View Modes are pre-configured layout arrangements that can be applied to all entity types in a Drupal site. View modes are instantiated in Display Suite and then they are configured inside of the Field UI. View modes can be used for both internal submission form layout and external entity displays.

As an example, you could create a couple of different View Modes for the image file type:

  • Embed View Mode: a 100 x 100 thumbnail view
    • This could be set up to display as the thumbnail in a submission form when a user adds an image to a piece of content
  • File Info View Mode: a 200 width scaled image that displays the Alt Text and Title fields
    • This could be set up to display in a view that shows all of the images files and their associated Alt Text and Title fields.

View Modes can be pretty confusing for users who are just starting out. There are many different pieces that can fit into them and they can be applied to so many different elements within Drupal that it's easy to get lost.

Like many things in Drupal, though, once you've used them for awhile you really start to recognize the value that they provide in terms of efficiency and content provider usability.

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