Why aren't categories and sections visible to customers?

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  • Bob Jordan

    Here is the reason why I think only 3 out of 20 people have found this article helpful. We've created categories and we've created sections that fall into those categories. Then, we've created articles and linked to those category sections. However, when we publish, the top level categories do not show up on the help page. 

  • Bob Jordan

    To follow up, what I found is that all the categories will show up on the landing page after they have a published article inside the category.  I think what is confusing to users is that the default action should be any created category should by default show on the main landing page. 

  • Nicole Saunders
    Zendesk Community Team

    Thanks for those notes, Bob. We've flagged this article for review by the publishers. 

  • Kate Hope


    I have two categories, both of which contain multiple sections and multiple articles.

    One of the categories contains articles and sections which are only visible to logged in users. Is there a way of having the category available for everyone to view then if it is clicked on a user is prompted to create an account and log in?

  • Jupete Manitas
    Zendesk Customer Advocate

    Hi Kate,

    Thanks for writing!

    Just to confirm your question you are trying to have sections and articles that are partially available but when user clicked it a page will prompt for them to create an account to view the whole article?If yes this could possibly be done but you have to build your own custom codes for your help center. For now there is a limitation to the feature if articles are restricted this is only visible once logged in.


  • Ann Hyett



    My categories are not showing up on the home screen. All articles are "published" but the outside user can not see them visible. 

  • Nicole Saunders
    Zendesk Community Team

    Hi Ann,

    Have you checked to make sure that all of those articles are set to be visible to "everyone" and not just "agents and managers"?

  • Rebecca McMurry

    On Enterprise Guide, is there a way to make a group of articles visible with bulk updating? 


  • Nicole Saunders
    Zendesk Community Team

    Hi Rebecca,

    You can update permissions for articles in bulk (see Updating articles in bulk). If you want to set permissions for all articles in a section, first create an article list filtered by the section, then update the permissions for those articles in bulk.

    Let me know if those resources work for you, or if you have further questions!

  • Gustavo Ramos

    I have multiple categories with sections inside of it. Inside the categories many articles were built.

    But when I try to access it as an end-user I still only see the sections instead of the categories (I see that someone already commented this 2yrs ago).

    Is there any way the end-user can see the only the categories?


  • Brett Bowser
    Zendesk Community Team

    Hey Gustavo,

    You mentioned that you have many articles within these sections. Can you confirm that these articles are visible to end-users and not just agents/managers?

    Do you happen to have multiple languages set up in Guide as well? If so, it's important to make sure you have the appropriate article translations set up for the default language so they categories show up as well.

    Keep me posted!

  • Jason Kosecki

    I would like to further comment on this issue, because it clearly has not been addressed and is a major flaw. Zendesk asks us to use categories>sections>articles to organize our content. For this example, assume I have the following setup

    Category 1
    - Section 1.1
    -- Article 1.1.1
    -- Article 1.1.2
    Category 2
    - Section 2.1
    - Section 2.2
    Category 3
    Category 4
    - Section 4.1

    A user sets up categories, because the sections within it make sense. The categories should be displayed, regardless if there is one, none, or multiple sections/articles within them. Zendesk should not assume that if there is only one section within a category that it should be displayed instead of the category on the homepage. 

    Here is my agent view with the defined categories https://share.a-scend.com/OAubEz4d

    Here is what a non-agent user sees https://share.a-scend.com/6qu57WAr

    Notice how the categories are not displayed in the blocks, but rather the sections. These sections do not make sense as blocks, nor were they intended to because each are within a category. 

    Users want the ability to display categories only within the blocks. If there is no article within that category then do not display the category block. If articles within the category are segmented and that particular user is not a part of that group then the category block should be hidden. Sections should not be displayed as blocks on the homepage. 

    How do you only display category blocks and not assume that we want to display sections depending on the amount of sections/articles within? 

  • Devan - Community Manager
    Zendesk Community Team

    Hello Jason Kosecki,

    We appreciate your feedback! I'll be sure to pass this on to our product team. I would also recommend posting your experience on our Guide Product Feedback forum, where our developers are always looking for use cases to improve our products further.

    Best regards. 

  • Stefan Cordova

    So I'm new and this article was not helpful. I was able to figure it out though when I googled, "articles visible to managers but not end users guide" and got this article, https://support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/225031208-Setting-view-permissions-on-articles-with-user-segments. I see Brett mentioned that in the comments but he mentioned it so casually I didn't even bother to try his solution because there was no directions and no upvotes.

    I think 99% of people setting up these self help guides want them to be visible to end users by default and not to only managers. Your business so you can decide on that.

    But please add in the first part of this article the article I referenced above. So far this article has 55 downvotes so it's pretty clear the answer is not helping the majority of people.

  • Nicole Saunders
    Zendesk Community Team

    Hi Stefan,

    First of all, thank you for the feedback that you did not find this article helpful, and for sharing your search terms. We'll share that with the team that manages the content.

    For some clarification, the idea behind making the default behavior that things are only visible to agents and managers is that it allows you to set up your Help Center and get everything set up before users can see it. Most customers find it preferable to have things hidden and then need to change the settings to make it visible to customers, rather than starting to populate their Help Center and having everything visible to customers before they are finished setting it up.

  • Brian Larsen

    Nicole, I think there are two points that need addressing...


    1. Default schema/permissions and why those choices were made. We can disagree on that as admins, but I think Zendesk actually has it right here.

    2. The available information for how to use article permissions, inside sections, inside categories is lacking and insufficient. This article needs to be rewritten for clarity.

    The question being asked is better framed as...

    How do I control the categories that agents/managers/end-users see in my Help Center using Zendesk Guide permissions?

  • Nicole Saunders
    Zendesk Community Team

    Hi Brian - 

    Visibility of Help Center content can be controlled using User Segments. Visibility permissions are controlled at the article level, but not the section or category level. 

    For more information and detailed instructions, see the article Setting view permissions on articles with user segments

  • Neill Lewis

    FYI for anyone reading this article, another potential pitfall is to have the "Section" marked as a draft. This will prevent your otherwise authorized users from seeing it. This should probably have been mentioned in the article.


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