How to install and activate themes in PrestaShop 1.5-1.6

PrestaShop comes with a default theme that's the active theme of your PrestaShop after you install the application. It determines the layout and look of the frontend of your site. You can change some aspects of that theme through the available options in the admin panel, and if you know how to do it, you can also modify it by editing the code of its files.

If you want to change your site visually, you can also do this by installing and activating another theme. You can install many themes, but the currently activate theme is only one. You can install themes with the theme installer that comes with PrestaShop, or you can do this manually.

There are many websites that offer PrestaShop themes. On the official PrestaShop site you can find themes in the addons section and in the free themes section of the forum.

In this article we'll briefly go over the process of installing and changing themes. For screenshots and more details check out the tutorial on how to install and switch themes in PrestaShop 1.5-1.6.

Automatic Theme Installation

In the admin panel there are options with which you can install themes automatically. To do this, go to Preferences menu>Themes sub-menu and click on the Add new theme button. In PrestaShop 1.5 the theme installer comes as a separate module; to install themes with that version, go to Modules menu>Modules sub-menu, find the module Import/export a theme and click on its Configure button.

On the page that opens you can choose from three ways of uploading and installing themes:

  • Import from your computer - to use this method, first you need to download the theme on your local computer. Then use this option to locate the theme on your computer and click on the Save button to install it.

  • Import from the web - put the full URL address of the theme (e.g. and click on the Save button.

  • Import from FTP - to use this method, first you need to upload the zipped theme in the themes folder on your PrestaShop hosting account. Then select the theme from the drop-down menu and click on Save.

No matter which method you choose, after you click on the Save button the theme will be installed. Each theme has a configuration regarding the modules that should be enabled and disabled. In PrestaShop 1.6 this configuration is managed when you make the theme the active/current one.

Note that in PrestaShop 1.5 the theme configuration is managed during the installation. After you select the installation method and you continue to the next step you'll see a list of the modules that have to be enabled and disabled (and optionally installed) so that the theme looks the way it's designed to look. The best solution is to keep the recommended configuration and just continue with the installation.

Change the Current Theme

To change the current theme with one of the installed themes, go to Preferences menu>Themes sub-menu, hover the mouse cursor over the screenshot of the particular theme and click on the button Use this theme. On the next page you'll see lists of the modules that have to be enabled and disabled, and if the theme comes prepackaged with its own modules, you'll also find a list of the modules that can be installed. To see any of these lists, click on the Show button. By default, the options are configured according to the configuration of the theme. So if you want to use the default theme configuration, leave the checkboxes as they are and click on the Save button.

To change the theme in PrestaShop 1.5, after you go to Preferences menu>Themes sub-menu simply click on the screenshot of the theme and click on the Save button. In PrestaShop 1.5, when you install a theme it's automatically set as the currently active one. As we mentioned, in that PrestaShop version the automatic theme configuration in terms of the modules that have to be enabled/disabled and installed is performed during the installation of the theme.

Manual Theme Installation

To install a theme manually, after you download it to your local computer, unzip it. In the unzipped folder find the directory that contains the theme's files and folders (it should be labeled with the theme's name) and upload that directory to the themes folder on your PrestaShop hosting account. If your PrestaShop is installed directly in the public_html folder on your account, the path where you have to upload the theme will be public_html/themes.

You should also check whether the theme comes prepackaged with some modules. In the folder of the unzipped theme on your local computer check for a folder labeled modules. If there's such a folder, upload the folders that are inside that folder to the modules folder on your PrestaShop hosting account (e.g. public_html/modules).

After you upload everything you can activate the theme from Preferences menu>Themes sub-menu in the admin panel. If you use PrestaShop 1.5 and the theme comes with modules that you've uploaded, you have to install them from Modules menu>Modules sub-menu.

For more details and screenshots read the tutorial on how to install themes in PrestaShop 1.5-1.6.

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