Contentful overview

Contentful has a flat structure and you find content by searching and filtering. The presentation of content on the website is determined by the content elements used on a page and the status of the content.

On this page

Structured content
Contentful libraries
Finding things in Contentful
Content status and why you should care
Creating your page hierarchy and side navigation
Saving content
Deleting content
External link icon

Structured content

Contentful is a structured content management system. That means that the presentation of the content on the website is determined by the content element that is used.

If you need a different style or think a style isn't working contact the National Library Online team.

Contentful libraries

In contentful there are two main libraries:

  • Content — this is where pages and content blocks for page is created
  • Media — this is where images and audio are stored

PDFs and other printed documents are saved and linked to on the server.

Finding things in Contentful

Contentful has a flat structure doesn't have a tree structure for content. You can search, filter and use other cues to find your pages and content elements in Contentful.

To find pages and content types go to the content tab and search. You can filter to narrow down your search.

To find only media (images or audio) go to the media tab in contentful.

Contentful has a useful Content search guide that sets out instructions for options for searching in Contentful including:

  • simple search with a keyphrase
  • search by filters
  • filter by reference value
  • combine ranges
  • media-specific searches

Content search — Contentful's guide

Content status and why you should care

There are 4 statuses for content in Contentful. They are:

  • draft — a brand new page
  • published — content that is published
  • changed — content that has had a change made to it
  • archived — content that was published but has now been archived

For example, when you update published content its status will become 'changed'. The 'changed' content will only be available on production when you publish it. While you are updating the content the existing version of your page remains on the website.

You can preview your changed content before you publish it to check it looks how you want it to.

Only the last published content shows on the production website.

In the preview environment you will see content that is:

  • draft
  • published
  • changed

You can preview your changed content before you publish it along with any draft content you are planning on publishing.

Creating your page hierarchy and side navigation

To create your page hierarchy and side navigation you add page descendants to a page.

If you are developing your content in Contentful, preview as you develop it so you can see the structure you are creating.

Find out more about page descendants on the 'Create a webpage' page.

Create a webpage

Saving content

Contentful automatically saves content for you as you work. You don't have to do anything.

Deleting content

You can delete content but be aware that once it is deleted you can't get it back.

If you think you may want to reuse content but don't currently need it then the best option is to archive your content.


There is not a spell checker in Contentful. You will need to either spell check your content with a different tool, for example if you create your content in GatherContent or you can put your content into Grammarly.

Contentful are aware that a spell checker is a feature that would be a popular feature.


Contentful provides versioning of published content. You can look compare previous versions of published content with the current version.

We are following the model and have removed the external icon link from the site.

Removing the external link icon from