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Tutorials

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Tutorial: The Custom Panel Widget

What is the Custom Panel Widget?

Using the Custom Panel Widget allows you to create unique sections on your website's pages and is a great way to really make your site stand out. Using panels on your site can be very helpful if you need to draw attention to a specific part of your site, such as an invitation to a special event or a new product in your online store.

The Custom Panel Widget acts as a base onto which you can drag other widgets and it's highly customizable - you can edit everything from the background color to the fonts and, if you can't decide on a background color, you can upload a picture instead.


How does it work?

Once you've added the Custom Panel Widget to your page, you can start adding other widgets to it. For example, you can create a multimedia section on your page by grouping a Picture Widget, YouTube Widget and MP3 Widget in one Custom Panel Widget. Or, you can add a Column Widget and Picture Widgets and create a gallery inside your custom panel.

Here's how to add it to your page:
  1. Drag the Custom Panel Widget onto your page (located in Widgets > Popular).
  2. As a first step, select a preset background color from the options provided.
  3. Go through the Background, Border, Corners, Shadow, Spacing and Fonts tabs to further customize your widget.
  4. When you are finished, click "Save" in the bottom right-hand corner.
Please note: Adding files, such as .swf, .doc etc, will not display the contents of the file. Instead, a link to the file will be created which visitors to your site can click on to view.


Customizing the Custom Panel Widget

Once you've added the Custom Panel Widget, you can start exploring the different ways to make your custom panel really stand out! Here are some great ways to do this:
  • Change your background gradient.
  • Upload your own background image.
  • Create a 3D effect by adding shadow to your widget.
  • Edit the font, heading colors, hyperlink colors and size.


Changing the background gradient

The term "gradient" is used for a gradual blend of color which can be considered as the even change in color intensity from dark to light (or vice versa). 

If you are using a color background, and would like to edit the gradient you can choose another color as your gradient color. This will be blended into your current background color, in the direction you select. If you would like a more subtle effect, you can keep the background and gradient color similar. 

To edit your gradient:
  1. Click "Edit" in the top left corner of the widget.
  2. Click on the "Background" tab.
  3. Under "Background", select your background and gradient colors.
  4. Under "Gradient Direction", select which way your gradient will start.
  5. Click "Save" to finish.

Changing the background image

If you've uploaded a background image, you can choose whether to repeat the image (also known as "tiling") and which direction you'd like the tiling to go.

You can also customize the background attachment. What this does, is move your image to different parts of the frame, which changes the way the image is displayed.

To edit your background image:
  1. Click "Edit" in the top left corner of the widget.
  2. Click on the "Background" tab.
  3. Under "Background Image", select "Upload" or "Browse".
  4. Once you have added your image, the repeat and attachment options will be visible.
  5. Click "Save" to finish.


Create a shadow effect

You can create a 3D effect by creating an outer or inner shadow for your custom panel. In the "Shadow" menu, you will find four sliders, and a color selector:

Shadow Y: When you move the slider, this shadow moves up and down.
Shadow X: When you move the slider, this shadow moves from left to right.
Shadow width: This allows you to choose between a thin shadow or a wider, more dispersed shadow.
Shadow opacity: This is the transparency level of the shadow.

The outer shadow displays outside of your custom panel and creates a 3D effect, while the inner shadow works in a similar way to the gradient effect but is limited to the edges of the custom panel.

Edit fonts

If you have added multiple Text Widgets to your Custom Panel Widget, using this menu is an easy way to format all the text at once instead of having to format each Text Widget individually.

You can also customize your heading color, font color, link color, link hover color, font size and font style. All the settings you choose in this menu will be applied to existing text inside the widget, so you don't have to do anything manually. 

In order to use the Header editing feature on the Custom Panel, you need first create your headers in the Text Widget. Here's how to do it:
  1. Drag the Text Widget into your Custom Panel Widget.
  2. Click inside the Text Widget to bring up the Text Editing Toolbar.
  3. Select the "Font Format" option.
  4. Select the type of heading format you'd like to use. Each heading will automatically correspond with the fonts you've selected in your Custom Panel Widget for your various headers.
  5. When you are finished, simply click outside the Text Widget to hide the Text Editing Toolbar.
If you no longer want all your text to be the same style, you can also edit each Text Widget individually, by clicking "Edit" in the top left-hand corner of the widget and using the Text Editing Toolbar.

Please note: If you build your site using a browser such as Google Chrome and you view your site using Internet Explorer, you will notice that the Custom Panel looks different. For example, rounded corners, background gradient and shadowing do not display. The reason for this was provided by one of our engineers on our community forum, and here is an extract of his explanation:

"The Panel Widget makes use of a new web standard, CSS3, for some of it's more advanced visual features. CSS3 is not supported in IE7 and IE8, and is only partially supported in IE9. Because enabling CSS3 in IE9 requires an opt-in rendering choice instead of progressive enhancement across the board (you'll notice that our own SiteBuilder doesn't have rounded corners in IE), turning it on runs a significant risk of breaking existing sites in unpredictable ways.

For this reason, when editing the Panel Widget in IE, all of the features that are powered by CSS3 are turned off - and their editing interfaces aren't displayed. These features are background gradient, rounded corners and shadows. When these features are turned off, the widget will still display the same primary background color, border style, margin, padding and background image - and for the most part, will still look good - though not quite as good as is possible in more advanced browsers."

Visit our Community Forum to read the full explanation.