Add a category or sub-category

To add a category to your top level content, go to Knowledge Base > Articles and if it's your first category, click on the 'Add Your First Category' button. If you have existing categories, click on the 'Add Category' button in the First Level Content column on the left for a new one.  

You can choose between a variety of category types which change how the landing page, or URL, for the category is displayed. For more information on the different category types available, check this guide out.

Once you choose a category type, click on 'Quick Add' to create the category and return to Knowledge Base > Articles to add more content or click on 'Add and Edit' to go to the category editor and customize the category further.

To add a sub-category, first click on the top level category where you want to add the sub-category, click on 'Add Sub-Category' on the right, and continue the category creation process. 

KnowledgeOwl does not limit the number of layers or levels of categories and sub-categories in your knowledge base, so if you want more than 3 layers, go for it! Just be sure to test how it displays in your Table of Contents so you don't create a monster.

Choose a category type

When you create or edit a category, you can choose between several different types of categories. Category types can be changed at any point in time by editing the category. 

The types of categories control :

  1. How the category landing page appears in the knowledge base
  2. How the category looks and functions in the table of contents 
  3. Whether or not you can have sub-categories within the category
  4. Whether or not this category will pull and sync content from another knowledge base
  5. Whether or not the category will redirect to another web page when viewed

The five types of categories in KnowledgeOwl are:

  1. Default
    Displays articles in a simple list. Choose one of three sub-category display formats: title and description, sub-category panels, or content list. 
  2. Blog style
    Display a paginated list of articles with brief descriptions. Can only contain articles.
  3. Topic-based
    Displays the full text of all articles in a single page. Can only contain articles.
  4. Custom content
    Create a landing page from scratch like an article. This type of category will be available in search.
  5. Shared content
    Copy and sync a category and all its contents from another knowledge base.
  6. URL Redirect
    Clicking on this category to view it redirects the end-user to another webpage of your choice.

Use default categories

The default category type is the most common choice for organizing and displaying content. You can create both sub-categories and articles within a default category.

The landing page for a default category will automatically display the following:

  • Full category title
  • Category description
  • Sub-categories in one of three display formats
  • Articles in a simple list with the title and description

The three sub-category display formats are:

  1. Title and description
    Displays category titles and description in a simple grid format with 3 categories to a row.
  2. Sub-category panels
    Displays category titles in panels matching the home page base category panels with 3 categories to a row. Example: KnowledgeOwl More Help Category
  3. Content List
    Displays the title of each subcategory with a list of links to the first five sub-categories or articles in the categories. The total number of sub-categories and articles are displayed in parentheses with a link to view all. There is an option show all child content rather than the first five. Example: KnowledgeOwl API Documentation Category

After you set up your category, new content added within it will automatically be displayed in the chosen format.

The default settings for a default category are:

  • Title and description sub-category display type
  • Toggle option in the table of contents

If you choose to Quick Add a category, it will have the settings listed above.

Use topic display categories

Topic display categories display the full text of each article they contain. Readers can view all the topic display category's articles on a single page, reading it like a book or choosing which articles to read.

Example: User Management Guide

Topic-based categories:

  • Can only contain articles
  • Can be displayed accordion style, with each article collapsed below its title and clicking the title expands the content
  • Can have quick links, or a mini table of contents, at the top of the article that link to each article on the page

Recommended Use Cases: Topic display categories are ideal for topics where you want a series of articles presented on a single screen, like chapters from a book or steps in a process. These are great for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or long user guides.

For example, you might have an FAQ page with 20 frequently asked questions and answers. If you set this up using a topic display category, you would create the 20 FAQs as 20 separate articles.

When someone wants to read your FAQs, they can browse to the topic display category and view all the FAQs in one place. However, when someone searches for one of the FAQs, the individual FAQ article comes up in search, giving them the answer immediately rather than sending them to the FAQ page and requiring them to browse to their question.

Besides FAQs, longer documentation with multiple steps or sections are often good candidates for topic display categories. Some readers might want to view the full documentation in one place like a guide, whereas others might only need or want help with one section or step. Breaking up the documentation into separate articles in a topic display category allow people searching to get straight to the step or section they need while people who want to view the documentation in full can use the topic-based category page.

Sample topic display category, using quick links and override article links options

Display options

There are four additional display options for topic display categories. You can opt for as many or as few of these as you'd like.

Accordion: collapses all child articles into expandable blocks with + / - ahead of them.

Accordion display option

Quick Links: creates a clickable Quick Links section, like a Table of Contents, at the top of the category. Clicking a link will jump you to that section of the category and, if Accordion is selected, will expand the accordion.

Accordion and Quick Link display options

Short Article Titles: When this box is checked, if the articles in this category have short titles, those will be displayed in the Quick Links and as the article title, rather than the article Full Title. These sample articles have the required Full Title and an optional Short Title:

Override Article Links: By default, articles in topic display categories can also be accessed as standalone articles from search. Checking this box means that any time a link for this article is clicked (permalink, search result, etc.), it will open the version of this article placed within this category. Leave unchecked if you also want the article to appear as a standalone article.

Use blog style categories

The blog style category displays articles in a similar way to a blog - reverse chronological order and paginated.

Example: Release Notes

The blog style category:

  • Can only contain articles
  • Does not display its articles in the table of contents
  • Can display 5, 10, 15, or 20 articles per page (the default is 10), 
  • Can be displayed as the same set order as the application (the default is reverse chronological)
  • Has a special icon in the table of contents, which looks like:

Recommended Use Case: Aside from blog posts, this category type is particularly useful for announcements-style categories (changes, release notes, newsletters, etc). It gives readers the chance to browse through topics while keeping the most recent articles at the top.

Sample blog style category layout, using reverse chronological order

Use shared content categories

The share content category allows you to pull in and sync the content from a category in a separate knowledge base. You must have access to both knowledge bases to set up this kind of category.

This category type is useful when you are maintaining separate knowledge bases and have certain content that needs to be shared between them. Updating a synced article updates the content in both knowledge bases, so you only need to maintain one set of articles.

The original category is called the parent, and the synced category is called the child. When new content is added to the parent category, it is automatically added and synced in the child. Only content created in the parent category will be added to the child – content that is moved into the parent will not automatically appear in the child.

Content can be deleted from the child without affecting the parent. 

Use custom content categories

Custom content categories allow you to create your category landing page from scratch, much like an article. Like an article, custom content categories are included in search results. A custom content category is both an article and a category.

To automatically display the contents of the category like a default category type, you can use one of two merge codes:

  1. [template("content-list")]
    The template content-list merge code will display sub-categories in content list format.
  2. [template("panel-list")]
    The template panel-list merge code will display sub-categories in sub-category panel format.

Both merge code will display a simple list of articles with titles and description below the sub-categories.

Share and Sync Categories between Knowledge Bases

If you have more than one knowledge base, you have the ability to share and sync the contents of a category between knowledge bases. 

Hide a category from navigation

You can hide a category from the table of contents and other navigation by editing a category and choosing Hide from navigation under Content Restrictions. 

Articles inside a hidden category are still available in search. To also hide articles inside the category, you can create a reader group called something like Hidden and restrict the category to this reader group. You could alternatively mark the articles inside as Hide from navigation but you need to do it one by one.

Customize category behavior in the table of contents

When a reader clicks on a category in the table of contents, the default behavior is for the category to toggle open and closed to show and hide its content. This is called progressive disclosure in user experience, and helps maintain focus by reduce clutter, confusion, and cognitive workload.

If you would like clicking the category to navigate to the category landing page, start by editing the category by clicking on the 'gear' Edit icon next to it as shown below:

Next, choose Navigate under the Table of Contents Options on the category's edit page:

You will also find the option to hide the contents of the category completely in the same section.

Restrict a category to certain readers

To restrict a category or sub-category to certain readers, create a reader group and restrict the category to the reader group. When a category or sub-category is restrict to a reader group, only readers who are part of the group will be able to access the category. 

Reader groups restricts waterfall, meaning that if you apply a reader group to a category, the same permissions will also apply to any content inside the category. If you want to restrict everything inside a category, you only need to set the reader group restrictions on the category as the restriction will automatically be applied to the content inside the category.

Delete a category and its content

When you delete a category, it will also delete all the content inside the category. If you want to delete a category but not the content inside it, move the content outside before deleting. 

If you delete a category by accident or need to bring back a deleted category, you can use the API to switch the status back to active or contact support so we can do it for you.

Reorder categories or articles

Reorder categories or articles by rearranging their order in Knowledge Base > Articles. Click on the up and down arrow icon to the right of each category or article, and drag and drop the content where you want it. Follow these instructions to move content outside the current level.

Move categories or articles between levels

In Knowledge Base > Articles, in addition to reordering content inside the current level, you can also move...

  • articles to the top category level
  • articles into other categories
  • articles into other sub-categories

To do this...

  1. Click (and hold) on the title of the article you wish to move.
  2. Drag and drop it into the desired category, or drop it in the outline box for "Move to Top Level".

Why is a category not coming up in search?

Custom content categories and topic display categories are the only categories that show up in search since they contain their own content. If you are using default, blog, or URL redirect categories, they will not show up in search results.

Why is a category not displaying to readers?

By default, KnowledgeOwl will not display empty categories to readers. If you have a category with no published articles available to the reader, the category will be hidden from the table of contents. Users can see empty categories by default.