Styling Custom Portlets

If you click the Make Your Reservation link, the site presents you with a reservation form, along with the Guestbook portlet from the MVC Learning Path.

The Guestbook portlet is looking pretty plain at the moment. It’s time to change that. It can be styled just like any other element on the page; you just need to know the existing classes to override.

  1. Sign in as an Admin and click the Make Your Reservation! link at the bottom of the page.

  2. Click the gear icon on the Guestbook portlet and select Look and Feel.

  3. Select the Advanced Styling tab at the top of the dialog window.

  4. At the top of the section you’ll see a box highlighted in blue that reads Your current portlet information is as follows

    Figure 1: You can view a custom portlets class in the Look and Feel configuration menu.

    Figure 1: You can view a custom portlet's class in the *Look and Feel* configuration menu.

Now you can see that the class for the Guestbook portlet is .guestbook-portlet. It follows an easy pattern: .project-name. You could write all your CSS for the Guestbook portlet here in the Advanced Styling section, but to keep things organized, you should place the styling in custom.css with the rest of the styles.

  1. Open custom.css and add the following code above the closing } for the #content styling:

    /*---------Guestbook Portlet Styles------------*/
    .guestbook-portlet {
        background-color: $themeMainColor;
        border: 2px solid #50A2F6;
        border-radius: 25px;
        color: #FFF;
        max-width: 100%;
        padding: 30px;

    This gets you most of the way there, but the styling could use some more work. The background matches the color of the theme’s navigation and Footer, but the text is unreadable in the table’s first entry. If you haven’t added any entries to the guestbook, you won’t see the table elements. Go ahead and add a couple entries to the Main guestbook if you haven’t already and save them. You should now see the table for the entries. As you can see the red background is a bit jarring with the second entry link. In order to make the needed changes to the rest of the guestbook styles, you’ll need to know the elements or classes.

    Most browsers allow you to inspect the elements of the page to view the HTML. Using the built-in browser tools, you can retrieve the rest of the class and element names.

  2. Right click on the table and select Inspect Element.

    A new area appears, showing the HTML for the page. You’ll see that the table is a table element with a th element for the column names and td elements for each of the columns in the rows. Now you can add the styles to update the table.

  3. Add the following code for the guestbook below the padding: 30px; style and save the file:

    .table {
        th {
            background-color: #50A2F6;
        td {
            background-color: #FFF;
            color: #000;
    .portlet-title-text {
        display: block;
        font-size: 1.3em;
    .aui-search-bar .field {
        border-radius: 25px;
        margin-top: 10px;

Some additional styling has been added for the Guestbook portlet’s title and search bar using the classes found in the browser’s inspector. With the updates to the styling, the Guestbook portlet should look similar to the figure below:

Figure 2: The Guestbook portlets styles now complement the theme.

Figure 2: The Guestbook portlet's styles now complement the theme.

In the next section you’ll learn how you can use Bootstrap markup and styles to give your theme’s UI a consistent look.

« Styling the FooterUsing Bootstrap Styles »