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Table of contents

Table of Contents



Coding a theme

PrestaShop's theme system is based on a template engine, called Smarty, which allows web-designers and developers to easily build their own theme, with little technical knowledge.


Concepts and technical information

What makes a PrestaShop theme

Thanks to PrestaShop's theming system, shop owners can easily customize their online shop.

The whole system is built upon the Smarty template engine, which enables HTML integrators to easily work their theme, witout any (or few) technical constraints.

The default PrestaShop theme is neutral, in gray tones, so as to enable shop owners to get started quickly whatever their business area.

More than 500 other themes have been created, and are available for free or for sale on PrestaShop Addons. They were either made by the PrestaShop team, or by members of the PrestaShop community.

As a developer/HTML integrator, you too can sell your themes on PrestaShop Addons, and earn 70% of your sales.

How a theme works

A PrestaShop theme is a set of files which you can edit in order to change the look of your online shop.


  • All themes have their files located in the /themes root folder.
  • Each theme has its own sub-folder, in the main themes folder.
  • Each theme is made of template files (/.tpl), image files (.gif, .jpg, .png), one or more CSS files (/.css), and sometimes even JavaScript files (.js).
  • Each theme has a preview.jpg image file in its folder, enabling the shop-owner to see what the theme looks like directly from the back-office, and select the theme appropriately.



The /css, /img and /js folder are optional, the module theme can perfectly work without them, it's up to you to create them.


All of your theme's text string should be enclosed in a Smarty function, like so:

Code Block

{l s='My Text'}

This will enable anyone to translate the theme into his own language, using the internal translation tool, which you can find in the PrestaShop back-office, under the "Tools" tab and its "Translation" sub-tab. In the "Modify translations" section, use the drop-down menu, choose "Back Front Office translation", then click on the flag of the language you wish to translate strings into. All the backfront-office strings will then be displayed, and the strings for your theme are those whose sections are not prefixed with "Admin*".

h3 Transmitting data to a PrestaShop theme

The following graphic explains how data is transmitted from PrestaShop's core to its theme. Using the l() method enables the theme to display its text in the chosen language, if it has been translated beforehand.

Image Modified

Best practices


  1. Do not mix XHTML and PHP code.
  2. Do not mix XHTML and CSS code, put the CSS code in a separate .css file.
  3. Always validate your XHTML and CSS code using the W3C validators: XHTML validator, CSS validator.
  4. Do not make SQL queries from a PHP controller ({{.php file at the root of PrestaShop); prefer the use of existing methods from the PrestaShop classes, or create new methods for these classes.
  5. Always check if a method you need does not already exist in the available classes.
  6. Always make sure to produce a clear and readable code, making it easy to maintain for anyone.
  7. Do comment your code, in English.
  8. When editing the theme on a production site, always first put the shop in maintenance mode via the back-office.
  9. Use modern browsers, such as Firefox, Google Chrome or Opera, and make sure your friends do too.
  10. Whenever possible, use CSS sprites (follow-up article).
  11. If you wish to thank PrestaShop team for its hard work, please consider donating, or spread the good word!

Customizing the default theme

Follow the following steps below to create your own theme out of the PrestaShop default theme.


That being said, it is highly discouraged to directly change the files for the default theme, the reason being that this could introduce news new bugs and no way to go back. You need to keep the default theme intact, so that you can switch between your theme and the default one in order to find out if the issue you are seeing is tied to your theme, or to a bug in another part of PrestaShop.


File or folder



This image is used as a preview in the "Theme" selector in the "Preferences" > "Appearance" sub-tab. This image is mandatory, as without it the them theme cannot be selected. It should obviously reflect the theme's design, and not its logo or designer's name...


Used when the requested page is not found (HTTP error 404).


Used when adding or editing a client street address.


Used when listing a client's street addresses.


Used when identifying a user, or creating a new user account.


Used to list all best sale.


Used to find the navigation path, or breadcrumb trail.


Used to list all products in a given category.


Used only by the Category block.




Used for informational pages ("Tools" > "CMS" sub-tab).


Used by the contact form.


Used when listing all discount tickets for a single client.


Used when displaying errors. Potentially called by all of the pages.


Page footer.


Used when a visitor has no know known account on the site, but wants his order to be tracked – and therefore needs to create an account or log in.


Page header


Used when lsiting the order history of a client.


Used when a client edits his/her personal information.


Blank file, prevents visitors to view the content of the folder.


Welcome page.


Used when the site is in maintenance mode.


Used when listing all products from a single manufacturer.


Used when listing all manufacturers.


Weclome Welcome page for a client's account.


Used when listing the products that were last added to the cart.


Used during the order process: Step 1, choosing the addresses (delivery, billing).


Used during the order process: Step 2, choosing the carrier mode.


Used during the order process: Last step, confirming the order (after payment).


Used to display the content of a client's order.


Used when a client needs to ask for a product return.






Used during the order process: Step 3, choosing the payment mode.


Used to display a client product return details.


Used to display a client's credit slips.


Order process progress bar.


Used by all pages that list products. Displays the pagination button, enable to skip to the next/previous page of products.


Used when a client needs to change his password.


Used to list all current promotions.


Used to display details for a single product.


Used by all pages that list products. Displays the actual products list.


Used by all pages that list products. Displays a menu enabling to sort and filter products.




Used to display a scene's details within a product category.


Used to list results from a search query.


Used to list products in a client's cart.


Used to display from a single cart row.


Used to display the site map.






Used to list all the products from a single supplier.


Used to list all suppliers.


Used to zoom a product's picture.




Contains all style sheet files for the theme. The global.css file deals with the layout for most of the site. Unless you know exactly what you are doing, you should leave these files alone.


Contains all of the theme's images. You should replace these images with your own adequate creations. If you do not know what to make of it, you should leave the original files.


Contains all of the theme's JavaScript files. Unless you know exactly what you are doing, you should leave these files alone.


Contains all translation files. These are generated by the back-office translation tool, and should not be edit directly. If a translation needs editing, go to the back-office, "Tools" tab, "Translation" sub-tab, "Modify translation" section, and choose "Front office translations".

A few advices

Firebug, Dragonyfly Dragonfly et al.: your work as a front-end developer can greatly helped with the right tools at hand, provided you test your design in a modern browser that provides such tools, either through a module (Firefox's FireBug) or directly embedded (Opera's Dragonfly, Chrome & Webkit's Web Inspector). Learn to master them, and you will quickly be amazed by their usefulness.


preview.jpg file: Once your design is complete, you can create the preview image file. Take a screen shot, then resize it to 180px width in order to use it instead of the default preview.jpg file. You can either used the screenshot tool provided by your OS (Windows' Snipping Tool, OS X's Cmd+Shift+4 key combo), or install a browser extension, such as Firefox's FireShot or Screengrab.

Layered navigation: In order for a theme to be compatible with layered navigation, the /themes/themename/product-list.tpl file must have its product list area be encapsulated within a tag with the "product_list" id; otherwise, the layered navigation will not be able to update the product list.

Code Block
<div id="product_list">


<ul id="product_list">

Integration: where the hooks and modules are