OSU Drupal 6


The Book module provides a way of managing related pages of content that fit together in an outline format, similar to chapters in a text book.  This module provides several user friendly features, such as on-the-fly menu creation,  a pre-built Book navigation block with enhanced configurations, and its own easy-to-use Book Manager.

Book Navigation Block
sample book navigation block showing menu expanded three levels deep

Book Manager
book manager showing drupal deep dive outline with drag and drop handles

When using the Book page content type along with the Book navigation block, after the top page is created, a content contributor basically only has to enter the Title of the content and the Body information.  The Book module will take over from there and automatically populate itself based on the title provided, once the form is submitted.

The menu management for Books is a little bit different than the rest of Drupal's menu structure.  Books uses its own special management tool which can be found at Admin menu > Content management > Books.  Here a permitted user can easily rearrange menu items within a book using drag-n-drop.

Book Page Content Type

OSU Drupal 6


Book page content is very similar to other basic node types in OSU Drupal 6.

To create Book page, similar to all other content types, go to Admin menu > Content management > Create content and select the Book page content type.

There are a couple of things that differentiate Book page content from other types. The first is the use of the Book outline element on the node submission form. The second is the display of two links on the saved content: Add child page and Printer friendly version.

Let's walk through the process of creating a Parent page, and how to create a Child page from a Parent page.

Book Page Submission Form
book page submission form

  1. Add your title, body content, and set the input format, if necessary - just like you would with any typical node type. When you get to the Book outline fieldset, though - here is where things start to change.
  2. Click on the Book outline fieldset to open it.
  3. In the Book field, select "create a new book". Some activity will occur and then you will receive a message on the screen, under the field, informing you that "This will be the top-level page in the book."  This top-level page is also known as the Parent page.
  4. Click the Save button.

Once your node is in View mode, look to the bottom of the content area. You should see two links: Add child page and Printer friendly version.

parent book page created with add child page and printer friendly version links at bottom of content area

Once you have a parent page, to add additional pages to your book, just click the Add child page link. This will open a new, blank Book page submission form and automatically relate it to the parent.

add child page link highlighted on parent book page

Child pages can have child pages of their own.  In fact, the outline structure you can build using Book page content type can go up to 9 levels deep.  It's suggested, though, for the sake of clarity (and so things fit well in the Book navigation block) that you keep the depth to 4-5 levels.  If your content's outline structure exceeds this, you may want to re-examine how you have structured it out and split your work into separate books.

So now that we know how to create a basic book structure,let's take a look at the other components of the Book module that make it unique.

Configure Book Navigation Block

OSU Drupal 6


This information is related strictly to enhanced configurations for the Book navigation block.  If you need detailed information on basic block configuration, please review the Blocks section of this book.

The Book navigation block is a special block that is created by the Book module.  Like all other blocks, it's located at Admin menu > Site building > Blocks.

In addition to the standard configurations you can make to all blocks, the Book navigation block has an additional configuration you can apply - one that will force the Book navigation block to only show itself on Book pages.  This is a handy feature that will help you save space on your sidebars when your users aren't actively looking at your book content.

book navigation block configuration panel - change block title name to Technical Articles and select Show block only on book pages

To configure your Book navigation block, do the following:

  1. Change the Title to something more meaningful to your site than "Book navigation".
  2. In the Book navigation block display option group, select Show block only on book pages.
  3. Click the Save block button.

Your book navigation block will now only show on book pages. You will need a way to lead your audience into this section, though.  There are a couple of ways you can do this.  The most straightforward way is to add a link to the top page of your book in a menu somewhere. You can do this through the Menu settings fieldset of your top page.  An example, using the Drupal Deep Dive book in this site, is shown below.

menu settings for drupal deep dive top page

Another method is to create a custom block, embed an image or add text into the block, and then create a link to the top page of your book.  The following example shows the Technical Manuals sidebar graphic used on this site, which links to a view of all Book titles in existence on this site.  From there, the user can select the desired book.

Training Manuals Graphic
technical manuals graphic used on site with notebook icon and text "technical manuals"

Training Manuals View
technical manuals view with drupal deep dive and osu events calenadr items in list

Both of these techniques are used on this site.  Explore the methods used and try one for yourself.

Using the Book Manager

OSU Drupal 6


Books are a little different from other content in your OSU Drupal 6 site.  If you're using the Book navigation block, this item does not show up as a separate menu - the organization of your site's books is handled through the Book module instead of the Menu module.

The Book Manager tool, located at Admin menu > Content management > Books, is where you can go to quickly arrange/reorder your book content.

book manager showing list of books on site with edit order and titles link for each row

If you click on the title link of the book you wish to view, it will open to that book. If you click on the edit order and titles link for a particular book, it will take you to an outline of the book structure.

book manager showing drupal deep dive outline with drag and drop handles

Here, you can quickly rearrange the items within your book by simply grabbing on the mover handle of a page and moving it up or down.  You can also make a page a child by moving under and to the right of another page.

When you're finished organizing things, make sure you click the Save book pages button at the bottom of the screen to save your changes.

Printer-Friendly Version Feature

OSU Drupal 6


The Book module also provides a clean, easy way to perform various print tasks via the Printer-friendly version link at the bottom of each book page.

printer-friendly version link highlighted at bottom of book page

Clicking on the Printer-friendly version link will open up a clean, well-formatted print preview of the section of the book you are viewing. If you go to the top page of your book and click the Printer-friendly version link, the entire book will preview.

print preview including top two pages of books section

To leave the print preview, just click on your browser's Back button.