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Installing themes

Last updated on
August 9, 2016 - 20:36
  1. Download the theme.
    You can find themes on http://drupal.org/project/themes, as well as some external sites. Make sure the version of the theme matches your version of Drupal. Note that themes labeled "DEV" are in a development stage. They may be written for a previous/current/future version of Drupal, and they are considered unstable and should be handled with care.
  2. Extract the files.
    When you first get the theme, it will appear in a compressed file format such as 'tar.gz'. On Windows, use a program like 7-Zip to extract it. On the Mac, you can use Stuffit Expander. To extract the file using the Unix command line:
    tar -zxvf themename-drupalversionnumber.tar.gz
    You should see a list of files extracted into a folder.
  3. Upload the folder.
    FTP/Copy/SCP your files to the desired themes folder in your Drupal installation. Since the themes folder at the top level of Drupal is reserved for Drupal core themes, you should create a sites/all/themes/ directory for contributed (non-core) themes and put uploaded themes there. If you are running a multi-site installation of Drupal, you can create a themes folder under sites/my.site.folder and put themes there that are specific to a particular site in your installation. Themes that will be shared between all sites should be placed in sites/all/themes.
  4. Read the directions.
    If the theme has an installation file (usually INSTALL.txt and/or README.txt), read it for specific instructions. There are themes that require special treatment to function properly.
  5. Enable the theme.
    Go to "Appearance" on the main Administration menu of your site. Check the 'Enabled' box next to the theme.
  6. Optional: Make it the active, default theme.
    Check the 'default' box to make this the chosen theme for your site. Enabled alone will allow users to select the theme, if you have allowed that permission.
  7. Click the 'Save Configuration' button at the bottom.

If you run into problems, check the themes issue queue and search the forums. If your problem hasn't already been addressed, post a question and someone will try to help you out.

Drupal 8

Drupal 8 places all core code and themes under a directory named /core/themes/ and all contrib or custom themes in webroot directory /themes. /sites/all/themes, and the other Drupal 7 options are still available for your themes.

The themes still download and expand the same. When you look inside, the main differences are:

  • The .info file changes to .info.yml.
  • The .tpl.php files change to .html.twig.

The following is the README.txt from Drupal 8 directory /themes.

Place downloaded and custom themes that modify your site's appearance in this
directory to ensure clean separation from Drupal core and to facilitate safe,
self-contained code updates. Contributed themes from the Drupal community may
be downloaded at http://drupal.org/project/themes.

It is safe to organize themes into subdirectories and is recommended to use
Drupal's sub-theme functionality to ensure easy maintenance and upgrades.

In multisite configuration, themes found in this directory are available to
all sites. In addition to this directory, shared common themes may also be kept
in the sites/all/themes directory and will take precedence over themes in this
directory. Alternatively, the sites/your_site_name/themes directory pattern may
be used to restrict themes to a specific site instance.

Refer to the "Appearance" section of the README.txt in the Drupal root
directory for further information on theming.