Your Moodle version

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 for all available third party themes.

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 [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:


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

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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  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, Oct 11, 2016, 4:20 PM
    Hi Hugo,

    I'd be happy to if you'd be willing to pay for my time, as this is bespoke customisation work.

    Kind regards,

  • Picture of Gareth Catherwood
    Mon, Oct 17, 2016, 6:13 PM

    I have upgraded the theme today to fix the scroll issue with 'My Courses' but the update has caused a problem with the dropdown menu I created in the 'Custom Menu Items' Before it had an arrow with various sub heading etc but now it has a scrollbar on the right and bottom so the menu cannot be displayed properly. Is there an easy fix for this? Thanks for your help!
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Mon, Oct 17, 2016, 7:07 PM
    Hi Gareth,

    That issue has been reported, fixed and will be released soon:

    Kind regards,

  • Picture of Zak Stoimenov
    Thu, Oct 20, 2016, 1:32 PM
    Hi Gareth,

    Thanks for keeping the Essential theme as awesome as always.

    May I propose an improvement to the Themes/Essential/Colour menu. Can you add a collapsable separation between the different colour themes? With the expansion of the customisation options, it is really hard to locate the colour(s) that you are working on.

  • Picture of Cris Valenzuela
    Thu, Oct 20, 2016, 1:52 PM
    Hi Gareth,

    Thanks for updating the Essential Theme,

    However, we find some issue that when I open the "Browse List of Users" and try to open the Profile of a user, the page shows only the Header part, the left navigation, the main content of the page and the footer is not loading.

    Thanking you in advance.
  • Picture of Cris Valenzuela
    Thu, Oct 20, 2016, 1:59 PM
    Hi Gareth,

    Another issue pertaining to the Question bank, when you open "Questions" under "Question bank" the whole page is not loading.

  • Picture of Cris Valenzuela
    Thu, Oct 20, 2016, 2:57 PM
    Hi Gareth,

    Just found this error message when I view the profile of a user.

    "Fatal error: Cannot redeclare analytics_trackurl() (previously declared in /home/elearningriyadh/public_html/theme/essential/layout/tiles/guniversal.php:33) in /home/elearningriyadh/public_html/local/analytics/piwik.php on line 64"

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Fri, Oct 21, 2016, 3:07 AM
    Hi Cris,

    Please post screen shots, version information and full details of how to replicate each issue in the themes forum ->

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Fri, Oct 21, 2016, 3:10 AM
    Hi Zak,

    Do you mean the menu or the settings?

  • Picture of Cris Valenzuela
    Mon, Oct 24, 2016, 12:48 PM
    Hi Gareth,

    Another issue pertaining to the Question bank, when you open "Questions" under "Question bank" the whole page is not loading.

    Below is the link for the screenshot:

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Mon, Oct 24, 2016, 6:50 PM
    Hi Cris,

    Thanks for the screen shot. However you did not post in the themes forum ( as requested with all the information I have asked for. Therefore I am not in full receipt of all the facts I need and in a position to reply with screen shots if required in a self contained thread that does not have other comments confusing things. Please kindly do as I ask.

  • Picture of Jamie Tinley
    Tue, Oct 25, 2016, 1:16 AM
    In Moodle 3.0.5 the horizontal scrollbar in grading fails to have a static student column as described in this Moodle Tracker link below. I have updated Essential theme and it still does not allow correct horizontal scrolling in grades. It works perfectly in theme Clean but fails in most of my other themes like Essential.
    I read here
    that it fails due to overflow: hidden rule set, or with a value provided for width or max-width. In order to use the new grader report as designed, allow it to spill out unconstrained - the floating headers will not kick in otherwise and pose a usability concern.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, Oct 25, 2016, 1:44 AM
    Dear Jamie,

    Ok, firstly, please post on the themes forum - - with a screen shot of the issue and full details (Moodle and Essential) versions.

    Secondly, I have literally spent days on this in the past. It is not to do with overflow but in fact to do with the unexpected position of the navbar being lower than the top for the JavaScript to work correctly. The current version avoids this core conflict by doing something else that prevents the core JS from making bad decisions.

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, Oct 25, 2016, 1:47 AM
    P.S. I just tested in and cannot replicate.
  • Picture of Jamie Tinley
    Tue, Oct 25, 2016, 4:47 AM
    Sorry Gareth, will do.
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