So I've been fighting with this for a little bit, and I've been unable to get help from Google, so it's time to ask some experts!

I'm setting up a small business website; we're aiming to create something that's very simple now, and easy to grow as the business grows. Drupal fits the bill nicely, but it's fairly new to us. I'm trying to set up three simple layouts: a basic page (Header, Main Content, Side Bar Menu, Footer), a splash page (Header, Side Bar Content), and a product page (Header, Side Bar Content, and Footer). Nothing overly ambitious, but also not supported by Drupal 7 out of the box (as far as I can see, at least).

I tried experimenting with themes and subthemes, and played around with the Zen theme for a bit to limited success, but no variable layouts. After some digging, I think CTools + Panels is what makes the most sense, and I can get the layouts I want, but I can't figure out how to get the panels to display any actual content.

Is there an easy way to execute this plan with Panels, or should I be investigating a different option?

3 Answers 3


Panels is definitely the easiest way to create different layouts.

What you have to do is go to Panel Content and on the edge of each panel there is a little gear icon or arrow (if i recall correctly) that opens a drop down menu with many options. one of them is "add content", it will open a modal dialog with options to select from blocks the content you want to display, you can also add custom fields if you want!

  • Thanks! I feel like a big chump for not seeing the 'add content' entry.
    – Greg
    May 9, 2011 at 15:34
  • lol no worries! :)
    – Alex Weber
    May 9, 2011 at 17:06

Panels might be the better option, but I think you could also simply add conditional blocks (for example with the help of the Context module) that for example only show up when product nodes are displayed.

Then, the corresponding regions (e.g. side bar) should only show up if there are any blocks within them.

There are also modules to display a custom front page: http://drupal.org/project/front

  • I tried Front Page first, but it didn't quite suite our needs. We also played with Context, which has been useful, but it's a bit more unwieldy than Panels.
    – Greg
    May 9, 2011 at 15:36

Try checking out Omega theme. Coupled with the delta module and context it allows you to easily modify and setup different layouts based on url etc.

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