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Naming pages


What field is what?

Typo3 offers three different places to put information that defines this page you are creating.

  1. Pagetitle - this should be more appropriately named "Pagename".  This will not show within your page or in your site menu navigation unless you do not put anything in the Subtitle or Navigation title fields.  This will show in the browser address bar and sometimes in the status bar as well.  This is, if a person wants to type your address into the address bar of their browser, what this actual page would be named.  Typo3 (probably unwisely) gives you 255 characters in this field.
  2. Subtitle - this can be, but is not automatically, displayed on your page and can be, up to 255 characters if you desire.
  3. Navigation title - this is what shows in the menu and the bread crumbs.  This field too can be 255 characters if you wish.

So how do the work on the page.  Hopefully this image will help:

Click Image for full size:

What should I name my page?

There is some confusion over what to name pages.  We have the whole gambit from names like "tzr" which means nothing to anyone but the person who created it, to a page title like "this is the page where you will find what you are looking for but if you really want to you can look further".  While this seems extreme, there are 4 pages currently in production that have pagetitles longer than 120 characters, the example above is 19 characters shorter than that.  And I've seen pages who's names are so short and abbreviated that I can't fathom what they are, which is fine, I don't need to puzzle out what page is what but you might.  Below you'll find notes on both pagetitle and Navigation Title.

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Notes on Pagetitle:

  • Make this short - why?  I found a page with a page title 104 characters long.  I duplicated this length in a page titled "A pagename as long as a real page that is currently in production but I won't name the site, it's embarrassing"  (yeah it's really that long). So if you were trying to get someone to your site by reading the address to them it might be:
    yup if your site was named "" that would be it.  Imagine trying to read that to someone. Also, by default typo3 will not show over 30 characters of the page title in the pagetree so a long pagename won't be visible unless you change your user settings.
  • Another thing I've found is sites with two pages named exactly the same...  If someone told you to go to www.thesite/thepage/ and you went, then they said no I meant the other page named "thepage", how would you get there? Actually if both were live the site probably would throw a "page not found" error since the server would not know which page to serve.   Granted here in Typo3, usually one of these pages is hidden which means that Typo3 should only find the unhidden one.  However, occasionally, Typo3 chokes on having two pages with the same name and will throw a "page not found" error even when one of those pages is hidden.  This does not apply to two pages named the same in different directories of the site.  We have a number that have things like "program1/courses/"  and "program2/courses" with two pages named "courses" in two different areas.  This is fine.  If you are creating a second page of the same data with the same name in the same area, it's best to name the old one "pagename-OLD" or something similar.
  • Make it meaningful - that's pretty easy, so when you are looking at the pagetree it means something to you and you can find the page easily
  • Typo3 will strip out spaces.  Typo3 will also GENERALLY strip out special characters.  However we still get people putting "/" in their page title.  URL's use "/" as an indication of a NEW page.  So if you decide to name your page "Tuitions/Fees".  And Typo3 does not strip it out, every web server in the world would look for a separate page named "Fees" that is under a page named "Tuition".  Typo3 does generally strip "/" out of pagetitles but then again it's not guaranteed to do this, which means your "Tuition/Fees" page will never get found.
  • Typo3, as most people have noticed, creates a directory out of your page and puts an index.php as the actual page.  So Financial Aid at Creighton has it's root page "financial aid" in the pagetree but if you go to the Financial Aid site it would be (remember, Typo3 will strip the space out of the pagetitle).

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Note on Navigation title:

Now really you can name this as long as you want.  But this is what is in the menu and your breadcrumbs and if your menu isn't very wide it will wrap.  Generally wrapping once isn't too bad, wrapping more than  once can be a real headache.  So if our prior example were a page on this site, the menu and breadcrumbs would look like:

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Duplicate page titles

While it's perfectly fine to have two pages with exactly the same pagetitle in two different paths of your site --

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We have many many sites that have say "faculty" under different areas of their site.  

However, do not have two pages with exactly the same pagetitle (name) in the same path.


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It will not help to give both different navigation titles, it's the pagetitle ("test" in this case) that is used in the page address (or URL).

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The previous version of Typo3 and Real URL couldn't cope with this at all (even if one was hidden) and would display neither page, it would basically say there was no page named "test" and give the user a 404 (page not here) error. 

Now our current version of Typo3 and Real URL can cope with this and will display both "test" pages in the menu (using the different navigation titles).

Click image for full size (it's long):

So what's the problem then you ask?

The URL.  The url for BOTH pages would be:  (Please note:  this page was created for illustrative purposes and the link may not be active).

How do you tell it to go to the other "test" page?  Both urls are identical.


Long page titles

The "pagetitle" is required when you create a new page.

And it will be used as part of the address of the page, so really you do not want a long pagetitle.  Occasionally the address of a site is given by voice, over the phone for instance.  You could end up with something so long that it would be difficult to get it correct.  For example this page (which has a long pagetitle deliberately) could be given in an address as (this is not a real address, it will give you an error if you try it)  Can you imagine what it might be like to try and type that out.  Or get it printed correctly on a brochure?  One typo would break it.

Long Navigation title

You can, if you really wish, have an extremely long navigation title.  However, a very long navigation title will probably wrap in your menu (just check the sub-navigation for the "Help me" section of this site).  And while wrapping once isn't too bad, we have pages with titles long enough to wrap several times.

NOTE: there are pages in the Creighton web presence with navigation titles and pagetitles exactly the length in the illustration below.

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Creighton University