Course Schedule Conversion for MODX

This tutorial walks through the steps to convert course schedule from Excel file into MODX.

  1. Open up the original Excel file (provided by Deborah), merge multiple faculty into one row, then delete all the empty rows.
  2. Open up the Course Schedule Sample Excel file
  3. Copy and paste each column such as Course Title, Credit, and Course Number into the sample Excel file. Do it for both Day and Evening courses.
  4. Once everything is in place, copy all (except for row 1) from the Excel file to an HTML editor:

    <div class="table-wrap">
    <table id="course-schedule" class="sortable" border="1" cellspacing="0">
    <th>Course Name</th>
    <th>Num. (Sec.) CRN</th>
    <th class="unsortable">Days, Time</th>
    <th>Final Exam</th>
    <th class="unsortable">Syllabus</th>
    <!--Paste the table from Excel into here-->
    </div><!--end table-wrap-->

  5. Save as an HTML file and view it in the browser. Clean up all the extra spaces using Search & Replace. For examples: ( 3 cr) to (3cr) and ( 001 ) to (001)
  6. Next, perform Search & Replace for notes items: //, (W), (E), +, and (N.1) to (N.9)

    <a href="[[~[[*id]]]]#permission" title="With witten permission of instructor only.">//</a>

    <a href="[[~[[*id]]]]#writing" title="This course has been designated as a writing course.">(W)</a>

    <a href="[[~[[*id]]]]#experimental" title="This course has been designated as an experiential course.">(E)</a>

    <a href="[[~[[*id]]]]#prerequisites" title="This course has prerequisites.">+</a>

    <a href="[[~[[*id]]]]#n1" title="See Note 1">(N.1)</a>

    Note that (N.1) to (N.9) are different for Day than Evening. For Evening change the anchor ID from #n1 to #n1-eve.

  7. Copy and paste notes from the original Excel file to the bottom of the HTML page. Reformat the notes to include all the anchor links.
  8. Once everything looks good, paste into MODX

    Change text case

    This step is not required, but here’s are tips for change the case of text in Excel.

Setting up an RSS Feed Parser in MODX

MODX uses an add-on called getFeed to parse RSS content.

In order to use it, place this code on your page template (example uses the Faculty News Feed):


The code pulls the RSSFeedParser, a custom chunk we made that pulls the most recent article title and link.

Titles are pulled using:


Links are pulled using:


Here is a list of other data fields that may be pulled from the RSS Feed, if available:

  • title – The title of the post.
  • link – A direct link to the post.
  • description – The description of the post.
  • pubdate – The date the post was published.
  • guid – The GUID of the post.
  • author – The name of the author of the post.
  • category – Any tags or category associations the post has.
  • summary – A short summary of the post.
  • date_timestamp – The timestamp of the post.

Like most MODx variables, wrap the data fields with double square brackets, but be sure to use the + sign prefix rather than the * symbol.

Full-Time Faculty Table

The Full Time Faculty Table implements one ditto that calls two separate chunks.

The chunks are:


The structure of both dittos are the same, with only the row background color being different using the existing even and odd classes within the main style sheet.

When calling the ditto, filter the results using:


This sorts the list based on Faculty Type.

When adding fields use the + sign instead of the usual *, so to add the professor’s title, it would look like this:


To integrate a link, use this format:

<a href="mailto:[[+email]]"">[[+email]] </a>

Main Site Hompage and Slider

The main site homepage is comprised of two different templates.

Slider edits can be made through the “2015_home_banners” template. Must go through Files -> Assets -> Templates to find.

The bottom half of the homepage is through the “2019 Home” template. Must go through Elements -> Templates to find.

Two versions of the Carousel image must be uploaded, the desktop and mobile version.

Approved font for Carousel image is Myriad Pro Condensed Black, but Myriad Pro Condensed Bold is an appropriate substitute.

Trouble Viewing Published Material on MODx?

If you’re making an edit to an existing page that has been unpublished in the past, be sure to take an extra look at the “Hide Template Variables on Output” field.

The field is located under most page templates under Template Variables -> Templates – Default TVs:

It varies, but the field in most page templates can be found at the very bottom of the page:


A Template Variable or TV, is simply what MODx calls a custom field found in page creation forms. When this field is set to “Yes” and the page is published, no content will be viewable.

This field is set to “No” by default and should not be a problem when creating new content.



Creating Working Papers

Faculty Working Papers are created in one of two categories. This guide goes over both Law & Economics Working Papers as well as Legal Studies Working Papers.

Step 1. Navigate to the Faculty Working Papers directory on MODx found under: Resources > Publications > Faculty Working Papers

Create a New Article by selecting the New Article button.

Step 2. Name the article using the Article Title field.

Step 3. Scroll down the same page and under the Uses Template field, select Publications – Working Papers template found on page 3 of the drop down menu.

Step 4. Navigate to the Template Variables tab and make sure you are on the Documents sub-section.

Enter the Title & Publication Year/Month/Day

Depending on the category, Either the Law & Economics No. field OR the Legal Studies No. field must be filled in. The naming convention is subject to change. Please contact the Head of Reference and Instructional Services for the most up to date information.

Step 5. Under Text Availability select Abstract and Full Text and SSRN. Almost all working papers include all three items. Then upload a PDF copy of the working paper using the PDF field. Make sure it’s under the publications/working_papers directory.

Step 6. Paste the abstract into the Abstract text field. The abstract is usually included in the working paper. If not, the first paragraph will usually suffice.

Step 7. Select the Author(s) from the checklist.

Step 8. In this field, Type the ID numbers of each author. If there are multiple authors, separate each by a comma (e.g.:  123,456,789). Do not include a blank space between IDs.

Step 9. Scroll back to the top and select the Publications sub-section, still under Template Variables. Under SSRN Of Document, paste the SSRN link provided to you. This link is provided usually provided by a Scalia Law staff member.

Step 10. Finally, select Save to publish the Working Paper.

Adding News Articles

This is specific to the Monthly Dean’s List Mailings found here.

1. Create a Resource using the News template. Give it a Title, Long Title, and Resource Alias.

2. On the Settings Tab, make sure the Parent Resource corresponds to the News>Year. The Published On field will be used to sort the article. Use the date the Mailing was delivered.

3. Under Template Variables, include an image (300px wide by 200px high). Copy and paste a blurb for the Spotlight/Feature Summary (usually the first sentence). Enter the Publication Date. Check off the categorie(s) that correspond to the article on the Categories list. Under Content, paste the entire article.

4. If an image needs to be included, upload the image and use the following code template:

<figure class="floatleft">
<img src="assets/images/news/mossoff_adam.jpg" alt="Professor Adam Mossoff" />
<figcaption>Professor Adam Mossoff</figcaption>

Course Pages

Step 1: Create a New Document

Step 2: Use the Courses Template and Fill in the Title, Long Title, & Resource Title with the course name. The Published checkbox is unchecked by default. Make sure to check it and hit save when you are complete.

Step 3: Under the Settings Tab, use the following field entries in each field to keep all courses.

Step 4: Under the Template Variables Tab -> Courses Sub-Tab fill in the following fields:  Course Title, Department Code, Course Number, Credit Hours (minimum), Credit Hours (maximum), Subject Category, and Prerequisites (if applicable).

Step 5: Under Template Variables Tab -> Entities Sub-Tab, Copy and paste the course description under Short Description.

Optional: If you would like to hide the side bar, the option is under Templates-Default TVs as Hide Side Navigation.


Step 6: When finalized, make sure the Published checkbox is checked under the Document tab and Click on the green Save button.

Faculty and Administrative Bio Pages

Step 1: Create a new Document by clicking on the Document icon under the MODX search bar.

Step 2: Under the Document Tab, select the “People – Faculty and Staff Profiles” Template. Then enter the staff member’s Name under Title, Long Title, and Resource Alias in the format shown below. Please note that the Published checkbox will not be selected by default. When the Bio is complete, this box will need to be checked.

Step 3: Under the Settings Tab, Select the Parent Resource, and make sure the Resource Type, Content Type, Content Disposition and Menu Index have the following inputs:

Step 4: The Template Variables tab will hold the majority of information for the Staff Member. Start with the Locations sub-tab. Here you will enter the Email, GMU Phone Extension, and Office Number.  Please note the phone extension must follow the correct format (3-xxxx).

Step 5: The People sub-tab under Template Variables is very important. Start with the First Name, Middle Name, Last Name, to title the Staff page. A staff banner photo may be uploaded to the Photo Large area when a photo is available.

Scrolling down the People tab, enter the Staff Member’s professional title under Main Title, and include the Bio under Biographical Sketch. For Faculty, please select an Area of Expertise and Subjects Taught.

Further down, select the Designation, Faculty Rank,  Highest Degree Obtained. and Alma Mater. You may enter up to six additional degrees in this section.

Step 6. (Optional) To remove the sidebar which is set by default, scroll back up to the sub-tab area and select Templates – Default TVs. From there select Yes from Hide Side Navigation.

At this point the Staff Bio page has all the required information to display correctly. You will need to select the green SAVE button found at the very top of the page to save your work and publish your page.

Optional: You may add additional information such as uploading a resume, including a professional website link, or Twitter username found in the People and Locations sub-tab, respectively.


Remove Periods from Degrees

For example, replace J.D. or L.L.M to JD or LLM.

Here’s the JavaScript method:

function removePeriods() {
var str = document.getElementById("c_degrees").innerHTML;
var res = str.replace(/\./g, "");
document.getElementById("c_degrees").innerHTML = res;
window.onload = removePeriods;

To do it in MODX, create a chunk called FixDegrees:

A.B.:AB,A.M.:AM,B.A.:BA,B.B.A.:BBA,B.C.:BC,B.Com.:BCom,B.E.E.:BEE,B.I.E.:BIE,B.F.A.,BFA:B.L.:BL,B.M.:BM,B.M.E.:BME,B.S.:BS,B.S.E.:BSE,B.S.E.E.:BSEE,D.Jur.:DJur,D.O.:DO,J.D.:JD,J.S.D.:JSD,J.S.P.:JSP,Ed.D.:EdD,Ed.S.:EdS,LL.B.:LLB,LL.D.:LLD,LL.L.:LLL,LL.M.:LLM,M.A.:MA,M.A.S.:MAS,M.B.A.:MBA,M.Ed:MEd,M.Fc.:MFc,M.L.I.S.:MLIS,M.L.S.:MLS,M.D.:MD,M.Ed.:MEd,M.S.:MS,M.Sc.:MSc,M.S.E.E.:MSEE,M.S.L.S.:MSLS,M.T.:MT,P.G.C.E.:PGCE,Ph.D.:PhD,Cert. of Legal Educ.:Cert of Legal Educ,M.P.P.:MPP,S.J.D.:SLD

Than create a snippet called ReplaceDegrees:

$find = array();
$replace = array();

$line = $modx->getChunk('FixDegrees');
$pairs = array_map('trim', explode(',', $line));
foreach($pairs as $pair) {
if (strpos($pair, ':') === false) {
$pair = $pair . ':';
$couple = array_map('trim', explode(':', $pair));
$find[] = $couple[0];
$replace[] = $couple[1];
return str_replace($find, $replace , $input);

Call the snippet in the template: