It is often suggested that if you are going to use and customize the default Protostar template, that you make a copy and rename the template.

Note: If you go into Template Manager and click on Duplicate, this DOES NOT copy and rename the template files. It simply creates a new style in the database.

Why should I create a copy and rename my template in Joomla?

There are several reasons why it is a good idea to copy and rename the template that you are going to use with your Joomla installation:

  • you can make a copy of the original template as a safety backup
  • when you upgrade your installation, you won't overwrite your customization
  • you can give the new template a name that is associated with your site name or business

You must copy the template using the proper steps for Joomla to recognize it as a separate template than the original. Copying the template using the proper steps, leaves the original template's folders and files in the installation.

Steps to COPY a template in Joomla 3

Screenshot showing the Template Column in Template Manager

Step 1:

Go into Extensions -> Template Manager and click on the name of the template in the Template column that you want to copy. Clicking on the template name will take you to the Template Manager: Customise Template screen.

Template Manager: Customise Template screen

The copy template popup box

Step 2:

Click on the button that reads Copy Template and a popup window will appear. Enter the new name for your template in the text box then select the Copy Template button.

If you were to look at your site's directory with an FTP program you would see that there is a new folder with the name of your new template. This has a copy of all the files and folders that were in your original template.

By using this method of copying the template, the templateDetails.xml file for your new template will have been edited to reflect the name of the new template.

Step 3:

If you want to edit the layout in index.php, create a custom position, create a custom stylesheet, you do it all in the new template.

Things to keep in mind when copying a template in Joomla

There are a few things that your should be aware of when copying and implementing your new template:

  • For 3rd Party Templates, there can be Copyrights that protect the creators of the original template.
  • The templates that come with the Joomla installation may be modified when you run an upgrade on a Joomla installation. 3rd Party templates must be upgraded separately.
  • 3rd party templates may not work with some changes made to the core files with a Joomla upgrade or migration. You should see if your 3rd Party template offers a matching upgrade.
  • You may find that there are some errors when implementing the new template, as there can be some paths to files that still point to the original template.
  • If you do upgrade your Joomla installation, this new template will not be upgraded. This can be good and bad. Your customization will not be deleted, but you may not get the benefit of bug fixes and other changes that occurred to the original template.