Most websites have some form of contact facility which allows their visitors to get in touch with, for example, the administrator. So before we move on to menu management let’s take a quick look at how to use Joomlas built in contact form creator.
Creating the form category
- As if you didn’t know this already, the first thing you will need to do is log in to your administrator area (yoursite.com/administrator).
- Next up, locate the top menu item titled Components and hover over it, then move your cursor down to Contacts and click Categories.
- Once the page has finished loading, click New in the top right corner.
- As so many times before, you will now be faced with a form which you will need to fill out in order to create the contact category. Don’t worry, this one is particularly quick to complete:
Title – The title of you form, generally something along the lines of ‘Contact us’.
Alias – As per usual, you can leave this field empty and Joomla will sort it out for you. It is used to create SEO friendly URLs.
Published – Select whether or not you wish for the forms contained in this category to be published.
Category Order – If you have several contact categories, this option allows you to select in which order to arrange them.
Access Level – As usual, this option allows you to choose whether the forms contained in the category are accessible to all visitors or only those who are registered or of a certain member rank.
Image – Allows you to choose an image which will be associated with the category.
Image Position – The position of the above mentioned image.
Description – This text area allows you to create a description for the category. You can leave this blank if you wish as it is primarily for your own (back end) use.
- Once you have filled out the form, click Save in the top right corner.
Creating a form
Now that you’ve got your form category all set up, it’s time to create the actual form.
- Hover over Components then Contacts and click Contacts.
- Once again, click New in the top right corner.
- This form may look slightly more daunting than most others you’ve come across so far, in the sense that it has many more fields and parameters. That said, a quick glance of the options should assure you that most of them are quite straight forward. The first part of the form will look very familiar, it consists largely of fields you’ve come across before: Name, Alias, Published, Category, Order and Access level.
The second part, titled Information, is where you fill out the information which you wish to share with your visitors. Contact’s Position, for example, will display the position of the person whom the contact form is linked to. E-mail will display the persons e-mail address and this is also where the form will be sent once filled out by a visitor, Street Address will display the street address and so on. In short, fill out only the information which you wish to share with your visitors. You can leave all of these options blank if you do not wish to share any of the contact information with your visitors, except for e-mail (as this is where the form will be sent).
- On the right are the by now familiar Parameter fields. Contact Parameters allows you to select which fields to display on the front end. If, for example, you want to display your street address but not your e-mail, simply set Street Address to Show and E-mail to Hide.
- Below Contact Parameters is another parameters field, namely Advanced Parameters.
These parameters allow you to choose which (if any) image you want to display next to some of the core contact form items; e.g. a telephone next to your phone number. Joomla! comes with a few default images, however you can also upload your own to the images/M_images folder on your FTP server.
- The final lot of parameters are called E-mail Parameters.
E-mail Form – Select whether you wish to, or not to, display an e-mail form. If not, only the contact options you chose to display in the contact parameters will be displayed.
Description text- A description for your own (back end) use.
E-mail Copy – Select whether you wish to give your visitors the option to e-mail themselves a copy of their enquiry.
Banned E-mail –enter e-mail addresses you wish to ban form using your form.
Banned Subject – enter subjects that you wish to disallow.
Banned Text – as you’d expect, enter text that you wish to disallow in the contact forms main body.
- Once you’re done, click Save in the top right corner.
Publishing your form
Now that the form is ready, all that remains is to publish it.
- Hover over Menus item in the top administrators menu and click Main Menu* (assuming this is the menu to which you wish to publish the contact field).
- Now click New in the top right corner.
- You will now be faced with a host of different menu options; the one we’re looking for is Contacts. When you click it another couple of options will pop out, and you should be looking at a menu that looks like the one to the left.
The Contact Category Layout will allow you to create a link which generates a page which displays all contact forms within a certain Contact Category in a list.
The Standard Contact Layout allows you to link to a specific contact form. This is the option we’re looking for.
- Once you’ve clicked Standard Contact Layout you will be given a couple of options. The first one we’re going to take a look at is Menu Item Details:
Title – This will be the link name in the menu, e.g. Contact Us.
Alias – As usual, Joomla! will generate this for you and as such you can leave it blank.
Link-A preview of the link that will be generated.
Display in – Choose which menu you wish the link to be displayed on.
Parent Item- Top means that the link will be a top level item, e.g. it will not be a sub menu item.
The rest of the fields are ones you’ve come across many a time before, apart from On Click, Open in which allows you to set whether the page will open in the same window, a new window or a new window without browser navigation.
- The final thing you will need to do is select the contact field you wish to link to, if you have several. You will find the option to select your forum under Parameters (Basic) on the right hand side of the page.
- Once you’ve selected your form, click Save in the top right corner of the page.
Ready to go!
You form is now ready to go and available to your users through your main menu. The final result, if you’ve chosen to display all the contact parameters, should be something like this: