Custom Node Template allows one to specify different node templates to be used on a node by node basis.
While there are many options for customizing the display of pages, fewer options exist for customizing the display of nodes. There are many instances in which customizing the display of specific nodes might be useful, and this module provides a simple and efficient way to achieve this.
Using This Module vs. Other Solutions
If you are looking for a way to customize the display of all nodes within a content type this module would probably not be useful. While you can specify a node template to be used by default for a content type using this module, it only applies to nodes you create in the future. There are better solutions for customizing the display of content types - probably the best way is to just do this through your theme. You may also find some other helper modules to be useful. One of the main reasons for using this module would be to customize or override the display of specific nodes differently from the default display of those nodes.
Please see the Custom Node Template Handbook page for additional information and use cases to help you decide if you should use this module.
How do I Use This Module?
For users with appropriate permissions, a list of all node templates available in a theme are presented when creating or editing a node. Any node template can be selected to be used to display a particular node. Specific node templates can also be assigned to content types as a default. If a node template is not selected for a content type and specific node, then appropriate node template will be used by a theme as it normally would (per existing node template suggestions).
Why Use This Module?
In general, this module would most likely be useful for overriding or customizing the display of node on a node-by-node basis or to provide such options to those who don't have access or the ability to customize a theme. It can still be useful for advanced users and developers as well when it is not convenient, feasible, or efficient to customize a theme to achieve the same functionality.
How do I Add Node Templates?
To add a custom node template, simply create an additional node.tpl file and add it to your theme. The format for naming the file should be node-XXXXXX.tpl where XXXXXX is a custom name that you specify. Additional tips and suggestions for naming node.tpl files can be found in the Help module.
Install as usual, see http://drupal.org/node/70151 for further information. This module also includes full uninstall functionality. However, it is still a recommend best practice to backup your Drupal database first.
Part of where I am today is based on the Drupal community and contributions of others. If this module has helped meet your needs, please help by contributing back in any way you can - answer questions in the Forums, help with Drupal documentation, report bugs, etc. It's good Karma :-)
Much of the code for this module is based on the excellent work in the Node Page Template module which provides similar functionality for customizing page templates, and it includes a number of code enhancements.
This project is sponsored/maintained by WebNewCastle which provides various Drupal services including custom theme development, training, consulting, and site development for projects ranging from simple business sites, to eCommerce, to online community, and more.