Overview of Templates to Format Joomla Websites - dummies

Overview of Templates to Format Joomla Websites

By Seamus Bellamy, Steve Holzner

Joomla has built-in HTML editors that allow you to format articles the way you want them, but it has no officially sanctioned editor that allows you to create your own templates. The way your individual pages are laid out — their very look and feel — is totally dependent on the template you use.

What’s more, Joomla doesn’t have a built-in template editor that allows you to drag components and modules where you want them in a page and design their appearance. You can edit some template parameters in Template Manager, but you can’t make fundamental changes unless you get into the PHP and the CSS files.

Various third-party template editors are available for Joomla, and they’re a good start. One of the best template editors on the market today is the ingenious Artisteer.

With a user-friendly interface and generous customization options, Artisteer is a great piece of software that’ll have you building Joomla templates in no time. What’s more, you can also use the software to build templates for a wide number of other Content Management Systems as well. The program is free to try and should you choose to purchase it, reasonably priced.

It’s a pity that Joomla provides such limited template-editing capabilities, but you can get around that limitation by downloading and installing new templates. You can find hundreds of Joomla templates on the Internet, and installing them, provided they’re designed to work with your version of Joomla, is a breeze.

In Joomla, you manage templates with — surprise! — Template Manager. To open Template Manager, choose Extensions→Template Manager in any back-end page.


Template Manager gives you as much control of templates as you can get unless you want to get your hands dirty with HTML and CSS.

Joomla’s Template Manager has two tabs at the top left of the page: The Styles tab and the Templates tab. When you install a template in Joomla, it is added to the Templates tab and one style entry is added to the Styles tab.

On the Templates tab side of things, you are able to edit the core template itself. Edits there will affect all styles of that particular template. Styles contain configurable parameters for the template that vary depending on what the template will allow.

For example, a template’s background color could be a possible parameter. So you can open the default style and change its background color to red. If you apply the altered style to the website, you will use the template for that style, and the properties inherent to that style.

For Joomla 1.6, the CMS’s development team went through the trouble of completely redesigning the Template Manager. This resulted in a user interface that allows site administrators a tremendous amount of options to decide how they’d like their site to look on a page by page basis.