Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
New Guide!

Welcome to the Stanford Sites 4.0 User Guide. 

Your Questions Answered

Main content start

Do you have questions? We have answers. (Or at least, we'll try!)

The Stanford Sites Drupal CMS platform offers design flexibility, integration with Stanford systems, and substantial functionality through the latest version of the open-source Drupal application. Stanford Web Services updates the platform with new features, integrations, theme updates, and bug fixes frequently and always with usability and accessibility as its core values. 

Stanford's policy on Accessibility of Electronic Content (6.8.1) states that electronic content is to conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG), Level AA. Many of the changes in the latest version of Stanford Sites are intentional design choices that help Stanford websites to meet this policy. 

Here are a few common questions and answers about websites on the Stanford Sites Drupal CMS platform.

Why can’t I underline the text?

In print documents, such as PDFs and Microsoft Word, underlines may be used to bring attention to a section of text. However, website users are accustomed to seeing links underlined. This is a convention that Stanford Sites adopted for indicating links in text areas. This use of underlines also makes it possible to meet WCAG 2.0 1.3.1 and WCAG 2.0 1.4.1, which state:

  1. we use visual cues to indicate links, and
  2. color is not used as the only visual means of conveying information.

When you want to bring attention to a section of the text, consider using either bold or italics.

Why can’t I make a link open in a new tab?

Stanford Sites does not support opening links in a new tab to provide the best user experience on a variety of devices and screensizes. Please encourage site visitors to use CTRL+Click on Windows and CMD+Click on MacOS to open tabs in a new window.

Can I remove the title?

No. Removing the title will confuse users and search engines. 

Titles help users find content and orient themselves on your site. Imagine being blind and listening to a screen reader. When you encounter a page without a title, you would hear the content on the page with no clear introduction or context. Having page titles makes it possible to meet WCAG 2.0 2.4.2

Titles are also used by search engines to index the pages on your site and make it easier to search for and find the pages on your site.

Clicking on a link to a document, such as a PDF or Word document, is different from clicking on a link to another page on a site. When you click on the document link, it can open or download the document. If you're not expecting it, the appearance of the document can be surprising or inconvenient. If you have limited bandwidth or space on your device, a downloaded document can be troublesome. 

When creating a link, the text should identify the purpose of the link and allow users to decide if they want to follow the link. The text for a link to a document should convey the title, document type, and size; using these in the link text makes it possible to meet WCAG 2.0 2.4.4.

For example: Sample (PDF, 1MB)

Why is there so much space (between lines, rows, etc.)?

White space is used to organize page content and elements, aid in readability, and improve the overall user experience. For example, text lines that are leaded too tightly or loosely can diminish readability by making it harder for the eye to know where to go when the line breaks.

According to the WCAG working group:

"Increased spacing between paragraphs, lines, words, and characters benefits people with low vision or some cognitive disabilities."

By having sufficient space between letters, words, lines, and paragraphs, websites built on the latest version of Stanford Sites will be easier to read and meet WCAG 2.1 1.4.12, Text Spacing.

By popular request, spacing was tested and adjusted slightly in the V4.0.0 release of Stanford Sites.

Actually, I think the spacing is tight between my rows of content.

Need flexibility? You got it! Simply add a spacer to create some breathing room between elements on your page.

Can I change the text color?

The color and weight of text are important for making your site perceivable, especially by users with low vision and color deficiencies. The text colors on Stanford Sites were selected to meet the WCAG 2.0 1.4.3 minimum contrast ratio. Although other text colors can meet this requirement, changing the text color is not an available feature at this time.

If a different text color for headers and links is a requirement for your site, contact Stanford Web Services to discuss a custom subtheme project.

Can I add more font options?

Changing fonts is not an available feature at this time. The current text styles have been rigorously tested both for how they fit into the overall design and, more importantly, for accessibility. We introduce new styles carefully and deliberately. 

If a different font is a requirement for your site, contact Stanford Web Services to discuss a custom subtheme project.

What happened to my links when I copied content and pasted it on my new page - they disappeared!

The text box on pages, cards, etc. will strip code to prevent malicious content from being injected into your website. This is a security feature but will be refined in future releases to allow pasting links once again. We know that's handy and will look to improve this experience as soon as possible.

I have long titles on cards, and sometimes the words overlap the card edge. How do I fix that?

When cards are placed one per row, they have plenty of space for long titles. But when multiple cards share a row, the words in your titles must be short enough to avoid overflow with the card boundary. Consider adding a space or hyphen if shorter words are not an option.

Speaking of cards, I placed three in a row on my (news article, event, person profile) page and they look...squished.

The content well on pages created with content types is narrower when the sidebar navigation is visible. Consider changing to two or fewer cards per row to ensure the content is readable.

Hey, the new preview feature is cool but isn't an exact match with the resulting page when I publish. Why?

Styles in the preview feature are not fully up to date to match the final theme used on our published pages. Thank you for testing this new feature, and rest assured that Stanford Web Services is working to improve it with new styles as time allows.

Which is preferable: PDF or HTML page?

A PDF is a Portable Document File. It's a standardized, versatile file format that is easy for presenting and exchanging documents. An HTML page uses hypertext markup language tags to define page structure and formatting. Most websites use HTML for their web pages. Although both formats are used to communicate information, their benefits differ:

PDF vs HTML Comparison Summary
Features to compare PDF HTML
Self-contained images and graphics make it easy to share



Easy to print


depends on CSS
Open to search engines





Easily created and viewed through the WYSIWYG and browser



Easy to make accessible to assistive technology



  • A PDF is self-contained with all images and graphs. The image and graphs on an HTML page are stored and loaded separately.
  • A PDF is easy to print. An HTML page may need extra CSS code in order to print accurately.
  • An HTML page is easy for search engines to find, index, and search. The contents of a PDF are not available to search engines.
  • An HTML page is easily viewed through a browser. A PDF requires additional steps such as downloading and software such as Adobe Reader before it can be viewed. 
  • Making an HTML page accessible to assistive technology such as a screen reader is easily accomplished with a standard WYSIWYG editor. Making a PDF accessible to assistive technology is a complex process and requires Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Because HTML pages are best for SEO and accessibility, we encourage the use of HTML pages for content display whenever possible. When a PDF or other document type is required or the better choice, the Office of Digital Accessibility has guidance on making these documents accessible.

Why does my site have a large number of people listed as "Users"?

In the footer on the bottom right corner of your site is a Login button. When anyone with a SUNet ID clicks on that button, Stanford Sites will generate an account for that person. That account will not have any additional privileges unless someone, like a site owner, explicitly updates their account.

To slow the tide of new accounts on your site, it is possible to remove the Login button from view by removing the text in the button. However, that means for authorized users to log in to the site, they will need to go to [yoursitename] See instructions on how to change the Login button and other footer modifications.

Why is Heading 1 (H1) not an option within the Normal dropdown?

An H1 should appear only once per page. In this case, the H1 styling is applied to the immediate page title.

Related Topics

Feedback and Bug Reports

We're always working to improve our service and would love to hear your thoughts and concerns or problems that you have encountered.

Stanford Sites Roadmap

The product roadmap is a high-level look at what is in development, as well as goals, planned features, and long-term direction for the Stanford Sites Drupal CMS.


Request assistance with a Stanford Sites-hosted website through Stanford's ServiceNow portal.