Essential (free) extensions in TYPO3

on 15th November 2013

(Last updated 21st March 2022)

One of the most useful features of most popular Content Management Systems is the possibility to expand it with extensions that add new capabilities. Using an extension is a good option to save costs and time in development of common requirements (For example, a blog, a contact form or a shop).  

TYPO3 has an impressive library of extensions available to install and use available in the official site. Below we’ve hand-picked and provided a brief overview of some of the more popular and/or useful extensions. Most importantly - these are all free to download and use to your heart’s content...

TemplaVoila! (templavoila)

Templavoila! is an extension that enhances and makes theming easier in TYPO3. In TYPO3, themes are usually built using template engines like markers (old versions) or Fluid (latest versions). In TemplaVoila! you setup the template in the backend.

It also adds features in the backend like content drag & drop, content ordering, and references content (when you edit this content, the change is applied to all copies). This extension also enhances the content localisation, allowing you to display a content block in all languages or in one language.  
Sometimes you need a content block with custom fields without using a third-party extension or developing a simple extension. TemplaVoila! solves this with the FCE (Flexible Content Element) feature. With this, you setup the content element defining the fields of the content block and later you can add this block in any page.

The main downside to TemplaVoila! is that the templates and content elements setup is stored in a database.  This means that if you modify the template, you have to update the template setup manually or repeat the template setup steps when you make a change from development environment to production.

Verdict: On the whole this is a useful template that makes page and template creation easier and more efficient. The possibility of create your own content blocks is a great feature.

Note: It’s important to know that one of the main developers has left the TemplaVoila! team and due to big changes in the TYPO3 6.2 core, TemplaVoila! is therefore not compatible with TYPO3 v6.2. However TemplaVoila! is still widely used by a big community of TYPO3 users.

Typo3 Extension - Templavoila

RealURL: search engine friendly paths for TYPO3 (realurl)

RealURL is an extension that makes website URLs ‘human readable’ and search engine friendly. If you have index.php?id=1&L=1, RealURL converts it to /en/about-us/careers.html.

For the sake of efficiency, the URL alias is generated automatically when you create the page however, you can also edit it. In case you modify the alias later, the old one can be used and found in case Google has indexed it.

The generated URL alias is the backend path to the page. If you have the page Sitemap inside a folder called Footer, the URL will automatically be /footer/sitemap.html, however, it is very straightforward to remove the parent page in the backend.

For developers, the URLs used in extensions are translated if you generate the URL through a TYPO3 function.

It’s a good extension but newbies can find it difficult to configure and requires a bit of time to understand how it works.

Verdict: A very useful extension that can give a good deal of control over URLs, however non techie users can easily confuse RealURL by deleting pages and creating new ones with the same names - so careful client training or permission setting is advised!

It might be worth checking out CoolURI as a good alternative to RealURL. This one is easiest to setup and works better with multilingual sites.

Typo3 Extension - CoolUri

News (tt_news)

This is one of the most popular and flexible extensions available in TYPO3. It allows you manage and display news in a myriad of different ways. You can display the 5 latest news articles on the homepage (or in any other page for that matter), list news with an optional filter, group news by category and archive old news automatically.

You can run multiple repositories - e.g. one for news, one for events and another for a separate blog. Each repository can be set up to display user commenting, sharing, categorisation and almost any other blog type function you can think of.

News has multilanguage support and integrates perfectly with the built-in workspaces workflow. It comes with a RealURL sample configuration.

It is able to provide web feed in XML format like RSS, RDF and Atom.

Verdict: Very powerful, flexible plug-in that can give clients almost everything they could ask for out of the box. Ensure clients are properly trained on how to use this extension as it’s easy to end up with too many repositories, categories or broken plug-ins.

Typo3 Extention - TTNews 

Direct Mail (direct_mail)

If you have to manage and send newsletters, this is the extension for you. Direct Mail is a newsletter mailer system and is designed to help you manage newsletters, subscribers and browsing campaign statistics.

The recipient list can come from a plain list (emails hardcoded in a text field), a dynamic list built from a database table or a list that is a combination of other lists. You can also import recipients from a CSV file.

In the statistics you can see the emails that have received the newsletter, returned email, users that have read the email and users that have followed a link.

If you want to send newsletters automatically, it’s possible to create a task that can send scheduled newsletters, using preformatted templates and categorised (or user defined) content.

Verdict: It’s basically Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor in a box. It’s not as pretty, but it still gives a lot of bang for the buck.

Typo3 Extenstion - Direct Mail

Formhandler (formhandler)

This is one of the best extensions to help you build forms in TYPO3. With it, you can build any type of form such as a contact form, job application form or a survey form. This extension is a rewritten version of mailformplus.

The most important feature is that you can store the form configuration (template, form configuration parameters, …) in external files and you can reuse it easily in other projects. You can also expand its features like field validator rules or an action to do after the form is processed.

If you need to prevent spam, you can integrate another third-party CAPTCHA plugin.

After the form is processed, you can export the data in a PDF file or send by email. The email can be sent in HTML, plain text or both formats. In the TYPO3, you can view and export the data introduced by the users.

Verdict:  In general, this extension is a good choice if you have to build a common form like a contact form or a job application. If your form has to do more specific tasks, I’d recommend looking for a more specific extension or a creating a custom extension.

Typo3 - Form Handler

Typo 3 Extension - Form Handler

Google Maps (ad_google_maps)

A powerful extension that adds google maps capabilities to your site. You can setup a simple maps with one point or a complex map with multiple points grouped by categories.
The extension provides an interface to setup a map. The options are the same as the ones available in Google Maps (e.g. pop up information windows, point clustering, custom icons for points and clusters and general map options like zoom or effects. It’s also possible to group points by categories defined in TYPO3.

Verdict: It’s a useful extension for non-developers or people that are looking for adding google maps capabilities without coding a line.   

Typo3 Extension - Google Maps

Imagemap Wizard (imagemap_wizard)

This extension adds a new content element called ImageMap that is similar to the image content element but with the possibility to add image maps without coding. The interface where you create the image maps is very friendly and well integrated with TYPO3.

Verdict: It’s a useful extension and can be used easily by non-developers users.

Typo3 Extenstion - Image Map Wizard

As you can imagine - these are just a very few of the hundreds of extensions freely available for TYPO3. A good place to start would be the TYPO3 Extension repository.

In the below link, you can see other interesting TYPO3 extensions.

In this other link, you have the most used TYPO3 extensions.

If you’d like to know what we make of other TYPO3 extensions - ping us a message and we’ll do our best to let you know what we think.