Customizing themes

When you’ve set up your online Shopify store, there are many ways you can customize it to enhance its online appeal and provide for a more satisfying visitor experience. Depending on the products in your catalog or the services you offer, you might also want to add functionality or special information in some parts of your store.

Customizing your store lets you add functionality or change your store's appearance without switching themes.

Customization overview

To make any customization to your store, you need to modify your theme. You can do this from your Themes page.

It’s easy to completely change the look of your online store by publishing a different theme — but you can also keep your current theme and just make changes to certain areas. These changes are called customizations.

You can customize your theme in either of two ways:

  • by making changes on the Customize theme page (for beginners)
  • by editing the theme's code using the Edit code page (for designers)

How themes work

Your theme is a collection of files that control the layout of your website. Each individual file has the extension .liquid and is known as a Liquid template because it contains code written in the Liquid templating language. In addition to Liquid code, you can use other languages in a Liquid template, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Themes in your online store can be installed or published.

  • When a theme is installed, it means that your online store has the theme's files and the theme can be published at any time.
  • When a theme is published, it means that your online store is using that theme's files to create your website. You can only have one published theme at a time.

To see the themes that are installed in your online store, visit your Shopify admin, and click Online Store:

Online store themes page

The Themes page shows the themes that are installed in your online store. Your published theme appears at the top of the list with a preview of how your website currently looks.

If there is only one theme on your Themes page, then your published theme is the only theme that you have installed for your online store. You can get more themes in the Shopify Theme Store.

From the Themes page, there are two ways to inspect your theme. You can:

View the Customize theme page

The Customize theme page lets you view and change the built-in settings of your theme.

  1. From your Shopify admin, click Online Store, and then click Themes (or press G W T).

  2. Click the Customize theme button for the theme that you want to customize:

    Click the customize theme button

You can make many changes from the Customize theme page. The page shows a preview of the theme and categories of settings that you can change:

Customize theme page example

View the Edit code page

The Edit code page lets you change the .liquid files that make up your theme.

  1. From your Shopify admin, click Online Store, and then click Themes (or press G W T).

  2. In the left sidebar, click the drop-down menu, then click Edit code:

    Click edit html css

On the Edit code page, you can edit these files and add others. The page shows a list of theme files and a space for editing them:

Edit html css page example

When you click a file in the list, it opens in the editor panel. You can open and work on multiple files at once.

Themes have several file categories:

  • Layouts

    These files control the overall layout of your theme.

  • Templates

    These files control layouts for specific parts of your theme such as product or blog pages.

  • Snippets

    These files contain chunks of code that are used by other files in your theme.

  • Assets

    These files are images, fonts, scripts, and stylesheets.

  • Configs

    These files contain settings and configuration data for your theme.

  • Locales

    These files contain language-specific pieces of text for your theme.

  • Sections

    These files control the layouts of sections in your theme.

Getting help

This section includes tutorials for both supported and unsupported customizations:

Each tutorial clearly indicates the applicable support policy.

Supported customizations

We can help if you have trouble with supported customizations. You can chat, email, or call us any time.

For details about what Shopify can support, please review the Shopify Design Policy.

Unsupported customizations

Unsupported customizations fall outside the scope of our support service. This means that we’re not able to help you if you run into problems. The good news is that we’ve rated each customization according to its level of difficulty, to help you decide whether to try it on your own.

For details about what Shopify cannot support, please review the Shopify Design Policy.

There is also a growing community on our forums — you can often find friendly and helpful advice there.

You might also consider hiring a designer to do your customizations for you.

Making backups

When you're ready to try some customizations, the first thing you should do is make a duplicate copy of your theme. Use the duplicate copy as your working version until you're ready to publish it.

Reverting to earlier versions of liquid files

You can abandon your changes to most theme files at any time, and roll back to earlier versions.