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Learn how easy it is to create a custom column layout for Magento. The tutorial is based on the Magento Enterprise Edition but also applies to the Magento Community Edition. A custom column layout is helpful if you want for instance a "left" column to only appear on certain pages.

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To create a new custom column layout, you need to place a new file in the Magento theme. With the Magento default theme, you could use the folder app/design/frontend/default/default/template/page, but of course - when building your own site - it is recommended to have your own theme-directory.

In the tutorial, the file 1column.phtml is copied to the file 1columnfp.phtml (where "fp" stands for the front page). To make this new page reckognizable you wll need to add a new XML-definition. In the tutorial the following code is added to the file app/code/core/Mage/Page/etc/config.xml.

<one_column_fp module="page" translate="label">
    <label>1 column (frontpage)</label>
    <template>page/1columnfp.phtml</template>
    <layout_handle>page_one_column_fp</layout_handle>
</one_column_fp>

However, with a Magento upgrade this change could be gone. The same XML could also be added to your app/etc/local.xml file instead:

<config>
    <global>
        <page>
            <layouts>
                <one_column_fp module="page" translate="label">
                    <label>1 column (frontpage)</label>
                    <template>page/1columnfp.phtml</template>
                    <layout_handle>page_one_column_fp</layout_handle>
                </one_column_fp>
            </layouts>
        </page>
    </global>
</config>
Posted on 8 November 2009

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