Getting started

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So, you have arrived at a forum powered by SMF! Perhaps you have been looking at the Board Index or a screen telling you that you need to register before you can access the forum.

Some forums permit guests to read posts or even post messages, while other forums only allow registered members to see the posts. On some forums, many of the most useful features will only become available to you when you become a registered member. Because SMF is such a flexible system, permissions will vary considerably between forums.

The Home Page

Here are four key areas that are normally available to you on the opening page of the forum:

  • Forum Header - At the top of the forum's opening page you will find the forum header, which contains items such as the forum title, banner and logo. It also has a section with information about you, links to unread messages, as well as the date. There is usually a quick search box located here.
  • Main Menu - This menu is situated just below the forum header and it contains links to the main sections of the forum. On the main menu guests will usually find a link to register, as well as the option to log in. The menu may also have links to search, personal messages, the calendar, profile and the memberlist, depending on permissions.
  • Board Index - This appears on the main page of the forum. Categories are used to make it easier to find the boards that interest you. For information on how to keep up to date with new topics and posts, please see How to view unread posts and replies. Once a board has been entered it is possible to post a new topic.
  • Info Center - In the default layout, the Info Center is located below the Board Index. Depending on how it has been configured by an administrator it contains interesting information and statistics about activity on the forum.