Themes: Essential

Maintained by Gareth J Barnard Gareth J Barnard
Essential is a clean and customizable theme. Essential is tested and tried by thousands of users, and ranks number one by site usage for all available third party themes.
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The "Essential" Moodle Theme

With 2.5 now released Julian thought it time to take the opportunity to build a new theme that would push the new theme engine to it's limits a bit.  With that in mind he introduced the new "Essential" theme.  Now Julian has left us for Canvassian adventures, David and Gareth took over development and maintenance.  And now David has left for pastures new, Gareth continues to maintain and make improvements.

The idea of this theme is to make the site look as little like Moodle as possible. In this specific instance, it would be used on sites where Moodle would potentially serve as a company homepage rather than just a course list.

Cool things to know about the theme.

  • It attempts to load as many as possible icons from a font.
  • Most of what you think are "graphics" are actually the Font Awesome font (
  • The slider on the front page is completely customisable through theme settings.
  • I am really trying to push what Bootstrap ( Grids can do.  As such the theme is fully responsive.
  • The footer is all custom Moodle regions.  This means blocks can be added.
  • The theme can use Google web fonts ( to give it that extra bit of shazam!
  • Social network icons appear at the top of the page dynamically based on theme settings.
  • The entire colour scheme can be modified with theme settings.


Please see the 'Support' section in 'README.txt' file that comes with the theme.

Reporting issues:

Please read the 'Reporting issues' section in 'README.txt' file that comes with the theme before posting / contacting me.  If there is any missing information then I'll only ask for it which will delay you getting a solution to your problem.

Video Promo:


In versions,, and above.


Please note that previously the version for Moodle 2.6 was 2.7.x as well, but since these versions are now separated we also lowered the displayed version number.

Moodle Version

Essential Version


2.5 2.5.8Last release for M2.5
2.6 2.6.11Last release for M2.6
2.7 release for M2.7 Last release for M2.8
Current version
3.0 version
3.1 version version version

For more information visit the official Essential theme website at:


Screenshot #0
Screenshot #1


Gareth J Barnard
Gareth J Barnard (Lead maintainer)
Julian Ridden
Julian Ridden: Original author
David Bezemer: Contributor
Please login to view contributors details and/or to contact them

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Show comments
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Thu, 17 Nov 2016, 12:58 AM
    Ok, issue #780 is still an problem in M3.1, I've spent most of the day working on it, please test:
  • Picture of Mei Ling
    Fri, 25 Nov 2016, 10:17 AM
    May i know how to increase the font size for the theme?
  • Picture of Martin Greenaway
    Fri, 25 Nov 2016, 6:17 PM
    The easiest way to change the font size would be to do this in CSS in Appearance -> Themes -> Essential -> General

    This would allow you to target specific selectors if you wish.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Sun, 27 Nov 2016, 8:23 PM
    Hi Mei,

    Martin's solution may not be the complete story if you want to change every selector where font size is defined. As the theme comes with NO support any I give would have to be paid for time.

    Kind regards,

  • Daniel
    Sun, 11 Dec 2016, 2:01 AM
    Your excellent graphic theme will soon be available for Moodle 3.2?
    Thank you
    Daniel Méthot
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Sun, 11 Dec 2016, 2:29 AM
    Hi Daniel.

    Please read 'About the M3.2 version' on:

    Kind regards,

  • Picture of Christian Dechler
    Tue, 3 Jan 2017, 9:45 PM
    Hi Gareth,

    great job on this one, I love it! But I've one question/Problem: I'm not able to switch between months on the calendar-block on my frontpages. If I click on this small arrows, they just redirect me to the front page again.

    Do you might now how to resolve this or are you aware of this issue? (Moodle Version: Moodle 3.0.2+ (Build: 20160304)

    Thanks in advance and have a wonderful time,

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, 4 Jan 2017, 1:13 AM
    Dear Christian,

    Thank you for your kind compliment. The Essential theme comes with no support. You can either post on the themes forum: or I will help for a fee. In either case it is imperative that you state the Essential version.

    Kind regards.

  • Picture of Sam McCullough
    Fri, 17 Mar 2017, 3:43 AM
    Hi Gareth,

    Is it possible in Moodle 3.1 to disable the new user menu drop-down, to just use the old "You are logged in as"?

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Fri, 17 Mar 2017, 3:50 AM
    Hi Sam,

    Not without changing the code.

    Kind regards,

  • Patrick Viney au MoodleMoot de Nîmes
    Wed, 22 Mar 2017, 11:25 PM

    I would like to update fontawesome, because I need an icon from the 4.7 version of Fontawesome (handshake-o). I've tried to replace the font files with the new ones but it doesn't seem to work. Any idea ? Thank you.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, 22 Mar 2017, 11:44 PM
    Hi Patrick,

    Essential for Moodle 2.9 and above already has FontAwesome 4.7.0.


  • Picture of Gael PLANTIN
    Fri, 7 Apr 2017, 1:01 PM
    Hello from FRance !
    Great job, but I have a problem : all previous lessons activities doesn't work when Essential is active on my Moodle ?
    Any idea ?
    Thanks !
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Fri, 7 Apr 2017, 5:25 PM
    Hi Gael,

    I highly doubt that it is a theme issue. If the problem does not happen when you switch to the 'Clean' theme, then please post a screen shot of the issue with Moodle and Essential versions on the themes forum:

    Kind regards,

  • Picture of Gael PLANTIN
    Fri, 7 Apr 2017, 7:09 PM
    You're right Gareth, not happen with the Clean theme.
    I will search why it does not work on my test site !

    Thanks !
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