build drupal pages with content reference entities

A content entity based page contruction technique. This technique is native to drupal. And is suitable for working with premade finished nodes of content. So you can create content once and then reference it from unlimited nodes. This is the central powerful feature of this type of website build.


  • A drupal install

Its a 3 step process

  1. create the content type with all the required fields
  2. create the content based on the content type
  3. reference/pull in this content from other content types such as basic page or a parent block of some sort.

What are the benefits

  • Global blocks (1 central source of content for a node, that can be reused in different content entities)
  • Translatable
  • Close to core implimentation
  • Flexible content ordering via drag and drop

How to build blocks with content entities

Blocks are content types

  • Create a content type for a block.
  • Add a field to the block that is of type content (which is under reference)
  • Go to manage fields
  • Go to entity reference (under field type)
  • Go to edit
  • Under reference types add all the content types the field is able to refernce

Attach to a page

  • Add the content refernce field to a basic page content type
  • Go to content types
  • Go to manage fields


The most basic usecase for this technique is allowing blocks to be added to a basic page

  • Add a content reference field to the basic page content type
  • Allow the field to reference other content types

Blocks can reference other blocks

Create a slider block that can slide cards and or articles

  • Create a content type called slider
  • Create a content type called card
  • In the slider content type add a content reference field
  • Allow the reference field to access the Card and Artical content types

    img-description screenshot of the manage fields area of the slider block

Block display

By default the block you reference display as links to the content. This is not useful. What we need is the full content to display.

Display the full block content

  • Go to structure / content types
  • Select your block content type
  • Go to manage fields
  • Add field of display mode
  • Create a display mode
  • Hit save on the following screen

Set the display option

On the following edit field screen, under excluded display modes

  • Choose full
  • Choose include selected display modes
  • Save settings

Set the entity reference field display mode

Go back to manage fields (use the breadcrumbs at the top of the screen)

  • Under manage display
  • Locate the entity reference field
  • Under the format column choose selected display mode
  • Hit save

Now back on the frontend, rather then the block displaying a link to edit its content it will display the full content

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