Carnegie Mellon University


A service provided by the University CMS Team

Frequently Asked Questions

Get the answers to some of the most common questions about the university CMS. Don't see your question? Schedule an office hour session and get your questions answered virtually or send an email to

Interested in the CMS

No, when you use the CMS you are required to use the official university templates. Customizations to these templates including changes to the layout, styles, formatting, etc. are not permitted. For custom-built websites, please consider using AWPS.
No, the CMS is offered for official university units only (academic or administrative departments, research groups, and labs). You may build a personal website using UserWeb or G Suite Sites.
No, the CMS is not offered for course work, but the university does offer other tools for this. Please contact the Eberly Center for services available to faculty.

Yes, the CMS Demo site showcases the features and functionality of a CMS site and includes links to a variety of other sites using the CMS. In addition, CMS 101: Basic Foundations provides an overview of the templates and page types available.

Working in the CMS

One-on-one CMS training is not available (if only we had a bigger team!), however there is a wealth of how-to documentation and help resources available.

New CMS Users

If you're brand new to the CMS, we recommend the following online training plan.

  1. Start with CMS 101: Basic Foundations to learn more about the front-end and back-end of managing a site
  2. Watch the eLearning Course video tutorials to learn the basic tasks
  3. Begin working in the CMS using the Build Your Site instructions. You may request access to the CMS Playground site to practice using the CMS in a sandbox environment
  4. Read up on the university's Best Practices for websites
  5. Learn about Tips & Tricks, read FAQs, and look up CMS terminology in the Glossary
  6. Ask for help!

There is no limit to the overall size of your CMS site, however there is a 200 MB size limit for individual files (e.g., PDFs, images). For larger files such a videos, we recommend using a third-party service to embed media.

Deleted items are moved to the trash for 15 days before being permanently deleted and can be restored during this time period. More on deleting and restoring.

Each time a site-wide element is modified in the CMS, a full-site publish is required. For large sites, please perform the publish outside of regular business hours (before 9am or after 5pm, or on weekends). More on publishing.

No, at this time all website managers are given the standard manager role which provides full ability to manage a site including editing content and publishing to the staging or live servers. If the standard manager role does not meet your needs, we would be interested in hearing about your use case for different roles. Email us at

Yes, because we all make mistakes! If the page has already been saved you can revert the page to a previous version and start over. More on versions.

One of the objectives of providing the university templates is to build consistency across university websites to strengthen the CMU brand. A key component of that is having a font that is easily readable, accessible and quick to load. For these reasons, Open Sans was selected to be used for web publishing (Note: to improve load time on mobile devices, the native defaults for the device are used).

What's more, not every computer has a wide variety of fonts installed natively. So, a font that you have on your computer may not display properly for someone else on theirs. Loading Open Sans guarantees that everyone will see the text displayed properly.

I want to see more text using Comic Sans font.
-Nobody, Ever

Visit the Marketing & Communications web standards page for more information about Carnegie Mellon University's branding guidelines.

A content-heavy page may take a while to load in the CMS because it's being assembled on the spot (whereas a published page has already been assembled, so it is much quicker to load). Follow the tips below to help reduce load time of pages in the CMS.

  1. Make sure your page has 15 or fewer WYSIWYG areas. Note that WYSIWYGs can be found in Content, Sidebar, Grid, and Slideshow sections.
  2. If you're using a Bio Index page, feature 100 or fewer Bios on it. If you need to feature more than 100 Bios, consider splitting them into separate folders, grouped by category.
  3. Cascade CMS runs fastest with Firefox Web Browser.

Still having trouble? Email

Section and Grid IDs are used for anchor links which allow linking to a specific section on a page. For some elements, such as a news grid on a News Index page, IDs are required to ensure full functionality. For most other elements, IDs are optional and can be left blank if not needed.

While building a page, you will likely assign IDs to the elements you know you will be creating a direct link to, however consider other websites that may want to link to specific sections of your pages. While you can assign IDs at any time, setting them up from the get-go is an efficient way to make the content on your pages easily linkable (making you easily likeable!)

No, dynamically generated content using an external database is not possible to set up with a CMS site. All pages must be built and updated manually through the CMS with the exception of using third-party services to embed media.

Managing Content

We do not recommend sites copying content from other sites. It confuses website visitors and search engines, and is difficult to maintain consistency. If you are not the authoritative owner of the content, link to the appropriate source pages instead. If someone else has copied your content, reach out to the site owner, or email to find out who the site owner is, and request the content be taken down and a link to your site be provided instead.

Yes, password-protection can be set on your published website to allow access to individuals with Andrew IDs. There is no method available to restrict access to non-CMU affiliates.

Before password-protecting content, review ISO's Guidelines for Data Classification and ensure that you never include information classified as Restricted or Private on a CMS site.

Please submit a request to for instructions on how to password-protect content.

While we don't provide broken link reports, you can check for broken links using a few different methods. More on checking links.

Any content that appears on your live site that has no corresponding counterpart in the CMS is called an orphan. An orphan is created when an item is moved, deleted or renamed in the CMS without being unpublished from the live site.

You can remove an individual orphan manually if you know the URL of it on the website. However, to identify all orphans on your site you may request an orphan report. You'll be provided with a list of orphans, and with your approval we can delete all of the orphans from the live site in one shot. More on orphans.

Yes, learn about the web analytics options available.

This is a result of using certain fields under the Metadata tab which are not fully functional. For instance, when the Keywords field is used, the data erroneously appears in the Description field. To avoid this, do not use the Summary, Teaser, Keywords and Author fields under the Metadata tab. Keywords in metadata have also largely been deprecated by search engines, placing more importance on the content of the page instead.

Filling out the Title and Description fields in the Content tab, and ensuring your content is well-written, should be sufficient for search engine optimization.

Mixed content means there is a combination of secure and non-secure items on the page. All CMS websites are served using a secure URL (i.e., HTTPS://) however there may be embedded content on the page using a non-secure URL (i.e., HTTP://) such as a YouTube video or mailto form. This is often easily corrected by modifying the URL of the embedded content to be secure.


Learn more about the navigation in CMS 101: Site-Wide Elements.
Complete instructions for arranging the navigation are available including additional frequently asked questions.