How to Install a Theme in Drupal 6.X

Drupal's system for themes is flexible and makes sharing themes particularly easy, allowing even beginner Drupal webmasters to present sophisticated user interfaces. Best of all, they are so simple to install and to activate - literally a 3-step process.


  1. Download your new theme.

    1. There are many Drupal theme sites which display themes to select from:

  2. Uncompress your new theme to your website's themes/ folder.

    1. If you are on a linux server and have the necessary permissions, upload the archive to the server, then - tar -zxvf /path/to/theme_archive_file /path/to/Drupal/themes/
    2. If you do not have such access, you'll most likely need to uncompress the theme and upload the folder to the themes/ folder on the server.
  3. Navigate in your browser, logged in as your administrator account, to http://your.domain.tld/?q=admin/build/themes

    1. Find your new theme in the table.
    2. Select the enabled box to allow your site's users to use this theme.
    3. Select the default radio button to make this theme your site's default theme.

      • Most Drupal themes allow further refinement and customization, and a configure link will show up next to your current default theme.
      • Unselect all other enabled themes to require users to use this theme.


  • Take your time and experiment. Don't get flustered or worried if things don't work right immediately; Drupal's themes are wonderfully flexible, and it may take you a bit to get the most out of them.
  • The theme directory is not '\themes' as it would seem but either '\sites\all\themes', '\sites\all\themes\contrib', or '\sites\all\themes\custom'.
    • The '\theme' directory is for built in themes and may be overwritten when you update.
    • Any directory under '\sites\all\themes' will work but it is common for the themes to be separated into themes written by others (contributed) and themes written by you (custom).
    • The backslashes (\) that I use are for a Windows machine but they would be forward slashes (/) on a Linux machine.


  • Each theme can have different names or different priorities for the different sections of the screen. Often this means a new theme will have blocks rearranged and showing up where you didn't expect them to. RELAX! Navigate your browser, as a logged in administrator account, to http://your.domain.tld/?q=admin/build/block, and move the blocks to where you want them to appear. There, that wasn't so hard, was it?

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