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.
10768 sites
336 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.


The theme comes with NO support.  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 release for M3.1 release for M3.2 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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  • 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,

  • Picture of Mathieu Pelletier
    Thu, 8 Mar 2018, 3:31 PM
    Hi Gareth,
    I notice you have updated Essential for support for 3.4, but the release indicator still only indicates 3.3. Just an FYI. As always, thanks for the amazing work on Essential.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Thu, 8 Mar 2018, 6:51 PM
    Release indicator?
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Sun, 15 Apr 2018, 7:17 PM
    Dear Gabriela,

    That's not a Moodle or indeed the Essential theme. And as far as I can search, there is no Moodle on that site. So taking a hunch that this is spam to get the site listed higher up on search engines. Reporting to moderator for peer review.

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Sun, 15 Apr 2018, 8:16 PM
    Hi Gabriela,

    Ok, silly question, do you want to run Moodle as a means of providing a training site? As that is what it does. It is not a generic content management system like Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla. If you need Joomla themes then please visit their site. Essential theme for Moodle runs on Moodle and not Joomla.

  • Picture of Animal the muppet
    Fri, 4 May 2018, 6:15 PM
    How is compatibility with 3.5?
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Fri, 4 May 2018, 7:24 PM
    Untested with M3.5.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Mon, 7 May 2018, 4:24 AM
    Dear Kacper,

    Ok, that is a Wordpress site, this is a 'Moodle' theme! So not even the same software. With respect like a previous post then a hunch this is spam and just a means to get higher up on search engines.

  • Picture of Emmanuel Del Moral G
    Mon, 21 May 2018, 8:26 PM
    hello, when will it be compatible with moodle 3.5?
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Mon, 21 May 2018, 8:28 PM
    Hi Emmanuel

    When I get it done.

    Kind regards,

  • cosimo
    Mon, 18 Jun 2018, 2:15 AM
    First of all congratulations, you have created a GREAT theme. I would like to ask you for information. Is it possible to move the block currently to the left in the central area to have more space in the input of resources and activities and navigation on the left? Thank you very much and congratulations again.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Mon, 18 Jun 2018, 2:35 AM
    Dear Cosimo,

    Thank you for your kind words. The theme comes with no support, please see the readme file for details.

    Kind regards,

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