpl.php HTML elements for the CAPTCHA

css.tpl.php CSS styles used in the portal. Add or edit as needed.

email.tpl.php Page to email a forum poster

footer.tpl.php This file closes the 'container' DIV tag and also the HTML footer elements.

forums.tpl.php List of available public forums

forums.feed.tpl.php RSS feed for the forums

forums.posts.tpl.php Page that displays forum posts for a thread

forums.topics.tpl.php Page that lists forum topics

header.tpl.php The HTML header is stored in this file as well as the 'container' DIV that holds all other page elements. Often just adding your orgnaizations standard header to this file is enough to provide a consistent feel across the sites.

home.tpl.php The portals homepage

index.tpl.php A special page that includes the correct template. All pages pass through the index template.

js.tpl.php Javascript required for the portal

kb.tpl.php List of available public knowledge books

kb.book.tpl.php A books table of contents page

kb.chapter.tpl.php Chapter with list of chapter pages

kb.page.tpl.php Knowledge book page

kb.printer.friendly.tpl.php All a knowledge books pages on one page for easy printing

loginbar.tpl.php The menu bar at the top of the request check pages when a user is logged in

maintenance.tpl.php A page which is shown to visitors when the system is in maintenance mode

moderated.tpl.php Page shown to the user when a form posting is thought to be SPAM

navigation.tpl.php Contains the left side HelpSpot specific navigation. The navigation is a simple bulleted list, however main site navigation elements can be added to this list as well.

request.tpl.php The submit a request form

request.check.tpl.php Page where customers check their requests

request.history.tpl.php List of requests visitors see when logged into the portal

search.tpl.php Search results page

searchbox.tpl.php HTML for search box used across all portal pages

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