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Content describes all user-generated data throughout the XenForo system, including threads and posts created within forums. Much of this content shares various facilities for enhancement, including tagging, smilies, tags and BB code text markup.


Smilies, also known as emoticons are small graphical items that can be used to convey emotion or meaning in textual content. While their use has been diminished by the advent of Emoji, there is still a place for them in forums, where specific text combinations are automatically converted into iconic imagery. The most common smilie in use is the :) combination, which is replaced by a smiling face icon.

XenForo comes with a collection of default smilies, and can be extended to add any number of additional smilies as suits the needs of your forum. The smilie manager can be found in the Content section of your admin control panel.

Smilie manager#

All the smilies currently available for use are listed within the smilie manager, along with their name and any text combinations that can be used to trigger them. For example, the Smile smilie can be triggered with any one of :), :-) or (:.

Individual smilies can be removed from the system using the delete icon, or they can be edited by clicking on their name. New smilies can be added by clicking the Add smilie button at the top of the page.


For ease of management, smilies in XenForo can be attached to smilie categories, and the manager will display all your smilies in their respective categories if you choose to use this system.

Import and export#

If you have built a large collection of smilies and you'd like to share them, you can use the Export tools in the smilie manager to do so. Similarly, if you have acquired a collection of smilies from another source, you can import them into your own XenForo system using the Import tool, available in the drop-down menu in the bar of controls with Add smilie.

Smilie editor#

Within the smilie editor, you can make all necessary changes to your smilies. The most important, non-obvious controls are described here:

Text to replace#

Use this box to enter the text combination(s) that you would like to have replaced by this smilie icon. If you would like to have multiple text combinations apply to a single smilie, enter each one on a single line in the text box.


Smilie text combinations must be unique. If you try to apply the same combination to more than one smilie, the system will alert you that the text combinaiton is already in use, and prevent you from saving the smilie data.

Image replacement URL#

Enter the path to your smilie icon graphic in this box. Using an absolute URL can be useful here, but if you use a relative URL, it should be relative to the XenForo home directory (where index.php lives).

2x image replacement URL#

Many web users now use devices with high-pixel-density devices (think iPhone's Retina screen) and for these users, normal resolution graphics may appear blocky and unimpressive. You may use the 2x box to define a path to a higher resolution version of your smilie icon for these users.


As of XenForo 2.2, it is possible to upload smilie graphics from your computer directly from the control panel by clicking the gadget attached to the URL text fields.

Smilie category, Display order and Show this smilie in text editor#

These fields control how smilies are presented to users when they are viewing all available smilies in the text editor and smilie help page:

Smilies with higher display order values are shown after those with low display order values.

If you want to attach a smilie to a category but none are shown in the list, you can go back and create new categories from the manager page.


Turning off Show this smilie will only prevent it from being shown in the list of smilies that appears when users click the smilie button on the text editor, but it will not prevent it from being used, if users enter its text replacement combination.

Sprite mode#

In some cases (such as the default XenForo smilies), smilies will come as part of a large sheet of images, rather than being separate, individual images. The sprite mode controls allow you to define coordinates to pick out a single smilie from within the sheet of images.


Attachments are files that have been uploaded along with users' posts etc. They are frequently images, but can also be text files etc.


You can define exactly what kind of files can be uploaded as attachments using the Allowed attachment file extensions option in the main XenForo options system.

Attachment manager#

The attachment manager within the Content section of your admin control panel allows you to review and manage the attachments that have been uploaded to your forum. There are simple controls to switch between the most recent and the largest attachments, and further controls to allow you to filter these results down to specific file types, owner names and dates.

Once you have found the attachment for which you are looking, you can choose to view it right there in the manager, to view it in the context of its host content (the user post in which it was attached) or to delete it.

You may also delete multiple attachments at the same time by selecting the checkbox next to each attachment in the manager, and then using the Delete control at the bottom of the list.

Be careful, because once attachments have been deleted, they cannot be recovered, and their host content may no longer make sense without the attached file.

More settings for controlling how users may attach files can be found in the Attachments section of the main XenForo options system.


To help organise your forum, users may add tags to their content. These tags become links, allowing topics that discuss similar things to be grouped and searched.

Tag manager#

The tag manager lists all the tags that have been applied to content within your forum, describing the number of items that have been tagged with each tag and the date the tag was most recently applied.

From here, you may click to view all content tagged with a particular tag, or you may merge tags if you decide that they are essentially the same thing.

You may also delete tags from the manager.


Reactions allow users to express the emotion they feel towards a piece of content with a simple click. The most basic reaction is Like, with which everyone who has not been living in a cave for the past decade or so is familiar.

XenForo allows multiple reactions to be defined, such as love, sad and wow, each of which may be defined to be a positive, negative or neutral reaction.

Each reaction type may be assigned a reaction score. For example, Like is given a score of (positive) +1. If ten users 'like' a post, in the absence of any other reactions, its reaction score will be 10. Reactions may also be assigned neutral (+0), negative (-1) or custom scores depending upon their use case.

Reaction manager#

All currently-defined reactions are viewable through the reaction manager at Content > Reactions.

Each reaction is listed showing its graphic, title and associated reaction score.

Clicking a reaction or the Add reaction button will enter the reaction editor, where reactions can be defined and edited.

Reaction editor#

The reaction editor form is made up of two parts:

The first part is specific to reactions, and provides input fields to define the title, text color, reaction score and display order for the currently-edited reaction.


The text color field comes into use when a user has selected a particular reaction for a given content item, at which point their reaction will be accompanied by the title of that reaction in the color defined here.

The second part of the reaction editor form concerns itself with defining the reaction graphic.

This is achieved in the same manner in which smilie graphics are defined.

Reaction graphics can be uploaded from your computer directly via the control panel with XenForo 2.2 and newer.

About negative reaction scores#


While it is possible to allow users to express negative reactions, many community administrators will stop short of actually assigning a negative score to reactions.

For example, a person may react with angry to a post describing an unfortunate incident, without wanting to actually penalize the author of the post.

Negative scoring reactions also have the potential to be abused by vindictive users trying to gang-up on other users they may dislike.

By default, XenForo assigns neutral scores to the ostensibly negative reactions sad and angry.

Content voting#

Some content types allow content voting, whereby users may cast an up or down vote for the content.

Users with appropriate permissions may cast a vote, voting it up if they consider it to be 'good' or down if it is 'bad'. Of course, the definition of 'good' or 'bad' depends upon the context and the purpose for which voting has been enabled.

Cancelling a vote#

Votes may be cancelled by clicking on the voting controls for a second time.

Vote score#

These votes contribute to the vote score for the content, which is calculated by subtracting any down-votes from its up-votes, ie: an item with ten up-votes and two down-votes will have a vote score of eight. Each content item's vote score is displayed along with its voting controls.

Enable GIPHY support#

If you enable GIPHY support on your site it enables your users to search for GIFs while they are composing messages on your forum.

You can enable this by going to Options > Messages and clicking Enable GIPHY support. You will also need to obtain a GIPHY API key and upgrade it to a production key.

Obtaining a GIPHY API production key#

  • Go to the GIPHY Developers page and click Create an App.

  • If you already have a GIPHY account then you can log in on the page that appears.

  • If you do not already have a GIPHY account you can click Join GIPHY! to create one.

  • Once you are logged in to the GIPHY Developers Dashboard click Create an App.

  • In the overlay that appears, you will be given a choice of SDK or API. Click Select API followed by Next Step.

  • Enter a name in the Your App Name field. Insert this in the format:

[Your forum name] (GIPHY integration for XenForo)

  • In the App Description field enter the following:

While writing a post using XenForo, users can click the GIF button to see the featured GIFs via the GIPHY API. Users can search using the GIPHY API in the same editor interface. A GIF can be clicked to insert it into their post.

  • Read the GIPHY API Terms and click the checkbox to agree to them, followed by clicking Create App.

  • At this point you now have a GIPHY API Beta Key. These beta keys are rate limited to a maximum of 42 search requests an hour and 1000 search requests a day. To avoid rate limits, you should now upgrade the key to a production key.

  • To obtain a production key from the GIPHY Developers Dashboard click Upgrade to Production below the key you just created.

  • On the form that appears in answer to the question Which API does your app utilize? ensure only Search is selected.

  • Answer the questions about monthly users, categories and provide your board URL.

  • Download this video which shows GIPHY in action on a XenForo forum.

  • Click the first Attach File button that asks you to Please upload a video that shows your app in action. Upload the video you downloaded in the above step.

  • Download this image which shows the features of the GIPHY integration.

  • Click the second Attach File button that asks you to Please provide a screenshot that demonstrates the features of your app + the GIPHY integration. Upload the image you downloaded in the above step.

  • Download this image which shows the attribution marks.

  • Click the third Attach File button that asks you to Please provide a screenshot that includes the 'Powered by GIPHY' attribution marks. Upload the image you downloaded in the above step.

  • Finally, click Apply. Your production key should be approved within 5 working days (often sooner).