Shopify Themes and Apps

This entry is part 2 in the series Shopify for Beginners

Themes and apps are the easiest way to customize your Shopify storefront without touching the code. Your theme dictates the look and feel of your storefront, while apps can add all sorts of functionality, from mobile access to inventory management and more. We’ll walk you through the basics of the Theme and Apps sections here.

Managing Themes

The Shopify Theme Drop-Down Menu

The Shopify Theme Drop-Down Menu (click to view larger)

In your Shopify admin screen, click the Theme link in the green bar to view the Theme drop-down menu. You will see the options available for your existing theme, as well as a link to the Shopify Theme Store, where you can choose a new free or paid theme.

If your theme has configurable Theme Settings, you will see a link to those in the drop-down menu. If not, you will see a link to the Template Editor, where you can edit your theme’s core files. NOTE: Editing a live theme’s template files is NOT recommended for beginners!

Making Changes to Your Theme’s Settings

Shopify Theme Settings

Shopify Theme Settings (click to view larger)

  • In the Theme drop-down menu, choose Theme Settings
  • You will see a page with all the configurable settings for your theme. This varies from theme to theme, so look carefully to see what is available to you. Click a gray header to expand each settings sub-section.
  • To update settings, choose from the available options. Once you are happy with your selection, click Apply Changes
  • Refresh your storefront in your browser to see the changes you’ve made

If you want to save your settings as a preset, be sure to select the checkbox next to Save current settings as a preset. Doing this will allow you to revert back to these settings at any time.

Making Changes to Your Theme’s Template Files

Editing a live theme’s template files is NOT recommended for beginners!

The Shopify Template Editor

The Shopify Theme Editor (click to view larger)

  • In the Theme drop-down menu, select Template Editor
  • You will see a list of all your theme’s core files on the left. Select one to open it in the Editor.
  • If you’re familiar with HTML, Liquid and CSS, you can make changes to your theme’s core files here. (Not sure what Liquid is? Check out Shopify’s Resources for more information.) Even if you’re not familiar with code, simple text changes will probably be easy to make here. For example, to change the message that appears when a customer searches for a page that isn’t on your site, click the 404.liquid template file and make changes to the text. Don’t make any changes to the tags if you’re not sure what they are.
  • Click Save to save your changes. NOTE: Any changes you make here will affect your live site!

To revert to a previously-saved version of your template file, click See older version at the top of your edit screen.

Exporting Your Theme

  • In the Template Editor, find the section at the top that says Export
  • Click Download your theme to start the process of compressing your theme for download
  • You will receive an email from Shopify when your theme is ready to download. Click the link in the email to download the theme to your computer.

Choosing a New Theme

Applying a new theme overwrites any theme currently on your site. ALWAYS export your current theme before applying a new one.

The Shopify Theme Store

The Shopify Theme Store (click to view larger)

  • In the Theme drop-down menu, click Find more themes to visit the Theme Store
  • Use the filters at the top of the screen to help you find exactly the theme you’re looking for. You can choose free or paid themes and search by color.
  • Click a theme’s thumbnail to learn more about it. If the theme has a preview, you will see a link to the preview next to the theme’s description.
  • Choose a New Theme

    Choose a New Theme (click to view larger)

  • To choose a theme, click the Get Theme button.
  • If the theme you have chosen is a Free theme, you can follow the onscreen instructions to apply it to your site right away. NOTE: You will lose ANY changes you have made to your current theme when you apply a new theme! Follow the instructions above to export your current theme if you have made any customizations to it.
  • If the theme you have chosen is a Paid theme, you must follow the onscreen instructions to pay for it before you can apply it to your site

Adding and Managing Shopify Apps

The Shopify Apps Menu

The Shopify Apps Menu (click to view larger)

Click Apps in the green bar to view the Apps drop-down menu. You will see a list of any apps you have installed as well as links to Manage your apps and to access the App Store.

Apps are small applications that can add functionality to your shop. The Shopify App Store contains both free and paid apps.

Adding an App from the Shopify App Store

The Shopify App Store

The Shopify App Store (click to view larger)

  • In the Apps drop-down menu, click Get more apps to access the App Store
  • Use the drop-downs at the top of the screen to help you find a specific app, or browse through all of them to see what’s available. You can search by category or integration, and you can also choose to only see free apps by clicking free.
  • The Shopify Mobile App in the Shopify App Store

    The Shopify Mobile App in the Shopify App Store (click to view larger)

  • To see more information about an app, click its thumbnail. You will see a description of the app, the cost (if any), and additional information like video walk-throughs or demos.
  • Once you’ve chosen an app, click Install App to add it to your shop. Each app’s installation process is different; follow the onscreen instructions to complete installation.

Managing your Apps

Manage Applications

Manage Applications (click to view larger)

  • Click Manage Apps in the Apps drop-down
  • You will see a page which lists all of the apps you have installed, along with links marked Login and Remove.
  • To edit an app’s settings or other information, click Login. To remove the app from your account, click Remove.

Next up: Promotions and link lists.

Series NavigationShopify Tutorial for NewbiesShopify Promotions and Navigation
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