Branding with confidence

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One of the most common EPrints customisations is to add your own institution's branding and "look and feel" to the interface - this may include logos, page layouts, stylesheets and colour schemes.

It is generally advised that you have command line access to the server so you can add/edit these files for branding directly. Alternatively you may have some means of mapping EPrints on a network drive so you can edit these files with a graphical text editor or your own computer. It is possible to use the Config. Tools -> View Configuration section of the EPrints Admin web interface. However, this is discouraged, as anything beyond minor changes runs the risk of breaking EPrints in a way where you can no longer access these View Configuration pages to revert the changes you have made.

Branding fast track

This section describes techniques for very quickly changing the appearance of your EPrints repository. These techniques could be useful, for example, to quickly brand a demonstration repository so that your audience can identify with it.

Example 1

The simplest approach, (which will require command line access to the server, as this cannot be done safely through the Config. Tools -> View Configuration section of the EPrints Admin web interface), is to overwrite the default EPrints logo with a copy of your own logo. Copy your logo (e.g. using SCP or SFTP) to:


And refresh the web page. Your logo should now be displayed in place of the default EPrints logo.

Example 2

The image that EPrints uses for the site logo is defined in the branding configuration file. You can change this setting to point to the logo image on your institution's Web page.

Open the branding configuration file in a text editor (e.g. Vim or Nano) if you are editing it from the command line:


You can alternatively edit this file via the Config. Tools -> View Configuration section of the EPrints Admin web interface, under just:


Find the site_logo configuration setting:

$c->{site_logo} = "/images/sitelogo.png";

Change the setting to point to your own logo image:

$c->{site_logo} = "";

Reload the EPrints configuration by typing:

EPRINTS_PATH/bin/epadmin reload ARCHIVEID

If you are doing this via the EPrints Admin web interface click on the Reload Configuration button under the Config. Tools tab.

Example 3

You can also adjust the site_logo configuration setting to point any local image file using a text editor at the command line. Place a copy (e.g. using SCP of SFTP) of your logo image somewhere in the EPRINTS_PATH/archives/ARCHIVEID/cfg/static/images/ directory and then update the branding configuration file to point to it.

$c->{site_logo} = "/images/mylogo.gif";

Reload the EPrints configuration by typing:

EPRINTS_PATH/bin/epadmin reload ARCHIVEID

Changing the theme

Open the branding configuration file in a text editor:


Find the theme configuration setting:

# $c->{theme} = "green";

Change the setting to use the chosen theme.

$c->{theme} = "green";

Currently EPrints 3 only includes the default and "green" theme, but look out for more themes in future versions of EPrints and on the community repository.

Taking control

This section describes techniques for taking complete control of the appearance of your repository.

Changing the page layout

Every page in your repository is displayed using a single template. A custom layout can be applied to your repository pages by editing this template.

Copy the default layout to your repository:

cp lib/templates/default.xml archives/ARCHIVEID/cfg/templates/default.xml

Open the template file for your repository:


The template is an XHTML file with some additional syntax (see API:EPrints/Apache/Template).


You will notice a number of epc:pin elements. These tell EPrints how to combine the template with page-specific content to build each individual page.


      <div class="ep_tm_page_content">
        <h1 class="ep_tm_pagetitle">
          <epc:pin ref="title"/>
        <epc:pin ref="page"/>

This part of the template lays out the main content area of the page (the page pin) which is centered on the page.

You can incorporate the epc:pin elements however you like into your new layout (although note that the head pin should always be inside the head section of the template, and the pagetop pin should be at the start of the body section). You can also define new pins (see below).

Configuration Strings

There are also a number of epc:print elements in the default template which are useful for including configuration values in the template.


<style type="text/css" media="screen">@import url(<epc:print expr="$config{base_url}"/>/style/auto.css);</style>

This extract from the head section of the template shows how an epc:print element is used to refer to the base URL of the repository. This avoids hardcoding URLs into the template (which is good for maintainability - if the repository URL should change, you do not have to change the template).

Configuration values can also be used inside attributes, using the {...} syntax.


<a href="{$config{frontpage}}"><img alt="Logo" src="{$config{site_logo}}" /></a>

This extract shows how the URL of both the front page of the repository and the logo are derived from the configuration rather than being hard coded directly into the template.

Template checklist

A typical repository page layout will include:

  1. the correct XML declaration at the top of the file
  2. a head section (load default and custom stylesheets, title and head pins)
  3. a body section, containing:
    1. pagetop pin
    2. header (repository title and logo)
    3. navigation menu (links to browse, search etc.)
    4. quick search box
    5. toolbar (login_status and toolbar pins)
    6. main content area (title and page pins)
    7. footer (copyright notice etc.)

Loading the new template

Load your new template by running:

bin/epadmin reload ARCHIVEID

Dealing with template errors

A common cause of errors when loading a new template is that the template is not well formed. The template is in XHTML syntax, and therefore must follow the rules for writing well-formed XML documents:


You get the following error when reloading the template:

parser error : Opening and ending tag mismatch: img line 25 and div

Open the template file, and look for an img tag on line 25:

<img src="/images/mylogo.gif"> 

The problem is that the img tag is opened, but there is no closing img tag. The img element is empty, so we can add a self-closing tag to make the eleemtn well formed:

<img src="/images/mylogo.gif" /> 


parser error : Opening and ending tag mismatch: p line 60 and body

Open the template file and look for the p tag on line 60:

 <p>This repository is maintained by the <b>Library and Computing team</b>.

There is no closing p tag. The p element is not empty, so we add a closing p tag at the end of the paragraph to make the element well formed:

 <p>This repository is maintained by the <b>Library and Computing team</b>.</p>

Adding extra images

If your new layout requires additional images, or if you want to add additional images to the default layout, you need to place a copy of each image in your repository's image directory:



Place a copy of small_logo.gif in:


Use the image in the template:

<img src="{$config{base_url}}/images/small_logo.gif" />

Working with stylesheets

EPrints has several stylesheet files, each of which contains style rules for a specific aspect of the repository. By default these stylesheets are applied to every repository page, in alphabetical order.

The default stylesheets can be found here:


Overriding default style rules

You may decide that you want to override a particular rule in one of the default stylesheets. Rather than edit the default stylesheet directly (since the edited rule will then be applied to any other repositories running on the same server), you should override the rule in your repository's overrides file:


Remember that the stylesheets are applied in alphabetical order, so this file will be applied last.


 h1 {
         margin: 0px 0px 10px 0px;
         font: bold 130% Arial,Sans-serif;
         text-align: center;
         color: #606060;

This rule is from general.css and defines how the h1 (heading level 1) element should be displayed (in the default template, h1 is used to display the title of the page).

Edit the local overrides file for your repository:


Override the font part of the h1 style:

 h1 {
         font: bold 200% Arial,Sans-serif;

This renders the page title on each page in a larger font.

Overriding default stylesheets

If you want to override a default stylesheet in its entirety, you should copy it into your repository's stylesheet directory and edit it there.


Make a copy of the default stylesheet general.css:

cp lib/static/style/auto/general.css archives/ARCHIVEID/cfg/static/style/auto/

Edit the repository copy:


After making changes to the repository copy of general.css, apply the new stylesheet by running:

bin/generate_static ARCHIVEID

Adding institutional stylesheets

Your institutional Web site may already have a stylesheet or set of stylesheets that you want to apply to your repository.

Copy the institutional stylesheets into your repository stylesheet directory:


Process the stylesheets by running:

bin/generate_static ARCHIVEID

The stylesheets are then available to use in the template file.


  <style type="text/css" media="screen">@import url(<epc:print expr="$config{base_url}"/>/style/auto.css);</style>
  <style type="text/css" media="screen">@import url(<epc:print expr="$config{base_url}"/>/style/my_inst.css);</style>

Here we add a stylesheet link to our institutional stylesheet my_inst.css to the head section of the template. Note that we apply my_inst.css after the repository stylesheets (applied in order by auto.css) so that the institutional style rules override the repository style rules.

Adding extra style-related images

If your new stylesheet requires additional images (eg. background images for tables or divs), you need to place a copy of each image in your repository style/image directory:


Note that this keeps the style-related images separate from other images used by your repository pages, such as logos.

The images can then be used in your stylesheet.

Adding dynamic content

You can add dynamic content to the template by adding extra epc:pin elements.

Dynamic pins can be created in the dynamic template configuration file:



Open the template file for your repository:


Add a new pin called todays_date to the template; here we add the pin next to the user's login status:

      <div class="ep_tm_page_content">
        <h1 class="ep_tm_pagetitle">
          <epc:pin ref="title"/>
        <epc:pin ref="page"/>
        <epc:pin ref="todays_date"/>

Open the dynamic template configuration file for your repository:


Find and uncomment the function that creates the content for the dynamic pins:

 $c->{dynamic_template}->{function} = sub {
    my( $repository, $parts ) = @_;

Add a line which creates the content for the todays_date pin:

$c->{dynamic_template}->{function} = sub {
 my( $repository, $parts ) = @_;
 $parts->{todays_date} = $repository->make_text( scalar localtime );

Reload the dynamic template configuration:

bin/epadmin reload ARCHIVEID

The date should now be displayed on your repository pages.

See also