Sites

Sites > Chapter 2: Create, format, and customize a site

Table of Contents

Create a site in Google Sites

Sign in to Google Sites for your school

Create and name a site

Make a site easier to find with site categories and descriptions

Share a site with others to edit or view

Personalize site theme, background, colors, and logos

Customize the look of a site

Show or hide the site title

Use a theme design for a site

Change the layout of a site

Change a site header and logo

Modify the content and layout of the sidebar

Change colors and fonts for part of a site

Add navigation menus and sitemaps

Navigation menus in site sidebar

Create multiple navigation menus

Automatic organization of links

Add or remove pages from a navigation menu

Change the order of pages in a navigation menu

Create sub-menus for automatic navigation menus

Create sub-menus for manual navigation menus

Add sub-page listing gadget to a page

Use a horizontal navigation bar

Let collaborators add files or comments to pages

Page level permissions for attachments and comments

Set page to allow attachments or comments

Add or remove attachments or comments

View comments with RSS

View or download attachments to a page

See all attachments on your site

Copy an existing site

Change a site URL

Type of URL changes in Google Sites

Web address mapping

URL forwarding

Edit site settings

Change site description or categories

Change sharing options

Modify theme or site layout

Delete a site

Create a site in Google Sites

Sign in to Google Sites for your school

To create a site in Google Sites you must first login to your school Apps account and go to Google Sites within your school Apps domain.

You can access Google Sites from any of your school Google Apps product pages.

  1. In the top left corner of any product main page, you will see a list of links.
  2. Click Sites.

In addition to the links at the top left of any Google Apps page, you can also access Google Sites through a custom URL for your school:

  1. Type http://sites.google.com/a/yourschool.org into your browser address bar. Please replace yourschool.org with your school Apps domain name

Create and name a site

Once you have logged in to Google Sites on your school Apps account, you can create a new site. You can design your own site, or you can choose a site template to help you get started. Some common site templates are highlighted on the site creation page, or you can click Browse the gallery for more to see more template options.

To create a new site, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the  button  located in your Google Sites directory that appears you've signed into Google Site with your school Apps account.
  2. Select Blank template if you would like to design your own site from scratch, or click the Browse the gallery link to choose from a variety of site templates.
  3. Type your Site name - this will also auto-populate your Site URL to be sites.google.com/a/yourschool.org/your-site-name. (where yourschool.org is your school Apps domain)
  4. If you would like to change your site URL, you can change what appears after yourschool.org. Just type the new name for your site in the box following yourschool.org

When selecting a URL for your site, keep the following in mind:

Beneath the site URL, there are also 2 additional sections, Choose a theme and More Options.

Make a site easier to find with site categories and descriptions

When creating your site, you can also add site categories and a site description in the More Options section.

Categories allow you to group related sites and make them accessible together within the popular categories list for your school Apps domain. Categories are deemed popular when they contain more than five sites. Categories can have multiple words such as 'math department' or 'student projects.'

For example, if you used a 'math department' category for your site, and all other math teachers used that category, then someone at your school could browse the 'math' category to view all 'math' sites. Or you could use a 'athletics' category that identifies the sites that have information related about school sports teams.

Please note: The site category setting does not affect search results.

A Site Description can be added to identify the purpose of your site. This will appear next to your site name in the list of sites at your school's domain.

Both the Category and Site Description settings are not required and can be modified after the site is created.

When in the site creation process, you can add the site category and description in the More Options section beneath the site name and URL:

  1. Click anywhere on the More Options section on the 'Create a new site' page.
  2. Type in the names of the categories for your site in the 'Site Categories' box, separated by commas (e.g. "math department, ms. smith").

  3. Type in a short description of your site in the 'Site Description' box (e.g. "Ms. Smith's math class site with homework assignments, class schedule, parent newsletter, and class materials").

Share a site with others to edit or view

While creating your site, you can select a broad sharing access setting for collaboration within your site in the More Options section beneath the site name and URL. The following are the types of settings you can choose:

 

Where g1usd.org is your school domain

When you use this setting, this will allow anybody at your school with a school Apps account can make changes or edit your site. This includes creating and editing pages within your site, but not making changes to the overall site settings such as the site name, description, categories, navigation, or sharing settings.

This means the site is only visible to you at the moment, but you can later add individuals to make changes as a collaborator or to access the site as a viewer

[not available for all domains: ]

If your school Apps domain administrator has restricted sharing outside your school Apps domain, you will not see this setting. This setting is useful if you want to share your site with people who do not have school Apps accounts - parents, alumni, educators outside of your school. While anyone can view the site, this setting will not allow them to make changes to the site. You will remain the only person to edit the site. You can later add people to edit the site.

You can change the sharing options in your site at any time, just follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button and select Sharing and Permissions from the drop down. This will open up the access permissions for the site. Alternately, you can click the Share button to access Sharing and Permissions when you are not in editing mode
  3. In Sharing and Permissions you can add, edit, or remove individuals or groups from your site. You can also select whether you want your entire school domain to edit or view your site by selecting Change and modifying the settings of your site.

Learn more about the various sharing options in Chapter 6 »

Personalize site theme, background, colors, and logos

Customize the look of a site

Google Sites allows site owners to easily change the overall look of a site without needing to use or know HTML. For example, you can keep using a theme from Google Sites but change the color of links. Or you can move the sidebar of your site to the rightside – or remove it completely. Google Sites allows you to make these changes via the More menu -> Manage Site.

The ability to change how a site looks is divided into three major areas:

Show or hide the site title

Your site title is the name of your website you entered when you created the site. By default, this name will appear at the top of any page within your site.

Showing the site title name can be helpful, as it appears as a hyperlink and any user that clicks on the site name will be taken back to your site homepage.

However, a reason you may want to hide the site title is if you have a logo or picture that contains your site title. Thus, having both a picture with the name and the text could be redundant.

If you would like to hide your site title from appearing on all pages in your site, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More  button and select Manage Site from the drop down.
  3. In the left hand side under the 'Site settings' category, click 'General'.
  4. To the right of the the 'Site name' box is a checkbox that says 'Show site name at top of pages.' Uncheck this box to hide your site title from all pages in your site.
  5. Click Save Changes.
  6. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

Another option to hide the site title from appearing is to change the color of your site title. To change the color of your site title, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button.
  3. Choose Manage Site from the drop down.
  4. In the left hand side near the bottom of the page, click 'Colors and Fonts'.
  5. Scroll down to see the 'Site header' category and click the 'Site title color' option.
  6. You can select 'None' as a color (to make it invisible) or choose white (if your background is white) or another color that matches your background. A preview of how the site title will appear is shown below.
  7. When you are satisfied with the preview of how your site title will look, click Save.
  1. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

Use a theme design for a site

Whether you are building an intranet, a project wiki, a classroom site, or a public website, we know it is important for your site to look good. Google Sites has a total of 50 themes to make it easier to get started with a great looking site. Themes are a combination of site layouts, colors and images that is available in Google Sites pre-packaged.

You can watch a slideshow of all the themes that are available, or view a thumbnail of the options when creating or editing your site.

Once you chose a theme, you can still change specific values such as background colors and images via the Colors and Fonts section.

Please note: If you switch themes and you had previously made specific changes to colors/fonts, your previous changes will be discarded with the new theme.

When in the site creation process, you must choose a theme for your site:

  1. Click the dropdown arrow  next to Select a theme to expand the page and show all 50 themes.
  2. Select the theme you would like to use by clicking the thumbnail. The thumbnail will turn red to indicate your selection.
  3. If you have already filled out the site name, URL, categories, and description, click Create Site.

If you have already created your site, you can easily change the theme of your site, just follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button.
  3. Choose Manage Site from the drop down.
  4. In the left hand side near the bottom of the page, click Themes.
  5. Here you will see thumbnails of all 52 themes available.
  6. You can see a preview of how your site would look with a theme by clicking the Preview link beneath a theme thumbnail.
  7. To select a theme, click on the theme thumbnail, then click Save.
  1. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

Change the layout of a site

Your site has 4 main elements to the page:

  1. Header - this is where your site title and logo appear and applies to all pages within your site.
  2. Side bar - this is where you can add navigation links and additional information via text boxes and applies to all pages within your site.
  3. Page content - this is where the individual page content appears, differs for every page in your site.
  4. Footer - this is where the Google Sites specific links appear, which you cannot modify. This will appear on all pages within your site.

You can make site-wide changes to the header and footer within the 'Site Layout' section in your site settings. You can change your logo, and change your sidebar location, change the height/width of both. Additionally you can add, remove, and update sidebar elements like text boxes, navigation, and countdowns. We will review how to change the site logo and sidebar in the next steps.

Site width: You have a few options as to how wide you would like your site to appear to a user. You can use the theme default (selected for you), or you can set a custom size.

If you want to set an absolute width in pixels, you can enter your size in the box as 800 px. This means that no matter what screen resolution or size of monitor a user has, your site will always be 800 pixels wide.

You can also set a relative width by percentage. This means your site will take up a percentage of the browser (centering in the middle where there is extra room) and will scale to fit whatever browser or monitor size the user has.

Header height: With this setting you can choose to remove the header from your site, use the height of your site logo, set a custom size, or use the value specified by your design theme. The header will change on all pages within your site. Recommendations:

Sidebar: You can choose whether to include the sidebar, the location of the sidebar on your site (right/left), and specify the width of the sidebar.

The sidebar is a useful element of your site that appears on all pages. The navigation links usually go there, and you can also add additional text or links. Important information can be included here that will be available on any page a user views within your site. If you wish to have more room for your main content and do not want to use the navigation available in Google Sites, you can remove the sidebar.

Google Sites will have a default width for your sidebar that you should modify if you find the sidebar to be too narrow or wide to your liking. The width is measured in pixels. Take into consideration that making a sidebar wider will impact the amount of space available for the main content of your page.

To change the width and height of the sidebar and log sections, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button.
  3. Choose Manage Site from the drop down.
  4. In the left hand side under the 'Site appearance' category, click Site layout.
  5. Click the Change site layout button.
  6. Here you can make changes to the size of the site, sidebar, and header:
  7. Click Save.
  1. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

Change a site header and logo

The header of your site appears at the top of all pages within your site. By default, the custom logo of your school Apps account will appear. You can change the logo to be something different – an image that you would like to associate with your site (e.g. an apple, chalkboard, book), a picture (e.g. an author if it's a project site, yourself if it's a class site), or any another symbol.

 

Google Sites will accept image file types for the logo including jpeg, gif, and png.

The suggested size that we recommend for logos is: 145px wide x 52px tall. The logo will be uploaded in the dimensions provided, so scale it to the desired size first. Please keep in mind that you are free to use whatever size logo that you want to use, however it may not look right or appear at all if the image is too big.

 

To change the logo of your site, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button.
  3. Choose Manage Sites.
  4. In the left hand side under the 'Site appearance' category, click Site layout.
  5. In the Header section, click on the change logo link.
  6. Select Custom Logo and browse for the logo file on your hard drive (or select No logo to exclude an image).
  7. Once you have the image selected, click the Ok button.
  8. Click Save changes.
  1. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

Modify the content and layout of the sidebar

The sidebar is an element that stays the same on every page in your site. It is useful to place things that you would like your users to always view or access in the sidebar.

By default, Google Sites includes a navigation menu 'element' in the sidebar.

Other items you can add to the side bar include a text element that may contain any text, including links, a countdown box, recent activity logs, and additional navigation menus.

The text element is an easy way to include any important information you want to always be visible on your site. For example, you could include contact information, class information, or even useful links that are not related to your site, as the text element can also include links.

The countdown element allows you to display a number counting down to a specified date (days until...). When that date has passed, the countdown element will start counting up (days since...). This can be used for important events or deadlines, for example the day of final exams or the next sporting event.

The 'Recent site activity' element shows a log of who has made changes to the site. Types of activity recorded include creating, deleting, or editing a page, For example, this can show that Sarah edited the 'Contact' page and that Chris created the 'Technology' page. This can be a useful widget for a team to keep track of who is making changes to the site, or for users to see how often information/site is updated.

The 'My recent activity' element shows the activity of the logged-in user only - such as if they viewed or edited a page within the site. This can be a useful widget to include on group sites, so each member can easily review the changes or site activity.

You can add and modify the site activity, text, countdown, or navigation elements in the sidebar in one of two ways:

1. From the 'edit sidebar' link:

  1. While on any page within your site, click on the edit sidebar link at the bottom of the sidebar.
  2. You are now in the Site Layout section of the Site Settings.

  3. Here, you can add gadgets and navigation widgets of your choosing to your sidebar.

2. From the 'More Actions' button:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button.
  3. Choose Manage Site.
  4. In the left hand side under the 'Site appearance' category, click Site Layout.
  5. In the sidebar section, you can edit an element by clicking the 'edit' link in the box. You can add an element by clicking Add a sidebar item.
  6. Click Save changes.
  1. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

Please note: if you don't see the option to edit the sidebar, it's because you are not the owner of the site. Only the owner of the site has the ability to edit the content that appears in the sidebar.

Change colors and fonts for part of a site

The Colors and Fonts section allows you to have control over a various and wide selection of the different areas of your site that you can customize to the color you want. This section offers a "Real Time" preview of the changes as you make them, so you can quickly see how your changes affect the aesthetic of your site.

Types of changes can make in the Colors and Fonts section include:

If you selected a theme, the colors and fonts may already be assigned, but you can still make changes as to how your site and pages look. The types of changes listed previously are then grouped into the following areas of your site:

To modify the colors and fonts of any of the above areas within your site, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button.
  3. Choose Manage Site.
  4. In the left hand side under the 'Site appearance' category, click Colors and Fonts.
  5. You can now scroll to the appropriate setting you would like to change within any of the site areas - entire page, site header, content area, content area gadgets, sidebar gadgets, and navigation gadgets.
  1. When you are finished making changes, click Save.
  1. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

Add navigation menus and sitemaps

Navigation menus in site sidebar

The navigation sidebar element is a special menu of links where you can include pages from your site or links from outside sites. The navigation menu differs from just a list of links; if you are currently viewing a page that is in the list of links, that page will be highlighted in the navigation box. The user then can know which page they are viewing by looking at the navigation menu.

You can see here that the current page, 'Welcome' is highlighted with a yellow background in the navigation menu. This color is set by default when you select a theme for your site, but you also have the option to change it if you prefer. Review the previous lesson on how to change colors and fonts.

You can choose to include several navigation sidebar elements if you would like to separate your links by section. In this example, there are 4 navigation menus: Ms. Smith, Parents, Students, and Hot links. If the user is on a page that is listed in that navigation menu, the page will be highlighted in yellow.

Submenus can be useful in a navigation menu to help organize your content even more. For example, as outlined in the red box in the screenshot, if you have a page for a 'Student Showcase' that also has subpages associated with it for 'Videos' and 'Presentations,' you can include the subpages as part of a submenu. The 'parent' page (in this case, 'Student Showcase') will have an arrow beside it that can be used to show or hide the submenu.

With all the changes that can be made to a site, it can be difficult to remember to add all the relevant pages to your navigation menus. You can let Google Sites automatically manage your site navigation, and it will automatically create submenus for 'parent' pages and will keep the menu up to date if pages are added, moved, or deleted.

Create multiple navigation menus

For large sites with many pages it is easier to create several types of navigation menus to help group and organize all the links and content. One way to group the links could be by types of visitors (e.g., parents/teachers/students). Another way could be by process (e.g., before the test, during the test, after the test).

You can create multiple navigation menus to form these different groups of links in one of two ways:

1. From the 'edit sidebar' link:

  1. While on any page within your site, click on the edit sidebar link at the bottom of the sidebar.
  2. You are now in the Site Layout section of the Site Settings.

  3. Click Add a sidebar item.
  4. Find the 'Navigation' type and click the Add button.
  5. To name your new navigation menu, click the edit link in the second (or third/fourth/etc) 'Navigation' box.
  1. Click Ok.
  2. Click Save.
  1. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

2. From the More button:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button.
  3. Choose Manage Site.
  4. In the left hand side near the bottom of the page, click Site Layout.
  5. Click Add a sidebar item.
  6. Find the 'Navigation' type and click the Add button.
  7. To name your new navigation menu, click the edit link in the second (or third/fourth/etc) 'Navigation' box.
  1. Click Ok.
  2. Click Save.
  1. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

To create additional navigation menus, repeat the steps listed above (using one of the two methods).

Please note: if you don't see the option to edit the sidebar, it's because you are not the owner of the site. Only the owner of the site has the ability to edit the content that appears in the sidebar.d

Automatic organization of links

To save you time as your site grows, Google Sites can now automatically maintain your site navigation. In automatic mode, the navigation area is generated based on your site structure and the level of depth you choose. When you create a new site, Google Sites automatically includes a navigation sidebar element and will also select automatic navigation. This means that any page that is created in your site can be included in the navigation menu, as long as it falls within the 'depth' you specify.

The 'depth' simply means the structure of your site in terms of 'parent' and 'children' pages. Google Sites will include any page at the site level, the children pages, and the children of those children pages, and it goes on for each level. If you specify 2 levels of depth, then Google Sites will include any page that is created at the site level, and any 'child' page of those. In the example below, there are 2 levels of dept - the first are the 'Topic pages' and the second are the 'Content pages.' If you had additional pages created beneath the content pages, you could specify 3 levels of depth.

Automatic navigation can be useful if all the pages you create in your site you would like to have visible to your visitors. However, if you create some pages in your site that you do not want to necessarily keep in navigation (e.g. a file cabinet page, or a page you are just developing but is not ready to be viewed), it may be better to not use automatic navigation and instead customize the navigation menus.

If you would like to remove automatic navigation from your navigation sidebar element, you can edit the element in one of two ways:

1. From the 'edit sidebar' link:

  1. While on any page within your site, click on the edit sidebar link at the bottom of the sidebar.
  2. You are now in the Site Layout section.
  3. Click on the edit link beneath the 'Navigation' box. If you have just created a site, you should have only one navigation box.
  4. Check or uncheck 'Automatically organize my navigation.'
  5. Click Ok.
  6. Click Save.
  1. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

2. From the More button:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the Actions button.
  3. Choose Manage Site.
  4. In the left hand side under the 'Site appearance' category, click Site Layout.
  5. In the sidebar section, click on the edit link beneath the 'Navigation' box. If you have just created a site, you should have only one navigation box.
  6. Check or uncheck 'Automatically organize my navigation.'
  7. Click Ok.
  8. Click Save.
  1. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

Please note: if you don't see the option to edit the sidebar, it's because you are not the owner of the site. Only the owner of the site has the ability to edit the content that appears in the sidebar.

Add or remove pages from a navigation menu

If you choose to not use use automatic navigation in your navigation menu, you must add pages individually to your navigation menu - Google Sites will not automatically include them. This can be useful if you have pages on your site that you do not necessarily want to include in your navigation menu.

There are two ways to add or remove pages to the navigation menu:

1. From Page Settings:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button.
  3. Choose Page Settings.
  4. To add the page, check the box next to 'Show this page in the sidebar.' To remove the page, leave the box unchecked.
  1. Click Save.

2. From 'Manage Site':

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button.
  3. Choose Manage Site.
  4. In the left hand side under the 'Site appearance' category, click Site Layout.
  5. In the sidebar section, click on the edit link to the right of the 'Navigation' box. If you have just created a site, you should have only one navigation box.
  6. To remove a page that exists in your site, select the page and click the 'X' button in the right side of the pop-up window.
  7. To add a page that exists in your site, click the Add page link.
  8. Select the page you would like to include. Click Ok.
  1. a list of pages you recently edited in the 'My changes' list
  2. a list of pages from the 'Recent site activity' log
  3. from the full  list of all existing pages in the site in the 'Site map'
  4. or you can use the search box to search for the page you would like to include.
  1. To add additional pages, repeat steps 6 and 7.
  2. Click Ok when you are done adding or removing pages.
  3. Click Save.
  1. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

Change the order of pages in a navigation menu

When you first add pages added to your navigation sidebar menu, they will appear in the order in which you added them. You can change this order at any time to reflect any categorization you may have for the site.

Please note: This will not work for navigation menus if they are automatically organized. Please make sure you have unchecked the box next to 'Automatically organize my navigation.'

To change the order of pages in the navigation menu, you can follow the steps one of three ways:

1. From the 'edit sidebar' link:

  1. While on any page within your site, click on the edit sidebar link at the bottom of the sidebar.
  2. You are now in the Site Layout section.
  3. Click on the edit link to the right of  ‘Navigation’ in the box. If you have just created a site, you should have only one navigation box.
  4. Click on the page you would like to move. Click on the arrows on the right side of the pop-up window to move the page up or down in the list.
  5. Click Ok.
  6. Click Save.
  1. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

2. From the 'More' button:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button.
  3. Choose Manage Site.
  4. In the left hand side of the page near the bottom, click Site Layout.
  5. In the sidebar section, click on the edit link in the 'Navigation' box. If you have just created a site, you should have only one navigation box.
  6. Click on the page you would like to move. Click on the arrows on the right side of the pop-up window to move the page up or down in the list.
  7. Click Ok.
  8. Click Save.
  1. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

3. From  Manage site > Pages

Page organization is an important part of using Google Sites, especially when you want to make a lot of changes to your Site’s structure. To make it easier and save you time,you can utilize the drag and drop functionality in the Pages area of site management. Site owners and collaborators can try it out on via Manage site > Pages in the tree view.

Please note: if you don't see the option to edit the sidebar, it's because you are not the owner of the site. Only the owner of the site has the ability to edit the content that appears in the sidebar.

Create sub-menus for automatic navigation menus

As a website grows, organizing its content becomes ever more important. Google Sites allows you to group pages in a hierarchy, but this isn't very apparent when finding your way around. Submenus let you set up a tree structure in your sidebar, to help show the structure of the site at a glance.

As you can see in the above example 'content page 1a' and 'content page 1b' are child pages of the parent page 'Topic page 1'. You could have 'Topic page 1' included in your navigation menu and let the subpage links help visitors find pages 'content page 1a' and 'content page 1b' or you could use submenus in navigation to let visitors find their way around more easily.

By grouping sub-pages in categories you can give viewers a more detailed view of your site while keeping the overall framework simple. By default only the top-level items will be expanded, as shown in the example above. A user can of course expand and collapse any items s/he wants, and those changes will be remembered across all the pages in the site.

Please note: The following instructions will create sub-menus when you have automatic navigation selected for your navigation menu. Review a previous step to learn more about automatic navigation.

To create sub-menus in Google Sites, you need to create your main pages first (e.g., the Student Showcase page). These will appear on the left side of the page. Follow these instructions:

  1. Click the Create Page button in the top right of your site.
  2. Create your page and make sure you select the radio button next to Put page at top level.
  3. Repeat this step for any of the other main pages.

Once you have created your 'main pages', you can add subpages below main pages, just follow these steps:

  1. On the left side of any page, click the page to which you'd like to add a subpage.
  1. Click Create Page. Make sure you select the radio button next to Put page under (name of the top level page, 'Athletics').
  1. Repeat this for each subpage under each main page.

Your main pages will appear on the left side of the page with arrows to open up subpages.

Create sub-menus for manual navigation menus

You can create sub-menus without using automatic navigation as well. The navigation menu allows you to indent or 'outdent' pages in the menu listing. Indenting pages will create a 'sub-menu' based on the parent page that it is indented below.

These sub-menus do not require you to create subpages – or pages that are created in the site hierarchy below the 'parent' page. You can indent any page to appear in a 'sub-menu.'

You can also create several levels of sub-menus by creating several levels of indentation. You must always have a 'parent' page before doing additional indentations. Basically, each sub-menu must have at least one page before creating another sub-menu (or allowing another page to 'indent.')

To manually create a sub-menu in your navigation menu, follow the steps in one of the two following methods:

1. From the 'edit sidebar' link:

  1. While on any page within your site, click on the edit sidebar link at the bottom of the sidebar.
  2. You are now in the Site Layout section of the Site Settings.
  3. Click on the edit link in the 'Navigation' box you wish to edit (if you have more than one navigation box).
  4. Click on the page you would like to move into a sub-menu. Click on the left/right arrows on the right side of the pop-up window to indent or outdent the page in the list.
  1. Click Ok.
  2. Click Save.
  1. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

2. From the 'More' button:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button.
  3. Choose Manage Site.
  4. In the left hand side near the bottom of the page, click Site Layout.
  5. Click on the edit link in the 'Navigation' box you wish to edit (if you have more than one navigation box).
  6. Click on the page you would like to move into a sub-menu. Click on the left/right arrows on the right side of the pop-up window to indent or outdent the page in the list.
  1. Click Ok.
  2. Click Save.
  1. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

Please note: if you don't see the option to edit the sidebar, it's because you are not the owner of the site. Only the owner of the site has the ability to edit the content that appears in the sidebar.

Add sub-page listing gadget to a page

In addition to creating sub-menus within the navigation menus, you can also add a subpage listing gadget for automatically generating index pages based on site structure. Like the sidebar navigation, it is configurable to a depth of your choosing. Site collaborators can add the gadget to any page by going to: "Edit page" -> "Insert" menu -> "Subpage listing."

Add a subpage listing

To add a listing to a main page with links to the subpages, follow these steps:

  1. Click the top level page in the sidebar, then click the Edit page button.
  2. Click Insert > Subpage listing.
  3. Enter the title of the main page in the Title field. Select the appearance of the listing and click Save.

You'll now have sub-menus for your pages. You can repeat this for all top level pages and subpages.

Use a horizontal navigation bar

If your side bar navigation is too crowded you can also choose to have a horizontal navigation bar. Go to Site layout > Change site layout and check the box next to Horizontal navigation bar. A new section on the site layout preview will pop up, called “Horizontal navigation bar.” You can customize the horizontal navigation bar the same way you would organize the links on a side bar.

If you want to customize the look and feel of the horizontal navigation, you can set the background, link and hover properties via More > Manage site >Colors and Fonts.

You can add horizontal navigation to your site’s layout in one of three different flavors: boxes, tabs, and links:

Let collaborators add files or comments to pages

Page level permissions for attachments and comments

On each page within your site, you can choose to allow collaborators to add attachments or comments. This can be useful to encourage site interaction with your visitors - for example if a student created a page that had a book review on it, then other students could write comments on the page. Or if you had a page for 'Assignments', students could 'attach' their homework or projects to the page as files. This could be used as a platform to submit assignments in a distance learning class.

Comments and attachments can only be added by those you have given collaboration or edit access. This means that even though someone can visit your site, s/he will not be able to add comments or attachments unless you expressly give him/her collaborator or owner access. Those who do not have collaboration or edit access will be able to view comments and attachments, but not submit any.

If you would like to avoid adding individuals to your site, you can also open editing access to your entire school domain. With this setting, anyone at your school would be able to add comments or attachments to any page in your site. However, they will also be able to edit any content you have on your site. Learn more about sharing in Chapter 6 »

By default, every page you create in Google Sites will have these settings turned on, but you can easily change the page to remove these settings.

You can see the comments and attachments added to a page at the bottom, below the 'Main Content' area.

Please note: The limit on file uploads is 11MB per file.

Set page to allow attachments or comments

The attachment and comment setting is specific to each page in your site – it is not a site-wide setting. By default, Google Sites turns on attachments and

If you would like to allow attachments on a page, follow these steps:

  1. To allow attachments, click on the More button and select Page Settings from the drop-down menu.
  2. Tick the box next to 'Allow attachments' and you have now enabled attachments.

If you would like to allow comments on a page, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the More button and select Page Settings from the drop-down menu.
  2. Tick the box next to 'Allow comments' in order to enable them.

To remove the option to add attachments or comments, follow the above instructions and simply un-tick the box next to 'Allow attachments' or 'Allow Comments'

Add or remove attachments or comments

As the owner of your site, you can choose to add or remove attachments or comments on pages at any time. Any other individuals who you have given owner access will also have the ability to add or remove comments or attachments.

While people who have editing access to your site can add comments or attachments, they can only remove their own comments or attachments. For example, if you gave collaboration access to a group of students, they can add a comment or attachment, view what others have commented or attached, but they cannot modify or remove any comment or attachment that they did not submit.  

You can attach files within the Attachments section at the bottom of any page that allows attachments. To attach a document to a standard page, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Choose File button next to Attach a file, in the attachments section at the bottom of the page.
  2. Browse for the file, select it, and click Open.
  3. Your attachment now appears in the list and should be reflected in the overall count of Attachments (e.g. Attachments (2)

Tip: Once you've attached documents, you may grab their links and drag them into the body of the page that you're editing with your mouse.

Please note: The limit on file uploads is 11MB per file.

You can add comments in the Comments section of any page that allows comments. To add a comment, follow these steps:

  1. Click the 'Comments' box at the bottom of the page and type your comment directly into the box.
  2. Type your comment into the text box.
  3. Click the Add comment button.  Anyone who views the page will be able to see your comment.
  4. You comment now appears at the bottom of the page and should be reflected in the overall count of comments for the page (e.g. Comments (2))

To remove a comment or attachment, users who are site owners or collaboraters are presented with a "Remove" link next to each comment and attachment for which they have rights. The Remove link will only be available for items that a user can remove. For site owners, this will be all files and comments. For site collaborators, this will be for only the files or comments they contributed.

View comments with RSS

Google Sites automatically creates a feed for comments on a page which users can subscribe to using their favorite feed reader.

The URL for the page comments is the URL of the page + '/comments.xml'.

For example, for the page http://sites.google.com/a/myschool.org/language-arts-1/new-project, the page comments feed URL would be http://sites.google.com/a/myschool.org/language-arts-1/new-project/comments.xml.

Please note: Comment feeds follow the permission of the site and require authentication for private sites. This means online feed readers which don't support authenticated feeds won't be able to subscribe to private site feeds or site activity.

View or download attachments to a page

In order to correctly access, view, or download attachments on a page in your site, you'll need to make sure that the end user is directly visiting the page that the attachment is hosted on.

Please note: Copying and pasting the attachment URL directly will not work.

Once the user has visited the page where the attachment is hosted, they will then need to click on the attachment link in order to download it.

See all attachments on your site

If you allow many collaborators to add attachments on different pages in your site, it can be difficult to keep track of all the files. For example, if you are using several different pages as places for students to submit assignments (perhaps in a distance learning class), it could be tiresome to navigate to each submission page and download all the attachments. Instead, you can view all the attachments in your site in one place in the attachment management section of Google Sites.

Attachment editing options include:

Please note: The limit on file uploads is 11MB per file.

To access the attachment management section of Google Sites, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the More drop down menu.
  2. Select Manage site.
  3. In the navigation bar on the left hand side of the screen is a section called "Attachments", click on that and you'll see a list of all of your attachments for the site. You'll also be able to rename, move, delete or replace your attachments from this section.

Copy an existing site

Sometimes the easiest way to create a site is to use a similar format and style that you have already created with another site. Google Sites lets you easily copy sites that you have created, or those that you have collaborator or owner access.  For example, you can copy last year's class site for use in the current school year.

When you copy a site, you will be prompted to use a new Site name and URL, just as if you had created a new site from scratch.

You will also have the option to include past revisions of the site (so you can revert to previous versions of the site) and to copy over the members of the site. If you copy the members of the site, then all those who have owner, collaborator, and viewer access will have the same sharing setting on your new site.

To quickly copy other sites you've been invited to, follow these steps:

  1. Click the More drop-down menu and select Manage site.
  2. Select General in the 'Site settings' section.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the settings and click the Copy this Site link next to 'Site Actions.'
  4. Enter the site name.
  1. If you wish to include all site revisions, check the 'Include Revisions' box (this is checked by default).
  2. If you wish to copy over all the members of the site, check the 'Copy Site Members' box (this is checked by default).
  3. Click the Copy site button.

You will be now taken to your newly copied site that has identical content and formatting to the original site. If you chose to copy over the site members, the new site will show up in their site directory. If you chose to include revisions, you can access previous versions of the site by clicking the More button and Revision History.

Change a site URL

Type of URL changes in Google Sites

After you create a site, you cannot change the specific site URL.

For example, here's a site created on the yourschool.org domain: http://sites.google.com/a/yourschool.org/yoursiteURL. Once you have set yoursiteURL when you create your site, you will not be able to change it.

You can change, however, the 'root' part of the url - http://sites.google.com/a/yourschool.org/ to be something else. For example, you could change the root to map to a custom URL of your domain such as  http://yoursiteURL.yourschool.org/

Let's say you have a faculty site on your school Apps domain: http://sites.google.com/a/yourschool.org/faculty-site. You can simplify that web address by using web address mapping to be instead: http://faculty.yourschool.org

With this setting, you no longer have the 'sites.google.com/a' in your address and the final URL for your site is much shorter and easier to remember.

Web address mapping

Web address mapping is a tool which you can use to tell Google Sites to take one of your existing sites - say http://sites.google.com/a/yourschool.org/faculty-site - and 'map' it to another address on your domain such as http://faculty.yourschool.org

Your site actually exists at the full, long URL, but with web address mapping, you are allowing Google Sites and the domain registrar to show your site when people enter in your 'map' address, in this case http://faculty.yourschool.org

You must be a school Apps administrator to make these changes.

To set up web address mapping for one of your sites, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your control panel at http://www.google.com/a/cpanel/yourschool.org
  2. Click Sites in the Google Apps control panel.
  3. On the Sites Settings page, select the Web address mapping tab.
  4. Click Add a new web address.
  5. Enter the location of the site you want to map ('faculty-site' in the specific example above, or yoursiteURL in the generic example).
  6. In the 'Web Address' field, enter the sub-domain you'd like to map it to (faculty in the example above).
  7. Select Add mapping and follow the instructions provided. Depending on your domain registrar, you may need to make CNAME changes. You'll see instructions for making CNAME changes after you select Add mapping.

Note: you may need to wait up to 24 hours to see your changes reflected.

Some things to keep in mind:

Once you've completed the steps above, follow these instructions:

  1. Sign in to your domain registrar.
  2. Navigate to your DNS Management page. The location and name of this page varies by host, but can generally be found in the Domain Management or Advanced Settings section.
  3. Find the CNAME settings and in the section 'CNAME value or alias,' enter the subdomain you'd like to map the URL to. The subdomain for www.example.com would be example.com.
  4. Set the CNAME destination to the following address: ghs.google.com
  5. Save changes with your domain host.

URL forwarding

For schools that create their external school site in Google Sites, you may want to have your main school URL redirect to your google site. For example, you created your school site at  http://sites.google.com/a/yourschool.org/main-school-site. This is not an easy address for parents, students, faculty, and anyone else to remember as your home page. Instead, you may want to use  http://yourschool.org or http://www.yourschool.org. To do this, you will have to modify the DNS settings with your domain host.

With URL forwarding, you'll direct http://yourschool.org to http://sites.google.com/a/yourschool.org/main-school-site and hide the target address with your own domain name. This way, anyone who types in yourschool.org in their browser will not see the long URL, but instead the shortened URL.

URL forwarding can only be done by someone who has access to the DNS settings of your domain, yourschool.org. If you do not have access to change these, then contact your school Apps domain administrator.

To do this type of URL forwarding, you will essentially set-up a web address mapping using main-site pointing to www.

  1. Log in to your control panel at http://www.google.com/a/cpanel/yourschool.org
  2. Click Sites in the Google Apps control panel.

  3. On the Sites Settings page, select the Web address mapping tab.
  4. Click Add a new web address.
  5. Enter the location of the site you want to map ('main-site' in the specific example above, or the site URL of your main school site).
  6. In the 'Web Address' field, enter the sub-domain you'd like to map it to (www)

Please note: Google Sites for your domain must be published and publicly visible in order for URL forwarding to function properly. You can set the appropriate sharing instructions by following the instructions outlined here.

Instructions vary by domain host. For step-by-step instructions, including GoDaddy.com and eNom.com, please visit the following help topic. This page is currently maintained by techlover (a Power Poster in the Google Apps Discussion Group).

Edit site settings

Change site description or categories

If you have already created your site, you can easily add or change the site categories and description that appears in your domain sites directory, just follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More Actions button and select Manage Site from the drop down.
  3. In the left hand side under the 'Site settings' category, click 'General'.
  4. Here you can add, edit, or delete the site categories or site description in their respective boxes.
  5. When you are satisfied with what you have written, click Save.
  6. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

Change sharing options

You can change the sharing privileges of individual users, or your entire domain, for your site at any time, just follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button and select Manage Site from the drop down.
  3. In the left hand side, click 'Sharing and Permissions’'.
  4. Here you can add, edit, or remove individuals from your site.
  1. You can also select whether you want your entire school domain to edit or view your site in the Advanced permissions section. Click the Change button and then select the appropriate permissions.
  2. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

Modify theme or site layout

You can change the theme of your site at any time, just follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button and select Manage Site from the drop down.
  3. In the left hand side near the bottom of the page, click 'Themes'.
  4. Here you can preview and select a new theme for your site.
  5. When you are satisfied with your selection, click Save.
  6. If you would like to go back to your site, click the Return to Site link at the top left of the page, or else you can continue to make changes to the settings of your site.

If you would like to change the font, colors, or layout of your site, follow the instructions listed previously.

Delete a site

You can delete a site you have created in Google Sites on your school domain. A site can only be deleted by a site owner or by a school Apps domain administrator.

If you are a domain administrator for Google Apps at your school, you can edit or remove any problematic content just like you can edit Sites content that you create yourself. Basically, domain administrators act as owners of all sites created within the domain.

This can be useful if you learn that a user at your school domain has created a site or page that violates your school's policies. Any domain administrator of the school Apps account can go in and delete the site, or even just edit a page in the site, to remove the problematic content.

To delete a site, follow these steps:

  1. Click the More drop-down menu and select Manage Site.
  2. Click General.
  3. Click Delete this site. A confirmation box appears.
  4. Click the Delete this site link to confirm that you want to delete the site permanently.

For school Apps domain administrators, you can view and edit all sites created at your domain in the Your Sites list.

To view this list, visit https://sites.google.com/a/yourschool.org. (Note: make sure to replace yourschool.org with your actual domain name.)

From there, you can click on the site and follow the instructions listed above to delete the site.

If an owner of a site accidentally deletes a site, it will be immediately removed from view but they may recover it by visiting its URL within 30 days or by viewing it at the bottom of his/her site list. Once 30 days have elapsed however, it will not be possible to recover the site under any circumstances and it will be permanently deleted.