Need help customising Buddytalk

I've been setting up a gardening sn site at: (if you want logged in access to view please use the temporary username 'GhostTester' with the password 123456) I've just about completed most of the customising I need to do (and can cope with as a neewbie to the package) using the theme 'Buddytalk'

I now need to do a little bit more complicated work. I would like to:

1 > change the 'Tool' menu name to 'Menu'

2 > change the colour of the Elgg top toolbar to green (with corresponding changes to the items on the toolbar so that they can be displayed clearly

3 > move the menu down so that the banner graphic can be seen clearly and

4 > possibly add a few menu buttons to the main menu bar

Am I asking too much? If not can someone (possibly like the theme author Betty Jones) tell me where to find the css/ php files to do this in the Buddytalk theme.

Many thanks,


  • Strongly recommend you take a look at the firefox plugin firebug, which will let you check out the css of pages you are browsing and even try out changes without touching the actual code.

    You can find the code for the main menu (to add/remove buttons) here:

    To change the position of the main menu got to
    buddytalk/views/default/css.php  look for .ddsmoothmenu   and add something like:

    To change the colors of the top bar you need to search for something like #elgg_topbar in the same css.php file

    To change the word  "Tools" to something else I think you'd need to do this in the language file unless buddytalk has this included somewhere else.


  • You're a pearl Susan - THANKS!

    I've actually got firebug it's a brilliant plugin, however the problem I'm having is knowing where the files I can view in firebug reside, and short of hunting folder by folder on the server a little indicator like you've just given me is brilliant.

    I'm totally new to Elgg so it's taking time to familiarise myself with the folder/ file structures. I wonder if there's any documentation somewhere that just lists where everything lives, their names and what they do to the prog.?

    Many thanks again,



  • Tried going to buddytalk/views/default/css.php  looking for .ddsmoothmenu and inserting 'margin-top:*px' but it has no effect at all on the position of the 'smoothmenu'.

    I'm starting to give up on this one! The other thing is the position of the 'Username' box - it's too near the word 'Username' and is not in line with the 'Password' box. I've hunted for the file to edit it but can't find it - I possibly accidentally caused this when editing something else, but can't for the life of me remember which file it was.

    If there's any helpers out there - you can view my attempts to date at

    I've also tested the site in FF, Opera, Chrome and IEand all is pretty much as expected HOWEVER in IE6 (as from experience there's a load of people out there who haven't moved on from 6). The layout looks a bit strange - any fixes for this?

    Many thanks beforehand,





  • Hi G!

    I've just checked on my demo site and the css for changing the top position of the main menu works there, (its all in Hebrew, but you should be able to see that the main menu is now much lower down on the page.)

    the actual code I used to do that was:  margin-top:135px;  in   buddytalk/views/default/css.php  (may be a silly question but did you remember to add a semi-colon at the end of the line?)

    For "documentation that lists where everything lives, their names and what they do to the prog" one place to look is here:


    Changing some of the features





  • Thanks Susan! sorry for the delay in coming back to you (I need 48 hours in every day!).

    No probs - you're suggestion was spot-on and my insertion of the margin info was also correct (yes I HAD remembered the semi colon).

    It's now implemented. I discovered that the problem appeared to be a plugin (Recommendations). I kept on changing the CSS file but nothing was showing up on the site page. I then disabled the plugin and Hey Presto! All the changes miraculously appeared. I then went and changed something else, but again the same problem - until I ENABLED the plugin again. ?????

    Strange - every time I now customise anything I have to either enable or disable this plugin in my admin 'Tools' section before the site responds to any changes in the CSS file.

    Have you come across this before?

    Many thanks,


    PS the links to docs you gave me just take me back to the login page. Broken perhaps?

  • bigG... u need to turn off  the simple cache so when u make changes to css u will see it.

  • by the way how did you align your PASSWORD  and USERNAME mine input box touches the USERNAME. you got a  great site BigG.

  • @G  glad it worked out :)

    I just checked the links and they're working for me, they are to posts in a Group discussion, you may need to join the group "The Idiots Guide to Changing Elgg" (great name!) in order to get access to read the discussion.

    About the plugin you mention, it may not be the plugin itself that is causing a problem,  activating or disactivating any plugin refreshes the cache (or something to that effect) meaning that you can see you latest changes.  Another way to do this is to run upgrade.php ie http://YOURSITEURL/upgrade.php - I sometimes find that even with simple cache off occasionally I have to run upgrade.php


  • Hi Samantha - thanks. Yep I discovered that myself after many hours of frustration! For newcomers (like me) the problem is that in 'Site Administration' the cache tick box is ticked and the user is advised to keep it that way in order to speed the site up - problem is no one tells you that you can't see changes that you make to a CSS file in real time if the box IS ticked. Someone should put a little note there to explain the possible problem. If you don't see the changes immediately you automatically assume it's a problem with the changes - then you start chasing your tail and hunting for help!

    Re. the alignment of the login and password boxes. Yes I discovered that the spaces between wording and box were different putting the box alignment out - it looks shoddy. What I should have done was find out how to put the extra space in but instead I just changed the box widths so that they drop down to the next line (I think they look nicer that way anyway.

    Go to: /mod/buddytalk/views/default/css.php

    Open the css.php file to edit and go to line 928 (or thereabouts) and find:

    width:250px; (for 'login' - that's the current width of mine).

    Do the same with the password box (around line 954).

    I've checked everything in IE6, FF, Safari, Opera & Chrome. However I checked it in IE7 on Vista the other day and the password box was pushed out of the login/ password window. Don't know why though.

    Hope that helps.

    As for the site being great - STOPPIT! Your embarassing me!!!!