Intranet 101: full guide on creating an internal network using XWiki

24 Feb 2023 5 min read

Written by

Alexandra Nicolae

, Account Manager

Think of all your company's data and information as books with colorful covers. Now imagine walking into a library where the color coding makes no sense, there are no separate sections, and some empty shelves are full of books that have been tossed around. It's chaotic and overwhelming. Translated into the real world, this would paint the picture of relentless hours of work trying to make sense of what is where and risking privacy breaches. The solution to this problem is investing in creating an intranet platform, the perfect digital metaphor for a state-of-the-art internal archive.


An intranet solution helps you build a secure and private network, only accessible to you and your employees. This allows everyone within the company to access internal and external resources and enables workers to communicate, collaborate, as well as share documents across departments. This solution can save you from navigating endless threads of emails and text messages while contributing to a better workflow that naturally derives from properly organized information.

In the last 18 years, our team has worked continuously to build innovative features and help people, and their organizations have crucial information at only a click away. Today, we're passing this knowledge on to you. Let's dig in!

Start with a strategy: the structure of your intranet

If you want your intranet to be a place of collaboration and with information easy to find and access, it is mandatory to sit down with your team and create a hierarchy of pages. XWiki excels especially at this type of structuring, allowing you to have a structured way to visualize the data within your instance. This way, the correlation between chunks of information is obvious and also ticks the efficiency box.

First off, a wiki is a website that you can edit online easily. A subwiki is a secondary space that can display content independently from the main wiki; however, from an organizational standpoint, it is subordinated to the main wiki. Much like planets have satellites, you can consider your intranet the main wiki, whereas subwikis will act like satellites. This way, you can have a main intranet and build subwikis separated by their domain of interest and content or by the nature of the role team members have such as ''The HR Department'', ''The Sales Team'' or ''The Legal Space''.

Here are a few subwikis that you will want to take into account when building an intranet:

  • Onboarding in the company and in the department
  • Company culture and values
  • Processes and followed standards of work
  • Roadmap, goals, and strategies
  • Official policies, documents
  • Product documentation and services information
  • HR information, policies, and documents
  • Digital assets and brand guidelines

Pro tip

Add contact information for those questions that haven't been answered just yet in the main sections.

Step 1: Setting up your internal network

After you've created your XWiki Cloud instance and validated it or downloaded and installed it by yourself on-premise, you'll see that XWiki is divided into Wikis and Pages. Click the ''Create'' button and kickstart the magic by creating your first page.


Step 2: Organize your information

Parent Pages and Children

Information hierarchy is crucial when dealing with numerous data and files. Not having to browse through endless threads of emails or chaotically arranged folders is more than a basic commodity when understanding the ease this system brings. Parent pages and their subsequent child pages are the way to go when it comes to neatly storing information. Think of it as a folder drawer in which every file is arranged in an orderly fashion, and nothing gets lost or misplaced.

Inside a wiki, you can create a hierarchy of pages, by creating pages inside other pages. This feature is called Nested Pages. From this area, you can add new pages by clicking the "Create" button.

Whenever you want to modify a page, click on the "Edit" button, make your changes, and save the page. The modified page now replaces the previous version. Each version of the page is stored in the page history and can be reverted if needed. More page actions, such as Administer, Copy, Rename, Delete, and Export, are also available from the drop-down menu on the right side of the page.

more actions menu.png

If you want to move a page, simply click on Move/Rename and change the page's location. You also have the option to preserve all the children of the parent page you choose to move and to update all the included links.


Page editing, templates, and WYSIWYG

We know it may seem daunting at first when you are just becoming familiar with a new tool. This is why we thought of creating a standard set of page templates, to help you kickstart the organizational building process of your intranet ''virtual archive''.


Our powerful WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor allows you to view a rendered page as you are editing it. Did we mention we've been working on a real-time functionality? This way, collaborating with your coworkers will become even easier.

Let's start with an easy example that will help you become acquainted with XWiki's powerful WYSIWYG editor. You have:

  • various formatting options that help you organize content
  • bold characters
  • italic characters
  • the ability to strikethrough, underline, subscript, or superscript
  • bullet or numbered lists
  • the ability to reference another XWiki Page, a URL, an attachment, or an e-mail address
  • the ability to attach images or gifs
  • the ability to insert and customize tables


  • the possibility to insert emojis
  • the ability to insert:
    • special characters
    • import Office files
    • insert a table of contents
    • insert a code snippet
    • use the ''include'' macro
    • use other macros
  • quote blocks
  • ''find and replace''
  • undo + redo
  • view and edit the source code for HTML wizards or insert custom code lines
  • the ability to maximize 

With over 800 extensions, XWiki is providing you with all the brushes and crayons that can beautify a blank canvas. While some extensions are specifically developed by our experts in the recommended section, you will also find community contributions that are yet to be tested on our end, but which are maintained and improved by the community in their own free time. If your team is also comprised of experienced developers, then feel free to test out any of the 800 extensions while your developer looks at the open-source code.

Just to help you get started, we've compiled a list of some of the most used macros that can help you out when building an intranet:


  • By now, we're sure you already know how much we love organizing content. We're pretty sure you're going to love it too by using boxes to showcase it however you like.


  • Calls to action have never been more easily noticeable than with the button widget. All cartoon characters love pressing buttons for a reason!


  • Full visibility of your team's days off within a dedicated HR page, already-scheduled calls with clients, personal appointments, and the list goes on... A calendar macro inserted into the most visited pages of your intranet surely makes sense!


  • Learning to properly organize information and data is our gospel. Parent page with more than 20 children pages? Not a problem if you use the children macro to display and easily access the children pages.


  • We strongly believe in customization. Create and personalize a dashboard of widgets that makes your pages and wiki feel and look however you please.


  • Value is best visualized: the diagram app is one of our personal favorites. Flowcharts, internal organization, demos for clients — there are many uses for diagrams in any company, perhaps too many to list here. However, instead of using third-party tools and having to read through and accept entire pages of terms and conditions or even give up sensitive data, why not use a comprehensive, readily available tool? 

    We could spend hours walking you through the possibilities of designing just the right diagrams and figures, but we'd much rather let you try it out yourself by installing the Diagram Pro Application and integrating the diagram macro into whichever page you see fit.


  • You can effortlessly display a set of pictures you took during the last teambuilding trip within a dedicated page. Need we say more?


  • You can easily reference another XWiki Page so that, for example, the support team can easily see the internal procedure alongside a new set of FAQs they can help out customers with

Info Message

  • there are 100 ways you can send out a kind reminder, and Info Message is number 101 on that list, making it even easier to get information across 

Kanban board

  • Display and edit a kanban that can help speed up the process of creating and managing content.


  • It's always important to take notes. It's even more important to have them displayed in a colored panel that really makes the information stand out.

Page Tree

  • All children pages have parents and the Page Tree macro gives you full visibility of page families.

Table of Contents

  • Considering how much we like our knowledge neatly structured and easy to follow, there's no surprise that we highly recommend you try out the ToC macro.

Tag cloud

  • A tag cloud is an aesthetic way of displaying tags and we think the best one yet is on our Extensions page, helping you filter through the functionalities you need

User Avatar

  • Coworkers are more than just friendly faces, and this macro allows you to display avatars for specific users on specific pages. You can create a virtual ''Hall of fame'' or make it easier for new employees to put a face to the name when they meet the teams.

Creating dedicated spaces

Internal networks are for everyone, and we mean literally everyone. However, you wouldn't want the new intern to get lost in the HR team's sensitive files. This is why we recommend that you create a dedicated space (a sub-wiki) for each team, depending on your internal organization. Afterward, you can easily modify the access rights by adding individual users to groups such as ''HR'', ''Marketing'' or ''Sales Team''.

But first, a little terminology disambiguation:

  • Nested Page (a.k.a Non-Terminal Page): This is a wiki page that can have children pages. Technically a Nested Page is implemented as a Space (i.e. a WebHome page).
  • Non-Nested Page (a.k.a Terminal Page): This is a wiki page that cannot have children pages. Applications and scripts can create Terminal Pages. Advanced Users are also able to create Terminal Pages from the UI. Standard Users are only able to create Nested Pages.
  • Nested Space: A Space that has another Space as a parent. Users only have to deal with Nested Pages, which is hiding the fact that Nested Pages are emulated using Nested Spaces. This is why the concept of Nested Spaces still exists.

Creating dedicated Spaces starts with accessing the Wiki index and creating a new sub-wiki, just as in the example below. Feel free to customize these spaces however you prefer. Don't worry about user permissions, since we will be covering this topic next.


Step 3: Manage the access rights

The ''motherboard'' of your XWiki instance is located in the top-right corner. Clicking on it will open a menu > Administer Wiki > Users & Rights.


Adding users:

  1. Go to Administration > Users & Rights > Users
  2. Click “Create user”
  3. Fill in the fields and click "Save"

Your new user has been created!
You can remove the user by clicking on the red "X" located next to the "Last name" in the "Manage" column - should you wish to do so.


Creating user groups enables you to properly filter and keep track of employees' activities just as much as it helps them with their tasks. Setting up user groups is crucial for the rights management of your Intranet because this defines who can access, view, comment on, and edit what. 

  1. Go to Administration > Users & Rights > Groups
  2. Click on “Create group” et voila!

You can now edit the group you select by adding users manually from the drop-down list in the Users to add section.

You can also go one step further by adding Subgroups to your newly created group by integrating another already existing group.


Here are a couple of default rights configurations that can help you set up your wiki according to specific needs. Please make sure to select ''Groups'' at the top left in order to configure the wiki at a global level, instead of user granulation. You can fully set up the selected users in specific groups as exemplified in the step before. 

It is important to mention that in the case of an internal network, we recommend that you customize your rights settings in such a way that only registered users can perform actions. We've carefully selected a set of configurations you'll find below that can help you set up the rights for your intranet wiki. After all, we can even call these suggestions the ''right rights''. You'll find two distinct categories, Hidden Closed wiki settings, the Hidden Locked wiki settings, as well as different protection levels, light and strong:

  • Hidden: admins and registered users can view and edit content, unregistered users cannot view pages
  • Protected: admins only can view and edit content, registered and unregistered users cannot view pages
  • Light: global rights for unregistered users can be overridden at the page level
  • Strong: global rights for unregistered users cannot be overridden at the page level

Of course, wikis can be public or open based on the settings configurations you choose, but we recommend that you safely lock your internal network and block external access.


Hidden / Closed Wiki (Light):



Hidden / Closed Wiki (Strong)




  Prevent unregistered users from viewing pages, regardless of page rights

  Prevent unregistered users from editing pages, regardless of page rights

Hidden / Locked Wiki (Light)



Hidden / Locked Wiki (Strong)




  Prevent unregistered users from viewing pages, regardless of page rights

  Prevent unregistered users from editing pages, regardless of page rights

Protected / Locked Wiki




Step 4: Customize the look & feel

Changing your XWiki instance's colors, themes and logos is easy to access and carefully organized into sections, so you can fully customize your instance and get the UI you envision:

  • Themes
  • Menus
  • Panels
  • Apps Panel
  • Navigation Panel
  • Presentation



To begin the journey of adding your own logo, click on Administration > Look & Feel > Themes > Color Theme > Customize. Select Logos and then click on Choose an attachment, then upload your file.

Theme customization

As demonstrated in the visual above, you can easily customize your theme of choice. Choose your font of preference for the wiki in the Typography section, and fully define the visual parameters of Tables, Buttons (including weight, if you're looking for a bold or light look), and Panels or Dropdowns. You can even play around in LESS code in the Advanced subsection and truly make the theme of your own choice.


One of the most common questions we get on the UI side is almost always related to panels.

How to make them appear?

How to make them disappear?

How do I change the content on the panels?

In the Global Administration section > Look & Feel > Panels.

You will see that you can either have no side columns for your wiki or have them displayed only on the left/right or on both sides. You can customize the panel columns' size, as well as what widgets you specifically want on which side.


Step 5: Make collaboration thrive with our business apps


Whether you work fully remotely or sometimes see each other in hybrid formats, or drink your coffee alongside everyone at the office, any HR specialist will tell you that having an internal blog is a great idea. Getting to know your employees and allowing them to get to know their coworkers, as well as keeping a shared archive of photos and stories you create together as a team is made easy through the creation of a blog. A rich text editor and nearly endless editing possibilities let creativity shine through. You can easily add categories, images, and summaries to your blog posts, as well as make them appear in a dedicated widget on a panel.

Here are a couple of ideas that can help you get started with your very own internal company blog:

  Meet the team: get to know your coworkers' articles

  Personal news/updates and announcements: introducing new pets

  Workplace mindfulness: a mental health series

  New employee checklist

  Company updates

  Teambuilding wrap-up and memories

  Internal newsletter


Flash Messages

Pop-ups are a fun and lively way to send out notifications to the team. Be it a celebratory announcement wishing everyone Happy holidays, a work anniversary, a personal birthday, kind meeting reminders, or important news such as ''Friday is pizza day at the office'', the Flash Messages App is just perfect for either recurring reminders or on-the-spot announcements. It can liven up an ordinary workday while making sure your notification doesn't get lost in a flood of emails or other types of internal content. Not to mention you can easily customize the user groups that would see this pop-up, so the marketing team won't panic upon seeing a kind reminder to send over the financial report for Q2.

Here are some common example use cases for the App:

☑ Annual medical visit reminder

☑ Weekly get-togethers at the office

☑ Hello Summer

☑ Countdown to Christmas holidays

☑ Europe Day

☑ First Full Moon of 2023

☑ Deadline for Feedback Form submission


The notifications feature is truly a must-have for any intranet! Individual users or user groups can be notified in-platform or via email in real-time, so this way you can make sure that nobody is missing out on what's happening.


calendar speaks for itself, at least most of the time. Have a clear overview of all employee activities, OOOs, and team building events.

Meeting Application

Seamlessly integrated with the Calendar view, the Meeting Appis a great tool to keep track of everything that's going on internally, without having to integrate any third parties. 

You can also add a widget to your preferred pages, as well as a panel integration for full visibility. You can also send out an email to invite participants to the created meetings, as well as create a poll, but we promise not to give out any spoilers to this particular app, so you will just have to try it out yourself!


Task Manager

Full visibility and assigning tasks to employees have never been easier. The Task Manager App offers an easy-to-use interface that allows you to have a task number generated automatically, a name, project, description, status, severity, reporter, assignee, and due date in one place. Did we mention you can also add a side panel with due tasks for users and a kanban board that showcases tasks sorted by the parameters you define?

Livetable view:                                                                                                                                      


Kanban view:


Simply write this line of code in the page to display the kanban view:

{{kanbanboard space="TaskManager" /}}

Even though at the moment the Task Manager App offers basic functionalities, we're currently working on an enhanced, Pro version. Spoiler alert: the upgraded version will be available soon, with more capabilities and features, so keep an eye on our Store and Social Media channels!

App Within Minutes

One of the most beloved XWiki features is the App Within Minutes (AwM). 

Did you know you can create a fully custom app, which can adapt to any of your requirements and become exactly what you need it to be? Be it tracking orders, solving internal tickets, or simply sorting through a data checklist, the App Within Minutes extension is probably one of the most appreciated features. It's one of those things you have to try for yourself in order to be fully convinced you absolutely love it..

Click on ''Create Application'' and let your creativity flow into one of the most useful tools that will enable your team(s) to collaborate efficiently.

Here's an in-depth tutorial on how to use the AwM. Below you will find a video tutorial that focuses on a Procedure Management use case that you can easily replicate or adapt to fit other functional needs.

We know that sometimes inspiration needs a bit of impulse, which is why we're here to help you with a couple of already-configured examples. The first one is specifically designed for an HR team, helping your professionals keep track of every employee's Employment Contract Logs. This was created from scratch to meet some basic requirements for demo purposes. We recommend a dedicated HR section as a best practice for virtually everyone. However, there is a risk of misplacing information when it comes to separating what everyone has access to from what certain professionals on your team, such as the human resources department, need to take care of. This is exactly what we had in mind when designing the demo Employee Contract Logs application, alongside the ease of navigating through personnel files. Following that, we've attached an example of an AwM that we consider useful for companies in the logistics industry; Track & trace, as we rightfully named it, helps (well, it's in the name already) track shipments of goods. 



Step 6: Invite your team in the XWiki instance

This might seem like a no-brainer idea, but the truth is sometimes we forget that in order for people to be on board with a transition, they also need to explore the solution themselves. In the demo phase, you can invite up to 10 teammates inside the instance.

If you already transitioned to XWiki, then invite your team and give them a warm welcome:

  • Create a blog post welcoming your team to the new system and send it to the team;
  • Invite everyone to fill in their profiles with pictures and more information about themselves;
  • Ask people to start contributing content and set up notifications.

Building an intranet is a team effort

Building an intranet is no easy feat! That is why it is truly helpful for your team to be on board and with a collaboration mindset in place. The benefits in the long-term of a team working together outweighs the short-term challenges (which are pretty much inevitable in this lifetime if we're being real). You can also further explore how our team has set up a custom-made intranet solution for Amazon, FIDELIA Assistance, Afcen, and SFR Altice.

If you are ready to get on board, you can start building your intranet with XWiki today. Try it for free on the Cloud or On-premise or get in touch with one of our experts who can help you get started and fully customize your experience.

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