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Basic Handling

  • This page is designed to give an overview of basic handling when using the AEM author environment. It uses the Sites console as a basis.
  • Some functionality is not available in all consoles and additional functionality may be available in some consoles. Specific information about the individual consoles and their related functionality will be covered in more detail on other pages.
  • Keyboard shortcuts are available throughout AEM. In particular when using consoles and editing pages .

Getting Started

A Touch-Enabled UI

AEM's user interface has been enabled for touch. A touch-enabled interface allows you to use touch to interact with the software through gestures such as tap, touch-and-hold, and swipe. This is in contrast to how a traditional desktop interface operates with mouse actions such as click, double-click, right-click, and mouseover.
As the AEM UI is touch-enabled, you can use the touch gestures on your touch devices (for example, mobile or tablet) and the mouse actions on a traditional desktop device.

First Steps

Immediately after logging in you arrive on the Navigation panel . Selecting one of the options opens the respective console.
To get a good understanding of the basic use of AEM, this document is based on the Sites console.
Click or tap on Sites to get started.

Product Navigation

Whenever a user first accesses a console, a product navigation tutorial is started. Take a minute to click or tap through to get a good overview of the basic handling of AEM.
Click or tap Next to advance to the next page of the overview. Click or tap Close or click or tap outside of the overview dialog to close.
The overview will restart the next time you access a console unless you either view all slides, or check the option Don't show this again .

The Header

The header is always present at the top of the screen. While most options in the header remain the same no matter where you are in the system, some are context-specific.
  • Select the Adobe Experience Manager link to navigate between consoles.
  • You can also use the shortcut key / (forward slash) to invoke search from any console.
  • This icon will be badged with the number of currently assigned incomplete notifications.
    Out-of-the-box AEM comes pre-loaded with administrative tasks assigned to the administrator user group. See Your Inbox - Out-of-the-Box Administrative Tasks for details.
  • The options presented depend on your current console. For example, in Sites you can select content only (the default), the timeline, references or filter side panel.
  • Breadcrumbs
    Situated in the middle of the rail, and always showing the description of the currently selected item, the breadcrumbs allow you to navigate within a specific console. In the Sites console, you can navigate through the levels of your website.
    Simply click on the breadcrumb text to display a drop-down listing the levels of the hierarchy of the currently selected item. Click on an entry to jump to that location.
  • Analytics time period selection
    This is available in list view only. See list view for more information.
  • Create button
    Once clicked, the options displayed are appropriate to the console/context.
  • The view icon is at the far right of the AEM toolbar. As it also indicates the current view, it changes. For example, in the default view, Column View it shows:
    You can switch between column view, card view, and list view; in the list view it also shows the view settings.
  • Keyboard navigation
    You can navigate a website using only the keyboard. This uses the standard browser functionality of the TAB key (or OPT+TAB ) to move you between elements on the page that are focusable .
    In the Sites console there is the added option to Skip to main content . This becomes visible as you tab through the header options, and speeds your navigation by allowing you to skip the standard elements in the (product) toolbar and taking you directly to the main content.

Accessing Help

There are various help resources available:
  • Console Toolbar
    Depending on your location the Help icon will open the appropriate resources:
  • Navigation
    The first time you navigate the system, a series of slides introduce AEM navigation .
  • Page Editor
    The first time you edit a page a series of slides introduce the page editor.
    Navigate this overview as you would the product navigation overview when first accessing any console.
    From the Page Information to show this again at any time.
  • Tools Console
    From the Tools console you can also access the external Resources :
    • Documentation View the Web Experience Management documentation
    • Developer Resources Developer resources and downloads
    You can access an overview of shortcut keys available at any time using the hotkey ? (question mark) when in a console.
    For an overview of all keyboard shortcuts see the following documentation:

Actions Toolbar

Whenever a resource is selected (e.g. a page or an asset), various actions are indicated by icons with explanatory text in the toolbar. These actions are dependent on:
  • The current console.
  • The current context.
  • Whether you are in selection mode .
The action available in the toolbar change to reflect the actions you can take on the specific items selected.
How you select a resource depends on the view.
Due to the space restrictions in some windows, the toolbar can quickly become longer than the space available. When this happens additional options appears. Clicking or tapping on the ellipsis (the three dots or ... ) opens a drop down selector holding all remaining actions. For example, after selecting a page in the Sites console:
The individual icons available are documented in relation to the appropriate console/feature/scenario.

Quick Actions

In Card View certain actions are available as quick action icons as well as being on the toolbar. Quick action icons are available for a single item at a time and eliminate the need for you to preselect.
The quick actions are visible when you mouseover (desktop device) a resource card. The quick actions available can depend on the console and context. For example, here are the quick actions for a page in the Sites console:

Viewing and Selecting Resources

Viewing, navigating, and selecting are each conceptually the same across all views, but have small variations in handling, dependent on the view you are using.
You can view, navigate through, and select (for further action) your resources with any of the available views, each of which can be selected by the icon at the top right:
By default, AEM Assets does not display the original renditions of assets in the UI as thumbnails in any of the views. If you are an administrator, you can use overlays to configure AEM Assets to display original renditions as thumbnails.

Selecting Resources

Selecting a specific resource is dependent on a combination of the view and the device:
Select Unselect
Column View
  • Desktop: Click the thumbnail
  • Mobile device: Tap the thumbnail
  • Desktop: Click the thumbnail
  • Mobile device: Tap the thumbnail
Card View
  • Desktop: Mouseover, then use the checkmark quick action
  • Mobile device: Tap-and-hold the card
  • Desktop: Click the card
  • Mobile device: Tap the card
List View
  • Desktop: Click the thumbnail
  • Mobile device: Tap the thumbnail
  • Desktop: Click the thumbnail
  • Mobile device: Tap the thumbnail

Select All

You can select all items in any view by clicking the Select All option at the top-right corner of the console.
  • In Card View all cards are selected.
  • In List View all items in the list are seelcted.
  • In Column View all items in the leftmost column are selected.

Deselecting All

In all cases as you select items, the count of the items selected is displayed at the top-right of the toolbar.
You can deselect all items and exit selection mode by either:
  • clicking or tapping the X next to the count,
  • or using escape .
In all views, all items can be deslected by tapping escape on the keyboard if you are using a desktop device.

Selecting Example

  1. For example in card view:
  2. Once you have selected a resource the top header is covered by the actions toolbar that provides access to actions currently applicable to the selected resource.
    To exit selection mode select the X to the top-right, or use escape .

Column View

The column view allows for a visual navigation of a content tree through a series of cascading columns. This view allows you to visualize and traverse the tree structure of your website.
Selecting a resource in the leftmost column will display the child resources in a column to the right. Selecting a resource in the right column will then display the child resources in another column to the right and so on.
  • You can navigate up and down in the tree by tapping or clicking on the resource name or the chevron to the right of the resource name.
    • The resource name and chevron will be highlighted when tapped or clicked.
    • The children of the clicked/tapped resource are displayed in the column to the right of the clicked/tapped resource.
    • If you tap or click on a resource name that has no children, its details will be displayed in the final column.
  • Tapping or clicking on the thumbnail selects the resource.
    • When selected, a checkmark will be overlaid on the thumbnail and the resource name will be highlighted as well.
    • The details of the selected resource will be shown in the final column.
    • The action toolbar will become available.
    When a page is selected in column view, the selected page is displayed in the final colum along with the following details:
    • Page title
    • Page name (part of the page's URL)
    • Template the page is based on
    • Modification details
    • Page language
    • Publication details

Card View

  • Card view displays information cards for each item at the current level. These provide information such as:
    • A visual representation of the page content.
    • The page title.
    • Important dates (such as last edited, last published).
    • If the page is locked, hidden or part of a livecopy.
    • If appropriate, when you are required to take action as part of a workflow.
      • Markers that indicate required actions may be related to entries in your Inbox .
  • Quick actions are also available in this view such as selection and common actions such as edit.
  • You can navigate down the tree by tapping/clicking on cards (taking care to avoid the quick actions) or up again by using the breadcrumbs in the header .

List View

  • The list view lists information for each resource at the current level.
  • You can navigate down through the tree by tapping/clicking on the resource name and back up by using the breadcrumbs in the header .
  • To easily select all items in the list, use the checkbox at the top-left of the list.
    • When all items in the list are selected, this checkbox appears checked.
      • Click or tap the checkbox to deselect all.
    • When only some items are selected, it appears with a minus sign.
      • Click or tap the checkbox to select all.
      • Click or tap the checkbox again to deselect all.
  • Select the columns to be shown using View Settings option located under the Views button. The following columns are available for display:
    • Name - Page name, which can be useful in a multilingual authoring environment since it is part of the page's URL and does not change regardless of language
    • Modified - Last modified date and last modified by user
    • Published - Publication status
    • Template - Template on which the page is based
    • Workflow - Workflow currently applied to the page. More information is available when you mouseover, or open Timeline.
    • Page analytics
    • Unique visitors
    • Time on page
    By default the Name column is shown, which makes up part of the URL for the page. In some cases the author might need to access pages that are in a different language and seeing the name of the page (which usually is unchanging) can be of great help if the author does not know the language of the page.
  • Change the order of items using the dotted vertical bar at the far right of each item in the list.
    Changing the order works only within an ordered folder that has jcr:primaryType value as sling:OrderedFolder .
    Click or tap on the vertical selection bar and drag the item to a new position in the list.
  • You can display Analytics Data by showing the appropriate columns using the View Settings dialogue.
    You can filter Analytics Data for the past 30, 90, or 365 days using the filter options on the right side of the header.

Rail Selector

The Rail Selector is available at the top-left of the window and displays options depending on your current consoles.
For example, in Sites you can select content only (the default), content tree, the timeline, references, or filter side panel.
If content only is selected, then only the rail icon appears. When any other option is selected, the option name appears next to the rail icon.
Keyboard shortcuts are available to quickly switch between rail display options.

Content tree

The content tree can be used to quickly navigate the site hierarchy within the side panel and view much information about the pages in the current folder.
Using the content tree side panel in conjunction with a list view or cards view, users can easily see the hierarchical structure of the project and navigate easily across the content structure with the content tree side-panel, as well as view detailed page information in the list view.
Once an entry in the hierarchy view is selected, arrow keys can be used to quickly navigate the hierarchy.
Refer to the keyboard shortcuts for more information.


The timeline can be used to view and/or initiate events that have occured on the selected resource. To open the timeline column use the rail selector:
The timeline column allows you to:
These options accessible via the chevron next to the Comment field.


References shows any connections to the selected resource. For example, in the Sites console references for pages shows:


This will open a panel similar to search with the appropriate location filters already set, allowing you to further filter the content you wish to view.