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Changing The Default Joomla User Template

When Joomla CMS installs with Sample Data, multiple templates were also installed. Off the templates installed two are User templates and two are Administrator templates. One each was set as the Default Templates during the installation process.

The Two User Templates Installed Are:

Beez3 – Set as the default user template

The Two Admin Templates Installed Are:

Isis – Set as the default Administrator template

Hence Joomla 3.X will use the user template Protostar to display the Sample Data that was installed during the installation process.

Just type the URL of your website, being driven by Joomla in the address bar of your favourite Browser and hit GO or the Enter key as shown in diagram 1.

diagram1 Diagram 1

Joomla will use Protostar ( i.e. The default user template set ) and display the Sample Data installed as shown in diagram 2.

The Home Page of the website is displayed as shown in diagram 2.

diagram2 Diagram 2

Diagram 2 is the Home page of the Joomla 3.X website displaying the sample data installed in the Protostar template.


  1. Top Menu items
  2. The Joomla Client side Login Form
  3. Clickable Links
  4. The Breadcrumbs
  5. The Home Page content

Are all marked with callouts in diagram 2.

The Home Page has a Top Menu system that permits navigation to other Pages in the Joomla driven website. The Home page content contains links that also permits navigation to other website pages.

This is why Joomla strongly recommends, especially for newbies or first timers that Sample data is installed so that a couple of website pages are displayed. If sample data was not installed then an empty Home Page would be displayed without any Menu items or content.

When Is Joomla’s Sample Data Not Installed?

Those who are very familiar with using Joomla CMS often do not install Joomla’s Sample Data.

This is because they prefer to have the Joomla driven website’s Content Tables loaded only with actual website content rather than a mix of Joomla’s sample content and the actual website’s content that the site owner wishes to make available to site visitors.

NOTE: This material assumes that the Sample data was loaded at the time of Joomla 3.X CMS installation.

Is It Possible To Change The Default Template?

Yes, it is. This section of the material is going to explain, step by step, how to do this. To change the default template used by Joomla to display website page content, you have to log into Joomla as its Administrator.

As soon as the Joomla Admin User interface is displayed, in the right hand side Quick Links section of the Joomla Admin interface locate the link Template Manager as shown in diagram 3.

diagram3 Diagram 3

On click of the Template Manager link, the Joomla’s Template Manager: Styles screen will be displayed in the Browser as shown in diagram 4.

diagram4 Diagram 4

The presence of the Orange star indicates which template has been set as default. As shown in diagram 4, the template Isis has been set as the default Administrator template and the template protostar has been set as the default user template.

There are two drop down list boxes in the left hand side of this user interface named:

  1. Select Template
  2. Select Location

The Select Template, drop down list box allows the selection of a template as shown in diagram 4A.

Diagram 4A Diagram 4A

The Select Location, drop down list box allows the choosing of either User templates or Administrator Templates as shown in diagram 4B.

Diagram 4B Diagram 4B

When the Select Location drop down list box is used and Site OR Administrator is chosen the templates displayed adjacent are filtered to display only the Site OR Administrator templates as shown in diagram 4C and 4D.

Diagram 4C Diagram 4C

Diagram 4D Diagram 4D

Changing The Default User Template Using The Template Manager UI

To change the default User template to another one, all you have to do is:

Use the Filter to filter for Site as shown in diagram 5

From among the list of templates displayed on the right hand side click the check box adjacent to Beez3 and then click Make Default in the top menu items as shown in diagram 5.

diagram5 Diagram 5

The default template will be changed and a – Template changed success message – will be displayed in the Browser as shown in diagram 6.

diagram10 Diagram 6

Next, enter the site URL in your favorite Browser and hit GO or the Enter Key. The same Home Page content will be displayed but in an entirely different template as shown in diagram 7.

diagram11 Diagram 7

This is how simple it is to skin ( or re-skin ) any Joomla 3.X driven website. Exactly the same approach can be used to the Administrator Template.

April 5, 2016
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