Add a category or sub-category

To add a category to your top level content:

  1. Go to Knowledge Base > Articles.
  2. If it's your first category, select Add Your First Category. If you have existing categories, select Add Category in the Top Level Content column.  
  3. You can choose between a variety of category types that change the layout of the landing page. For more information on the different category types available, check this guide out.
  4. Once you choose a category type, select Quick Add to create the category and return to Knowledge Base > Articles to add more content, or select  Add and Edit to go to the category editor and customize the category further.

To add a sub-category:

  1. Go to Knowledge Base > Articles.
  2. Select the top level category where you want to add the sub-category.
  3. Select Add Sub-Category, 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 three 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 subcategories and articles within a default category.

The landing page for a default category automatically displays the following:

  • Full category title
  • Category description
  • Subcategories in one of three display types
  • Articles in a simple list with the title and description

The three subcategory display types are:

  1. Title and description
    Displays category titles and description in a simple grid format with three categories to a row. Example: Company and product info We have a modified version with subcategories in our knowledge base (we force one subcategory per row): Example: Security and permissions
  2. Subcategory panels
    Displays subcategory titles in panels matching the home page base category panels with three categories to a row. We have modified versions of this in our knowledge base (we force one category per row): Example: Features
    When using subcategory panels, articles only show when using inline display for the Article Display options.

    So, for example, here is the same category as above with subcategory panels selected, without the inline display selected:
    And with the inline display selected, where articles are displayed in the same panels:

  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 to show all child content rather than the first five. Example: Account and billing and API and Reader management
    Sample Default category > content list

After you set up your category, KnowledgeOwl automatically displays the category's content 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 default settings.

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 display 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


Because topic display categories display all of their articles' content, they also get their own PDFs. When you update an article in a topic display category PDF, you'll need to resave the category itself to update its PDF. You'll see a warning message across all articles in the category once this occurs:
Sample message when articles in a topic display category have been updated and the category PDF needs to be updated

As well as in the category itself:

Sample message in the topic display category when it needs to be resaved to generate a new PDF

Once you resave the category, the category's PDF will automatically update.

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.

Topic display category's Display Options

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)
  • In the article display, if a meta description exists for the article, that will be used. Otherwise, the first ~250 characters of the article body text will be used.
  • 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. Top entry uses first ~250 characters of article body; bottom uses article meta description.

Use shared content categories

The shared 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 subcategories in content list format.
  2. [template("panel-list")]
    The template panel-list merge code will display subcategories in subcategory panel format.

Both merge codes will display a simple list of articles with titles and description below the subcategories.

Example: List of Sub-processors

Recommended Use Case: Custom content categories are great when you want total control over your category's look and feel, or when you have a page of content you'd like readers to be able to subscribe to receive notifications on updates.

Use URL redirect categories

You can use URL redirect categories to include a category-styled link to other URLs, both within and outside of KnowledgeOwl.

When you use a URL redirect category, KnowledgeOwl does not show the content in the category; instead, it loads the URL specified in the URL redirect.

Once you save the category, you have the option to open the link in the same tab or a new tab.

Recommended Use Cases: URL redirect categories are a great solution when you want to provide a link to your company intranet, company website, or partner websites, and you want that link to appear in the table of contents, home page, and/or category landing pages like another category.

Example: go to Company and product information and click the Company website link.

Edit a category

To edit an existing category:

  1. Go to Knowledge Base > Articles.
  2. Hover over the category you want to edit.
  3. Select Edit. KnowledgeOwl opens the category settings page.

Internal note

Sometimes, you need a place to leave notes for other editors (or yourself) that isn't the Version Notes field. This might include notes on who the subject matter expert is, or that if you update this article, you should also update another article, or some type of quality control note (such as Article Confidence levels if you use KCS).

This type of note is exactly what we designed the Internal Note field for.

Internal notes:

  • Are notes you want front-and-center when you or other content creators are editing a given article or category
  • Are displayed only in, not to your readers
  • Accept very simple HTML markup, so you can include hyperlinks and lists
  • Will be displayed at the top of ALL versions of the article
  • Are available in the Manage Articles CSV export
  • If used in a template article, will be copied to new articles created from that template
  • If in an existing article, will be copied when a new article is created from that existing article

Our default Editor and Writer roles can add, edit, and remove internal notes. If you're using custom user roles, you can add each of these permissions independently using the Internal Note Permissions options. Users who do not have no permissions to create, edit, or delete internal notes will still be able to see internal notes created by other users. Users with only some permissions will only see the options they have permissions to.

Add an internal note

To add an internal note:

  1. Click the Add Internal Note link to the right of the title:
    Click Add Internal Note
  2. Add the HTML you'd like to use for your note. If you're just putting in regular sentences, you don't need to add HTML, but you can use it for formatting lists, hyperlinks, etc.
  3. Select the style you'd like to use for your note from the dropdown; we default to Alert Info. Here, we've just added a one-line note and selected the Alert Warning style.
    Sample Create Internal Note pop-up. Click Create Note to add it.
  4. Click the Create Note button.
  5. This will create the note and display it using the style you selected between the title and the editor. You do not need to resave the article itself for the note to be saved!
    Sample Internal Note from the configuration used above

Edit an internal note

Once an internal note exists, you can edit it to make updates. To do so:

  1. Click the Edit Note link that appears just above the note:
    Click the Edit Note link
  2. Edit the HTML or change the style as you'd like. Once you're done making changes, click the Edit Note button to save your changes. Here, we've added a more complex note with a list:
    Sample edited internal note HTML. Click Edit Note to save the edit.
  3. The note will be updated immediately based on the changes you made. You do not need to resave the article or category itself for the note to be saved!
    Sample Internal Note displayed based on the HTML in the previous step

Delete an internal note

To delete an internal note completely:

  1. Click the Remove Note link that appears just above the note:
    Click the Remove Note link
  2. A confirmation window will pop-up to be sure you want to delete the note. Click OK to delete the note.
    Click OK to delete the note
  3. The note will be deleted immediately; you do not need to resave the article or category for the deletion to complete.

What HTML is supported in internal notes?

We've kept these notes pretty lean. They will support HTML:

  • Paragraph <p>
  • Numbered list <ol>
  • Bulleted list <ul>
  • List items <li>
  • Hyperlinks <a href="">Link text</a>
  • Bold text <b> or <strong>
  • Italics <i>
  • Paragraph breaks <br>
  • Headers, e.g. <h1>

Internal category title

For each category, you can add an Internal Title. Internal titles are used only within - your readers do not see them when viewing the knowledge base.

Internal titles can be useful when you have a lot of categories or subcategories with very similar names, and you want to be sure you're selecting the correct category when you use:

To add an internal title to a category:

  1. Open the category settings. Refer to Edit a category for more information.
  2. Select the Add Internal Title link.
    Click the Add Internal Title link
  3. This will show the Internal Category Title field. Add the title you want to use internally to this field.
    Sample Internal Category Title
  4. Select Save.

Where will I see internal category titles?

The internal title is displayed instead of the Full Article Title in these places within

  • The Articles hierarchy
  • In the editor, the Category display beneath the Author field, along with the pop-up search to change categories when that gear icon is clicked
  • The Manage Articles CSV export > Basic > Category and Breadcrumbs columns
  • The Insert Link to Article pop-up/search in the editor
  • The Related Articles search in the editor (only Topic Display and Custom Content categories show up in this list)
  • If you have synced categories between different knowledge bases, the internal title will display in the editor messages identifying the synced categories.

Use case

My knowledge base might contain one category for each of my products, and I might use the same subcategory hierarchy for each product. So this might be my first two products:

  • Opportunities for Owls
    • Setup instructions
    • Troubleshooting & tips
    • Customization
  • Fight & Flight
    • Setup instructions
    • Troubleshooting & tips
    • Customization

When I want to reference the Fight & Flight Customization subcategory to assign an article to it, or Link to Article to that subcategory, right now if I search Customization, both of these will come up and I won't be able to tell which is for Opportunities for Owls and which is for Fight & Flight. I don't want to change the titles of the categories themselves, because I don't want my customers to see that difference.

I can add an Internal Title to both categories to distinguish them, and that's what will be used for all layouts:

  • Opportunities for Owls
    • Setup instructions - OfO
    • Troubleshooting & tips - OfO
    • Customization - OfO
  • Fight & Flight
    • Setup instructions - F&F
    • Troubleshooting & tips - F&F
    • Customization - F&F

This way, when I link to a category or I edit the category, I can search for Customization - F&F and know I'm always getting the correct category.

Hide a category from navigation

You can hide a category from the table of contents, landing pages, widgets (custom content categories only), and breadcrumbs. This can be useful for Sharing "draft" articles before making them publicly available, or having resources you only want to direct people to by URL.

To do so, open the category to edit it. For all categories except custom content categories, the Category Restrictions section contains checkboxes to:

  • Hide from table of contents: Hides from the table of contents as well as the Contextual Help Widget (2.0) Knowledge tab
  • Hide from the home page (for top-level categories) or the parent category landing page (for subcategories)

Checking both of these boxes will also hide the category from breadcrumbs.

Content Restrictions options for top-level categories
Content Restrictions options for subcategories

For custom content categories, the Content Restrictions section contains checkboxes to:

  • Hide from table of contents: Hides from the table of contents as well as the Contextual Help Widget (2.0) Knowledge tab
  • Hide from the home page (for a top-level category) or the category landing page (for subcategories)
  • Hide from widgets: Hides this custom content category from the home page and righthand column Popular, New, and Updated widgets.
Content Restrictions options for top-level custom content categories
Content Restrictions options for custom content subcategories

Articles inside a hidden category are still available in search. (Unless you've also chosen to Exclude a category and all its content from search results.)

If you'd like to also hide articles inside the category, you can:

  • Mark individual articles as "Hide from table of contents", "Hide from category landing page", and "Hide from widgets" (and/or "Exclude from search results"). If you're trying to hide all articles in a category, you'd need to change this setting for all articles individually.
  • Create a reader group called something like Hidden and restrict the category to this reader group. This effectively hides the category and all its content from anyone who is not a member of that reader group. See How do reader groups work? for more information on working with reader groups.

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 menu to toggle open and closed to show and hide its content. 

If you want clicking the category to navigate to the category landing page:

  1. Open the category settings. Refer to Edit a category for more information.
  2. Select Navigate under the Table of Contents Options on the category's settings page:

    Screenshot of the Table of Contents Options, showing Navigate selected

  3. Optional: by default, when using the Navigate setting, KnowledgeOwl both navigates to the category page on click, and toggles open the category menu. To hide the sub-menu and remove the toggle behavior,  select Hide contents.

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.

Exclude a category and all its content from search results

Have you ever wished you could exclude an entire category's contents from search, all at once? Maybe you have a category where you include content specific to particular customers, where you provide them a URL and otherwise hide that category from search and navigation. Or, you might have a category you use for Internal Reviews, where you publish things that are in-progress to get feedback from subject matter experts, but you don't ever want your general readership to find those resources.

Search result exclusions are usually set in individual articles. They don't get passed from the category to the articles.

So, for example, if I have a category called Enterprise Resources, and it contains subcategories for each of my enterprise customers, I'd have to manually set each individual article to be excluded from search:

  • Enterprise Resources
    • Customer 1
      • Article 1 (exclude from search)
      • Article 2 (exclude from search)
    • Customer 2
      • Article 3 (exclude from search)
      • Article 4 (exclude from search)

Excluding content from search this way can be inconsistent, since it depends on your content creators to remember to check the box in each article or for you to create a reader group restriction.

In the Search Settings, you can fully exclude a single category and all of its content from search results. When this option is used, it will automatically exclude from search:

  • All articles directly within the category
  • The main category (if it's topic display or custom content, which are indexed for search)
  • All topic display or custom content subcategories
  • All articles in the category's subcategories

So, in the above example, if I set my Customer 1 category to be hidden from search, Article 1 and Article 2 would be automatically hidden, even if I didn't check that option in the articles themselves.

If I set Enterprise Resources category to be hidden from search, all 4 articles would be hidden from search, as would any future articles created for additional customers.

Exclude a full category from search

To exclude a category and all its content from search:

  1. Go to Settings > Search.
  2. Next to Excluded category, click the gear icon:
  3. In the pop-up that appears, start typing the name of the category you'd like to exclude. You'll get an autosuggested list as you type. Click the category you want to select.
  4. Then click the Exclude Category button.

  5. Once you've made your selection, click Save to save your changes.

All of the content in that category will now be excluded from search.