Editing text in Sitecore

In this article we'll look at the basics of editing text in Sitecore. There is also detailed information on creating links, modules and adding documents and images to the Media Library.

Finding a page

To edit a page, the first thing you need to do is find it in Sitecore. From the Sitecore dashboard, select the Content Editor button. You'll see a set of folders (the content tree) on the left-hand side.

Which type of page are you editing?

Depending on which type of page you're editing, you need to open the following folders:

  • Academic department pages: Content - Main site - Home - Departments. Watch a demo on how to find a main University website page (at 00.43 mins)
  • Staff/Student Directory articles: Content - Main site - Articles - [Your team's folder]. Watch a demo on how to find a Directories page (at 10.00 mins)
  • Other pages: Most other pages on the website will be in individual folders under: Content - Main site - Home

Select your page

When you find the correct folder and the page you wish to edit, select the page so that it turns blue. You can now unlock the page to make your edits.

Screenshot of a page in Sitecore content tree to show how it is highlighted in blue when selected in the tree.

Locking and unlocking

Screenshot of lock and edit link in Sitecore. Described in detail below.

Once you've found the page you wish to edit, you need lock the page so that you can edit it. This means that no-one else can make edits to this page while it is locked to you.

Once you've finished editing the page you need to unlock it. To do this:

  • In Content Editor, select the 'Review' tab
  • Select 'My items'
  • Select 'Unlock all'

Page locked out already?

If you're page is already locked out to someone, you'll need to contact that person to find out if they've finished editing it. If in doubt, or if that person is not available, contact wedm@essex.ac.uk

Opening a page in Experience Editor

Now that the page is unlocked, you can open it in Experience Editor. To do this, select the 'Publish' tab and click on 'Experience Editor'. This opens the page in a new tab.

The page looks similar to how it appears on the website. If you hover your cursor over different parts of the content, you'll see the content is in lots of different boxes. These are called modules which can be edited.

Editing a paragraph module

Most of the modules on a page are paragraph modules. To edit text in a paragraph module, click your cursor into a paragraph module box.

Now click on the pen icon in the top left-hand corner of the box menu. This will bring up a editing box that you can type into (Rich Text Editor).

Copy and pasting text from Word

Most people won’t be typing the content into the Rich Text Editor box, but instead copying and pasting it. This is problematic because when you copy text from a Word or PDF document, or from an email, into Sitecore, all the formatting in those items also gets copied across.

So for example, as well as the text, it will often copy the font type, colour and size, and it will affect the line spacing. We need to make sure the font appears consistently across the whole website, so it’s important we take the following steps to make sure text is copied across correctly.

Pasting into an existing paragraph

You may be familiar with some of the ways of copying and pasting text into Sitecore, such as such using the ‘Paste as plain text’ button or ‘Paste from Word’ button. These can be useful when pasting text into an existing paragraph.

Sitecore text editor box showing the location of the paste from Word button

Pasting new paragraphs 

For new paragraphs, we can use the HTML tab at the bottom of the editor box. HMTL stands for Hypertext Markup Language and it’s used to tell web browsers how to display a web page's words.

The HTML code or tags are used to format text into paragraphs, headings, bullet points, etc. We have a pre-defined style format for our website so when we add these tags, they will show the text according to our styling. It’s a bit like pre-defined formatting styles in Word, for example.

Copying and pasting from Word into the ‘Design’ tab can override our styling, but if we paste it into HTML, all the formatting is stripped out and we can add the HTML formatting afterwards:

  1. copy some text from Word
  2. select the ‘HTML’ tab
  3. paste the Word text in here
  4. to put the tags in, we go back to the ‘Design’ tab
  5. for a single paragraph, we can just highlight the text and using the paragraph drop down selecting ‘Normal’

If you go back to the HTML tab, you can see that paragraph tags have been added. If you want to add text with multiple paragraphs, you can paste everything into the HTML tab. Then go back to the design tab and using the cursor and the return key on your keyboard, insert the paragraphs.

To create headings, just highlight the text you want as a heading and select the relevant option from the paragraph drop down. Bullet points can also be done from the Design tab, just using the bullet list option in the menu. If you look at the HTML tab now, you see all the additional tags that have been added.

Watch a demo

See how to copy and paste text into a paragraph module in our Copying and pasting text training video


If there’s a lot of text on your page or many different topics covered, you should break up the text by adding some headings. Adding headings helps users to scan your page quickly so that they can find the relevant piece of information they need.

To do that you just highlight the words that will be the heading and then select the paragraph style drop down tool and select the heading you need.

Image of paragraph styling selection tool in Sitecore text editor box

You need to make sure your heading numbers run numerically (or nested). The page title will be heading 1, so the next heading should be heading 2 (although we do have pages that start with heading 3). The next headings should be heading 3, then 4, 5, 6 etc. You can’t have 3 then 5 for example.

Each section of the page can start again with heading 2 (or 3 depending on the page) and then all sub-headings following numerically after that.

Use of bold, italics and other text formatting

Bold and italics 

Use bold and italics very sparingly. Only use them on a on a couple of key words in order to emphasise something. If you put whole sentences and paragraphs in italics or bold they lose their impact. It's also much more difficult to read than normal text.


Don't underline any text as it will look a like a hyperlink.


Avoid writing in capitals as it's hard to read and can be read as 'shouting'.

Inserting a table

Tables can be inserted into web pages using the Insert Table button. You then just use your mouse to select how many row and columns you need.

Remember that our web pages will be viewed on mobile devices as well as PCs. You can have as many columns as you need because the tables reformat, but you need to think about layout (merged cells don't work for example).

On a mobile tables go into a different view with the titles of each table column appearing on the left, each column in the table becoming a row and each row of the original table spanning multiple rows.

It's important to check what your table looks like on mobile to make sure it still appears correctly.

Sitecore text editor box showing how to insert a table

On a PC the first row of the table will be automatically formatted into the column heading style (white text on black background) which can't be changed. The heading style doesn't appear on mobiles. Here's an example:

Item How long to keep it for   Notes
 Academic Section staff files Termination of relationship + 2 The main staff file is held in HR
 Student Legal cases Resolution of dispute + 6 The Registrar and Secretary's Office holds permanent copies

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