Now for the fun part! Choosing a theme with Site Builder is simple. Each theme is fully mobile responsive and has been crafted and refined to look great with many different types of content — it’s like having your own designer on staff!
In this article:
A Theme is a baseline set of style and layout options that Site Builder uses to help you build a consistent, attractive website. Every Thinkific site, no matter how fully customized, begins with a Theme, and yours is no different! By default, every new site uses the Empire Theme, but it's a good idea to check out all the available Themes before you start building your website content.
Keep in mind that you can have several different Themes installed at the same time, but only one Theme can be published: that's the one that visitors to your site will actually see!
You can take a look at all the available Themes by navigating to Design Your Site and selecting the Theme library. The My themes area will show your currently published theme, as well as any others you have installed, while the Explore themes section lets you preview new themes.
Site Builder offers three primary Themes, each with three or four styles for a total of 12 theme + style combinations, to apply and customize to your Thinkific site. You can explore each one by clicking on the View Details button — make sure to click on the different styles to see the variations!
If you want to see more detailed examples of each Theme and Style in action, check out our Sample Theme Site(s)!
Installing a Theme
To install a new theme, follow the instructions below. Remember that installing a theme is not the same thing as publishing it, and installing a new theme will not automatically remove your existing theme!
- From your Theme library, click on the Explore themes tab
- Select the Theme you want to install and click on View Details
- In the preview window, click the Install Theme button on the bottom right
- A prompt will appear asking if you want to copy content from your published theme. If you have made changes or added content to your current theme, choose Yes, Copy My Content to include that content in your newly-installed theme
- Click on My themes; your new Theme should appear under My installed themes
- Optional: If you want to immediately start using your new Theme for your live site, click the Publish button that appears when you mouse over the Theme card
Remember, you can continue to work on and build a theme without it being published. Simply hover over the theme card and select Build to make changes to an inactive theme.
Your published theme is the one that is currently active and visible to your audience. It appears at the top of your My themes tab in the Theme library. From there, you can click on the blue Build button to enter Site Builder and begin beautifying your landing pages. (This is also the Theme that you can access directly via the Site Builder option under Design Your Site.)
The menu button (next to Build) also gives you access to the following options:
Duplicate: Duplicate your theme, including all Site Builder content. This may take a few minutes, depending on how much content you have in the theme. Keep in mind that a duplicated theme cannot have its version updated in the future, so you should generally avoid using a duplicated theme as your primary site. They are most useful as back-ups for your main theme, or for when you want to experiment with new custom code or content that will eventually be added to your main, published theme.
Restore: Made a mistake while editing your theme? Something broke when you updated to the new version? No problem. You can use this option to restore your theme to the previous version of the theme (including any changes you made to that version, prior to updating.) This will not affect your content in Site Builder, such as new sections or changes to copy; it will only affect your theme.
Note: you can only only Restore to the previous version of your theme, you cannot restore repeatedly to go back multiple versions.
- Edit Code: For developers comfortable with custom coding. This will direct you to the HTML/CSS files associated with your theme for editing. Learn more about custom themes here.
- Update available: If there’s a green button next to this option, there’s an update available for your current theme! Be sure to always be on the updated version to ensure an optimal experience for your learners.
If you'd like to see which version of a theme you're on, you can hover over the info 'i' icon next to the name.
An installed theme is one that you have installed, and possibly edited in the past. Your installed themes appear at the bottom of the My themes view in your Theme library. If you hover over them, you can click the Publish button to set them as the active, published theme. You can also duplicate, edit, or update installed themes, via the menu button next to their name.
You can change which of your installed themes is published whenever you want, allowing you to seamlessly update the look and/or content of your website. Just remember that you will need to maintain each theme separately, and that content or customizations to one theme will not automatically carry over.
Each Theme is a Unique Instance
Each of your installed Themes exists independently, with its own content and customizations: changes made to one Theme do not automatically apply to the others.
This has some advantages. For example, it allows you to use one Theme for your live site while working on a major overhaul in one of your secondary themes; then, once the new site is completely ready, you can publish it all at once for a smooth transition. It also allows you to experiment with multiple approaches when you are first building out your site.
When installing a new Theme, you will have the one-time option to copy content and customizations from your current published theme; this is to make it easier for you to switch themes, without losing all your work up to that point!
However, if you do decide to work on two separate Themes simultaneously, it is important to keep in mind that you will have to build out any new content in both places. We generally only recommend having multiple active Themes during your initial exploration/set-up, or when working on a major site overhaul/Theme transition.
We have designed our themes to be highly customizable without the need to get into any code using our Site Builder tool! If you have specific needs that require editing your theme code, we highly recommend that you look into hiring a web developer. You can always check out our Experts Marketplace for developers who are familiar with our system to create custom coded solutions! The Thinkific Store on Fivver and Upwork.com are also popular options.
Learn more here: Custom Themes (For Developers)
Updating Your Theme
When theme updates are available, you will see an Update option right within your Theme Library. Note that you can only update the original installed version of your theme, you cannot update duplicate a copy of a theme.
Updating a theme will also remove any custom theme code that has been added. Learn more about managing updates to custom themes here: How to Update Your Custom Thinkific Theme