Anyone that has developed a theme in Magento knows how helpful template/block hints are. They help quickly identify which files are being loaded for a specific page.

Magento’s admin panel uses the exact same design pattern as the frontend (layouts + blocks + templates). If you’ve ever done any modifications to the Magento admin panel, you’ve probably tried to turn on template/block hints for the admin panel. The only problem is, Magento doesn’t have built-in support for this. I did some digging around and found out how to enable this feature in the admin panel.

Step 1 – Connect to database

Using your favorite database administration tool, connect to your Magento database. These are tools I’ve used and recommend:Navicat ($129), MySQL Query Browser (Free), Sequel Pro (Mac Only – Free), or phpMyAdmin (free).

Step 2 – Enter values into ‘core_config_data’ table

Run the following query on the Magento database:

INSERT INTO core_config_data (scope, scope_id, path, value)
VALUES ('default', 0, 'dev/debug/template_hints', 1),
('default', 0, 'dev/debug/template_hints_blocks', 1);

Step 3 – Test in admin panel

Once you make this addition to the core_config_data database, template/block hints should show up in the admin panel. Here is a screenshot of the CMS Page with hints turned on:

Magento Admin - Hints Turned On

Magento Admin – Hints Turned On

Disabling Hints

When you’ve finished development want to turn off template hints in the admin panel, open the core_config_data table and change the ‘value’ column of the two row you inserted to “0”.

Why does this work?

For those of you who are like me and want to know the “why” as well as the “how”, I’m going to go over why this works. Here is the Magento code that checks to see if template/blocks hints are enabled:

File: /app/code/core/Mage/Core/Block/Template.php (Magento 1.3.2)
public function getShowTemplateHints()
    if (is_null(self::$_showTemplateHints)) {
        self::$_showTemplateHints = Mage::getStoreConfig('dev/debug/template_hints')
            && Mage::helper('core')->isDevAllowed();
        self::$_showTemplateHintsBlocks = Mage::getStoreConfig('dev/debug/template_hints_blocks')
            && Mage::helper('core')->isDevAllowed();
    return self::$_showTemplateHints;

The “Mage::getStoreConfig” method checks for config values that are set in the current scope (ie, default, website, store, store view). In the admin panel, only values set in the “Default Scope” are loaded.

Magento only allows you to turn on hints when you’re in the configuration scope of a Website or Store View. This means that when the code above tries to load the configuration, it returns “null” because that config value isn’t set in the “Default Config” scope. Running the MySQL query above adds the hint config values to the “Default Config” scope. Here is a screenshot showing the settings for turning on the hints – notice that the “Main Website” configuration scope is selected.

Magento Config Scope Selection

Magento Config Scope Selection


I hope this helps you in your development of Magento modules that integrate with the admin panel. I considering writing a module to enable the hints to be turned on in the “Default Scope”, but decided against it, due to the simplicity of the method outlined in this post.



I could enable the Templete Hints in webshop using extension compatible with magento 1.7 and forwarding it for sharing of info.

1)Downloaded Templete Hints extension from….
2)Using ,I pasted Module in app/code/local and xml file in app/etc/modules
3)Logged to backend , System >> Configuration >> MagePsycho Extensions >> Easy Template Path Hints and clicked enabled =”YES” and Access Code = “” (means empty).
4)I tried in front end by adding ?tp=1 after any page URL and I could see the hints accordingly.

For instance, leads to webshop home page, and shows the homepage with template hints.