I would like to have a specific and precise explanation about the layout handle of catalog/category page.

From my knowledge i know that there are three different layout handles: catalog_category_view, catalog_category_default, catalog_category_layered

If we take a look at Mage_Catalog_Model_Category::getLayoutUpdateHandle() we will see:

public function getLayoutUpdateHandle()
    $layout = 'catalog_category_';
    if ($this->getIsAnchor()) {
        $layout .= 'layered';
    else {
        $layout .= 'default';
    return $layout;

So catalog_category_layered is loaded when is_anchor is set to yes, otherwise the catalog_category_default is the one who will be loaded.

And what about catalog_category_view ?

In my case, in my catalog/product page i have catalog_category_view as layout handle with a layered navigation and if I set some category to is_anchor to yes, Im still always have the same layout catalog_category_view ?

2 Answers 2


you should have multiple handles for the category page (certainly more than 5). If you want to know which handles is used for a specific page, you can for example add the following code in a template of the page :


(for example in the app/design/frontend/<your-package>/<your-theme>/template/catalog/category/view.phtml template)

The catalog_category_view should be always present in a category page because, for each action of a controller, Magento will create an handle with the name routerName_controllerName_actionName ( the action called when you are on a category page is the viewAction() of the categoryController.php of the module Mage_Catalog that have for router name catalog).

If a category is set with is_anchor to yes, it should add another handle catalog_category_layered as you mentionned.

Hope it will help.

  • catalog_category_view is for all category pages
  • catalog_category_default is only for pages that have anchor set to no
  • catalog_category_layered is only for pages that have anchor set to yes

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