How To Install A Magento Theme – An Ultimate Tutorial

Magento has become the most popular ecommerce platform among the online business owners today. The reason of this extravagant popularity is the robust CMS, extreme flexibility, scalability and fully-functional features provided with Magento.

Although, Magento has all these good things, it requires a good knowledge to indulge yourself into customizing your Magento driven store. If you want to create a new Magento theme on your own, than it’s a different story, but if you’re looking to leverage the functionality and layout provided by any of the free or premium Magento theme then you should know how to install a theme after successfully downloading it.

In this tutorial, I’m going to guide you on how to install a new theme on your Magento store. There are two ways to do that:

  1. Installing via Magento Connect Extension Manager.

  2. Installing via placing theme folders in your Magento installation

Though it depends on the availability of the theme and it’s quality, if the theme is available in Magento Connect, you can easily install the theme without any technical knowledge. Following is an ultimate breakdown of how can you install a theme via Magento Connect and via adding a new theme template in your new or existing Magento installation.

How To Install A Magento Theme Via Magento Connect


All set? To install a theme through Magento Connect, you need to follow the below steps:

  1. Browse Magento theme archive to select one. If you know the url of your favourite theme, just open it’s Magento Connect url.

  2. You’ll see a button Get Extension Key just under the theme image. Click the button and agree to license agreement.

  3. After selecting the agree checkbox, click Get Extension Key button and you will see the Magento extension key right there displayed in the box. Keep this key safe, you need to place this extension key in your store’s Magento connect tab.

  4. Now, Login to your store’s admin panel and go to System>Magento Connect>Magento Connect Manager. It will ask you to login again. Use your store admin credentials to get through the login screen.

  5. Once you see, Theme successfully installed message, go to System>Configuration>Design>Themes, provide a name to the theme in default field and click Save Config button placed at the top right corner of your screen.

  6. As Magento theme revolves around various columns in your theme layout, just in case your home page doesn’t load properly and shows up weirdly, go to CMS>Manage Pages. You’ll notice that there are two different homepage layouts, so based on the new theme layout you need to disable all the other home page layouts. This can be done by clicking the Enable and Disable links in the status field.

  7. Check out your home page, if it is loading perfectly and if your store is looking just like your

new theme. And, its done!

This is the easiest and fastest way to install a Magento theme via Magento Connect Manager.

There are many Magento theme sites that do not publish their theme template in Magento connect Manager. These themes are directly provided by the owner’s sites. If you want to download a theme from such sites, then follow these steps to install a Magento theme within your existing Magento installation.

How To Install A Downloaded Magento Theme

Magento themes are different from the single template WordPress themes because its layout depends mainly on four elements:

Layout – (app/design/frontend/your_interface/new_theme/layout/)

Templates – (app/design/frontend/your_interface/new_theme/template/)

Skins – (app/design/frontend/your_interface/new_theme/)

Locale – (app/design/frontend/your_interface/new_theme/locale/)

So, assuming that you’ve downloaded the theme you want to install and integrate, what next?

Here are few steps to follow:

  1. Uncompress the zip file which contains the theme templates.

  2. Copy the entire app folder of your new theme under Your_Magento_Installation/app/design/frontend/default/ so it will look like Your_Magento_Installation/app/design/frontend/default/new_theme.

  3. Now, copy the entire new theme skin folder under Your_Magento_Installation /skin/frontend/default/ so it will look like Your_Magento_Installation/ skin/frontend/default/ new_theme.

  4. Now, as you’ve added your downloaded theme to your Magento store, you need to login into Magento store admin to tell Magento which theme to use as layout.Sometimes, Magento Cache doesn’t allows you to see the changes instantly. So, while testing with your new theme, it will be wise to disable the cache for time being and once you are done, enable it. To do this, go to System>Cache Management, select Disable and click Save Cache.

  5. Go to System>Configuration and select the Design tab.

  6. Give name to your new theme which you’ve coupled in your Magento installation in front of skin input box and click Save Config.

  7. All set! Open your new store on the browser to see and use your new Magento theme.

So, you’ve installed a new Magento theme, but can’t see products showing up, Why?

Well, this is commonly experienced with a new store. You can easily fix this up by following these few steps:

  1. Go to Catalog>Manage Categories

  2. Select the category you want on your home page and look out for it’s ID.

  3. Go back to CMS>Manage Pages and select the home page.

  4. Now, paste the code for showing products on home page with the selected category ID.

Hopefully, this was quite a comprehensive tutorial for installing Magento themes. If you have any questions, views or experiences, I’d love to hear. Please leave your comments below.

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