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Liferay Portal is modular, meaning it’s composed of many applications divided into even smaller “chunks” of functionality. The applications, and sometimes even code chunks, are configurable at several scopes, as discussed in the introductory article for this section.

In System Settings, administrators make system scoped configuration changes and set system-wide default configurations for other scopes. System Settings is located in Control Panel → Configuration → System Settings.


Figure 1: System Settings are accessed through the Control Panel.

Editing System Configurations

System Settings is organized into sections (for example, Content) and categories (for example, Workflow) based on the functionality being configured. There’s also a Search bar to make finding configuration entries easier. Search for the name of a specific configuration entry, or even a specific field within an entry.


Figure 2: System Settings are organized by section and category.

Changing a configuration isn’t difficult:

  1. Find the configuration you need, either by searching or browsing the sections and categories.

  2. Open the configuration form for the entry. Click the name of the component you want to configure.

  3. Make any changes you’d like, then click Save. Your configuration changes are saved and applied throughout the system.


Figure 3: After saving changes to a configuration, the actions Reset Default Values and Export are available for it.

If you make some regrettable configuration decisions and can’t recall exactly what you did, start over by clicking the actions button (icon-actions.png), then clicking Reset Default Values.

Configuration Scope

While browsing the categories of System Settings, you’ll notice that clicking into a topic (for example, Blogs) reveals entries at different scopes. All the settings here act at the system scope. For scopes labeled other than System, these configurations act as defaults. In other words, they identify where the system-wide configuration is overridden. System scoped configurations are, of course, not overridden at more granular scopes. There are four values that you’ll see under Scope:

  • System: Any System Settings configuration made for system scoped entries becomes the final value for the application in a system-wide fashion. It affects the whole system and isn’t overridden anywhere else.


  • Virtual Instance Scope: Configuration at the Virtual Instance level is overridden in Instance Settings.


  • Site Scope: Configuration at this scope is overridden in each site.


  • Widget Scope: Configuration at this scope is overridden in each Widget Instance (like the Blogs example below).


If a configuration changed in System Settings is also configurable at a different scope, the System Settings value acts as a default that can be overridden. Once a configuration change is made at a more granular scope, making a change at the system level doesn’t do anything.

For example, allowing comments is configurable for each Blogs Entry. Set the default behavior at Control Panel → Configuration → System Settings → Blogs. In the Blogs Entry under Widget Scope, disable the Enable Comments checkbox.

Now add a Blog Entry to a Site’s Content → Blogs application. Then go to a public page and add the Blogs Widget to the page. Click the Actions button (icon-actions.png) for the widget and select Configuration. You’ll see the same Enable Comments checkbox, and its default is now false (unchecked). Checking the box in the Widget Configuration screen breaks its link with the System Settings entry. Changing the System Settings configuration has no effect on this widget anymore.

If an application is configurable from Instance Settings and System Settings, use System Settings to configure it whenever possible. If you use Instance Settings and later want to revert to using the System Settings default configurations, use the Reset Values button from the Instance Settings entry.


Figure 8: Some Instance Settings entries have a Reset Values button so you can safely revert your configuration changes, falling back to the System Settings defaults.

The Reset Values button removes configuration values from the database so you can rely on the defaults that were provided out-of-the-box. If there is no Reset Values button for an Instance Settings entry, once you use Instance Settings to configure the application, you can’t later decide to use System Settings. Only changes to Instance Settings are recognized.

Exporting and Importing Configurations

What if you change many default configurations in System Settings, and then need to make the same changes in another installation? Don’t worry, you don’t need to remember and duplicate every choice you made. The System Settings application lets you export a single entry’s configurations, or all the settings you made in the System Settings interface. The exported files are deployable to any other installation of the same version.

To export a single entry’s configurations, click the actions button (icon-actions.png), then click Export. A .config file containing your configuration downloads to your system.

To export all the configuration changes you’ve made in System Settings, click the System Settings options button (icon-options.png), then click Export All Settings. The .config files for all the entries you edited then download in a ZIP file.

To make these configurations active in the destination system, unzip and place the .config files in the [Liferay_Home]/osgi/configs folder.

Now you know what System Settings is and how to use it. All that’s left is to explore the entries to see what configuration options are available. If you aren’t sure what something does, check the documentation for the feature you’re interested in, as specific configurations are covered there.

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