Last updated August 12, 2016. Created on August 2, 2012.
Edited by drumm, shreyal999, patil_kunal27, pranavbabbar. Log in to edit this page.

This community documentation guide is about changing the look and feel of a Drupal site. The guide covers Drupal 6 & 7 and Drupal 8.

Changing Site Appearance

In the administrative settings you can modify the appearance of the theme in three ways:

  1. Find a prefabricated theme provided by the Drupal community or get one on a third-party website and modify the theme settings
  2. Copy an existing theme and then change or extend the code
  3. Build a complete theme from scratch (For doing this you need to copy files from core theme and place it under sites/all/themes and do the necessary changes on .info, template, tpl and css files.)

What else can you do?

Themes make Drupal websites beautiful – and Themers are the bridge between the science of code and the art of design.
You can do more with a theme than change the appearance of an entire site. It is also possible to "theme" specific sections of a site, certain types of content, or even individual pages or a particular regions. For example, your theme could specify a different look for just the front page of your site or your theme could specify a different look for just the particular regions like sidebar first,header etc.

Some other things that you can do with a theme:

  1. Change layouts, regions, images and fonts.
  2. Hide or display fields based on user role.
  3. Dynamically respond to changes in content or user input.
  4. Modify or replace text (e.g. labels or attributes) and variables generated by modules.
  5. It's also possible to port open source designs between other systems (Joomla! templates, WordPress themes, etc.) and Drupal, or convert any website layout or template into a Drupal theme.
  6. Create a sub-theme. Your own version of a theme (existing or one that you create) that you can modify, while protecting the functionality of the original (base-theme) for update purposes creating a sub-theme.

Other Places to Explore

  1. Overview of theme files - Structure of Drupal 6 and Drupal 7 themes files individually
  2. Definitive Guide to Drupal 7 Theming - (Theming and Advanced Theming chapters from the Definitive Guide to Drupal 7) free online:
  3. Installing Themes - To install existing, contributed themes, please visit Installing themes.
  4. Contributed Themes - Free Contributed themes at Drupal 7 themes can be previewed at
  5. Custom Themes - Unique custom themes created by Drupal designers that you can hire.
  6. Theming Tutorials - View a number of theming videos which guide you through common scenarios.
  7. Support - Having problems? Check the troubleshooting FAQ, in the theming forum or contact us on IRC @ #drupal-themes.
  8. Module Developer's Guide - Module developers can consult the module developer's guide, specifically Using the theme layer (Drupal 7.x) and (Drupal 6.x).
  9. HTML and CSS techniques - See the best practices page.
  10. Sass techniques - See the Sass Techniques and tools.

Looking for support? Visit the forums, or join #drupal-support in IRC.