Published vs Private content

To be able to change the state of content in Plone you need to have can manage or can review permissions.

To publish a single page:
1. Select the State menu > Publish
2. If there are any images on the page you also need to publish these
3. Log out of Plone and check how your page looks

To retract a single page:
1. Select the State menu > Retract
2. Log out of Plone - the page should no longer be available - you will be prompted to log in

All content in Plone is normally either published or private. If it's published then it's visible to outside world without restriction. If it's private then it's not visible to the outside world but can potentially be visible to anyone that has been given manage, edit, review or view permissions over it.

Before you publish

If you are about to publish a substantial new section please contact the Web Team before you do so.

Check you've done the following:

Changing the state of content

If you've published something and you want to make it private again later then you can choose to retract the current document state, switching it back to its initial state.

There are two main ways to make these kinds of changes:

  • You can make a normal/quick state change
  • or an advanced state change.

1) Making a 'normal' or 'quick' change of state

A 'normal' or 'quick' change of state is typically done on an individual item of content i.e a page, form, image, etc - and is done using the drop down State menu which can be found in the top right hand corner of every page next to the Actions menu and looks as follows:

From the State menu choose the appropriate option - usually Publish (to publish an item that is currently private) or Retract (to make an item private if it is currently published).

This type of change is very common but has its limitations. 

  • What if you want to change the state of multiple items all at the same time?
  • What if you want to publish a whole site and make sure all the content in sub-folders is included? 
  • What if you want to make your content live on a certain date or have an expiration date?

If you want to do of these things then you need to do an Advanced state change. 

2) Making an advanced change of state

There are two ways to make an 'advanced' change of state:

  • You can do it by clicking the Advanced option from the State drop down menu, which is in the top right hand corner of every page next to the Actions menu.
  • You can click on the Change State option when you are looking at your site in the Contents view. This approach has the advantage that you can change the state of more than one bit of content by selecting multiple items from the contents list before you click the Change State option. You could change the state of your entire site via this method.

Whichever route you take you will be presented with the same Publishing Process interface, see below:

Advanced change of state interface

The key things to note on this page are affected content, the include contained items box, the publishing and expiration date boxes, the comments box and the change state radio buttons.

a) Affected Content

This table simply shows a listing of the content that you have decided to change the state for. If you suddenly realise that you didn't want to include something that appears in the list then you can deselect it by unticking the associated tick box.

b) Include Contained items

This is a useful option that only appears if the content you have chosen for change has further associated content contained within it i.e. a folder with items inside it. Ticking this box means that when you change the state of your folder(s) ALL items contained with those folders will change state as well.

c) Publishing and Expiration date

A great feature of Plone is the ability to set dates when your site will actually become published or when an already published site will expire and disappear - the latter being particularly important because there's nothing worse than encountering an out of date site that should have been taken down months or even years ago. 

e.g. Imagine you had a conference site that only needed to be live for a few months. By setting publish and expiry dates you could make sure your site was only visible for a period of your choosing. If you were away at the time your conference site needed to go live you could still set it to publish automatically even if you weren't actually on hand to do it.

To use this feature all you need to do is use the drop down date and time fields in the interface to set an appropriate time to publish/expire. Then set your content to publish and rather than going immediately live it will go live/expire at the time you set.

d) Comments

Use this optional box to add a small comment that describes the current state of the content that you are about to publish. The comment will be visible in the history tab and will forever be associated with this particular version of the content (see section on Document Versioning).

The comment needs to be something that will help you identify this content if you need to revert back to this point in time at some point in the future. e.g. Final version (including News section). 

e) Change State

This section allows you to change the state of your chosen content by selecting a new state from the available options - which are usually No change and Publish.  If you are turning content back to private from being published you'll see Retract. Simply choose a new state for your content and then click Save. When Plone finishes saving your change your content will be in the new state.

Submit for publication

There is a third state that content can be put in called submit for publication which should only be used if you have set up a review workflow i.e. you have contributors with add/edit permissions who are submitting work to someone with can review permissions who then publishes that content if it's ok.

Checking your page

Once you have published, log out to check how your page looks.

Make sure that all the images are visible and do not display as a red cross on a white background.

Make sure you can access any documents you have linked.


If images are not viewing you need to publish the Images folder.  If you are unable to link to your documents you need to publish the Documents folder.

To publish your entire images or documents folder:
1. On the folder above select the Contents tab
2. Select the checkbox next to Images or Documents
3. Click Change state
4. Select Include Contained Items from the top section of the screen
5. Scroll to the bottom and select Publish
6. Click Save

Circulating a published URL

When you have published your page you may wish to email the URL to others so that they can view it.

When you are logged into Plone an s meaning "secure" is added to the URL after the http and before the www.

Logged in:   https://swww2.le.ac.uk/offices/itservices/about
Logged out: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/itservices/about

Ensure you log out before copying the URL.  If you circulate a secure URL recipients will be presented with a login screen and may not be able to access the page.

Making subsequent changes

Once a page has been published, any changes you make to that page will immediately appear on the published page when you click Save.  To view the changes you may need to press Ctrl+F5 to refresh the page.

If you add a subsequent image or document you must publish the image or document in order for it to appear or be linked from the page.