ThoughtFarmer Quick Start Guide
Welcome to ThoughtFarmer!
Here are some of the steps you might want to take to get your ThoughtFarmer installation ready for use. You don't have to do all of the steps in order, but you need to do some before others - for instance, you need to create users on your intranet before you can add users to group pages.
Enter Admin mode
In order to have full privileges for all areas of ThoughtFarmer, click on your name or profile photo on the right of the Application Toolbar at the top of any page, and then switch the Admin mode toggle to ON in the dropdown menu that opens.
Go to the Admin panel
You need to know how to get to the ThoughtFarmer Admin panel for some of the steps below. To do this, click on your name or profile photo on the right of the Application Toolbar at the top of any page, and then click Admin panel in the dropdown menu that opens. Administrators can view and make changes on the Admin panel without having to enter Admin mode.
Set up your homepage
To set up your intranet homepage, you need to:
- Select a page layout (number of columns and their width)
- Choose what Cards to display on the homepage and set them up
- Choose the location and order of cards on the homepage.
Edit the homepage to set up
- Click on the gear icon on the right of the main navigation bar. (You must be in Admin mode to see the gear icon.)
- Click on Edit homepage in the menu that opens.
- Click Set up cards under Content type & template on the right. The Update cards pop-up window will appear.
- If you want to change the page layout or add or remove cards, click Modify template.
- Change the page layout: Click the columns icon in the top right, and select one of the three page layout icons to determine how many columns your homepage will have, and what relative widths the columns will be. (To learn more, see Homepage options.)
- Add Cards: In the template diagram, click on the plus sign to add a Card in that column. Click on a Card in the menu that opens on the right to add it to the template. Repeat to add more Cards. (To learn more, see What are cards? and Card descriptions.)
- Remove a Card: Click on the garbage can icon on the right of a Card to remove it. (Not all Cards can be removed.)
- Change the order or column placement of Cards: Click and hold on a Card and drag it up and down to reorder the Cards in that column, or click on a Card and drag and drop it into another column.
- Set up Cards: Many Cards require setup to display. Click the gear icon on a Card to open its setup window and add or select the required information. (To learn more, see Configure homepage cards.)
- Click Done at the bottom of the Update cards window.
- (optional) Select the checkboxes on the left for the display options you want on your homepage.
- Click Save to save your changes to the homepage.
To learn more, see Homepage setup and Set up Cards.
Once you have completed these steps, your homepage is well on its way to being an engaging and useful starting point to your intranet!
Edit content type templates
A content template is a selected layout and arrangement of Cards for a particular page type. (To learn more about Cards, see the pages What are cards? and Card descriptions.) It determines the layout and Card options available to a user when they create a page.
Each content type in ThoughtFarmer comes with one or more default templates. Administrators can view, modify and create content templates on the Admin panel: User interface section > Content templates page.
Modify a content template
- Go to the Admin panel: User interface section > Content templates page.
- Scroll down to find the template that you want to modify, and click on the edit icon (shows on the right when you hover over the template) to open the template editor page.
Once you follow these two steps, you can make changes to the content template in the same way that you made changes to the homepage template above. You can use the default templates as is, make changes to them, or create new templates that work best for your organization. To learn more, see Content templates, and Content template permissions.
Start building your site navigation
Now that you have some content on your homepage, and your content templates are fine-tuned, it's time to start building out your site navigation.
Add a top level page that shows in the top navigation bar
- On the homepage, click on the gear icon on the right of the top navigation bar. (You must be in Admin mode to see the gear icon.)
- Click on Add top level page in the menu that opens. You will be taken into edit mode on a new page.
- Select the Content type and Template that you want on the right. (To learn more, see Content types and Templates.)
- Add a title and content.
- Click Set up cards on the right to set up any Cards you want to have on the page. (To learn more, see Set up Cards.)
- Ensure the checkbox Display (page title) in the top navigation bar at the top of the page is checked.
- Click Publish. The name of your page will show in the top navigation bar.
If you uncheck the checkbox Display (page title) in the top navigation bar, the page will still show in the left hand SuperNav on your homepage.
A typical top navigation bar might look like this:
Once you have added some top level pages, you can create content under those pages. Go to one of the top level pages and click + Add on the right of the page header to add a subpage under the top level page.
To learn more, see Add intranet pages.
You can go ahead to some of the other steps before adding users, however, you won't be able to add users to group pages, security groups, or page security settings before you create users.
Go to the Admin Panel: Users & security section > Create user page.
- Fill out the username, first name and last name.
- An email address is required if sending out an invitation to the user.
- Select the checkbox Allow this user to administer (intranet name) if you want the new user to be an administrator.
- Select the radio button for the desired option for sending an invitation or providing a password. If you do not want the user to be able to login at this time, you can select No password, and activate the user later.
- Click Create user. You will be taken to the Admin User Management page, where you can view the user you created, or click the Create new user button to create another user.
To learn more, see how to create Regular users, Active Directory users, or External users. Active Directory users can be created automatically by enabling Active Directory synchronization. Users can also be created en masse using the bulk import users action. (To learn more, see the Bulk create Regular users heading on the Create Regular users page.)
Add some group pages
Group pages can be for locations, departments, projects, or whatever type of group is relevant to your organization.
As an example, you may want to group your employees into geographic locations, e.g. "Head Office", "Northwest Office", "Southeast Office", etc. Once group members are added, a location group page will list all employees associated with that location.
Create group pages
- Go to the page that you want the group pages to be under - perhaps create a top level page named Locations or Offices.
- Click + Add in the page header.
- In edit mode, click the Content type dropdown on the right and select the Group content type. When you do this, several new options will appear on the page.
- Click the Templates dropdown on the right and select the group template that you want.
- Type a descriptive name for the group in the Enter a title box.
- Select the most appropriate Group type from the dropdown list on the left.
- Select either Open or Managed for the membership type. (Closed membership can be chosen if your intranet is connected to Active Directory.)
- Add group members by clicking View/change. See complete instructions on Add and remove group members (including how to sync group membership with an Active Directory security group.)
- (optional) Set up a News Card in any column if you want to have news on the group page that will feed into the homepage news of group members. (To learn more, see Set up News for groups.)
- (optional) Set up other cards that are available on the template you chose. (To learn more, see Set up cards).
- (optional) Add content to the page in the Rich Text Editor.
- Click Publish at the top of the page.
You can add members to your groups in edit mode after you have created users on your intranet. The Groups page is a top level navigation page by default on new ThoughtFarmer installations, and can also be found by adding /groups/ to the end of your site URL.
Learn more about Create group pages.
Add some security groups
If you have more than 50-100 users of ThoughtFarmer, you will find security groups quite useful. (For small ThoughtFarmer installations, you might decide not to use security groups, and just use ad hoc user-level security on an as-needed basis.)
Security groups are groups of users that will have certain viewing and editing privileges within ThoughtFarmer. After creating security groups, you can specify which groups have view or edit access for each section.
You might add security groups that reflect departments within the company, e.g.:
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Senior Executives
Or, you might add security groups that reflect roles you intend to use within ThoughtFarmer, e.g.:
- News editors
- People editors
- Senior content editors
Add a security group
- Go to the ThoughtFarmer Admin panel: Users & Security section > Security groups page.
- Click Add security group under the Security groups heading.
- Enter a Group name in the text box.
- Check the box Display in security settings to have the security group display in the security settings setup window on intranet pages.
- Select the radio button for whether you will select the group members manually, or map them from an Active Directory group. If you choose the second option, select the Active Directory group to map from in the dropdown menu, and click Validate.
- Click Save group.
- If you chose to add the members manually, find the profile in the Security Groups section on the Security groups page. Click on the number in the Members column. The group members pop-up window will appear.
- Use the Search box to find the users you want to add, and add them to the group.
- When you're finished, click Done.
After you have created security groups (if you choose to do so), apply security settings to pages. Pages will inherit security settings from the parent page unless you manually change the security settings for the page.
Learn more about Security groups.
Establish top-level security settings
Every page you create in ThoughtFarmer automatically inherits the security settings of its parent page. You can un-inherit and manually change the security settings at any point in the hierarchy.
After you establish your top-level pages, it's a good idea to ensure you are happy with the security settings of each one. For example, you may want to tightly control who can add top-level pages. But in other areas, you may want wide-open view and edit privileges.
Change security settings on a page
- Navigate to the page whose security settings you want to adjust.
- Click the down arrow on the right of the page header to open the Page Controls.
- Click Security to switch to the Security tab. In the Security tab you can see the current security settings.
- Click the edit icon (a pencil) beside View only or View & Edit to open the Security pop-up window.
- Uncheck the checkbox Use security settings from parent page (name of parent page).
- Click Add people and security groups.
- In the text box that appears, start typing the name of a user or security group. Matching names and groups will appear in a dropdown menu as you type.
- Click on the name of the person or profile you want to add. It will appear in the text box.
- Repeat steps 7 and 8 to add other people or security groups to whom you want to give the same level of permission.
- Choose whether the selected people or groups have edit permission using the Can edit toggle below the list of names.
- Click Add. The person(s) or security group(s) will appear in the list at the bottom of the pop-up window.
- Repeat steps 6 to 11 to give more people permissions on the page.
- Click Save.
You can also change the security settings while in edit mode on a page by clicking Security permissions under the Security heading on the right.
Learn more about how to change security permissions.
Go to the Admin panel: User interface section > Theme page.
- Click on the Active theme to make changes to it, or click the Add theme button to create a new theme.
- Make sure to hit Save when you are finished.
Learn more about Theme basics. On the Starter themes page, you can download several starter theme files that can be imported and applied to your intranet.
Set up News on the homepage
News Cards are part of the homepage template by default, but they must be set up to appear for all users on the homepage. The main News page is by default a source of news for the center column homepage News Card, so it can be used to add company news that you want to go out to all users in your organization. To control who can add news articles to the homepage, adjust the security settings on the top level news page. News sources added to the homepage News Cards by an administrator appear on the homepages of all users. Users also see news posts on their homepage that come from their groups, and these news posts are personalized to each user based on the groups they are a member of.
You can add News content from both internal or external sources. To add content from internal sources, News, Blog, Forum or Calendar pages must already have been created on your intranet. See how to add blog or news pages and how to add forum pages.
Set up homepage News
- Click the gear icon on the right of the top navigation bar, and click Edit homepage in the menu that opens. (You must have Admin mode turned ON to see the gear icon.)
- Click Set up cards under Content type & template on the right. The Update cards pop-up window will open.
- Find the News: List or Grid View Card that you want, and click Set up below it (or the gear icon on the right of it).
- Click the edit icon beside the Recent News title if you want to change it. Enter the new title and click the Save button.
- Under the Display style heading, select the radio button for either the Grid or List style. (Learn more about News display options.)
- Under the Order heading, select the radio button for either Items grouped by source or Merge sources to show newest item on top. (Learn more about Homepage news grouping and order.)
- If you select Items grouped by source, posts will show up chronologically within grouped sections.
- If you select Merge sources to show newest item on top, all posts will show chronologically by post date.
- To add content Sources:
- For internal content: In the text box under Add one of the following start typing the name of a News, Blog, Forum or Calendar page on your intranet. Click on the page that you want in the dropdown that appears.
- For external content: Copy the feed RSS URL from the external website, paste it in the text box under Add one of the following, and click Add.
- Select the number of posts to display:
- If you selected Items grouped by source, next select the number of posts from each News or Blog page to display in the News Card, using the dropdown menu beside the page title.
- If you selected Merge Sources to show newest item on top, next select from the dropdown menu the total number of posts to display in the News Card.
- If you would like to keep the news posts shorter on the page, click the checkbox under Display titles only for each Source you have added.
- Click Update in the News pop-up window when you are finished.
- Click Done in the Update cards pop-up window.
- Click Save on the top right of the page.
To learn more, see Homepage News. Also see News carousel Card if you want to have a News carousel on the homepage.
Add Card content to other pages
When you were setting up the homepage, you configured Cards so they would show information on the homepage. A variety of Cards can be added to any page - including News, Activity, Quick links, Mini Calendar and Photo gallery. The content templates you set up above determine what Cards are available to add to certain content types, but you are also able to customize individual content templates when necessary. (To learn more, see Modify a page template.)
Set up Cards
- Click the Edit button in the page header to go into edit mode on the page.
- Click Set up cards under the Content type & template heading on the right. The Updated cards pop-up window will open.
- Set up cards in the template that need setup to display, and remember to click Save on the page when you are done.
To learn about the different Cards that are available, see Card descriptions. To learn more about how to set up different Card types, see Set up Cards.
Good pages to know
There are a few special pages you should be aware of:
The Employee Directory for the site - the people page lists all users in the system. For administrators, users who have been deactivated are also shown.
A Group Directory - a list of all pages that have the Group content type.
The default global News page lists all news items that have been added to it. This page is by default a Source for the center column homepage News Card, so it can be used to add company News that you want to go out to all users in your organization. To control who can add news articles to the homepage, adjust the security settings on the News page.
Links to the News, People and Group pages are listed on the top navigation bar by default.
That's it for now!
Following these steps should get you off to a solid start with ThoughtFarmer.
Check out the links below to learn about some popular topics. For additional information or questions, view the documentation on the ThoughtFarmer Helpdesk.
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