Create a guide

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This article details how to create a guide in the Visual Design Studio. This includes highlighting new features, driving preferred behavior, and providing in-context support.


To create guides using the Visual Design Studio, Pendo users need either one of the following sets of permissions permissions:

  • Pendo Admin-level permissions. This is a subscription-level set of permissions that grants the user to perform all guide-related activities.
  • Pendo default app-level roles. Select all or some of the following depending on the level of access you want the user to have for guides:
    • The Guide Creator role includes the ability to create and edit guides from scratch and from layouts, and the ability to delete staged, draft, and disabled guides.
    • The Guide Publisher role includes the ability to to publish and schedule guides, and to delete staged, draft, and disabled guides.
    • The Guide Content Editor role includes the ability to create and edit guides from layouts, and the ability to delete staged, draft, and disabled guides.
  • Pendo custom app-level roles. Alternatively to the default app-level roles, you can create a custom user role and assign the following guide permissions to that role:
    • Create and edit guides from scratch
    • Create and edit guides from layouts
    • Publish guides

You can also optionally include the following permissions for a custom role. However, for creating guides, only the above three permissions are required.

  • Allow editing of public guides (delete and edit public guides)
  • Delete guides in draft, staged, and disabled

For more information about guide permissions and how to assign them to Pendo users, see Roles and Permissions.

Get started 

  1. In the Navigation bar, go to Guides > Guides and select Create Guide. Alternatively, you can select the arrow and select Create guide. If you want to create a guide in Adopt Studio, select Create Adopt Studio guide, or if you want to create a guide using AI, select Create guide with AI.
  2. In the Create Guide page, if you have multiple web applications set up in your Pendo account, choose the application where you'd like the guide to display.


  3. Select a category for the guide. This lets you see recommended layouts for this category, either from the default Pendo layouts or from your Saved Layouts.

    Note: A guide can only be assigned to one app.

  4. In the Layouts section, select a layout. You can choose from the default layouts that are provided or a saved layout that you've used in the past to create a guide. Once you select a layout, the guide details page displays.
  5. Give the guide a name, and select a product area in your app where you want the guide to display.

    Tip: Because you'll soon have multiple guides, it’s best practice to have naming conventions for easier searches and color-coordinated groups for easier identification.
  6. If required, to create a new product area, select +Create Product Area, give it a name, and select Create Product Area.
  7. Click in the Content area, enter the application URL where you want to open the Visual Design Studio, and select Launch Designer. The designer opens in a new tab.

Design your guide

When you first open the Visual Design Studio, the guide designer launches your application. It includes multiple tools, as well as a guide preview. The designer is accessible to any Pendo user, with the exception of those who are "Read Only." 

You can make any initial edits to your guide within the Edit Container box. See Get started with Visual Design Studio for more information about using the Edit Container box to style your guide.

  1. When the designer is open, select View Steps to display the Step Tray. This shows all your customization options and guide steps. 

    Tip: If you want to target an element but the Action Bar is covering it, move it to the bottom of the screen by clicking on the dual arrows button in the top right-hand corner of your screen.

  2. To add a step to your guide, select + Add Step in the Step Tray. 
  3. To edit guide settings of any step, select the step and hover over the preview to open the Edit Container box. 
  4. Move through the Styling, Location, and Behavior tabs in the Edit Container box, making any required changes to the settings.
  5. To edit the guide container, hover over a guide container (the edge of the guide) in a step to edit its settings. The styling, location and behavior options display after you click the edge of guide container for additional customization. 

  6. If you need to add a new building block to your guide, hover between items to see the blue line and add a building block. Building blocks are used to add content to guides and have controls to add and format text, buttons, images, polls, and embedded videos. For more information about building blocks, see Add guide content using building blocks.

    Tip: Hold Option on Mac/Alt on Windows to view all current building blocks and their bounding boxes.


    Tip: Periodically save your changes as you edit your guide. This helps you save your progress as you go.

  7. To finish, select Done.
  8. Once you are finished, select Save to save your changes and select Exit to leave the designer.

Preview your guide

Guide preview lets you launch a guide without publishing it or with segment restrictions. The preview UI shows the activation method, target element, and target page, with visual indicators of whether or not you have met the criteria for the guide to display. When the guide displays, you can test all guide functionality as expected and easily restart the guide.

Select Preview in the top navigation bar.


Manage your guide

When you finish creating your guide, you can:

  • Test it
  • Activate it
  • Segment and publish it immediately
  • Schedule when to publish it

Test your guide

To test your guide:

  1. Segment the guide to yourself. See Segments for more information
  2. Locate the Segment tile in the Guide Details page and select the Edit icon.
  3. Choose the dropdown to select Custom Segment and add a segment rule so that “Visitor ID” equals yourself. 

    For example, if my Visitor ID is my email address, my rule would look like this:
  4. When you are finished, choose Save Custom Segment and then select Save within the Segment tile.
  5. Review your guide details and update your guide status to Staging (if you have a Staging setup) to preview your guide in your Staging Environment.
  6. If not, update the status to Public. Since the guide is segmented to just yourself, the Guide is only visible to you.

Activate your guide

If you didn’t set your activation method when creating your guide, you can do it now. 

  1. In the guide page, in the Activation tile, select Manage in my app. You're returned to the app where you want your guide to display and the Activation Settings box displays.
  2. To activate the guide, select an activation option:
    • Automatic: Guide appears once automatically until dismissed or advanced.
      • Ignore Guide Throttling Settings - see Throttling and Ordering for information about these settings and why you can choose to ignore them.
      • Repeat Guide Display - see Guide Activation Options for information about Repeat Guide Display
    • Badge: Guide appears after a visitor clicks or hovers over a badge icon. See Guide Activation Options for more information
    • Target Element: Guide appears after a visitor clicks on a targeted element. See Guide Activation Options for more information
    • Show my guide on: Select which device to show the guide on when activated.

Segment and publish your guide

If you’re satisfied with your guide, navigate back to your guide’s details page to re-adjust the segment to the correct audience.

To publish your guide, you have two options to choose from:

  • Publish your guide now by updating the guide status to Public.
  • Schedule when your guide goes live, and, if needed, when it is no longer active.

Set guide status

See Changing Guide Status for more information.

  • Draft. The guide does not appear in any environment but can still be edited. 
  • Pending Review. Guide creators and contributors can use this status to indicate that their guide is awaiting review. Publishers and reviewers can use this status to filter the guides list to see which guides are awaiting review. Setting the guide status to Pending Review does not push the guide to Staging.
  • Staged. The guide is only visible on your designated staging servers ready for testing and validation. Staging servers can be managed by admins of your subscription here
  • Public. The guide is public to all visitors targeted in the guide’s segment and appears in the designated "Location" on all environments with Pendo installed. Public guides still appear on your designated staging servers.
  • Disabled. The guide is no longer public. Use it to filter for guides that have been published.
  • Delete. Deletes the guide and all of its data permanently.

Schedule your guide

  1. In the guide's details page, in the Scheduling tile, select Edit.
  2. Turn on the Start Date/Time button and define the required settings.
  3. Turn on the Expiration Date/Time button and define the required settings. 

Note: If you don’t set an expiration date and time, then you'll need to remove it manually so that the guide isn't shown for long periods of time. If you leave a guide in Staged state with a scheduled start date, this doesn't trigger moving the guide to Public when it reaches the start date and time. These changes are reflected in the staging environment only. You need to set the guide to Public and then set the start date and time. The status changes to Scheduled

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