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.
10500 sites
300 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

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

Comments RSS

Show comments
  • Picture of Peter Müller
    Fri, 30 Jun 2017, 6:35 AM
    Hi Gareth,

    I remember there was an option for a 2-column-layout. I cant find it in (Build: 2017040301). Is it gone?
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Sat, 1 Jul 2017, 1:47 AM
    Hi Peter,

    No. Just depends what page you're on.

  • Picture of ian hatton
    Tue, 4 Jul 2017, 7:20 PM
    Anyone know how to turn this off? (- NEW: Display block region names when editing.) without hacking it out of the code?

    Have installed this theme for a couple of clients and both thought this was a bug which I spent time tracking down but it's actually a new "feature"?
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, 5 Jul 2017, 12:27 AM
    Its a new 'feature' because people were getting lost as to what region was what. Please read the 'Support' section of the README.txt file for details of such.
  • Picture of Miguel Méndez Liébana
    Wed, 12 Jul 2017, 2:40 AM
    How can I change the default size of the content area in the personal area?I want it to be narrower
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, 12 Jul 2017, 7:07 PM
    Dear Miguel,

    As stated in the README.txt file the theme comes with NO support. Please read the readme for further details. If the question is easy or pertains to a bug then I'll reply with more detail.

    Kind regards,

  • Picture of Dan Bell
    Fri, 28 Jul 2017, 8:00 PM
    Is there a way to increase the character limit on the course summary in the course overview block? It appears to truncate at approximately 300 characters.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Fri, 28 Jul 2017, 10:52 PM
    Hi Dan,

    That's not actually a theme thing. I don't know the answer without spending time on it and I'm not sure how long it would take to find out. Time is money or you could find a suitable forum and ask.

    Kind regards,

  • Picture of esteban sadas
    Wed, 2 Aug 2017, 9:30 PM
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, 2 Aug 2017, 10:33 PM
    Why do you ask?
  • Picture of Yazmin Hernández
    Thu, 3 Aug 2017, 1:25 PM
    Hola, soy nueva usando este tema y quiero saber si me pueden apoyar indicando cómo hacer que el logotipo cubra todo el ancho de la pantalla, no como imagen de fondo de encabezado, sino como logotipo.
  • Picture of Lydia Putnam
    Wed, 16 Aug 2017, 10:38 PM
    @Peter Müller - To return to the 2-column format, make sure the "flat navigation" option under Site Administration > Appearance > Theme > Essential > General is set to "off". At least, that worked for us (after a solid day of panicking on the behalf of our course editors).
  • Picture of Peter Müller
    Thu, 17 Aug 2017, 4:06 AM
    @Lydia Putnam: Thank You for the hint, that actually worked. Meanwhile we switched to the build-in theme boost which works fine.
  • Picture of Will Mellor
    Fri, 22 Sep 2017, 4:59 AM
    Is their any way to turn off the menu at the top when scrolling down ? I want to stop the menu from floating at the top when scrolling down.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Fri, 22 Sep 2017, 5:44 AM
    Dear Will,

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

    Kind regards,

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