if I use a layout such as:

       <reference name="content">
          ... {blocks} ...

According to docs and tutorial the reference's name attribute points to referencing an existing block so I'm just wondering where is the content block defined?

Help much appreciated.

2 Answers 2


For the regular frontend pages the content block is defined in the app/design/frontend/base/default/layout/page.xml:

<default translate="label" module="page">
    <label>All Pages</label>
    <block type="page/html" name="root" output="toHtml" template="page/3columns.phtml">
        <block type="core/text_list" name="content" as="content" translate="label">
            <label>Main Content Area</label>

for the adminhtml pages it is defined in the app/design/adminhtml/default/default/layout/main.xml

    <block type="adminhtml/page" name="root" output="toHtml" template="page.phtml">
        <block type="core/text_list" name="left" as="left"/>
        <block type="core/text_list" name="content" as="content"/>
        <block type="core/messages" name="messages" as="messages"/>

Note: For those who using enterprise theme package take a look at the app/design/frontend/enterprise/default/layout/page.xml file (in the enterprise package)

  • OK cool this is for frontend - what about backend? I'm on magento enterprise
    – gvanto
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 10:53
  • @gvanto I've updated my answer. Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 11:31
  • legendary thank you
    – gvanto
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 12:42

<reference name="content"> Its a Structural block of type core/text_list, this structural block will automatically render all its children without the need to call the getChildHtml(), as like also <reference name="left">, <reference name="right">

This block is declared in xml as like this: <block type="core/text_list" name="content" as="content">

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