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.
10558 sites
318 fans

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
Last release for M2.9
3.0 release for M3.0
3.1 version 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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  • Picture of Dan Bell
    Sat, 2 Dec 2017, 2:12 AM
    Using Release (Build: 2017102900) with moodle 3.4.
    In the Course overview Block, the doughnut chart is awesome. Can it be color coded according to course status? The default color is #F89406 for all status. I'd like to have three colors to represent not started, in progress and complete.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Mon, 4 Dec 2017, 11:45 PM
    Hi Dan,

    The theme comes with NO support. Please see the readme file for details.

    Kind regards,

  • Picture of Brijesh Yadav
    Fri, 15 Dec 2017, 4:51 AM
    I want use Login block, but does not show in the block region , please help me.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Fri, 15 Dec 2017, 9:38 PM
    Dear Brijesh,

    As stated in the README.txt file the theme comes with NO support. Please read the readme for further details.

    Kind regards,

  • Picture of Nuno Pedrosa
    Wed, 17 Jan 2018, 1:53 AM
    Hy there:
    I use this theme in Moodle of our school ( and in moodle 3.4.1, the essential theme work very bad. It's possible to adapt for this new version of Moodle? Thx in advanced.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, 17 Jan 2018, 3:34 AM
    Hi Nuno,

    Essential has not changed functionally in Moodle 3.4 as it does in M3.3 and works well. Please justify with screen shot examples of why it is bad on the 'Themes' forum Looking at this appears to be the Adaptable theme!

  • Picture of Nuno Pedrosa
    Wed, 17 Jan 2018, 4:34 AM
    Hy there again. I've changed the theme for the users could use the plataform.
    Just comment in the Moodle forum. Thx.
  • Picture of Nuno Pedrosa
    Wed, 17 Jan 2018, 11:39 PM
    Hy there. I've tried to aplly Essential theme and the result is not good. Just put the printscreen in the forum. Thx for the help.
  • Picture of nicola de santis
    Thu, 1 Feb 2018, 4:22 AM
    Hi Gareth,
    I’m a teacher. I’ve been using your theme (ESSENTIAL e MOODLE 3.3+ (Build: 20170622)) for a few months, but I have just found out that whenever I save a quiz onto my Macbook as a PDF file, the student’s name doesn’t appear in the file, unlike the previous theme I used. In fact, only the central body of the screen is visualized in the file. Could you help me? Is it a matter of choosing the right settings? I an not an IT expert, so I have no idea how to fix this problem, but it is really important to me that the student’s name should appear on the page saved as a file, as all tests have to be placed in the archives in Italian state schools.

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Thu, 1 Feb 2018, 8:31 AM
    Hi Nicola, Please post screen shots, versions and details of how to replicate in the theme form ( along with evidence of how it differs from the Clean theme. Thanks, Gareth. Need for information but no time to deal with at the moment.
  • Picture of Michel Desjardins
    Fri, 2 Feb 2018, 10:09 PM
    We recently upgraded to Moodle 3.3.4 and Essential (Build: 2017040306). Since this upgrade, the icons of gradebook are monochrome. They used to be red for X and green for the checks. Is this something we can adjust from the plugin parameters?
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Sat, 3 Feb 2018, 2:04 AM
    Hi Michel,

    Really? Please post screen shots with examples of how it was and how it is now in the theme's forum ( with all the version numbers the forum rules require. And instructions on how to replicate.

    Kind regards,

  • Picture of Michel Desjardins
    Mon, 5 Feb 2018, 9:50 PM
    Hi Gareth, Thanks for your response. I just posted on the Forum.
  • Picture of baraa abd el-hady
    Wed, 21 Feb 2018, 8:55 AM
    can we add a courses carousel or how can i use the silder and make anther instant as a courses carousel
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, 21 Feb 2018, 7:13 PM
    Hi Baraa abd el-hady,

    It would be possible to have a courses carousel, just use the existing code as an example and modify as you wish.

    Kind regards,

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