A Tutorial on the Frontend Options


This article is a guide to the configuration Options for the frontend views.  It has notes on all the available options.  It does not cover:
A. creating or editing from the frontend.
B. The Content Plugin
The frontend Options are grouped into 15 sections and this tutorial article has notes on all the option in each section.  With one exception, the settings in a section are separate from those in other section.  Throughout each option such as 'Activate Maintenance' is in bold and underlined.

General Options

Activate Maintenance
The default setting for this option is No.
If it is set to Yes then another option, 'Notice for Visitors' appears as illustrated on the far right.  This has HTML code that will display a suitable message such as shown.  Obviously you may change the code as required to suit your site.

No part of the Download area is displayed in the front end to users except to logged in Super Users who are always able to view the Download area in the frontend.  The backend is of course unaffected.

01 general0101 general0201 general03
Component Description and Footer Text options
Suitable descriptive text may be put in the 'Component Description' and 'Footer Text' options if required. 
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Both Options may include HTML code. For example the Component Description shown was generated with the code shown above.
If you are using multiple languages then you need to include a description for each of the languages.  For example if you wished to use the phrase 'Automatically assigned description' for English, French and German then for example insert
{en-GB}This is jDownloads{/en-GB}  {fr-FR}C'est jDownloads{/fr-FR}  {de-DE}Dies ist jDownloads{/de-DE}

URL Routing

This will be a future addition. It is not yet implemented02 URLrouting01

Multilingual Associations

The default setting is No.

If set to 'Yes',an additonal option, 'Use Image Flags' is shown. 

03 multilang0103 multilang02
Selecting Yes in the 'Use Image Flags' shows a message and the flags, for example 03 multilang03.
Selecting No shows a message and the approprate language codes such as 03 multilang04.
Clicking on a flag or a language code will take you to the Download Details view of the associated Download.


The Default setting is Yes. This will then use the standard jDownloads CSS.

If you select No then the option 'Your CSS file' appears.  Specify the name of the file, for example 'mystyling.css'
04 css0104 css02
You then need to ensure that your CSS file is placed in /components/com_jdownloads/assets/css/

But please note in this case we cannot give any css or layout support.

Items per Page

These three options control how many items of each type are shown on a page.  When there are more items of the particular type on a page then a navigation bar will be shown.
For example 05 itemsperPage03 would be shown for Categories.

Note that the Option 'Number of Subcategories rows to show per page' relates to the number of rows, not items.  This is only significant if you are using the layout 'Multi-Column Subcategories Layout'.

Sometimes the 'Number of Subcategories rows to show per page' option is not visible.  This is because the option 'Show navigation for Subcategories' in the Navigation section below is set to No.

05 itemsperPage0105 itemsperPage02


There are four options in the Navigation section as illustrated opposite. 
The three types of navigation 'bar' are shown below.  The first two are the Categories and Downloads types; they may be selected to appear at either the top or bottom or both as set by options 'Show navigation at top' and 'Show navigation at the botom'.
05 itemsperPage0305 itemsperPage05The third type is the subcategories navigation.  This will only appear when option 'Show navigation for Subcategories' is set to Yes.  Also it only appears at the top part of the view at the top.
05 itemsperPage04

When set to Yes the option 'View back button' shows a 06 navigation06 button in the Footer part of the view.
06 navigation0106 navigation0206 navigation0306 navigation05

Default Sort Order

The two options 'Categories default frontend sort order' and 'Downloads default frontend sort order' specify the initial way Categories or Downloads will be shown in the frontend.

There are three options for the sequence of Categories and ten for Downloads.

Categories and Downloads may also be sorted in the backend. So the choices Category Manager Order and Downloads Manager Order will show the same sequence as currently used in the backend.

See also the Header Sort Options section below.
07 sortorder0107 sortorder0207 sortorder03

Header Sort Options

The default setting for option 'View sort option in the header' is Yes.

This shows option 'Select the fields for the sort bar'  which allows allows adding various sort methods by clicking in the box to reveal the dropdown list of available types.  Each type is selected one at a time.

The result is a sort bar in the header section such as shown below.
.08 headersort05
08 headersort0108 headersort02

Download Sequence

The default settings for the four options  'Activate direct downloading', 'View Download detail page' ,  'Use Downloads title as download link' and 'Use Link in Symbols' are shown opposite.  This results in 16 possible combinations.

What happens when you click on either the Download title or the Download symbol or the Download button 09 download02 is a combination of these options as shown in the table below.

09 download01
The addition of 'Use Link in Symbols', which also applies to Category symbols, has been introduced to improve Accessiblility criteria (WCAG).
Case Activate direct
detail page
Download title
as download
Use link in symbols
as download
Result of Clicking
on Title
Result of Clicking on Symbol Result of
Clicking on
Download Button
0 Yes Yes Yes Yes Detail View Detail View Direct
1 Yes Yes Yes No Detail View Inactive Direct
2 Yes Yes No Yes Inactive Detail View Direct
3 Yes Yes No No Inactive Inactive Direct
4 Yes No Yes Yes Direct Direct Direct
5 Yes No Yes No Direct Inactive Direct
6 Yes No No No Inactive Direct Direct
7 Yes No No No Inactive Inactive Direct
8 No Yes Yes Yes Detail Detail Summary
9 No Yes Yes No Detail Inactive Summary
10 No Yes No Yes Inactive Detail Summary
11 No Yes No No Inactive Inactive Summary
12 No Yes Yes Yes Summary Summary Summary
13 No Yes Yes No Summary Inactive Summary
14 No No No Yes Inactive Summary Summary
15 No No No No Inactive Inactive Summary
Note:There is one important exception to the above.  If the user has to agee to a licence, complete a CAPTCHA, give a password, or similar then the Summary Page will always appear so that the user may respond.

Category Listbox

If the 'Display Category list box in Header' is yes then a pulldown listbox such as 10 catlistbox03is shown.  This will have a list of all the categories, subcategories and so on to the category level as defined in option 'Set Max Levels'.  If this option is left at the default value zero then all categories are included.

The other three options:, 'Also include link for All Downloads', 'Also include link for Top Downloads' and 'Also include link for Latest Downloads' provide additional entries in the pulldown list.

If the 'Display list box in Header' is set to No then all four of the other options are no longer visible.
10 catlistbox01

Category Header Info

If option 'Show Category Info' is set to Yes then the category information is repeated again under the navigation bar.  As the name of the category is already visible in the navigation bar, this is not always welcome.
Note: This option only works for layouts that have a single column.

If 'Show empty Categories and Subcategories' is set to Yes then all categories and subcategories are shown including those without any Downloads.

If the option 'Show empty message' is set to Yes then empty categories and subcategories show a message such as: "No Downloads are available yet for this category".

11 catheader0111 catheader02

Other Options

This is a miscellany of various options that do not fit into any more specific section! So they are discussed individually
'Remove label if field empty'  This is best illustrated with an example.
Suppose the option is set at its default value 'No'.  The part of an information display could look like 12 OtherOpts02 Where there is no value has been set for the version.
If now the Option is set to Yes then the view becomes 12 OtherOpts03. There is still an obvious empty gap.  But suppose the option 'Remove empty HTML tags' is also set to Yes.  The view now becomes 12 OtherOpts04

The next option is 'Use jDownloads Lightbox'.  Sometimes you may have already installed a lightbox plugin. If that is the case then you can set this option to No.  It is suggested that you test with and without the jDowloads lightbox function enabled to be certain!

'12 OtherOpts01

The option 'Activate support for all Joomla content plugins' is important. When set to Yes then you can use placeholder variables from other installed Joomla plugins in the jDownloads generated script, for example .
However because not all content plugins are 'equal' it is essential to test if the plugin you are using causes broken or blank pages in jDownloads.

The option 'Use real user name' allows choice of using either the Name (if Yes) or the Login Name (if No) in jDownloads.

'Show a Shortened Filename' sets the maximun number of characters used when displaying the filename. The actual filename is of course unchanged. Set to zero to disable this feature.

'Show a truncated Download Description' Allows you to automatically truncate the view length of the short descriptions to the maximum number of characters as specified here. This is used in the Download list view in the frontend. The Short Description itself is not truncated, only the view length. Leave zero to disable this feature.

'Redirect after downloading' Presently this option is not operational in jDowwnloads 3.9

When you want the user to be redirected to a category after the start of downloading, you must specify the waiting time before redirection in seconds.  Setting the value to zero (0) turns the function off.
Note: This only works when the Global Settings option 'Send Downloads over PHP Script?' is set to: Yes.

Tabs in Details view

Presently non operational in jD 32.9
The default setting for option 'Use tabs in the Download Details view' is No.

If you use the pulldown  and select either Sliders or Tabs then three further options are available to add additional sliders or tabs. You also need to select a Downloads Details layout that supports tabs.

These extra options: 'First custom tab title', 'Second custom tab title' and 'Third custom tab title' will show anothe tab or slider with the given name in the front end Download Details view.

Using the Tabs Details Layout has a view like below.
13 TabsInDetail04

When there is an Addition custom tab is used then the view is like:
13 TabsInDetail0113 TabsInDetail0213 TabsInDetail03


The default setting for option 'Activate ratings' is No.

If Yes is selected then another option 'Only Registered users may rate' becomes available.  This is usually desirable as it enables jDownloads to restrict users to vote just once for each Download.

When activated each Download will now have a box with five empty stars 14 ratings05
After voting it will look like14 ratings06. The user will briefly see a message thanking them for voting. 

14 ratings0214 ratings0214 ratings0314 ratings04
If the same user attempts to vote on the same Download again then the user will be informed that they have already voted.

Note that all non registered users are treated as a single user. As a result if option 'Only Registered users may rate' is set to No then once a non registered user has voted for a Download then no other non registed user may vote for that Download.


The default setting for 'Support JComments' is No.  If you select Yes another option 'View number of comments' appears.

Because comments are supported using the extension JComments the set up, whilst simple, has several steps.  These are given in another article.
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Use the link JComments article (opens in a new tab/window) for details of using JComents.

Note that Comments may also be added by using the paid extension Komento.
For details click on Komento article. (opens in a new tab/window)
ColinM May 2020, updated November 2020

Tags: general, index

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