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What does a theme comprise?

A theme in the IPS Community Suite allows for almost limitless visual customization of the software. They are primarily used to match the branding of your community to your main website, but communities will also commonly offer a selection of themes for users to choose from.

A theme is made up of the following:

  • Templates
    Templates render the HTML for the views. They are a mixture of normal HTML, HTML logic, PHP variables and some special plugin tags.
  • CSS
    Standard CSS files that style the page
  • Resources
    Normally images, although other resource types can also be used
  • Theme Settings
    Special pre-defined settings you can create for your theme, allowing users of the theme (i.e. site owners) to customize it easily


The IPS Community Suite allows themes to customize all of these items, and provides tools for doing so.

Note: Generally speaking, customizing themes using these advanced options assumes knowledge of HTML, CSS and occasionally Javascript. Making changes without fully understanding the impact could cause issues for your community. Consider using our other theme tools instead.


Editing themes

There's two primary ways of editing a theme, and we'll cover both in-depth.

  • Template editor
    The AdminCP provides interfaces for editing each type of theme resource
  • Designer's mode
    A special mode that exports a theme to files on disk, allowing for editing by traditional IDEs.

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