Basic Handling basic-handling

  • This page is designed to give an overview of basic handling when using the Adobe Experience Manager (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 is covered in more detail on other pages.

  • Keyboard shortcuts are available throughout AEM. In particular when using consoles and editing pages.

Getting Started getting-started

A Touch-Enabled UI a-touch-enabled-ui

AEM’s user interface has been enabled for touch. A touch-enabled interface lets you use touch to interact with the software through gestures such as select, 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 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.
To get started, click on Sites.

Product Navigation product-navigation

Whenever a user first accesses a console, a product navigation tutorial is started. Click through so you get a good overview of the basic handling of AEM.

Product Navigation

Click Next to advance to the next page of the overview. Click Close or click outside of the overview dialog box to close.

The overview restarts the next time you access a console unless you either view all slides, or check the option Do not show this again.

You can navigate between the consoles using the global navigation panel. This is triggered as a full-screen drop-down when you click the Adobe Experience Manager link at the top-left of the screen.

You can close the global navigation panel by clicking or tapping Close to return to your previous location.

Global Navigation

When you first login you are presented with the Navigation panel

Global navigation has two panels, represented by icons at the left-margin of the screen:

The options available on these panels are described below.

The Navigation panel provides access to the AEM consoles:


The title of the browser tab updates to reflect your location as you navigate through the consoles and content.

From Navigation the consoles available are:

These consoles let you import and manage digital assets such as images, videos, documents, and audio files. These assets can then be used by any website running on the same AEM instance.
This console lets you create and manage community sites for engagement and enablement.
This lets you manage products, product catalogs, and orders related to your Commerce sites.
Experience Fragments
An Experience Fragment is a stand-alone experience that can be reused across channels and have variations, saving the trouble of repeatedly copying and pasting experiences or parts of experiences.
This console lets you create, manage, and process your forms and documents.
This console provides a framework of tools for authoring targeted content and presenting personalized experiences.
The Projects console gives you direct access to your projects. Projects are virtual dashboards. They can be used to build a team, then give that team access to resources, workflows, and tasks, allowing people to work on a common goal.
Screens let you manage all your customer-facing screens, of any size and in any location.
The Sites consoles let you create, view, and manage websites running on your AEM instance. Through these consoles you can create, edit, copy, move and delete website pages, start workflows, and publish pages.

Tools Panel tools-panel

In the Tools panel, each option in the side panel contains a range of submenus. The Tools consoles available here provide access to several specialized tools and consoles that help you administer your websites, digital assets, and other aspects of your content repository.

Tools panel

The Header 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.


  • Global Navigation

    Select the Adobe Experience Manager link where you can navigate between consoles.

    the Adobe Experience Manager link

  • Search


    You can also use the shortcut key / (forward slash) to invoke search from any console.

  • Solutions


  • Help


  • Notifications


    This icon is badged with the number of currently assigned incomplete notifications.

    note note
    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.
  • User Properties

    User Properties

  • Rail selector

    Rail selector list shown on left side of the Adobe Experience Manager screen.

    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.

    Rail Selector

  • Breadcrumbs


    Appears in the middle of the rail, and always showing the description of the currently selected item, the breadcrumbs let you navigate within a specific console. In the Sites console, you can navigate through the levels of your website.

    Clicking the breadcrumb text opens a drop-down that lists the levels of the hierarchy of the currently selected item. To jump to that location, click an entry.

    Hierarchy levels

  • Analytics time period selection

    Analytics time period

    This is available in list view only. For more information, see the list view.

  • Create button


    Once clicked, the options displayed are appropriate to the console/context.

  • Views

    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:

    Column View

    You can switch between column view, card view, and list view. The list view shows the view settings.

    Switch Views

  • 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.

    Skip to main content

Accessing Help accessing-help

There are various help resources available:

  • Console Toolbar

    Depending on your location, the Help icon opens the appropriate resources:

    Console toolbar

  • Navigation

    The first time you navigate the system, a series of slides introduces AEM navigation.

  • Page Editor

    The first time you edit a page a series of slides introduce the page editor.

    Page Editor

    Navigate this overview as you would the product navigation overview when first accessing any console.

    From the Page Information menu, you can select Help 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

    note note
    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:

Actions Toolbar actions-toolbar

Whenever a resource is selected (for example, 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
  • If you are in selection mode or not

The actions 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 appear. Clicking or tapping 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:

Actions Toolbar

The individual icons available are documented in relation to the appropriate console/feature/scenario.

Quick Actions quick-actions

In Card View, certain actions are available as quick action icons and 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 mouse over (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:

Quick Actions

Viewing and Selecting Resources 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-resources

Selecting a specific resource depends on a combination of the view and the device:

Column View
  • Desktop:
    Click the thumbnail
  • Mobile devices:
    Select the thumbnail
  • Desktop:
    Click the thumbnail
  • Mobile devices:
    Select the thumbnail
Card View
  • Desktop:
    Mouseover, then use the checkmark quick action
  • Mobile devices:
    Select-and-hold the card
  • Desktop:
    Click the card
  • Mobile devices:
    Select the card
List View
  • Desktop:
    Click the thumbnail
  • Mobile devices:
    Select the thumbnail
  • Desktop:
    Click the thumbnail
  • Mobile devices:
    Select the thumbnail

Select All 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 selected.
  • In Column View, all items in the leftmost column are selected.

Select All

Deselecting All 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 the selection mode by either:

  • clicking or tapping the X next to the count,

  • or using escape.


In all views, all items can be deselected by tapping escape on the keyboard if you are using a desktop device.

Selecting Example selecting-example

  1. For example, in card view:

    Select - Card view

  2. When 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 column-view

Column View

The column view allows for a visual navigation of a content tree through a series of cascading columns. This view lets you visualize and traverse the tree structure of your website.

Selecting a resource in the leftmost column displays the child resources in a column to the right. Selecting a resource in the right column displays the child resources in another column to the righ, and so on.

  • You can navigate up and down in the tree by tapping or clicking the resource name or the chevron to the right of the resource name.

    • The resource name and chevron is highlighted when tapped or clicked.

      Column View

    • The children of the clicked/tapped resource are displayed in the column to the right of the clicked/tapped resource.

    • If you click a resource name that has no children, its details are displayed in the final column.

  • Tapping or clicking the thumbnail selects the resource.

    • When selected, a checkmark is overlaid on the thumbnail and the resource name is highlighted, too.

    • The details of the selected resource is shown in the final column.

    • The action toolbar becomes available.

      Column View

    When a page is selected in column view, the selected page is displayed in the final column 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


  • 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).

    • The page is locked, hidden, or part of a live copy.

    • 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.

    Card View - Quick Actions

  • 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 list-view

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 backup 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.

    List View - Select All

    • When all items in the list are selected, this checkbox appears checked.

      • To deselect all, click the checkbox.
    • When only some items are selected, it appears with a minus sign.

      • To select all, click the checkbox.
      • To deselect all, click the checkbox again.
  • Select the columns to be shown using the 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 mouse over, or open Timeline.

    • Page analytics

    • Unique visitors

    • Time on page

    View Settings - Configure Columnas

    By default the Name column is shown, which makes up part of the URL for the page. Sometimes the author must access pages that are in a different language. 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.

    note note
    Changing the order works only within an ordered folder that has jcr:primaryType value as sling:OrderedFolder.

    Change Order

    Click on the vertical selection bar and drag the item to a new position in the list.

    Change Order - Drag

  • You can display Analytics Data by showing the appropriate columns using the View Settings dialog box.

    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 rail-selector

The Rail Selector is available at the top-left of the window and displays options depending on your current consoles.

Rail Selector

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 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 with a list view or cards view, users can easily see the hierarchical structure of the project. They can easily navigate across the content structure with the content tree side-panel, and view detailed page information in the list view.

Content Tree

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.

Timeline timeline

The timeline can be used to view and/or initiate events that have occurred on the selected resource. To open the timeline column, use the rail selector:

The timeline column lets you:

  • View various events related to a selected item.

  • Add/view comments about the selected item. The Comment box is shown at the bottom of the list of events. Typing a comment followed by Return registers the comment. It is shown when Comments or Show All is selected.

  • Specific consoles have additional functionality. For example, in the Sites console you can do the following:

These options are accessible by way of the chevron next to the Comment field.


References references

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

  • Launches

  • Live copies

  • Language copies

  • Content references:

    • links from other pages to the selected page
    • content borrowed from, or lent, or both, to the selected page by the Reference component


Filter filter

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