Blog Archives

Starter Guide to Customising Moodle Themes

At the iMoot this year I did two sessions on how to customise Moodle themes if you don’t have a lot of experience already with PHP and CSS.

This PDF is my presentation, but of course there’s a huge section where I did some demonstration.

Basically what it boils down to is:

  1. Get yourself a theme that has a custom settings page with a custom CSS box. There are quite a few standard Moodle themes that already have this, so you don’t even need to download and install one.
  2. Get yourself Firebug for whichever browser you prefer to use. For theme design, I prefer using Firebug in Firefox, but the browser extension is available for several different browsers.
  3. Watch this quick YouTube video on how to use the Firebug extension specifically with Moodle and a custom CSS box.

Away you go!

Just remember a couple of things:

  • Never, ever make back-end code changes directly to a core Moodle theme. Reasons why are in the PDF presentation.
  • Your changes in Firebug are temporary and will be lost if you refresh the page. To keep any changes, they must be put into the custom CSS box of your theme.
  • If you do want to make back-end code changes to a theme, DUPLICATE it first.

If you want to learn more about Moodle theme design, try our MoodleBites for Theme Designers course!


    Themes, CSS and HTML5

    Needing to get back into theme design for Moodle 2, and needed to update the look of my site at to reflect a new logo and also abolish the use of tables in favour of divs. So, I sat down with the w3schools site and self-taught myself some HTML5 (which looks awesome, by the way) and played around with a lot of CSS. Dragonslair hasn’t been updated to the new theme yet, though, because I need to still rework a bit of code in the existing structure to match how I’ve rearranged some things.

    But… it certainly gives me the confidence to now go and have a look at Moodle 2 theme layouts. Yes, layouts. I spoke with Julian Ridden during the NZ MoodleMoot 2011 and he told me some exciting things about layouts that I just can’t wait to go off and try. Then it’ll be time to keep working on MoodleBites for Theme Designers.

    On a personal note – got the inlaws coming to visit this weekend, which will be good. 🙂 I enjoy their company. Also, on the Saturday night I have a photography job (hence the sudden rush to get the Dragonslair site looking how I want it). Then the following weekend I’m going skiing! Woohooo! Hoping to be able to get up north and visit my parents the weekend after that. Been doing Zumba in an effort to get fit, but all I’ve managed to do so far is make myself feel very old and stiff. Ah well, I will persevere.