Every Spotlight and Presentation needs a template. The template is what determines your layout, text, background colors, etc. You and your team can reuse the same template multiple times, or create a one-off template for a special event.
When you build a template, you can either start with a blank canvas, or get started with a premade template that you can customize to your liking. In this article, we will cover the following topics on building a branded template to showcase your content:
1. Start a New Template
This section will show you how to select one of MediaSilo’s premade templates and start making it your own.
To create a new template, go to the Spotlight landing page by clicking the Spotlight flame icon in the left-side navigation bar. Once you’re on the Spotlight landing page, click Template Library in the top right.
This opens the Template Library, which contains:
any templates you’ve already created and
any templates that someone else in your workspace has created and made available to other workspace users.
To create a new template, click the Blank Template button.
The Create Template window includes these basic template settings:
Name: This is the name of your template, not the actual Presentation or Spotlight you share with an audience. The template name is only visible internally to members of your MediaSilo workspace with access to the template. Keep in mind you can always edit the template’s name later.
Description: This field is optional. Like your template’s name, it’s only visible to members of your MediaSilo workspace with access to the template.
Template Type: Choose Portal to create a standard web page where you can scroll up and down to view the entire page. Choose Slides to create a slide deck. Slides have arrows on the left and right sides of the page to navigate to the previous and next slides.
Share template with other workspace users: Turn this toggle on to make your template visible to other users in your MediaSilo workspace. This way, your team can create Presentations using the same template, or they can clone your template, build their own version, and leave your original template intact.
Turn this toggle off to keep your template private. Note that whether this toggle is on or off, an administrator on your account can see every template that has been created.
You can always edit this setting later. You may want to turn the toggle off while the template is a work in progress, and then turn it on once it’s ready to share with the rest of your team.
Once you choose your settings, click Create Template.
This takes you to the template builder, where a library of premade templates is automatically presented.
Hover over the template tiles for a brief description of each template. Click the Clone button on the template you’d like to use. If you do not want to use a premade template, close the Templates panel to start with a blank page. You can always reopen the Templates panel by clicking the Templates button in the left-side toolbar.
Every premade template contains a header for your brand logo.
If an administrator has already uploaded your company’s logo to your workspace, then the logo is automatically displayed in the template header. If a logo has not been uploaded, you will see “BrandName” as a logo placeholder. The next section in this article explains how to upload your logo.
Now that you have created a template, you can start customizing it. Every element you see on the page can be deleted, resized, or edited to your liking. To replace the stock photos in the template with your own videos, images, or other content, please jump to the section Add a Playlist to Your Template.
The next few sections will walk you through adding text, inserting images, changing your background, and more.
Upload Your Brand Logo for Easy Access
If you are an account administrator, you can upload your brand logo to MediaSilo, so it’s automatically displayed in both Review Links and Spotlight templates. First, click the gear icon in the left-side navigation bar to open the Administration section. Then, click the Branding tab.
The Branding tab includes the section Set Brand Logo. Click Upload to select a jpg or png on your computer. We recommend using a 300px by 150px image. To make the most of premade Spotlight templates, you may want to upload an image with a transparent background. Depending on your logo colors, this can help your logo look great whether you choose a light or dark themed template.
Click Save to confirm your changes. Now, whenever you or a workspace user selects a premade Spotlight template, your logo is automatically displayed in the header.
Once your logo has been uploaded, you can also add it to your template at any time by using the Apply brand logo button.
In the Spotlight template builder, click the plus icon in the left-side toolbar to open the Elements panel. Then, click and drag the Image icon directly onto your template. This adds a blank square as an image placeholder.
Select the square, and open the properties drawer on the right side of the page. Under the Image Settings tab, click the checkbox next to “Apply brand logo” to replace the placeholder with your logo.
2. Change Your Background Color
You can change the background color of an entire page or specific parts of the page.
To change the page color, click the arrow in the top right to open the properties drawer.
Then, near the top-left corner of the page, click the gear icon to display your Page Settings in the right drawer.
Under Options, click the color swatch next to BG Color. Here, you can click the color picker and use the sliders to choose your color, or you can enter a six-digit color code next to the color swatch. This will change the color of the page and will apply to any new sections you create.
Sections are defined by the blue lines across the page. These lines are only visible within the template builder, not in the actual Presentation or Spotlight viewed by your audience. To change the color of a particular section, click an empty spot in the section to select it. You can click and drag the bottom border of the section to adjust its height.
Then, in the properties drawer, go to BG Color, and choose your new color.
Note that the section color will override the page color, so your page can have one color while particular sections, like the header and footer, can have different colors.
Set a Background Image or Video
To apply a background image to an entire page, open the properties drawer on the right. Then, click the gear icon in the top left to display your Page Settings.
In the properties drawer, go to the Image Upload section to upload your background image.
While a page can have an image background, a section can have either an image or a video background. To change a section’s background, click an empty spot in the section to select it. Then, in the properties drawer, go to the Background section to upload an image or video.
Note that a video background will not play while you are working in the template builder. To preview the video background, click the Preview button in the top right.
The properties drawer also includes settings for Repeat and BG Size to achieve the look you want. For example, to display your image across an entire section, you would select Cover from the BG Size menu. For a tile effect, you could select Contain under BG Size and Repeat-X under Repeat.
Use Background Image Filters
You can further customize a section by applying filters to your background image. These filters are especially helpful in keeping your foreground elements clear and legible. For example, you might consider lowering the opacity of your image and adding a slight blur to keep the focus on your text.
Note that these filters only apply to images, not video backgrounds.
3. Add Text to Your Template
To start adding text, click the plus icon in the left-side navigation bar. This opens the Elements panel, which includes two type options: Text and Paragraph. To add an element, you can either click the icon, or click and drag the icon to a spot on your template.
Clicking the Text icon adds a line of text that reads “Change Text”; Paragraph adds a single paragraph of placeholder text. You can double click either of these text boxes to highlight the text and start typing.
To change your text settings, including font, color, and size, open the properties drawer on the right. This follows a common pattern in Spotlight: add elements from the left side of the page and then customize them on the right.
You can choose from twenty-four fonts in the Typeface dropdown menu. The following section will show you how to upload more fonts, including your own custom fonts.
Along the top of the properties drawer is a row of alignment tools. These tools apply to the text box itself; to align the text inside the box, go to Alignment under the Text section.
You can also turn a text element into a clickable link. First, go to the Link section in the properties drawer. Here, you can create an internal link that takes your audience to another page of your Presentation or Spotlight, or an external link to another website. When your audience clicks an external link, the link will open in a new browser tab.
The URL field also support mailto links, such as mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. By clicking the link, your audience opens their default mail program, with the "To" field already filled out.
Note that links do not work while you are in template building mode. Click the Preview button in the top right to see your links in action.
Upload More Fonts
By default, the Typeface menu in Spotlight includes a collection of twenty-four fonts. To add more fonts to the menu, click the paint palette icon in the left-side toolbar. This opens the Design Settings panel.
The first tab, which reads Style, is for design presets. Learn more about these by jumping to the section Save Time with Design Presets. Click the Fonts tab to view your font options.
Next, click Google Fonts to display a font search menu. Search for a font (for example: Gothic A1), and then click the font name to display a list of all available font variations, such as light, medium, semibold, etc. Click the checkbox next to all the font options you want to use.
Then, click Add Fonts. The new font and any variations you selected are now available in the properties drawer.
To upload a custom font, click the plus button next to Custom Fonts. This will prompt you to select an otf or ttf file from your computer.
Once you upload a file, the font is displayed in the Typeface menu in the properties drawer.
Uploading a font does not make the font accessible to all templates in your workspace. If you want your font settings to carry over to a new template, you can make a copy of an existing template. To do this, click Template Library on the Spotlight landing page, hover over the template that includes your font settings, and select Clone.
4. Add an Image to Your Template
This section will cover how to add a standalone image to your template. To add a gallery with multiple images, please see the next section, Add a Playlist to Your Template. To apply a background image, please refer to the section Set a Background Image or Video.
The Spotlight template builder is connected to all the images you’ve already uploaded to MediaSilo Projects. Click the Media Browser button in the left-side toolbar to browse your projects for the image you want to add. You can select a project from the dropdown menu, or click on the menu and start typing your project’s name.
Click an image thumbnail to expand the panel for a larger preview. To insert the image, click the image thumbnail - not the image preview - and drag it onto your template.
You can also drag an image directly from your desktop onto the template.
Once you've added an image, customization options are available in the properties drawer on the right.
The top row contains a series of alignment tools. Under Size, you can adjust the image’s x, y coordinates. This is an alternative way of moving your image, as you can also click and drag the image to move it around the page.
Similarly, you can click and drag an image's borders and corners to resize it, or you can enter pixel values under Width and Height. By default, the lock icon next to Width and Height is toggled on, which means the image is scaled proportionally.
To flip an image horizontally or vertically, go to Image Options.
The Filters section lets you customize an image without opening a single image editing application. Filters allow you to adjust the image brightness and contrast, apply a blur effect, and more. Note that these filters do not affect the source file that lives in your MediaSilo project.
Use the File Upload section to replace an image with a different file from your computer.
The Link section allows you to turn an image into a clickable link. You can link to another page in your template or to an external site.
Finally, you can apply a border or shadow to an image under the Style section. To apply a border, choose a color and then increase the width from 0 to your desired size. Increase the radius if you want to give the border rounded corners.
To apply a shadow, increase the default Spread from 0 to your desired size. Then, increase the Blur to achieve a shadow effect. You can change the shadow color, or to lower the intensity, reduce the opacity in the color picker.
By default, the shadow is distributed evenly around the image. You can adjust the x, y coordinates to give the shadow a slight offset. For example, if you change both the x and y values to 6, the shadow is concentrated in the bottom right, as if a light source were shining from the top left.
5. Add a Playlist to Your Template
Every premade template contains a gallery with stock photos. This section will show you how to replace these photos with your own playlist. A playlist is a collection of your assets, whether they're videos, images, documents, audio files, or a collection of different file types. You can replace the stock photos with an existing playlist or create a new playlist directly from the template builder. We will cover both workflows in this section.
Add an Existing Playlist
To replace a stock-photo gallery with an existing playlist, you can drag and drop your playlist directly onto the gallery. First, click the Playlists button in the left-side toolbar to open the Playlists panel.
This panel contains:
any playlists you’ve already created and
any playlists that a workspace user has created and made available to other workspace users.
Click the filter icon to sort by My Playlists and All Playlists.
You can also sort by different types of playlists, such as folder-based playlists. To learn more about playlists, please refer to the article Create and Share Playlists.
Click on a playlist on the left side of the panel to preview the playlist contents on the right. Next, click on the playlist name - not the individual assets - and drag it directly onto the stock-photo gallery.
The gallery will update to display your playlist.
To add another gallery, just click and drag a playlist onto an empty spot on your template.
Create a New Playlist
To create a new playlist, open the Media Browser panel in the left-side toolbar. Then, navigate to any file you’d like to include in a new playlist.
You can click on a thumbnail on the left side of the panel to preview the file on the right. Next, click and drag the thumbnail - not the preview image - onto the gallery.
You will see the text “Replace Playlist,” since you are replacing the current playlist with a new one. Once you drop the file onto the gallery, the Create Playlist window will open.
Here, you can name your playlist, add an optional description, and choose your share and download settings. Turn on the Shared toggle to make the playlist accessible to other users on your workspace, or turn it off to keep it private. Note that whether this toggle is on or off, an administrator can access all playlists on a workspace.
Turn on the Allow download toggle to permit downloading of playlist assets by anyone with access to a Presentation or Spotlight that features your playlist.
Next, click Create. The files in the gallery are now replaced by your new playlist. Add more files to the playlist by clicking and dragging them onto the gallery. Note that two options appear when an asset hovers over the gallery: Add to Playlist and Replace Playlist. Drop the file over Add to Playlist to continue building your existing playlist, or Replace Playlist to start a new one.
You can change your gallery style in the properties drawer on the right. For example, you may want to display your assets in a carousel or list, instead of the default grid. To learn more about gallery options, please refer to the article Choose a Media Gallery to Display Your Work.
MediaSilo offers multiple ways to create a new playlist, whether you’re in Spotlight or Projects. As an alternative path to creating a playlist, you can open the Playlists panel and click the blue plus icon. Then, open the Media Browser, and start dragging files directly from the Media Browser into the Playlists panel.
6. Add a Search Bar to Your Gallery
You can make a gallery searchable in two steps: first, add a search bar; then, connect the search bar to the gallery you want to make searchable.
To add a search bar, open the Elements panel from the left-side toolbar, and drag a Search element onto your template.
Next, with the Search element selected, open the properties drawer on the right. The first tab lets you customize the look of your search bar, from the background color to the size of the magnifying-glass icon. The second tab is where you connect the search bar to a gallery. Click the dropdown menu next to “Element,” and select the gallery you want to make searchable.
To preview the search experience, click the Preview button at the top of the page. The search bar is not functional while you are in template building mode.
Search results will contain matches for asset titles, descriptions, and tags.
7. Link a Gallery to a Stage
A stage allows your audience to click on a thumbnail and open the corresponding asset in a larger viewer.
To create this viewing experience, you just need two elements: a stage and a gallery. Add a stage by opening the Elements panel and dragging the stage icon onto your template.
You can click and drag the stage's corners to resize it. At the top of the properties drawer, you’ll see the stage’s default name, for example: “Player-436.” To keep your template organized, you may want to rename the stage to something more identifiable. In this example, we'll rename it to “Stage: Petra Photos.”
Next, you can add a gallery by opening the Playlists panel and dragging one of your playlists onto the template.
The last step is to connect the gallery to the stage. Select the gallery, open the properties drawer on the right, and go to the second tab in the drawer.
Under the Behavior section, click the dropdown menu and select “Stage.” Next, you need to specify which stage you are using. In this example, we’ll select the stage we renamed “Stage: Petra Photos.”
Your stage and gallery are now connected.
You can continue customizing your gallery by exploring the different styles and options in the properties drawer. For example, you might prefer a thumbnail carousel instead of a grid. To learn more about your gallery options, please see the article Choose a Media Gallery to Display Your Work.
When using the stage element, you might also consider including Dynamic Text. This is text that automatically updates to display the name, description, or metadata of whichever file is on the stage.
To learn more about this feature, please see the article Display Asset Metadata Using Dynamic Text.
8. Display Multiple Playlists Using Tabs
In some cases, you may want to display several playlists in a single gallery, instead of using multiple galleries. For example, you are creating an asset hub with separate playlists for videos, photos, documents, etc. In this case, you can use the Tabs element to create one gallery with separate tabs for each playlist.
To get started, open the Elements panel from the left-side toolbar, and add the Tabs element to your template.
This adds two components to the page: a gallery and a series of tabs (Tab 1, Tab 2, Tab 3). The two components are automatically linked, so you can click on each tab to display three different playlists featuring stock photos.
Next, you can replace these stock photos with your own assets. Open the Playlists panel, and start dragging playlists into the tabs.
To delete the placeholder tabs, select the tabs container and open the properties drawer on the right. Then, click the gear icon at the top of the properties drawer to see your full list of tabs. Hover over the placeholder tabs, and click the trash button to delete them.
Click the pencil icon to edit the tab’s display name. This does not edit your playlist name, only the text that is displayed on each tab.
By default, tabs are displayed horizontally. To switch to a vertical layout, go to the Layout section in the properties drawer, and select Vertical.
Below the Layout section, you can click on Default, Hover, or Selected to customize how a tab looks in each of these three states.
9. Add More Pages to Your Template
This section will show you how to build a multipage template you can easily navigate. There are two ways to add a page to your template. The first is to open the Pages panel from the left-side toolbar and click the blue plus icon.
This creates a blank page. Keep in mind that you typically want to maintain a consistent look across all your pages. For this reason, we recommend styling your first page and then duplicating that page to carry over your design. This way, your new page already has the same header, footer, and background colors. To duplicate an existing page, hover over the page name, click the options menu, and select Duplicate.
In the Pages panel, you can double-click a page to rename it. Use the Pages panel to jump between the different pages you are building.
Add a Navigation Bar
Once you’ve added pages to your template, you need a navigation bar that links to each page. First, click the plus icon in the left-side toolbar to open the Elements panel. Then, drag the Navigation icon onto the template.
This navigation bar automatically displays the names you’ve given each page. You can customize the look of the navigation bar in the properties drawer on the right. For example, if your page names are too close together, try increasing the Spacing to 30px or higher.
Next, you’ll want to add the navigation bar to each page in your template. To position the bar in the exact same spot on each page, consider using the copy and paste keyboard shortcuts (Command-C and Command-V):
Select the navigation bar.
Copy the bar (Command-C).
Go to the next page.
Paste the bar (Command-V).
To preview how the navigation bar works, hit the Preview button along the top of the page. The bar will not work while you are in template building mode.
If you’ve created a page you want to exclude from the navigation bar, uncheck the Incl Nav (Include in Navigation) checkbox in the properties drawer.
How to Link a Gallery to Different Pages
By default, when your audience clicks on an asset in a gallery, the asset opens in a larger “light box” view. In some cases, you may want the asset to open a different page instead. For example, your gallery has posters for four different projects. When your audience clicks on a poster, they are taken to a dedicated page for that particular project.
To create this kind of viewing experience, you need to link the assets in a gallery to their corresponding pages. First, select the gallery and go to the second tab in the properties drawer.
Under the Behavior section, select Page from the dropdown menu. This opens an additional section called Asset Links.
Now, click the dropdown menu next to each asset and choose the page where an asset should take you.
10. Save Time with Design Presets
If you’re adding multiple elements using the same settings, there’s no need to apply those settings over and over again. With the Design Settings panel, you only need to apply your settings once, and they are automatically applied to each new element in your template.
Start by clicking the paint palette icon in the left-side toolbar to open the Design Settings panel.
Here, you can choose the default settings for new pages and elements. For example, open the Paragraph section and set a default typeface, size, and color. Now, these settings will apply to every new paragraph you create.
Settings in the Layout section apply to any new page you create.
Under the Brand section, you can also establish your go-to brand colors and default font. Click the plus icon under Brand Colors to create a white color swatch. Click the color swatch, and choose a color you plan to reuse throughout your template. Repeat these steps for any additional colors you want to add.
Now, whenever you open the color picker in the properties drawer, you can select one of your brand colors with a single click.
Choosing a Brand Font will automatically apply the font to new elements that feature text. This includes text, paragraph, button, and navigation elements.
Note that design presets for a specific element will override the Brand Font. For example, if your paragraphs are preset to use Roboto and your Brand Font is Montserrat, new paragraphs will use Roboto.
11. Use Layers to Stack Elements
The Layers panel lists all the elements on the page, from text boxes and images to video players and image galleries.
When two elements, or layers, are overlapping, the order of the layers determines which element appears in front of the other. You can click and drag each layer inside the Layers panel to rearrange its order. For example, if you have white text over a blue box, the text layer should be listed above the box layer. Otherwise, the box will cover the text.
In addition to reordering layers inside the Layers panel, you can click the options menu next to each layer to make a copy, delete the layer, or rename it. Choose Lock Layer if you want to lock its position on the page, so you don’t move it accidentally. Note that after you lock a layer, you can always unlock it.
12. Save and Share Your Template
To save your work, use the Command-S keyboard shortcut, or click Save along the top right of the page. This opens the Save Changes window, where you can hit the Update button.
The Save Changes window is also the place to edit your template’s name, add or edit a template description, and change your template’s access setting. Turn the Share template toggle on to make the template visible to other users in your MediaSilo workspace, or turn it off to keep your template private. Note that whether this toggle is on or off, an administrator on your account can see every template that has been created.
To exit the template builder and return to the Spotlight landing page, click the arrow button in the bottom-left corner of the page.