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ExpressionEngine Client Guide

Posted On September 6th, 2009 Author Kyle Racki Filed Under Business Development,

As many of you know, we over at Headspace are big fans of ExpressionEngine. Whenever we train our clients on how to use their CMS, we also provide a printed and digital PDF which acts as a quick reference guide. This is great for when clients are trying to remember how to use certain functions of the CMS, and calling us isn’t convenient. This way they can simply look up how to do certain things like publishing content, posting images, etc.

I thought this might be of use to many of the ExpressionEngine designers and developers out there who would love to have a handy reference but don’t want to take the pain-staking time to write and design one themselves. Feel free to download the InDesign file, re-brand it to your company, change it till your hearts’ content and have a nice deliverable to give to clients when you’re done building their EE site. The InDesign file makes use of style sheets and master templates, so it shouldn’t be too hard to completely change the look of it. For license/copyright reasons, I could not include the font files. Write in the comment form if you have any questions.

Download the ExpressionEngine Client Guide

InDesign CS4
InDesign CS3 Interchange INX

Table of Contents

What is ExpressionEngine?


Logging in

  • How ExpressionEngine works
  • Your login information
  • The control panel home page

Publishing Content

  • The publish tab
  • The title of the entry
  • URL titles
  • Entry dates
  • Expiry dates
  • SEO tab
  • Assigning categories
  • Editing categories

Entering and formatting text

    The formatting menu
  • HTML Tags
  • Spell check
  • Adding email links
  • Linking to different pages
  • Link titles
  • The title attribute
  • Uploading and adding
  • images or PDFs to content
  • Adding a previously uploaded file to your content
  • The image tag
  • Benefit of “alt”
  • Seeing the rendered page
  • Why you can’t control styling

Editing Content

  • Edit tab
  • Filtering results
  • Selecting multiple entries
  • Deleting entries
  • Editing multiple entries
  • What is a status?

Editing Images

  • Uploading a new image
  • Selecting a previously
  • uploaded image
  • Selecting an image
  • Resizing the image
  • Cropping
  • Rotating
  • Resaving the image
  • Adding images to entries

Viewing form data

  • Viewing entries
  • Exporting

Editing your account

  • Changine account details
  • Customizing your control panel

Giving Access to new users

  • Registering new members
  • Assigning privileges

Backup and Upgrades

  • Backing up your site
  • Updating to the latest version
  • Development and design changes
  • Templates
  • Modules
  • Extensions
  • Plugins
  • Other developers

Under the hood

View Kyle Racki's profile on LinkedIn
  • on September 14th, 2009, Erik Reagan said...

    I can say from our experience that many of our client guides are on a per-client basis. We do, however, have a template from which we start out guides.

    This is quite a generous offer here. You’ve obviously spent a lot of time on this so thank you for making it available to the EE community. Furthermore thank you for making it brand-able! Highly generous and I’m sure you will be saving numerous developers hours of work with this.

    Well done!

  • on September 15th, 2009, Brian Coult said...

    Yes i will 2nd that, very generous offer you have put together. I will be interested to see how this differs from my own guide i give to clients.

    Thank you and well done.

  • on September 15th, 2009, Erwin Heiser said...

    Always interesting, a look into how other people set up their manuals. I tend to do video manuals mostly as I find most people never actually read a manual, however nice smile

  • on September 15th, 2009, James said...

    Thank you so much! This is great. Especially since my next project is to write a guide for one of my clients. Your guide will definitely be a great starting point. Thank you!

  • on September 15th, 2009, John said...

    This is pretty bloody awesome, very very good of you to share.


  • on September 15th, 2009, Marcus Neto said...

    This rocks. Definitely a plus to the community! Thanks for making it available.

  • on September 15th, 2009, Hambo said...

    Great effort!

    Just a few of things -

    * Might be worth updating the login screenshot to 1.6.8
    * Use the Category checkbox extension!
    * Use the Edit dropdown extension

  • on September 16th, 2009, E. Christopher Clark said...

    This is fantastic. Thanks for sharing this. It’s exactly the sort of thing I’ve been wanting to share with authors on my site who are less familiar with EE than they are with WP.

  • on September 16th, 2009, Cem Meric said...

    Thanks for sharing the guide.

    We’ve been working on a site just on this topic in terms of how clients use ExpressionEngine. So it’s great to see how others implement their training document.

    Also interesting to see how you approach your projects. Hence, I am interested to know about “Image Resize/Crop” tab in control panel. Is it gallery module related or a separate extension/module?

  • on September 16th, 2009, Kyle Racki said...

    Thanks for your compliments everyone, I will try to update based on feedback and continually improve the piece.

    @Cem Meric, the crop/resize is based off the Gallery module, even if clients don’t have a photo gallery, I usually make the “tools” section of the gallery module available and then create a short cut in the CP.

  • on September 16th, 2009, Hospedagem said...

    I will be interested to see how this differs from my own guide i give to clients.

    Thank you Sharing

  • on September 16th, 2009, Cem Meric said...

    @Kyle Racki, what a good idea. I’m going to try that.

    By the way, your email comes up in comments form, was it intentional or logged_in checks are not set properly?

  • on September 18th, 2009, Kyle Racki said...

    Thanks, I think I’ve fixed that. I just updated the doc with instructions regarding the pages mod and navigator, a great 3rd party module.

    Any other ideas for the client guide?

  • on September 25th, 2009, David Dabney said...

    I’m looking forward to reading this… Thanks very much for your generosity!

  • on September 29th, 2009, Cory said...

    Just wanted to echo the appreciative comments already posted. What a great resource to have- thanks for posting.

  • on October 01st, 2009, Paul Burton said...

    Awesome.  Simply Awesome.

  • on October 19th, 2009, Matthew Lanham said...

    Amazing, what i’d love to see is some guidance on the WYSIWYG editors, such as Brandon Kelly’s WYGWAM..

  • on October 22nd, 2009, Sophie Dennis said...

    This is really helpful - thanks!

    Out of interest, what plug-in/extension are you using for the SEO tab?

  • on October 22nd, 2009, Kyle Racki said...

    LG Better Meta - I label it “SEO” in the Publish tab by editing the extension code to make it easier for clients.

  • on October 22nd, 2009, Sophie Dennis said...

    Thanks Kyle!

  • on October 30th, 2009, Chloe Senders said...

    The client guide is very easy to understand, and thanks for making the guide. How about WYSIWYG editor? Can you share it to us too?

  • on November 10th, 2009, mahalie said...

    I’m a documentation FREAK, thank you so much for this!! It will save me some time on the more general EE-specific stuff.

  • on November 16th, 2009, Whittfield Holmes said...

    Thank you big time for sharing this!

  • on November 17th, 2009, Dawn said...

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

  • on November 30th, 2009, Ryan Battles said...

    This is a great thing to share indeed!  I like the way that content is presented and explained for the client.

  • on December 18th, 2009, Steven Grant said...

    Thanks for sharing guys. I stumbled upon the pdf looking for something completely unrelated (although it was EE related).

  • on January 19th, 2010, Tim said...

    Wow! thanks for this. I’m just getting started with expression engine so this kind of generosity will help me no end.


  • on February 07th, 2010, Malaika said...

    Resources like the one you mentioned here will be very useful to me! I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful..

  • on March 04th, 2010, Rick said...

    Very cool - thanks for sharing!

  • on March 05th, 2010, Chris said...

    Great Job - Thank you!

  • on June 11th, 2010, Anuya said...

    Valuable information and excellent design you got here! I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and time into the stuff you post. new release air jordan

  • on July 01st, 2010, Kyle Racki said...

    Hey guys,

    I’m starting work on EE2.0 Client Guide and this edition is going to have more third-party add-ons explained, but I only am adding the most basic and essential.

    Can you list any you think should be on there?

  • on August 20th, 2010, Marta Spendowska said...

    Thank you!
    It’s fantastic;) You saved me a lot of time.


  • on September 15th, 2010, John said...

    this is absolutely remarkable—thank you so much for sharing! Honestly, it’s generous folks like you that make this world a better place.

  • on September 29th, 2010, Berkeley said...

    I’m very thankful to the author for posting such an amazing development post. Continuing to the post. Thanks.

  • on October 06th, 2010, ashish jajs said...

    I would also need this as there are many clients of mine whom i need to train every time after building up a website

  • on November 09th, 2010, Matthew Blest said...

    Thanks for sharing this, it’s saving me a lot of time and I only need to make a handful of changes to suit my client.

  • on January 05th, 2011, Ibn Saeed said...

    Thanks alot, ill update it for EE 2

  • on January 20th, 2011, Andy said...

    Wow would love to get hold of the EE2 version. Thanks again!

  • on January 25th, 2011, abaloo said...

    This is amazing, thank you.

    Is the EE2 version due soon? I’m not complaining at all…just wondering whether to base my document on this one, or to wait?

    Thank you.

  • on January 25th, 2011, Kyle Racki said...

    I’d like to get the EE 2 Client Guide done in February, if you can hold out until then.

  • on January 25th, 2011, Abaloo said...

    Amazing. Thank you. The site I’m looking at won’t go live until end Feb so that’s great.

  • on February 18th, 2011, Daniel Veiga said...

    Definitely an awesome guide - I google’d something else but came across this, didn’t know something like this existed.

    Please let us know when an EE2 version is out!

  • on February 18th, 2011, Kyle Racki said...

    Hold tight, it’s coming soon! I’m almost done.

  • on February 22nd, 2011, Abbner said...

    Thanks so much for this! This is exactly what I was looking for.

  • on February 28th, 2011, tarquin said...

    Hi Kyle - is EE2 version still on schedule ? wink

  • on February 28th, 2011, Kyle Racki said...

    Very close! I have the whole thing laid out, just need to finish writing.

    Damn paid client work getting in the way. But I hope to get it done this week.

    Thanks though, I really need the nudges of encouragement to keep me on it. smile

  • on March 09th, 2011, Kyle Racki said...

    The ExpressionEngine2 client guide is here, let me know what you think:


  • on March 30th, 2011, Mike Sudyk said...

    Just stumbled on this and wow!! Thank you! This is a very generous thing to offer, I will most certainly use it!

  • on December 16th, 2011, Laurence Cope said...

    Hi, looks good but the link to the PDF is broken for me.

  • on December 20th, 2011, nandrolone said...

    Hope to receive some assistance from headspacedesign.ca if I will have any questions.

  • on March 16th, 2012, Kyle Racki said...

    Sorry everyone, I had temporarily misplaced the files, but they are back and linking now.

What do you think?

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