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Configuring your theme


Drupal 6 Essential Training

with Tom Geller

Video: Configuring your theme

As a Drupal administrator, you'd have several levels of control over the theme that affects the general appearance of your site. In fact, you can do quite a lot with the six themes that are built into Drupal. Some of the things you can change, include the information shown at the top of every screen besides logo, the shortcut icon that's in the browser's address bar and whether member icons are included in posts and comments. The first thing that we're going to do is we're going to change to a completely different theme and you'll notice some very big changes when that happens. First of all, you may remember that blocks are actually theme per theme. So, all of the blocks that you've in this right hand corner are going to disappear.
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  1. 4m 36s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the example files
      3m 47s
  2. 28m 50s
    1. Drupal is a CMS
      7m 43s
    2. Choosing Drupal
      5m 31s
    3. Checking Drupal's requirements
      4m 26s
    4. Understanding the inner workings of Drupal
      4m 32s
    5. Meeting the Drupal community
      6m 38s
  3. 11m 26s
    1. Learning key terms in Drupal
      5m 19s
    2. Touring Drupal's interface
      6m 7s
  4. 34m 28s
    1. Installing WAMP and Drupal on Windows
      9m 41s
    2. Installing MAMP
      4m 34s
    3. Setting up the database on a Mac
      2m 1s
    4. Downloading and installing Drupal on a Mac
      6m 32s
    5. Troubleshooting installation problems
      3m 49s
    6. Automating updates with cron
      7m 51s
  5. 25m 34s
    1. Setting up clean URLs
      5m 51s
    2. Backing up your Drupal site
      3m 31s
    3. Restoring your Drupal site from backup
      4m 18s
    4. Wiping your Drupal installation clean
      2m 6s
    5. Updating Drupal
      9m 48s
  6. 15m 35s
    1. Using the Administration menu
      6m 20s
    2. Setting site information
      4m 50s
    3. Setting the theme
      4m 25s
  7. 35m 6s
    1. Understanding security and permissions
      7m 2s
    2. Controlling site access with user management
      3m 39s
    3. Creating users
      7m 57s
    4. Setting user profiles
      9m 40s
    5. Creating contact forms
      6m 48s
  8. 19m 18s
    1. Creating your site's basic info pages
      7m 12s
    2. Understanding page layout
      5m 40s
    3. Creating a flexible layout with blocks
      6m 26s
  9. 15m 34s
    1. Monitoring performance
      4m 51s
    2. Recovering from disasters
      7m 37s
    3. Improving administration skills
      3m 6s
  10. 41m 1s
    1. Understanding nodes
      6m 49s
    2. Creating basic content: Stories and pages
      7m 9s
    3. Enabling other content types
      9m 22s
    4. Adding blogs
      3m 48s
    5. Adding forums
      6m 56s
    6. Adding polls
      6m 57s
  11. 34m 48s
    1. Exploring content categories
      7m 44s
    2. Exchanging content via RSS
      9m 47s
    3. Using input filters
      7m 40s
    4. Managing comments
      9m 37s
  12. 38m 5s
    1. Configuring your theme
      11m 27s
    2. Changing your theme's graphics
      4m 59s
    3. Finding and installing a new theme
      8m 56s
    4. Understanding Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
      5m 56s
    5. Deciphering CSS files
      6m 47s
  13. 22m 38s
    1. Finding modules
      6m 52s
    2. Unpacking and installing modules
      6m 29s
    3. Configuring modules
      3m 49s
    4. Implementing complex modules
      5m 28s
  14. 32m 10s
    1. Ensuring automated updates with poormanscron
      3m 10s
    2. Defining custom content types with CCK
      12m 53s
    3. Stopping spam using a CAPTCHA
      10m 43s
    4. Using a WYSIWYG text editor
      5m 24s
  15. 22m 18s
    1. Getting around with multilevel menus
      7m 26s
    2. Building custom menus
      5m 42s
    3. Creating easy-to-navigate books
      9m 10s
  16. 20m 18s
    1. Changing page templates with PHP
      8m 15s
    2. Using PHP in content
      5m 20s
    3. Implementing PHP snippets
      6m 43s
  17. 10m 14s
    1. Launching your site
      5m 51s
    2. Joining the Drupal community
      4m 23s
  18. 15s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Drupal 6 Essential Training
6h 52m Beginner Aug 25, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Drupal is a free, open-source content management system (CMS) for a variety of platforms. It has a robust user community and easy-to-use administration features. Drupal Essential Training covers all the important aspects of installing, configuring, customizing, and maintaining a Drupal-powered website. Instructor Tom Geller explores blogs, discussion forums, member profiles, and other features while demonstrating the steps required to make Drupal perform. He also teaches fundamental concepts and skills along the way, including installation, backups, and updates; security and permissions; flexible page layouts and CSS; menu navigation; and performance monitoring and disaster recovery. He also discusses how to select and install the community-supported modules that further expand Drupal's capabilities, and gives experienced PHP programmers tips on customizing page templates. Example files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the inner workings of Drupal
  • Creating stories, pages, blogs, forums, and polls
  • Managing users and comments
  • Setting and customizing themes
  • Exchanging content via RSS
  • Stopping comment spam with a CAPTCHA
  • Launching a site and joining the Drupal community
Tom Geller

Configuring your theme

As a Drupal administrator, you'd have several levels of control over the theme that affects the general appearance of your site. In fact, you can do quite a lot with the six themes that are built into Drupal. Some of the things you can change, include the information shown at the top of every screen besides logo, the shortcut icon that's in the browser's address bar and whether member icons are included in posts and comments. The first thing that we're going to do is we're going to change to a completely different theme and you'll notice some very big changes when that happens. First of all, you may remember that blocks are actually theme per theme. So, all of the blocks that you've in this right hand corner are going to disappear.

Let's do it now by going to Administer and Themes and then down to the theme we're going to use. Right now we're in Garland, but I think I want to change to Bluemarine. It seems appropriate for underwater realty. So, we click on Enabled to turn it on and then we click on Default, which makes that the one that shows up for everybody. Scroll down to the bottom and Save Configuration. Bang! Just as I said, the right hand column is disappeared because all of those blocks are gone. Also, you'll notice that the text up here which used to be very big Where damp basements are a feature, not a bug has actually become small and onto the next line. But basically, all of the content has stayed in the same place, we have this sticky story up here at the top, the poll that we had and so forth, all of the stories are there. If we go to the forum, we see that the forum poster is still there. They may look a little different, but the content is exactly the same.

I want to return this to somewhat the same functionality as we had previously. So, I'm going to go to Administer and Blocks and now, you'll notice that Bluemarine is underlined. That's the theme that we're in right now where as before we were in Garland. If we want to see what blocks we were using in Garland, we'd just click on here and it will change the screen temporarily, so we can see exactly what it looks like with the blocks in place. We could then make a list here if we wanted to. Well. What order were they in, where did they appear and so forth, but we're not going to do that. We're just going to switch back to Bluemarine and we're going to rebuild the site as we want it. We'll scroll down and take a look at all of the different blocks that are available to us. Let's put our Active forum topics up in the left sidebar towards the top.

So, we move that popup that way and as you can see, it popped it up into the place where it's going to go. Go back down to all of these disabled blocks and decide what else do we want. We still have recent comments on the right side bar. Recent blog posts as well on the right sidebar and we've decided we're no longer running that promotion we were running before. So, we'll leave that disabled. We'll put the poll in the right side bar as well and then News from Google at the bottom there. If we scroll up here, we can rearrange exactly where those blocks appear by grabbing these icons and dragging them as we like. I'm going to put the News at the bottom and make sure that the poll is at the top, because I like the way it looks. We'll move the Active forum topics down below our navigation menu.

Again, I'm just playing around here; you can setup the site however you want. We'll scroll down to the bottom and Save Blocks. There, now we'll go back to our homepage, I like the way that looks. We'll keep it that way. But there's much more that we can do within the theme itself, to find out, we click on Administer and Themes once again. Now remember, we're in the Bluemarine theme. So, I'll click on configure next to that theme. From here, there are many changes that we can make. One of them is we could put user pictures in posts.

You may remember from the Profile settings that individual users are allowed to upload pictures of themselves if we permitted them to as we did. Let's put that in posts and in comments. Now, this search box is not available. First we're going to go down and save this and then I'm going to make that search box available by turning on the Search module. So, we click Save configuration, Administer and back to Modules. As we scroll down we'll see, indeed, there's a Search module that we can turn on and save. But you'll notice, it still hasn't showed up in this theme and I'll go to the front page to see you can see that.

It doesn't show up anywhere on that page because we've to make it appear in the theme, again we go Administer and Themes and configure Bluemarine which is our current default theme. Now, we can click on the search box and make it available. Scrolling down further, we're going to add a couple of things. One of them is the default logo up here, this is actually the Drupal default logo and much as I love it, it's not appropriate for our site. The same goes with this little thing in the address bar, which is known as the shortcut icon. I've prepared two icons, which will fit in those places, and you'll find them if you're a subscriber to as a premium member or if you receive this course on a disk in the Exercise Files. Scrolling down to the bottom, we're first going to change the custom logo. We'll choose a file by clicking on Choose file. In our case, it's in Chapter11, in the first video and it's called 11_01-logo.jpg, click on that and then click Choose.

We also want to make sure we don't use the default logo since we're uploading this one. So far with added user pictures to posts and comments, we've added a search box and we've changed the default logo. That's a lot to do at once, so let's save the configuration and see how that looks. Aha! There's our new logo and there's our box. One more thing we're going to do is to change that little shortcut icon, so it's no longer what's called the Drupalicon. Instead it will be something that we like. So, we'll scroll down and do the same thing for the shortcut icon settings.

Again, we choose a file and it's in 11_ 01-shortcut.jpg. This file should be 16 pixelsx16 pixels and while it doesn't look like much here, you'll see when it shrunk down, it looks very much like our logo. We click on Choose, remember to take off the default shortcut icon and Save Configuration and there it is, it echoes our main logo. What about that other setting we made which allows people to show their user pictures in posts? Well, first of all let's go back to the main page and see where such a thing would go. Here we have a post by admin, here is one by fishyjoe, here is another one by admin. We've a lot of posts on this site by admin. So, in some admin, I'm going to upload my picture so that we'll see it next to all of those posts. To do so, I'd go to my own accounts and edit it and scroll down to the bottom where we have a place where we can upload a picture.

Choose the file and once again in our Exercise Files, we've something called Admin icon. Yes, that is me. Sad I know. We'll choose it and save it. Now, let's go back to the front page and we'll see my picture next to all of my posts, it looks good. Now, there is one feature on some themes, which isn't available on this one, but I'm going to show it to you. If we go back up to the top of the page and go to Administer and then back down to Themes, let's choose the Minnelli theme.

The Minnelli theme has an unusual feature which is based on some programming called farbtastic that lets you change colors. Scroll down, Save Configuration and let's take a look at the configuration options for Minnelli by clicking on Configure. If you see this color wheel, we can actually change the color set that appears. This one is called Cold Day and it has all sorts of blues, there is a sort of green theme here. Let's leave the green one on, just to see what it looks like. Scroll down to the bottom and Save Configuration. There we have it. As we go through the site, you'll see that everything has changed, the colors of the links and so forth based on that theme. However, since we didn't upload our special icon here or move the blocks over, everything else has been removed. I'm going to go back to Administer and Themes and switch back to Bluemarine, just so we can get back to where we were.

Scroll down to the bottom and save configuration. Finally, we will take a look at what it looks like in our friend fishyjoe's account. He's logged in the Firefox browser. Click on the icon to bring us back to the homepage, boom! He sees it pretty much the way we do. Finally, let's say you want to make changes that will affect all of the themes on your site, so that people can move from one theme to the other and still see for example this slogan, Where damp basements are a feature. We'll go back to our Administrative interface, go to Administer and Themes once again and click on Configure. You'll notice we've Bluemarine, Garland, Minnelli, the three themes we turned on, but we also have this Global Settings.

If we wanted user pictures in post to appear in every theme including themes we add later, we'd check this here and that would apply to every new theme that's added to our system. We're not going to do that, so we'll just scroll down to the bottom and say Save Configuration again. On second thought, I don't like having my picture on every post; it's a little too repetitive. So, we can go back at anytime and make any changes we want by going to Administer, Themes to whichever one is the default, in this case Bluemarine and let's remove that in posts, but we'll keep it in comments.

Scroll to the bottom again and save configuration. Back to the homepage and there we go. Finally, when you're done messing around with the configuration, I'd like to encourage you to look once again at your site and see if it looks as good as you really wanted. When I look at this site for example, I see it's not perfect, but I know I can make it better with just one or two small changes. The one change I can make very easily is to get rid of this dark blue block in here. You might remember, this is the mission statement and we can just take that out of this theme by going to Administer, Themes, Bluemarine, Configure and remove the mission statement.

Scroll down to the bottom and say Save Configuration. Now, that's something that only shows up on the homepage. So, we'll go back to the homepage here and good, it's gone. I rather like that better because then the most important thing in the page is this title up at the top which is what we really want to say to somebody. Let's go and take a look at how it looks on fishyjoe's account. Once again, we switch to Firefox, click on the logo and it's gone, good. I want to show you one other thing. We've been switching back and forth between Safari and Firefox for a while and if you switch back and forth, you'll notice that they look very slightly different. You see it especially in the type, look at the type Welcome to your new home as I switch. It grows in shrinks and the layout sort of grows in shrinks as well.

Your site will look slightly different depending on several factors. For one, which browser you're using, for another, the computer you're using, whether it's a Mac or PC or some other platform, third, the resolution of the monitor. So, I'd recommend that everybody take a good look at their site on several different monitors in several different computer configurations and several different browsers. The options you've to change a theme through its configuration windows really only scratch the surface. For more profound changes, you can change a theme's graphics or Style Sheets or just download a whole new theme. But as you can see you can do a lot with the themes that are built into Drupal.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Drupal 6 Essential Training .

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Q: While following along to the installation instructions in the “Installing WAMP and Drupal on Windows” chapter in the Drupal Essential Training title, an error occurs when attempting to open the local host page. Nothing appears except for an error reading “WAMPSERVER server offline.” What is causing this?
A: There is a known problem with some versions of WAMP that include a version of PHP (5.3) that some versions of Drupal is not compatible with. See for more information.
If that is not causing the issue, reference the tips at
If you don't see the solution at either of those links, try using another AMP stack, such as XAMPP or the Acquia stack installer. See for discussion about these.
Q: After installing XAMPP and running Drupal for the first time, the Administration menu does not appear. What is the reason for this?
A: There are several possible problems. Here are some likely solutions. (These may also solve problems encountered with other AMP stacks.)
  1. Increase XAMPP's PHP allocation.
  2. Check to make sure all XAMPP's paths are correct and that permissions are correct. If the database information appears, but not Drupal's supporting files, and an included theme is being used, the supporting files will be in the /modules folder.
  3. Another solution is to not use WAMP or XAMPP. One option is to use Acquia's Drupal Stack Installer ("DAMP"), which can be found at However, that installs Acquia Drupal, which is a version of "normal" Drupal extended with additional modules. If  only core Drupal is desired, see the instructions at (The instructions are for Drupal 7, but will work for Drupal 6 as well.)
Q: In the "Using the example files" movie, the method of importing information to the database is shown, using the backup in Chapter 10. When attempting to do this, the following error is shown: "No data was received to import. Either no file name was submitted, or the file size exceeded the maximum size permitted by your PHP configuration. See FAQ 1.16." The system is running the latest versions of Apache, PhP and MySQL, on Windows Vista. What could be causing the problem?
A: This is probably caused because your AMP stack allocates too little memory to PHP. 
That's especially true if you're using WAMP, which only gives PHP 2MB of memory, when it really needs at least 16MB. 
You'll see the issue if you go to the MySQL-controlling phpMyAdmin screen (probably at http://localhost/phpMyAdmin) and click "Import": The maximum file size allowed is 2,048K. That's only 2MB, and the databases for most Drupal sites are much larger than that. (The example site for Drupal Essential Training gets as big as 5MB.) The video "Installing WAMP and Drupal on Windows" shows (at around 3:30) where the php.ini file is, but here are some more-complete instructions to increase that memory limit. 

  1. Click the WAMP icon in your system tray.
  2. Select "PHP". In the side menu, select "php.ini" to open a file containing PHP's configuration options.
  3. Search for the line, "upload_max_filesize = 2M".
  4. Change it to "upload_max_filesize = 32M" (or whatever you like). 
  5. Save the file and restart WAMP. (Better yet, restart your computer entirely to be sure. I'm frankly not sure whether it makes a difference.)
  6. Now go back to that "Import" screen in phpMyAdmin: You should notice that the limit has changed.
Q: I don't remember the default username and password used demonstrate Drupal.
A: The default username used in the course is "admin"; the default password is "booth".
Q: How can I change Drupal's administrative username and password?
A: If for some reason the default exercise file username (admin) and password (booth) don't work, you can change them in the database itself using phpMyAdmin. (This technique is demonstrated in a video from Chapter 8, "Recovering from disasters".)

  1. Open your Drupal database with phpMyAdmin.
  2. Go to the "users" table. Click the Browse icon.
  3. For the row where uid = 1, click the Edit icon. (Note the value under the "Name" column: That's the administrator's username.)
  4. In the "pass" row, select "MD5" under the "Function" column
  5. In the same row, enter your new password under the "Value" column.
  6. At the bottom of the screen, click the "Go" button. You should now be able to log in with that username and new password.
Q: In Windows Vista, the WAMP icon disappears from the system tray after a certain amount of time. How do I get it to reappear?
A: To make the WAMP icon reappear (so that you can access localhost, phpmyadmin, php.ini, etc.), you have to activate the "start WAMP server" icon (from start menu, desktop or wherever). The system tray icon will reappear.
Q: My .htaccess file disappeared. What caused this?
A: A few times during the Drupal Essential Training video series, the instructor says to copy a Drupal installation by selecting all the files in the folder and then "dragging and dropping" them, either to a server or another location on your local computer. This is not the best way to do so, as the hidden file ".htaccess" will not be copied. 

There are two ways to get around that problem: 
  1. When installing Drupal for the first time: Instead of copying files from the Drupal folder, move the entire folder to its target location and rename it. This is the easiest solution for those without experience with Unix. 
  2. Use the command-line interface to copy the .htaccess file.
Sorry for the error.
Q: In the video, the instructor says the current version of Drupal is 6.3, but on the site, the latest version is 6.17. Which is the newer version of Drupal?
A: Drupal 6.17 is newer than version 6.3. For some reason, the the version numbers go 6.3, 6.4... 6.9, 6.10... 6.17. It’s counter-intuitive, but that’s the order.
Q: My WAMP phpMyadmin will not allow me to upload the exercise files. It returns this message: "No data was received to import. Either no file name was submitted, or the file size exceeded the maximum size permitted by your PHP configuration. See FAQ 1.16." There was no previous database to drop, so what do I need to do to make this work?
A: This is a common problem, caused not by Drupal, but by WAMP. WAMP only allows you to upload files of 2MB or smaller, which is much too small. The solution is detailed at
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