Book module overview

Last updated on
14 April 2017

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A book is a set of pages tied together in a hierarchical sequence, perhaps with chapters, sections, subsections, and so on. You can use books for manuals, site resource guides, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), or whatever you'd like.

Book module is a core module and is not enabled by default. It must be enabled through Administration >> Core >> Modules

Users who have permission can create a book and write, review, modify, or rearrange the pages. Many users can work together on a book -- you can allow or disallow collaboration, to whatever extent you want.

Uses

Creating, modifying, and administering books

Creating

D8 
In the Dashboard users with proper permission can either view a list of all published books on the site, or they can start publishing a new one by clicking Content >> Add content >> Book page. A blank Book page opens up. Fill out the fields: Title and Body in the main pane. Then select Create a new book on the right sidebar's Contextual menu. The following message displays:  “Your page will be a part of the selected book. This will be the top-level page in this book.” It's  Weight is 0.

D7
Content >> Add content >> Book page. Below the Editor window, select Book outline and Create a new book. The following message displays: Your page will be a part of the selected book. This will be the top-level page in this book. Weight: 0. Click Save.
This is called defining the "parent" for a book page. Upon creating a new Book page, authorized users can add children pages.

Modifying

They can also modify the position of a page in the book hierarchy later from the page edit screen, by changing its "parent". Any edited "child" pages on the page they are editing will automatically be moved too. If the page they are editing is a section header, this move an entire section.

On the permissions page Administration >> People >> Permissions, depending on their assigned roles and permission users can create book pages, new books, and edit their own book pages or the pages of others.

Users and roles may also be given permission to outline posts in books or add content to books. Users with the proper credentials can modify any other type of content on your site and add it to a book. When viewing content they'll see an outline tab. By clicking it they'll access an interface that lets them move the content into a book.

Book navigation and menus

When a visitor to your site is viewing a book page, they will automatically see links at the bottom for navigating from the parent-page to the first child page, and from the previous page to the next page. A link labeled Up leads back to the parent page in the book structure. There will also be a link to a printer-friendly version of the page at the bottom, for users with permission to view printer-friendly versions of pages.

The Book module automatically generates a contents page for each book. However, if the books on your site are complex, you may find that you need additional navigational aids beyond the table of contents and the previous/next/up links for users to understand where they are in your book. One navigational aid you can use is the book navigation block, which you can enable on the blocks page Administration >> Structure >> Blocks. Enabling this block will turn on a menu that shows where the user is in your book; the menu is only visible when viewing the book.

Another navigational aid you can add to your site is a books link in any of your menus, which will take users to a list of your books. The books menu item is automatically part of the Navigation menu, and you can enable it from menus page Administration >> Structure >> Menus >> Navigation. Fill out the two required fields: 
- Menu link title
- Path 

Note that the "books" link takes users to your books. The "book navigation" block helps users move around inside your books.

Configuration

Here are the common operations with books. You can:

  • Create a new book: create a new book page content >> add content >> book page with a title for the new book, then select <create new book> in the Book Outline section, then publish the page.
  • Create new book pages: content >> add content >> book page.
  • Administer individual books (choose a published book from list): Content >> Books.
  • Set workflow and other global book settings at Administration >> Structure >> Content types >> Book page >> Edit.
  • Eenable the book navigation block: Administration >> Structure >> Blocks.
  • Control who can create, edit, and maintain book pages at Administration >> People >> Permissions.

Confusing behaviour

If you create a new book and choose to not publish it, the book will not appear in the list of books and you will not have the option to add child pages to your first book page. Effectively you have to publish the first page to start adding child pages. If you want to create a book structure without making it public until it is edited and vetted, use a role based access module or similar to let you publish the book, so you can add child pages, but hide it from the public until ready for publication.

Child pages and child page menu entries are listed alphabetically. If you reorder the child pages using weights, the menu entries do not change to the same order. You have to separately reorder the menu entries.