Assigning Magento Interface and Theme to the Store

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Now that you’ve created your own theme (whether a default or a non-default), you’ll need to assign it to your website/store in order for it to take effect. Navigate to the Magento admin panel (ie.www.mydomain.com/admin), then the Design configuration tab (System -> Configuration -> Design tab).

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On the upper corner of the left column in Diagram 2, you will see a box labeled ‘Current Configuration Scope’.

  • In order to manage your store design in the website-level, select the name of your website from the dropdown, then apply the following steps.
  • In order to manage the design from the store view-level, select the name of your store view from the dropdown, then apply the following steps.

Step 1
From the Design tab, in Current package name, enter the name of the interface in which your new theme resides. Magento will automatically load the interface called ‘default’ if this box is left blank.

Step 2
In Default (under Themes heading), enter the name of the new theme you’d like to load to your website/store. If you leave this box blank, Magento will automatically load only the theme called ‘default’ (Remember, no matter how you configure the design tab, Magento will automatically load the theme called ‘default’. If you assign a theme in the admin, that theme will simply load higher up in hierarchy, but will load along with the theme ‘default’. This will change in the upcoming stable release however, to give you full control over what themes are loaded into the store). Should you choose to load the theme separately depending on file type (layout, templates, skin or translation files), enter the name of the theme from which to grab the according file types.

Step 3
When you’re done, click the button “Save config” and reload your store – Voila! You now see your new theme reflected in the frontend.

Now that we’ve got the how-to of creating and managing themes, let’s move on to how Magento handles those themes.

Back to TopSay Hello to Multiple Themes

Note: Capacity for unlimited themes will become available with the upcoming releases. Although at the time of writing only two themes can be loaded at once, the workings behind the scenes remain the same and you will benefit from this documentation.

Holiday seasons by far offer the most extensive sales opportunity for any eCommerce store — Customers line up to buy Christmas gifts for their family and friends, and moms line up to buy Halloween costumes for their child’s special night of trick ‘or treating. In order to tailor to the seasonal shoppers, your store must faithfully reflect the occasions in order to inspire your shoppers to explore your store. A shop like Diagram 3 just doesn’t cut it during Christmas – What this store needs is a few reds, snowflakes and Santa Claus – just like the store below in Diagram 4!

Diagram 3. This just doesn’t cut it

Diagram 4. This is what you need


With Magento, we’ve created the capacity for your store to handle multiple themes of your choice exactly for those times when an extra touch is needed most. By loading multiple themes to your store, you can preserve your normal non-seasonal store design, while enhancing it with the Christmas theme.

At close examination of the two designs above, you’ll notice similarities in the underlying design. The façade has gone Christmas in Diagram 4, but underneath it you can still see the structure of the off-season store design. The only real difference between the two store designs, are just a few CSS and image files and wording changes in the template files. Because the changes are in fact minor, you don’t need a whole new default theme to accommodate your Christmas theme. What you need is just a few file replacements, and you’re on your way to a much spicier and merrier store. Magento’s multiple themes functionality was created to accommodate exactly that need, putting the power on your fingertips to turn on and off the seasonal themes while preserving your default theme.

Magento handles loading multiple themes by assigning something called hierarchy to the themes which is simply a process of cancelling out redundant files to load only that which resides highest in hierarchy.The hierarchy is determined by you in the Admin Design configuration tab and your ability to do so will become fully functional with the upcoming stable version. At the time of writing, the hierarchy of themes is already decided for you, as Magento loads the 'default' theme in the system first (placing it in the lowest hierarchy), then loading the second theme you assign in the admin (placing it in highest hierarchy).

Testimonials

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