SMF2.1:Features and Options From Online Manual

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Please see SMF1.1:Features and Options or SMF2.0:Features and Options depending on the version of SMF you are using.

Features and Options is the section of the Administration Center for editing core forum-related settings.


  • Poll mode - The dropdown box offers three options:
    1. Disable polls - If you select this, users will not be able to create new polls. Any existing polls will be hidden and their topics will no longer appear in the message index. Such existing polls (and their topics) are not deleted from the database though, which means that if you later choose to enable polls, any existing polls will be displayed again.
    2. Enable polls - Select this if you want to enable the creation and display of polls on your forum. As mentioned above, if you are re-enabling polls, any existing polls and their topics will be displayed again on your forum.
    3. Show existing polls as topics - When this option is selected, users are not able to create new polls. Any existing polls are hidden, but their topics continue to be displayed. This does not delete the polls, so you can later display them again by selecting Enable polls.
Even when polls are enabled as described above, the poll permissions of membergroups dictate who can create polls, view polls, and other similar abilities. For this reason, if polls are not working on your forum, check that the permissions are configured correctly.
  • Allow guests to browse the forum - If selected, guests will have the privilege of browsing your forum. Otherwise, only registered users will be allowed to browse your forum and when a guest tries to access the forum they will see a login screen with a note that the forum is only for registered members.
  • Enable buddy/ignore lists - If this is selected, users can choose to add members to their buddy or ignore list. Adding members to these lists helps in controlling the mail and PM traffic according to each user's profile settings. Additionally, posts from users in the ignore list are replaced by a message informing that the member is ignored along with the option to show the message.
  • Allow users to edit their displayed name - Enabling this separates Username from Name (also known as display name or real name) and gives users the ability to change the latter. Username will always be the one used for logging in.
  • Allow non-administrators to hide their online status - With this option enabled, all members will be able to hide their online status from other users (except from administrators). If disabled, only users who can moderate the forum can hide their presence.

    Note that if a user chooses to hide their online status, their status will continue to be hidden even if you later disable this feature. Such users will not have the option to display their online status either. Disabling this feature just removes the option from the profile, thus preventing anyone from selecting it.

  • Enable custom titles - Enabling Custom Titles will allow members with the relevant permissions to create a special title for themselves. This will be shown underneath the display name in posts made by that member. For example:

    Cool Guy

  • Default personal text - Sets the default text a user will have as their personal text. This will be shown underneath their avatar when posting.
  • Search engine friendly URLs - When enabled, queryless URLs are used for forum pages. This means they look like ../index.php/topic,1.0.html instead of ../index.php?topic=1.0. This option was introduced in order to help search engines index forum pages, but there is no longer any reason to use it, as search engines are now capable of indexing both formats. The queryless URL format only works for Apache and Lighttpd.
  • Meta keywords associated with forum - These keywords are sent in the output of every page to indicate to search engines the key content of your site. There should be a comma separating each word in the list, and HTML or BBCode should not be used. (Example of meta keywords and how they should be placed: forum, discussion, free, fun, social).
  • Default time format - Administrators have the power to adjust how the time and date are displayed on the forum. Registered users can also set a different format in their profile. The conventions follow PHP's strftime function (more details can be found at The following characters are recognized in the format string:

    %a - Abbreviated weekday name.
    %A - Full weekday name.
    %b - Abbreviated month name.
    %B - Full month name.
    %d - Day of the month (01 to 31).
    %D - Same as %m/%d/%y. *
    %e - Day of the month (1 to 31). *
    %H - Hour using a 24-hour clock (range 00 to 23).
    %I - Hour using a 12-hour clock (range 01 to 12).
    %m - Month as a number (01 to 12).
    %M - Minute as a number.
    %p - Either "am" or "pm" according to the given time.
    %R - Time in 24-hour notation. *
    %S - Second as a decimal number.
    %T - Current time, equal to %H:%M:%S. *
    %y - 2-digit year (00 to 99).
    %Y - 4-digit year.
    %Z - Time zone name or abbreviation.
    %% - A literal '%' character.
    * Does not work on Windows-based servers.

  • Default number format - You can use this setting to format the way in which numbers on your forum will be displayed to the user.
  • Overall time offset - Not all forum administrators want their forum to use the same time zone as the server upon which it is hosted. Use this option to specify a time difference (in hours) between the desired time zone of the forum and the time zone of the server. Negative and decimal values are permitted.
  • Server timezone - The server timezone tells PHP where the server is located. Forum administrators must ensure this is set correctly, preferably to the country/city in which the server is located. More information can be found on the official PHP website.
  • Enable who's online list - This option allows a forum administrator to turn on or off the ability for users to see who is browsing the forum and what they are doing.
  • User online time threshold - Sets the number of minutes to show the people who are active during x number of minutes on the board index. The default is 15 minutes.
  • Track daily statistics - This will allow users to see the latest posts and the most popular topics on your forum. It will also show several statistics, such as the most members online at a time, recent new members, and recent new topics.
  • Track daily page views (must have stats enabled) - Adds another column to the stats page with the number of hits (viewers) on a page on your forum.
  • Allow users to disable announcements - This will allow users to select not to receive e-mail announcements (newsletters) from the forum. Even when this is enabled, administrators can override this user setting, but it is not advised. For more information, please see Newsletters.
  • Don't allow post text in notifications - When this is enabled, it removes the profile option to receive the text of replies and posts in notification e-mails. Members are often tempted to reply to the notification e-mail, which, in most cases, means the webmaster receives the reply.


This page contains the following settings:

  • Limit number of displayed page links - When enabled, this will just show a selection of the number of pages.
  • Contiguous pages to display - This affects the way in which page numbers are displayed. For example:
    "3" to display: 1 ... 4 [5] 6 ... 9
    "5" to display: 1 ... 3 4 [5] 6 7 ... 9
  • Members per page in member list - Enter here how many members per page you would like to show in the member list.
  • Enable shorthand date display - You can choose to show "Today" or "Yesterday" instead of the date.
  • Enable Go Up/Go Down buttons - This will add "Go Up" and "Go Down" buttons, so that users can go to the top and bottom of a page without scrolling.
  • Show online/offline in posts and PMs - This will show an image to indicate whether the member is online or offline.
  • Show a quick login on every page - This will show a more compact login menu on every page of the forum for guests.
  • Max width of posted pictures (0 = disable) - This allows you to set a maximum width for posted pictures. Pictures smaller than the maximum will not be affected. If you enter 0, no maximum width is set.
  • Max height of posted pictures (0 = disable) - This allows you to set a maximum height for posted pictures. Pictures smaller than the maximum will not be affected. If you enter 0, no maximum height is set.
  • Display time taken to create every page - This will show at the bottom of each forum page the time (in seconds) SMF took to create the page. For example, "Page created in 0.132 seconds with 7 queries."


Karma is an optional feature that shows the popularity of members. Administrators can enable this feature from the Core Features section. When members are allowed, they can applaud or smite a member to raise or lower that member's karma.

  • Karma mode - This option is to select how the karma feature will be used in the forum:
    1. Disable Karma - Disables the use of this feature.
    2. Enable Karma Total - Makes SMF show only the total of points received.
    3. Enable Karma Positive/Negative - Shows both the positive and negative points for each user.
  • Set the minimum posts needed to modify karma - Administrators can set a minimum number of posts that a user must have before they can raise or lower someone's karma.
  • Set wait time in hours - This specifies how long (in hours) users have to wait between consecutive karma actions on the same person.
  • Restrict administrators to wait time - This specifies whether forum administrators are restricted by the wait time (see the previous option).
  • Karma label - Here administrators can define the label that is shown for the karma field in the profile and posts (default karma:).
  • Karma applaud label - The text that appears in the link to increase the karma of a user (default [applaud]). If you leave this field blank, the applaud link will be hidden.
  • Karma smite label - The text that appears in the link to decrease the karma of a user (default [smite]). If you leave this field blank, the smite link will be hidden.


The Signatures page allows you to configure the restrictions on what is allowed in signatures. If you want the changes you make here to also affect existing signatures (not only new ones), you must click the link at the top of this page (in the sentence "Note that settings are not applied to existing signatures by default. Click here to apply rules to all existing signatures."). Clicking on this link causes a process to be run which applies the new restrictions to all existing signatures.

  • Enable signatures - This allows administrators to set whether signatures are allowed in the first place.
  • Maximum allowed characters - The maximum number of characters that a user can have in their signature (0 for no max.).
  • Maximum amount of lines - The maximum number of lines that a user can have in their signature. A line is measured in terms of hitting the "Return" key to start a new line (0 for no max.).
  • Maximum font size allowed in signatures - This allows you to specify how big the maximum font size can be in a signature. The number must be expressed in pixels (0 for no max.).
  • Allow smileys in signatures - This allows administrators to set whether smileys are allowed in signatures.
  • Maximum smiley count - The maximum number of smileys allowed in a signature (0 for no max.).
  • Maximum image count- The maximum number of images allowed in a signature, excluding smileys (0 for no max.).
  • Maximum width of signature images (pixels) - The maximum width allowed for any image in a signature (0 for no max.).
  • Maximum height of signature images (pixels)- The maximum height allowed for any image in a signature (0 for no max.).
  • Enabled BBC tags - Here administrators can decide which BBcode tags will be allowed in signatures.

Profile Fields

In the Profile Fields section, administrators have the option of creating and modifying custom profile fields as well as modifying some basic settings for the built-in profile fields.

Note: This section will not appear until Advanced Profile Fields are enabled under Core Features in the admin panel.

Standard Profile Fields

At the top of the page there are the standard fields where administrators can enable and disable them as desired by checking or unchecking the checkbox in the Active column. Right next to that column there are additional checkboxes which allow you to select whether the profile fields should be displayed during registration. Once you have finished making changes, clicking the Save button will apply them.

Custom Profile Fields

You are not limited to the standard profile fields as mentioned above; you can also create your own. These custom fields act in the same way as the standard fields. Navigate down to the table with the heading Custom Fields. Here you can view your existing custom fields, as well as add a new one, by selecting the New Field button at the bottom of the page.

The list of custom profile fields includes the following information:

  • Field Name - The name that was given for the field. This is used for identification.
  • Field Type - The type of field. For information on the different types of fields, see the explanation below.
  • Active - Shows the status of the field, whether it is active or not. If the field is not active, it will simply have no effect on your forum and will not be shown.
  • Placement - The position where the field will be shown.
  • Modify - Simply a link to modify the field.

Add/Edit Profile Field

In this section you can create a new custom field or modify an existing one.

Display Settings

  • Name - This is the name that will be displayed anywhere the field is used.
  • Description - This is a short description explaining what the field is for, and it also indicates to members what to put in the field. For example, if it was for an instant messenger program then you could enter an explanation about how to obtain the program, and also what information has to be entered for the field to function correctly.
  • Profile Section - This is the section of the profile where the field will be placed. You have four options: None, Account Settings, Forum Profile, and Look and Layout. The option None can be useful when used in conjunction with Show on Registration (see below), whereby users would be able to enter the information for the field during registration, but they would not be able to modify this field later.
  • Show on Registration - When this is enabled, the field will be shown during the registration process.
  • Show on Topic View - Checking this box will show the field in the user's posts. For example, if you are using Phone Number as the name of the field, and the member has this field filled in, it will show Phone Number: <phone number>. All fields that have this checked will be displayed below the user's post count in their posts.
  • Choose Placement - This defines where the field will be displayed: in the standard position (at the end of the "poster information" section), with the icons (Profile, email, PM, etc.), or above the user's signature.
  • Show Enclosed Within Text (Optional) - Encloses the user input between some text or HTML. This allows you to add more instant message providers or images. For example: <a href="{INPUT}"><img src="{DEFAULT_IMAGES_URL}/icon.gif" alt="{INPUT}" /></a>

    The following variables can be used:

    1. {INPUT} - The input specified by the user.
    2. {SCRIPTURL} - Web address of the forum.
    3. {IMAGES_URL} - URL to the images directory in the user's current theme.
    4. {DEFAULT_IMAGES_URL} - URL to the images directory in the default theme.

Input Settings

  • Field Type - You will see the following options:
    1. Text - This is a simple text field, similar to the one that you use when you log into your forum. You can define the maximum number of characters that users can enter in the field. The default is 255, or use 0 for no limit. It is also possible to choose whether to allow BBCode.
    2. Large Text - This is what is known as a text area, or the bigger text boxes. Maximum length is the maximum number of characters permitted in this box. Dimensions, in rows and columns, represent the height and width (in characters) of the box. Select Allow BBC if you want to permit the use of Bulletin Board Code.
    3. Select Box - With a select box (also known as a dropdown box) you can add multiple options, and users will be able to select only one option. The configuration page displays three fields which you can fill in, with a link to add more. Empty fields will not be added. Select boxes are good to use if you have many options to choose from, similar to the time zone select box.

      The option that has the radio button checked on this configuration page will be the default selection for users. To remove an option from the select box, simply empty the text field for that option - all users with that selected will have their option cleared. You can reorder the options by moving text around between the fields. An important note: you must make sure you do not change the text when reordering options as otherwise user data will be lost.

    4. Radio Button - With radio buttons you can display various options in a similar way to polls. Users will be able to select only one of the options. This configuration page includes three fields which you can fill in, with a link to add more. Empty fields will not be added. Radio buttons are good for 2-4 options, but if you need to add more it is recommended to use a select box (see above).

      The option that has the radio button checked on this configuration page will be the default selection for users. To remove an option, simply empty the text field for that option - all users with that selected will have their option cleared. You can reorder the options by moving text around between the fields. An important note: you must make sure you do not change the text when reordering options as otherwise user data will be lost.

    5. Checkbox - With a checkbox, users are able to click to either enable or disable the option. You can select whether the Default State should be enabled or disabled.

Advanced Settings

  • Input Mask - The input mask is important for your forum's security. Validating the input from a user can help to ensure that data is not used in a way you do not want or expect. The options are as follows:
    1. No HTML - This is the default option for input masks and it prevents users from entering any form of HTML in the custom field.
    2. Valid Email - Selecting this option will require users to enter an "at" (@) symbol and a period (.) or the member will get an error message.
    3. Numeric - This option will only allow users to enter numbers in the custom field. Any other characters will be rejected.
    4. Regex (Advanced) - This option enables you to enter your own regular expression in order to control what users are allowed to enter in the custom field.
  • Privacy - Selects who can see and edit this particular field:
    1. Users can see this field; owner can edit it.
    2. Users can see this field; only admins can edit it.
    3. Users cannot see this field; owner and admins can edit it.
    4. This field is only visible to admins
  • Searchable - Determines whether the contents of this field can be searched for in the memberlist.
  • Active - This box must be checked or the field will not be displayed anywhere and it will not be editable. If it is unchecked, the data will still remain in the database, but it will not be displayed. It is recommended to just uncheck boxes to deactivate fields instead of deleting them. That way, if you want to bring them back then the members will not have to reinsert their data.