Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 3.1. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version of Moodle is probably available here: Themes.
A Moodle theme is a pre-designed user "view" (interface) that can be changed by the site administrator, teacher, or student. While robust, it does not effect how Moodle functions, just how it looks. Moodle comes with a standard set of themes and there is a large free library available to download.
Moodle has a powerful themes system that allows for a variety of effects through the use of XHTML and CSS.
- Themes may be selected at site level, course level and/or user level.
- Each page is individually-addressable via CSS, allowing you to pinpoint exact items.
- Our CSS class naming system uses simple English, is consistent and easily understood.
- New modules can tell Moodle what styles they need and automatically include these in the stylesheet.
- Themes can be based on the standard theme, which is very plain but functional. You simply override styles you want to change by adding to the stylesheet in your own theme. This means that if you upgrade Moodle later and new styles are needed, your custom theme will still work without any changes, because the new classes will be defined in the standard theme.
- Themes can also be based on any other theme. This allows you to easily create families of themes, or variations on a theme. For example you might create a spectrum of pastel shades for use in different courses, but with the same basic layout and logos. You may also want to create a family of differently-coloured themes for accessibility purposes.
Moodle has a number of themes for you to choose from using the theme selector, including an interactive theme called Chameleon. Chameleon uses Ajax technology to enable you to easily design your own theme or enhance an existing theme. The Ajax editing interface for Chameleon loads for administrators only.
Alternatively, you can download a theme from the Moodle.org Themes database.
Creating your own theme
If you plan to work on your own theme please create a new one (with its own named subfolder) and use Moodle's theme system to base your theme on an existing theme such as standard. If you just modify one of the delivered themes it will be overwritten by the next Moodle update.
For more information on creating your own theme, visit this tutorial
To distribute your theme, zip the theme folder and submit to the Moodle.org Themes database.
Installing a theme
To install a theme:
- Unzip the .zip file to an empty local directory.
- Upload folder to your web server to the /moodle/theme/[Theme Name]. (Replace [Theme Name] with the name of the theme you have downloaded.) Ensure the new theme folder and its contents are readable by the webserver. Change Read and Write permissions (CHMOD) for the files and folder to 755 - Owner read/write/execute, Group read/execute, Everyone read/execute. Incorrect permissions may prevent display of the newly installed theme.
- Choose your new theme from within Moodle via Administration > Appearance > Themes > Theme selector (version 1.7+) or Administration > Configuration > Themes (older versions).
Theme system changes
Themes have improved a great deal in recent versions of Moodle. If you are using your own theme and want to upgrade, please refer to one of the following:
Themes included in Moodle 1.9 are chameleon, cornflower, custom corners, formal white, metal, oceanblue, orangewhite, orangewhitepda, standard (default), standardblue, standardgreen, standardlogo, standardred, standardwhite, wood
- Installing 3rd Party Modules and Themes in Moodle video
- Creating a custom theme
- Make your own theme - another take on creating themes