The beauty of Joomla, is that you may choose to have separate pages on your site look very different than the rest of the site. You can accomplish this with assigning Menu Items with different Page Classes or different templates. You may have a video section where you want the containing element to be wide and not have any of the modules assigned to it or you may want a part of your site to have a different look.

The different template may be a slightly different version of your default front end template, or it can be a totally different template. There are some things to watch out for when using different templates on your site.

Upload your template in Template Manager

To upload a new template follow this path

Extensions -> Extension Manager -> Upload Package File

Yes, go to Extension Manager, not Template Manager for the upload. Click on the Choose File button and select the zipped file from your local computer. Click on Upload and Install.

Note:

  • Some 3rd Party Templates come with an entire Joomla Installation. Do Not upload these templates using this method. You want just the Template Directory and nothing more.
  • You have just uploaded the files for the template - that does not mean that it is activated for any pages
  • Do not select the Default star for this new template unless you want all existing pages and any new pages created to have this template. 

Uploading the Template manually

If you have trouble uploading the zipped file through the Extension Manager, you can also use an ftp program your hosting file manager, upload the zipped file just inside the templates folder, then extract the files into their own folder right under Templates.

You can also unzip them on your local computer and upload them that way - though it takes longer.

Once the Template is uploaded, there is one more step. You must tell Joomla to "Discover" these files. In Extension Manager there is Discover in the list on the left side column. Click on this and it will search your directories for files that have not gone through the normal installation process.

See the official Joomla documentation on installing a template: docs.joomla.org/J3.2:Installing_a_template

Assigning the Template to specific pages

There are two ways to select which pages have this new template assigned to them

Template Manager Method

In Template Manager for this new Template, choose the new Template from the list - click on the name in the Style column.

In the Menus Assignment tab, click on the pages for which you wish this template to be assigned. Note that these pages shown are ONLY pages that have been created for Menu Items. You can not assign a template to a single article that has not been assigned to a Menu Item. If you select a Menu Item that is a Category Blog or Category List, all the articles contained in that blog or list will have the new template assigned to them as well.

Menu Item Method

When you create or edit a Menu Item, you can assign the Menu Item a template right inside the Menu Manager. In the Details tab you will see a pull down box next to Template Style. This pull down box will list all installed Templates. You can select your new Template here. Save & Close.

Issues with having multiple templates

Module Positions

Different Templates likely have different Module Position names. They also may have the same Module Position names, but put them in different places on the template. You may find odd Modules in the wrong places on these pages with the new template. You will have to un-assign that page in the Module Manager if you don't want it to show in that location. You may have to duplicate Modules for the different Templates.

Different Stylesheets

Different Templates will have different stylesheets, so you may find yourself repeating certain style changes. It can become a management nightmare.

Different Layout

The new template will have a whole set if files that are different, things may not only look different with the new Template, they may not work the same.

Alternatives to separate Templates: Page Classes

You can assign a class to certain pages and target styling for just that one page or any pages with that class assigned. This way all the pages on your site use the same Module Positions, File Overrides, Stylesheets and Layout.

Find out more about creating Page Classes here. Some templates will treat page classes differently than others.