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Configure Custom Backend Preview for Content Element

To allow editors a smoother experience, all custom content elements and plugins should be configured with a corresponding backend preview that shows an approximation of the element's appearance in the TYPO3 page module. The following sections describe how to achieve that.


With TYPO3 10.3, the backend rendering process of content elements has been replaced by the new Fluid based PreviewRenderer if the feature toggle Fluid based page module is activated. The section below describes both the "classic" as well as the new way.

With Fluid Based Page Module


The PreviewRenderer usage is only active if the fluid based page module feature is enabled. This feature is activated by default in new installations of TYPO3 versions 10.3 and later.

The feature toggle can be located in the Settings admin module under Feature Toggles. Or it can be set in PHP using $GLOBALS['TYPO3_CONF_VARS']['SYS']['features']['fluidBasedPageModule'] = true;.

A PreviewRenderer is used to facilitate (record) previews in TYPO3. The class is responsible for generating the preview and the wrapping.

Writing a PreviewRenderer

A custom PreviewRenderer must implement the interface \TYPO3\CMS\Backend\Preview\PreviewRendererInterface which contains the following API methods:

 * Dedicated method for rendering preview header HTML for
 * the page module only. Receives $item which is an instance of
 * GridColumnItem which has a getter method to return the record.
 * @param GridColumnItem
 * @return string
public function renderPageModulePreviewHeader(GridColumnItem $item);

 * Dedicated method for rendering preview body HTML for
 * the page module only.
 * @param GridColumnItem $item
 * @return string
public function renderPageModulePreviewContent(GridColumnItem $item);

 * Render a footer for the record to display in page module below
 * the body of the item's preview.
 * @param GridColumnItem $item
 * @return string
public function renderPageModulePreviewFooter(GridColumnItem $item): string;

 * Dedicated method for wrapping a preview header and body HTML.
 * @param string $previewHeader
 * @param string $previewContent
 * @param GridColumnItem $item
 * @return string
public function wrapPageModulePreview($previewHeader, $previewContent, GridColumnItem $item);

Implementing these methods allows you to control the exact composition of the preview.

This means assuming your PreviewRenderer returns <h4>Header</h4> from the header render method and <p>Body</p> from the preview content rendering method and your wrapping method does return '<div>' . $previewHeader . $previewContent . '</div>'; then the entire output becomes <div><h4>Header</h4><p>Body</p></div> when combined.

Should you wish to reuse parts of the default preview rendering and only change, for example, the method that renders the preview body content, you can subclass \TYPO3\CMS\Backend\Preview\StandardContentPreviewRenderer in your own PreviewRenderer class - and selectively override the methods from the API displayed above.

Configuring the implementation

Individual preview renderers can be defined by using one of the following two approaches:

$GLOBALS['TCA'][$table]['ctrl']['previewRenderer'] = My\PreviewRenderer::class;

This specifies the PreviewRenderer to be used for any record in $table.

Or if your table has a "type" field/attribute:

$GLOBALS['TCA'][$table]['types'][$type]['previewRenderer'] = My\PreviewRenderer::class;

This specifies the PreviewRenderer only for records of type $type as determined by the type field of your table.

Or finally, if your table and field have a subtype_value_field TCA setting (like tt_content.list_type for example) and you want to register a preview renderer that applies only when that value is selected (e.g. when a certain plugin type is selected and you can't match it with the "type" of the record alone):

$GLOBALS['TCA'][$table]['types'][$type]['previewRenderer'][$subType] = My\PreviewRenderer::class;

Where $type is for example list (indicating a plugin) and $subType is the value of the list_type field when the type of plugin you want to target is selected as plugin type.


The recommended location is in the ctrl array in your extension's Configuration/TCA/$table.php or Configuration/TCA/Overrides/$table.php file. The former is used when your extension is the one that creates the table, the latter is used when you need to override TCA properties of tables added by the core or other extensions.

With "Classic" Page Module

If you want to generate a special preview in the "classic" backend Web > Page module, you can use a hook for this:

// Register for hook to show preview of tt_content element of CType="yourextensionkey_newcontentelement" in page module
$GLOBALS['TYPO3_CONF_VARS']['SC_OPTIONS']['cms/layout/class.tx_cms_layout.php']['tt_content_drawItem']['yourextensionkey_newcontentelement'] =

According to the used namespace, a new file Classes/Hooks/PageLayoutView/NewContentElementPreviewRenderer.php has to be created with the following content:

namespace Vendor\YourExtensionKey\Hooks\PageLayoutView;

 * This file is part of the TYPO3 CMS project.
 * It is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under
 * the terms of the GNU General Public License, either version 2
 * of the License, or any later version.
 * For the full copyright and license information, please read the
 * LICENSE.txt file that was distributed with this source code.
 * The TYPO3 project - inspiring people to share!

use TYPO3\CMS\Backend\View\PageLayoutView;
use TYPO3\CMS\Backend\View\PageLayoutViewDrawItemHookInterface;

 * Contains a preview rendering for the page module of CType="yourextensionkey_newcontentelement"
class NewContentElementPreviewRenderer implements PageLayoutViewDrawItemHookInterface

     * Preprocesses the preview rendering of a content element of type "My new content element"
     * @param \TYPO3\CMS\Backend\View\PageLayoutView $parentObject Calling parent object
     * @param bool $drawItem Whether to draw the item using the default functionality
     * @param string $headerContent Header content
     * @param string $itemContent Item content
     * @param array $row Record row of tt_content
     * @return void
    public function preProcess(
        PageLayoutView &$parentObject,
        array &$row
    ) {
        if ($row['CType'] === 'yourextensionkey_newcontentelement') {
            $itemContent .= '<p>We can change our preview here!</p>';

            $drawItem = false;