I'm using Drupal 7. Right now, I have a main-menu navigation and Language switcher that exists in my website header. I placed them there by going to the CMS>Structure>Blocks and hten dragging the blocks into the header region.

How do I programmatically situate these block in the header?

  • According your question about how to programmatically situate these block in the header, I suggest review Examples module http://drupal.org/project/examples and specifically you can review and enable the module Block Example to test working your block in a programatically way. I guess that block_example_block_info() and 'region' value could be useful to test. – cigotete Aug 20 '11 at 4:23
  • John, have you come up with an answer to this? – relipse Jan 14 '16 at 17:26

To alter the region where blocks defined by other modules are placed, you can implement hook_block_info_alter(), which receives the following arguments:

  • $blocks (passed by reference): the array containing the block definitions, keyed by module, and delta
  • $theme: the theme for which the blocks are being defined
  • $code_blocks: the blocks as defined from the hook_block_info() implementations, before their values are overridden by the values obtained from the database

It is legitimate to add a renderable array to any page region in hook_page_build(). Drupal 7 example to add a minipanel to the footer region.

 * Implements hook_page_build().
function MODULE_page_build(&$page) {
  $block = module_invoke('panels_mini', 'block_view', 'blah');
  $blocks['blah'] = array('#markup' => $block['content']);

  $region = 'footer';
  if (isset($page[$region])) {
    $page[$region] = array_merge($page[$region], $blocks);
  else {
    $page[$region] = $blocks;

This is the very same technique that uses context module.

Note: you don't need block.module enable for this to work.


In D6 it would essentially be

$block = module_invoke("the_module_name", "block", "view", the_block_delta);
drupal_set_content("the_region_name", theme("block", $block));

In D7 I think it is

$block = module_invoke("the_module_name", "block_view", the_block_delta);
drupal_add_region_content("the_region_name", theme("block", $block));

but I am still getting up to speed on D7.

  • This doesn't allow to third-party modules to alter the block being output, as modules could implement hook_block_view_alter that is not invoked with the code you shown. – kiamlaluno Aug 21 '11 at 13:26
  • Believe drupal_add_region_content() is a dead end as it's intended for install / upgrade pages. – doublejosh May 29 '12 at 18:01

If you are adding a custom block you do this using hook_block_info, setting the status option to 1 and the region option to the region you want the block to be placed into.


MODULE_block_info() {
  $blocks = array();
  $blocks['my_block'] = array(
    'info' => t('My Block Name'),
    'status' => 1,
    'region' => 'THE_REGION_I_WANT',
   return $blocks;

If you are wanting to change an already existing block, you would use hook_block_info_alter() instead, updating the same options has shown below.


MODULE_hook_block_info_alter(&$blocks, $theme, $code_blocks) {
  $blocks['my_block']['status'] = 1;
  $blocks['my_block']['region'] = 'THE_REGION_I_WANT';

For more information see https://api.drupal.org/api/drupal/modules%21block%21block.api.php/function/hook_block_info/7


This code is based on @jonhattan's, but his doesn't render the block container HTML or contextual links. I also provided a simple way to specify all blocks and regions in one place.

 * Implements hook_page_build().
function MODULE_page_build(&$page) {
  global $theme;

  // A list of blocks you wish to display, keyed by region.
  // These are in the format of: 'module_name' => 'delta'.
  $blocks_to_render = array(
    'header' => array(
      'block' => 1,

  // Add the blocks to each region.
  foreach ($blocks_to_render as $region => $block_list) {
    $block_objects = array();
    foreach ($block_list as $module_name => $delta) {
      $block = block_load($module_name, $delta);
      // Alter some of the defaults to match the current context.
      $block->theme = $theme;
      $block->region = $region;
      $block->weight = 0;
      $block_objects[] = $block;
    $blocks_build = _block_get_renderable_array(_block_render_blocks($block_objects));

    if (isset($page[$region])) {
      $page[$region] = array_merge($page[$region], $blocks_build);
    else {
      $page[$region] = $blocks_build;

Note: Unlike his code, you DO need the block.module installed.


This isn't the best form, but you can manually place content into the page array like this...

function mymodule_page_alter(&$page) {
  $my_content = _mymodule_render_mycontent();
  $page['my_region']['my_special_insert']['content']['#markup'] = $my_content;

Though you should stick to using Context or just core blocks. Making new plugins isn't as bad as it seems. Just name files correctly, setup a trigger and a test. example.

  • In fact, on second thought I almost regret posting this solution. Don't do this. – doublejosh Mar 10 '15 at 21:54

you also can adjust blocks in your theme like:

 * Implements hook_preprocess_page().
function your_theme_preprocess_page(&$variables) {

  if (drupal_is_front_page()) {
    $variables['page']['region_one'] = $variables['page']['region_two'];
  • This does not answer the question of how to render blocks or how to identify them in the markup. – Christian Aug 20 '15 at 2:22

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