Working with Joomla 1.5 templates and Joomla 2.5 templates? Are they different?

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The changes from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 2.5 are quite significant. That's the reason why some Joomla users who have worked with Joomla 1.5 for a long time, now find it difficult to become familiar with the new interface. There are so many changes and templates is one of them. Hey, Joomla 1.5 users, do you want to know how to customize your template as usual but with a totally new structure and interface? Let's check it out!

There are five main differences between Joomla 1.5 template and Joomla 2.5 template manager:

  1. Structure of Template Manager
  2. Preview template
  3. Edit index.php file
  4. Edit CSS file
  5. Customize template

1. Structure of Template Manager

If you've once tried both Joomla versions, you can see clearly the change in the structure between them. Managing Joomla 1.5 templates is classified based on the kind of template: Site or Administrator (2 main tabs in Template Manager). Therefore, you always know which kind of template, site or administrator you are working with. In each tab, all installed Joomla templates will be shown right under the tab, and you can edit them or make them default using the toolbar.

Template Manager in Joomla 1.5

Template Manager in Joomla 1.5

But this is not the structure of Template Manager in Joomla 2.5 anymore. In version 2.5, it has been divided it into 2 sections: Styles and Templates. While in the Template tab, you can see all Joomla 2.5 templates with their related information such as location, version, author, etc., next to them, and the Styles tab is the place where you can edit your template styles.

Template Manager in Joomla 2.5

Template Manager in Joomla 2.5

2. Preview template

With each template, the Preview option is such a very important function. It allows you to see all module positions of the template, so you can select which modules to put in which positions to look best. In version 1.5, you can view a preview when click on the corresponding template; the Preview button is on the toolbar.

View Preview in Joomla 1.5

View Preview in version 1.5

So, how about version 2.5? Where is the place you can see the preview of Joomla 2.5 templates? Well, click on the Templates tab, then in the Template column, click Preview for the template you want to see.

View Preview in Joomla 2.5

View Preview in version 2.5

3. Edit index.php file

Editing the index.php file is necessary when working with a template. In Joomla 1.5, when you access the Template Editor screen, you can easily edit this file by clicking the button “Edit HTML” on the toolbar.

Edit index.php file in Joomla 1.5

Edit index.php file in version 1.5

In Joomla 2.5, to edit index.php file, you have to click the “Details and Files” row in the template to enter the Customize Template interface.

Details and Files

Details and Files

Now, in the pop-up screen, take a look at the Template Master Files section; you need to click on “Edit main page template” to start editing.

Edit index.php file in Joomla 2.5

Edit index.php file in version 2.5

4. Edit CSS file

Similarly, to edit the CSS file in Joomla 1.5 templates, you just need to click on the Edit CSS button, it's next to the Edit HTML button above. Then, a pop up screen will open, that's the Template CSS Editor where all CSS files are shown. Select the one you want by checking it and click Edit to start.

Template CSS Editor in Joomla 1.5

Template CSS Editor in version 1.5

Editing CSS file in Joomla 1.5

Editing CSS file in version 1.5

With Joomla 2.5, everything seems easier, when you're in the Customize Template interface, all CSS files will be shown in the Stylesheets section on the right side of the screen. If you need to edit any of the files, simply click on the one you want to change.

Stylesheets in Joomla 2.5

Stylesheets in Joomla 2.5

Editing CSS file in Joomla 2.5

Editing CSS file in Joomla 2.5

5. Customize template

Customizing a template consists of 2 parts: customize parameters and assign menus. In version 1.5, both of them are executed in the Template Editor screen (Menu assignment and Parameters sections).

Customize template in Joomla 1.5

Customize template in Joomla 1.5

In the version 2.5, to assign different menus to a Joomla template and customize its parameters, you need to do it in Styles, so click on the Styles tab, the screen you will see looks similar to the one in version 1.5

Customize template in Joomla 2.5

Customize template in Joomla 2.5

In general, the main functions of the Template Manager still remain, however, several small changes can make you a little bit confused when upgrading your template to Joomla 2.5. I hope that this article can help you to save time and make working with templates easier.

Feel free to share your comments here!

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Ngoc Anh is an online copywriter at She writes blog posts to share useful joomla information with Joomla users, especially Joomla newbies.


  • Marco Poet
    Marco Poet Saturday, 22 September 2012

    Hi,,, Dao Ngoc Anh,,,
    Being a web designer, I found ur blog is awesome for the joomla and web designer professionals,,,,.
    Thnks once again,,,,

    Sumit Sengupta

  • Dao Ngoc Anh
    Dao Ngoc Anh Tuesday, 10 July 2012

    Hi @hire php developer
    Thanks for your comment :) That's great to hear that you find out something useful for yourself. Our blog is updated frequently with the latest news and tutorials, so keep visiting :D
    You can find us on Facebook or follow on Twitter to get more and more useful information ;)

  • Guest
    Yepi Monday, 26 August 2013

    i have just decided to upgrade my template to Joomla 2.5, your information brinhs for me a overview of the different between two version, it is very useful, however i think that each version has typical good points and not good points, it depends on the aim and the how we use them, so all of them are so wonderful for us to experience.

  • huyennt
    huyennt Saturday, 31 August 2013

    We are glad that it is helpful for you.

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Guest Saturday, 20 September 2014
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