WiscWeb CMS - Guide for Working in WiscWebCMS

This KB document presents the recommended process for editing content in the WiscWeb CSM system. Novice users should use this document when they need to update content within a WiscWeb CMS website.


This document is broken into the sections below. You can click on the links below to navigate directly to that section within this page. Each of the sections also pulls in content from other Knowledgebase articles on the topic. You can navigate directly to the content that is pulled into this document by clicking on the link in the first paragraph of each section.

  1. Login
  2. Navigate
  3. Create and Edit
  4. Submit to Workflow
  5. Publish


The instructions below will get you logged into WiscWeb CMS. You can view just the login instructions in a separate browser window at WiscWeb CMS - Logging in to the CMS

Logging in to the CMS

  1. Go to http://wiscwebcms.wisc.edu.

    While SmartEdit can be used for adding and updating content in a project in multiple browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari), currently Internet Explorer is the only browser that can be used to access SmartTree.

    Off-campus access

    When accessing WiscWeb CMS from off-campus, users must first establish a secure connection via VPN. For help connecting to the VPN or configuring the client, please consult OS-specific instructions among the following documents.

  2. You will be redirected to the NetID login screen. Enter your NetID and password and click Login.

    The NetID login page with the NetID and Password fields shown

  3. After you are logged in, you can bookmark the website if you like, but you will then need to go into the bookmark and edit it.

    • In Internet Explorer or Firefox, right click on your bookmark and select Properties.

      Right click on the bookmark and select Properties.

    • Select the characters after http://wiscwebcms.wisc.edu/ and delete them.

      Select the characters after .edu and delete them.

    • Your bookmark should now be the correct URL for WiscWeb CMS. Note that you will still need to log in with your NetID and password when you come to the site.

      Your bookmark should now be the correct URL.


Once you've logged in and are ready to begin working on content, you'll want to navigate to SmartEdit. You can view just the SmartEdit instructions in a separate browser window at WiscWeb CMS - SmartEdit Overview.

To access SmartEdit, click the SmartEdit button in the top navigation menu. From there, you will likely have to click the Home Page link in the Table of Contents screen to access the editing window of your project.

Click SmartEdit.

Table of Contents - Home Page Link

About SmartEdit

SmartEdit is the component of the CMS designed for End-Users to work with content. It is with this interface that you will do the majority of your work.

SmartEdit divides the page into several sections:

  • User Info - information on yourself, your role, and the current project
  • Navigation Menu – access to global features of CMS
  • Structural Area – A tree view for navigating to any page in the website
  • Work Area – main viewing area where you can click red dots or navigate among the site’s pages
  • Smart Panel – a set of tools to allow you to more quickly and easily make edits in the work area.

Smart Edit Window - Sections

In addition to the menus listed above, you can right click in the work area when you have a section open for editing. This will bring up a context menu with different options depending on what you are currently working on. Note: the menu options that you will see when right-clicking on the screen will depend on your level of access to the Project you are working on.

Right Click view

Within SmartEdit, the Work Area will display the page that you are currently editing. The site will look much like you would expect in a normal browser window. You can click on links just as you would on a normal website, and SmartEdit will take you to the corresponding page. This view is used to make any changes or additions to your pages. 

About Content Classes and Foundation Pages

The way that WiscWeb CMS sites remain flexible and customizable is through Content Classes. A Content Class is simply a modular component of the website, a building block that an Administrator designs and codes. Users can then populate these building blocks with information in order to construct complete web pages without needing to know any actual code. Consider the following graphic:


A variety of Content Classes exist to create a page such as the one above. Components such as the left column text, body area, and right column text each can have one or more Content Classes associated with them. These building blocks can then be reused throughout the site if you so choose, in order for duplicated content to only have to be edited in one place. An "instance" or "block" is the implementation of a Content Class one time; if a user decides to utilize a Content Class 10 distinct times within a website (i.e. 10 times that each have different content), then s/he has created 10 instances, or in the CMS's terminology, 10 "pages".

As an End-User, you can modify or populate pages with instances of these Content Classes. For example, End-Users will typically have the ability to modify the textual content in the body area of the website; modify the events that might be listed on a website; edit the photos that are on the website; etc.

In addition to Content Classes, it is important for you to be familiar with the concept of Foundation pages. Foundation pages are templates that wrap together all of the individual Content Classes of a page – they produce the end result of a page that pulls together a variety of components into a cohesive whole. The graphic above is an example of one Foundation page.

Create and Edit

You can edit your site's structure and settings with SmartTree and your site's content in SmartEdit. SmartEdit allows you to edit any section that has a "red dot." as well as a few other other controls (e.g. Page Info). In all cases adding or editing existing content requires that you first Open something in order to add or edit something. The things one can edit depend on the content class. Selecting to Edit may reveal a form with fields and toggles or it may bring up the Text Editor.

In general, to edit content you will navigate through your site to the specific page you wish to modify, click on the appropriate "red dot" for the content you wish to modify, and also close that content by clicking on the "red dot." A typical layout of editable content in the Standard Template is:

  • Top header
  • Navigation - Adding pages and subpages
  • Left Side Block - Must select to Manage to then add/edit content classes
  • Center Block - Must select to Manage to then add/edit content classes
  • Footer

Once you are ready to edit content, please see our Knowledgebase articles on creating at editing content at:WiscWeb CMS articles on creating and editing content

Please be aware that once you start editing content, the WiscWeb CMS puts all edited content into draft. Content in draft is not viewable or editable by other users, and it will not publish. The steps below will take you through the publication process.

Submit to Workflow

Once you have completed your edits, you must submit your draft to workflow. You can view just the submit to workflow instructions in a separate browser window at WiscWeb CMS - Submitting Changes to Workflow.

What is a workflow?

All projects have a workflow. A workflow determines how a page goes from draft to published. Using the process documented below, you will take a page that has been edited and is in a draft status, and end up with a page that is ready to be published. Administrators can then publish the page using either:

Some projects have a complex workflow that involves a second approval step by an administrator. If you don't know whether your project has this process, talk to one of your project administrators.

Submitting a Draft Page to Workflow

Once you have updated the content on a new or existing CMS page, you will need to submit the content to workflow.

  1. In the Navigation Menu, click on the Tasks tab. Make sure you navigate in the left-hand menu to My Pages > Pages Saved as Draft > English.

    Click Tasks.

    The tasks page is divided up into three main sections:

    • Structural Area: The structural area lists the various tasks that might exist. Most often, you will be interested in Pages Saved as Draft
    • List Area: Lists all the Pages associated with the task selected in the Structural Area
    • Work Area: The Work Area allows you to make final changes before submitting Pages to workflow. It is the same as SmartEdit's Work Area


  2. Pages you edited and are still in draft status will appear in the List Area. Select the pages you want to submit to workflow by clicking on the checkbox next to the page. If you want to select all pages, right-click on a page and choose Select All.

  3. To submit your content to workflow, select Submit to Workflow.


  4. The page you selected should no longer appear in the list. They are ready to publish. The final step to publish the pages can be accomplished using either:


After you've submitted to workflow, the last step is to publish the changes. If you have authorization to publish within your site, follow the instructions below. You can view just the publish instructions in a separate browser window at WiscWeb CMS - Publishing Your Site in SmartEdit.

Note:If you do not have authorization to publish to your website, your administrator will be notified of your edits and will publish the content for you when they are available.

Once all of your publication settings are taken care of, you can manually publish a page or multiple pages of your site easily. It is at this point you will need to determine what pages and potential subpages will need to be published.

Publishing Pages Manually in SmartEdit

  1. In SmartEdit, go to the individual page that you want to publish (or top page in a specific section that needs to be published), and click on the "Open Page" red dot in the upper left portion of the screen.

    Open Page Red Dot

  2. Right click on the active page, and select Publish Page.

    • Please Note: It is important to make certain that pages have been Submitted to Workflow and/or Released to ensure that your site will update as intended.

    Publish Menu with Open Page selected

  3. The publishing menu appears and has the following options:

    • Publish all following pages: This option will publish the page you have selected and all pages that follow it in the hierarchy. For example, if you publish the Home page, all pages submitted to workflow in the site will re-publish because the Home page is the top of the hierarchy.

    • Publish all related pages: This option will publish the page you are on and all other pages that share content (related) with that page. For example, if you have updated a text area on the Home page that is also used on the Contact Us page, both of those pages will updated with the updated text area if you choose related pages. Note: In the example, if you did NOT check related pages, the text area would be different on the two pages until you published with related pages.

    • Send email after publication to: This option will send you an email when the publish is finished. It is recommended you leave this checked. If any issues occur, you can forward the publishing report to the WiscWeb CMS team, and might help us resolve your issue more quickly.

    • Project variants available for publication: Most projects have four options available, but only two should be used. HTML is your production site, and is checked by default. HTMLtestserver is your preview site (if you have one). Verify you are publishing to the correct target before you publish so that you don't publish test pages to production by mistake.


    Choose the options you want for your publish.

  4. After setting your options, click OK at the bottom of the screen. This will initiate the publishing process for your project. There are many variables that will determine the length of wait you will have when publishing pages: number of pages publishing, number of changes on those pages, demand on server at the time of your publish (is there a queue on the server). Some publishes will take as short as 5 minutes, and could take upwards of several hours.

Keywords:wiscweb cms templates content classes steps for success best practices edit process workflow publish start create   Doc ID:26378
Owner:Matthew G.Group:WiscWeb CMS
Created:2012-09-07 11:21 CDTUpdated:2014-12-02 12:34 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, WiscWeb CMS
Feedback:  1   1