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Article Index
Anna's Joomla tips
1-How to think about content management
2-How to organize your site
3-Designing the look of your site
4-Modules and pages
5-Adding text and images
7-Blogs and Your front page
8-Modules, Components, and Mambots
9-Where is it?

Templates determine the look of your site, or of different sections of your site. If you go to the Template page of your admin (Site -> Template Manager -> Site Templates), you will see a few templates listed. Try clicking on one (the buttons to the far left, not the template name) and then clicking the “default” icon in the toolbar. Then browse to your site to see how the template changed the look of your site.

What is a Template? Templates are sets of files that determine the look of your site. The main file is “index.php,” which includes html code for layout elements like tables, your logo, etc, and inserts php code for dynamic elements. The next most important file is the style sheet or css file, which determines fonts, colors, and borders for each element in the site.

Check out this visual of your “index.php” file:

“header.jpg” is your logo. “body” is a block that will contain content. The orange blocks in the figure are Positions, which you can place in table cells. Remember that these Positions can contain any number of modules, and those modules can be turned on and off . (Imagine that in the “top” position you have a search module and a date module, for example, and in the “left” position you have a menu and a login.) When you make a template, you’re just setting aside the space on the page by inserting a position. The positions are placed in the table cells of your website with php code that looks like this: <?php mosLoadModules ( 'left' ); ?>

The style sheet. Your template also has a style sheet that controls the fonts, colors, borders, etc. of each element of the page. Here are some explanations of the naming convention:
for download -
on the web -
with visuals -

Well, that’s the basic explanation of templates. The following are specific instructions on downloading or designing templates:

Downloading templates. I haven’t used other people’s templates, but I’m sure there are lots of places you can get them. Start at

Designing templates. Absalom Media has a good tutorial on designing templates here:
If you want to design your own and use Dreamweaver, I recommend this tutorial: It will guide you through downloading a Dreamweaver extension that allows you to design templates there. It also recommends you download MSAS, the Mambo Stand Alone Server, which essentially puts a mini-server with MySQL & Apache right on your computer so that you can see your template before uploading it to the web. Another even more detailed step-by-step tutorial is at: AllMambo MOS Template 101 (thanks jetzkr8!).
(Note: some of these tutorials are for 4.5.1. If you come across a more current or better or shorter tutorial, please let me know!)

Now that you’ve got a template, we’re going to put some modules in the positions you just created.
Next tip: Modules and pages.

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