Getting started

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So you have arrived to a forum powered by Simple Machines Forum (SMF)! Perhaps you've been looking at the Board index or a screen telling you that you need to register before you can read the forum.

Some forums permit guests to read and post, some permit guests to read only and some are restricted to only registered members. We recommend registering at any forum that you visit often, because many of the most useful features will only become available to you when you do so. Since SMF, however, is such a flexible system that few forums are likely to be identical, we will start by describing four key areas that normally are available for you.

Main Menu

[b]Overview of Getting Started:[/b] [table] [tr] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=23]Getting Started[/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=22][b]The Main Menu[/b][/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=21]The Board Index[/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=20]The Message Index[/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=19]The Topic Display[/iurl][/td] [/tr] [/table] [hr]Supposing you've arrived here as a [url=http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=31194.0]guest[/url] (or have registered but are currently logged out), the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=198.0]Main menu[/url] (which appears on every page) should normally contain five or six buttons (or text links): [html]<img src="img/mainbuttons_01.gif" alt="mainbuttons" border="0" style="margin: 10px;" />[/html]

[list][li][b]Home[/b], which takes you back to the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=209.0]Board[/url] index.[/li] [li][b]Help[/b], which brings a guide similar to this entry.[/li] [li][b]Search,[/b] which allows you to search the forums for whatever you're looking for.[/li] [li][b]Calendar[/b], which links to the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=201.0]Forum[/url] calendar (if enabled).[/li] [li][b]Members[/b], which shows the complete list of all the registered members on the forum.[/li] [li][b]Login[/b], which allows you to login if already registered.[/li] [li][b]Register[/b], which allows you to [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=187]Register[/url] (or sometimes apply for registration) when you wish to do so. [/li][/list] Once you've registered and logged in, however, the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=198.0]Main menu[/url] should look a little different: [html] <img src="img/mainbuttons_02.gif" alt="main buttons" border="0" style="margin: 10px;" />[/html] [list][li][b]Home[/b] (as before).[/li] [li][b]Help[/b] (as before).[/li] [li][b]Search[/b] (as before).[/li] [li][b]Profile[/b] which allows you to make changes to your [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=189.0]Profile[/url] settings.[/li] [li][b]My Messages[/b] takes you to personal message area (if enabled).[/li] [li][b]Calendar[/b] (as before).[/li] [li][b]Members[/b] (as before).[/li] [li][b]Logout[/b], which allows you to logout again if desired. [/li][/list]

Forum administrators should also note the presence of an additional Admin button, which will lead the admin to a page where you can manage and administrate your community.

[b]Next:[/b] [iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=21.0]The Board Index[/iurl]

Board Index

[b]Overview of Getting Started:[/b] [table] [tr] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=23]Getting Started[/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=22]The Main Menu[/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=21][b]The Board Index[/b][/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=20]The Message Index[/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=19]The Topic Display[/iurl][/td] [/tr] [/table] [hr]

While the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=208.0]Board index[/url] (forum home page) is packed with all kinds of information and links, the core of the interface (at least in the SMF default theme) normally looks something like this: [url=http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?action=help;page=index#board]Board index Example[/url]

[list][li]The [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=201.0]Forum[/url] name links back to the top of the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=208.0]Board index[/url].[/li]


[li]If the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=206.0]Category[/url] is collapsible (shown by this symbol [img]http://www.simplemachines.org/community/Themes/newsite/images/collapse.gif[/img] ), clicking the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=206.0]Category[/url] name collapses or expands the forums in a category, enabling you to see the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=206.0]Category[/url] name but not see the forums within the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=206.0]Category[/url] when collapsed.[/li]


[li]The [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=209.0]Board[/url] name links to the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=195.0]Message index[/url] for that board.[/li]


[li]The [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=209.0]Board[/url] description describes the board's content, and may also include links to [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=205.0]child boards[/url] and/or specify the board's [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=194.0]moderator(s)[/url].[/li]


[li]The [i]New Posts[/i] and [i]No New Posts[/i] icons, usually in the leftmost column show registered members whether there have been any new posts to the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=209.0]Board[/url] since they last read it. Most forums also use another subtly different icon to indicate that there are new posts in one or more [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=205.0]Child Boards[/url] of a [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=193.0]Parent board[/url] without the Parent containing any new posts of its own. By clicking the New Posts button, a registered [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=197.0]Member[/url] can view all of the latest unread posts of that board.[/li]


[li]The Mark as Read button enables registered members to mark all posts in the entire [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=201.0]Forum[/url] as 'read'. This will clear the list of posts in the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=515.0]Unread Posts[/url] section.[/li][/list]

[b]Next:[/b] [iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=20.0]The Message Index[/iurl]

Message Index

[b]Overview of Getting Started:[/b] [table] [tr] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=23]Getting Started[/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=22]The Main Menu[/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=21][b]The Board Index[/b][/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=20]The Message Index[/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=19]The Topic Display[/iurl][/td] [/tr] [/table] [hr]

While the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=208.0]Board index[/url] (forum home page) is packed with all kinds of information and links, the core of the interface (at least in the SMF default theme) normally looks something like this: [url=http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?action=help;page=index#board]Board index Example[/url]

[list][li]The [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=201.0]Forum[/url] name links back to the top of the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=208.0]Board index[/url].[/li]


[li]If the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=206.0]Category[/url] is collapsible (shown by this symbol [img]http://www.simplemachines.org/community/Themes/newsite/images/collapse.gif[/img] ), clicking the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=206.0]Category[/url] name collapses or expands the forums in a category, enabling you to see the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=206.0]Category[/url] name but not see the forums within the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=206.0]Category[/url] when collapsed.[/li]


[li]The [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=209.0]Board[/url] name links to the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=195.0]Message index[/url] for that board.[/li]


[li]The [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=209.0]Board[/url] description describes the board's content, and may also include links to [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=205.0]child boards[/url] and/or specify the board's [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=194.0]moderator(s)[/url].[/li]


[li]The [i]New Posts[/i] and [i]No New Posts[/i] icons, usually in the leftmost column show registered members whether there have been any new posts to the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=209.0]Board[/url] since they last read it. Most forums also use another subtly different icon to indicate that there are new posts in one or more [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=205.0]Child Boards[/url] of a [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=193.0]Parent board[/url] without the Parent containing any new posts of its own. By clicking the New Posts button, a registered [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=197.0]Member[/url] can view all of the latest unread posts of that board.[/li]


[li]The Mark as Read button enables registered members to mark all posts in the entire [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=201.0]Forum[/url] as 'read'. This will clear the list of posts in the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=515.0]Unread Posts[/url] section.[/li][/list]

[b]Next:[/b] [iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=20.0]The Message Index[/iurl]

Topic Display

[b]Overview of Getting Started:[/b] [table] [tr] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=23]Getting Started[/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=22]The Main Menu[/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=21]The Board Index[/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=20]The Message Index[/iurl][/td] [td][b]|[/b][/td] [td][iurl=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=19][b]The Topic Display[/b][/iurl][/td] [/tr] [/table] [hr]Sometimes referred to as threads, topics are where you find the actual posted messages: [url=http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?action=help;page=index#topic]Topic Example[/url]

[*]Some forums show the navigation tree at the top in a space-saving horizontal mode.

[*]Some forums may also be configured with previous' and next [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=181]Topic[/url] links. [*]The page numbers' link to further pages of the topic, and may be accompanied by Go Up and Go Down buttons linking to the top and bottom of the current page. [*]The [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=186]Reply[/url] button enables you to [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=186]Reply[/url] to the topic. [*]The Notify button enables registered members to subscribe to email notification of replies to the topic. [*]The Mark Unread button enables registered members to mark the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=181]Topic[/url] as 'unread', which means that it will still be listed as new and can be effectively 'saved for later'. Note that this button changes to Add [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=191.0]Poll[/url] in the bottom button set for users with permission to add polls to existing topics. [*]The Send [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=181]Topic[/url] button enables registered members to send a link to the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=181]Topic[/url] by email. [*]The Print button creates a simplified, printer-friendly rendering of the page. [*]The author name links to the author of the post's own profile. [*]The author details in the lefthand column may be accompanied by further personal information. [*]The [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=181]Topic[/url] subject links back to the start of the topic. [*]The Quote button enables you to quote the post. [*]Further Modify and Delete options are normally provided to enable registered members to edit their own posts. [*]Report to [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=194.0]Moderator[/url] enables you to report abusive or wrongly-placed posts to the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=201.0]Forum[/url] staff. [*]Logged indicates that the IP of the author has been logged. The actual IP is only available to [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=209.0]Board[/url] administrators or those that have the permission to manage members of a forum. [*]The Jump to menu provides a convenient quick method of navigating the forum. It will allow a user to quickly "jump" to any [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=209.0]Board[/url] that they have access to view. [*]The [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=188]Quick Reply[/url] at the bottom of the topic's page when enabled by the user will allow members to [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=190.0]Post[/url] in a posting box located at the bottom of every page in a [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=181]Topic[/url] as an alternative to clicking the [url=http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=186]Reply[/url] that leads you to a new page to submit a message.