(Many of these features apply to version 3.62.2 which will be pushed out to all websites the week of May 17th, 2010. )
The Left Column ( categories ) consists of 5 sections:
1) A Logo (optional)
2) Search Box
3) Side Navigational Menu (optional)
5) User Under Categories
Brief description of each:
1) Logo - If you have a squarish type logo around 300 pixels or less then it can go here.
2) Search Box - Standard Search
3) Side Navigational Menu - Every page can be configured to appear on the top/bottom/side menu. The side menu can replace the top menu completely if you want or be used for special pages.
4) Categories - Category list that can be drilled down into. The category list consist of media headers, categories and sub-categories.
5) User Under Categories. Configured separately. A spot were you can put ads or other text you want to appear on multiple pages. This section is not covered in this article.
The look and feel for the left column consists of background(s), borders, text colors, text size, and link styles.
There is a background that extends down the whole left column. An background image can be used instead of a solid color.
There can be a colored border around the whole left column.
The Search Box, Category Box and Side menu can have their own backgrounds and borders. The headers of each of these sections can have their own backgrounds and text colors.
While it can be complicated it allows for a lot of flexibility. The default look is a solid left column background with headers just being larger text.
Making the entire left background the same color as the center and just having the headers in a different background makes the site look a lot like Chrislands.
You can add borders and section backgrounds to fancy up the individual sections if you want.
Browse Category Advanced Choices
In general the category section is treated as one section. By clicking the: ' Border around each Product Group' each media group ( books, dvd, cd, ect. ) will be treated as a separate section with borders or background colors individual for each group.
Setting this option is more complicated. Each section needs to have a background color set different from the 'Left Navigation Background' (the background for the entire left column). You can set header backgrounds but that color does not fill the entire top of the section.
If you are rounding all the left column sections it is likely you would want to also round the header over the main content to make it look the same. Under 'Edit Items Header' that is now possible.
The shift left column down and the line after xxx are there to space out the sections when you are rounding corners or using separate backgrounds per section. Otherwise the sections would 'touch' each other.
The demo website now has rounded corners:
Other Options in the Left Column Section Edit
If you have a left column logo you can add a link so if they click on the logo it goes to a page.
If your home page is not the normal bookstore main page you can set what page to go to when the user click the 'all categories' link when browsing through the categories.
You can use images instead of text for your Browse Category Headers. In the left column editing page there is a help link that explains the naming convention for this feature.