Zen Task Force

The Zen theme aims to be the ultimate standards-compliant starting theme for Drupal. The name is an homage to the CSS Zen Garden and its aim to completely redefine the look of a site purely through CSS.

This group seeks to solidify the Zen theme to make sure that it is truly pliable, flexible, and adaptable. We will also discuss and implement improvements and future directions for this theme framework and for Drupal theming in general.

You can also find some of us hanging out in the #drupal-design IRC chatroom.

Garrett Albright's picture

Palantir's Zen Reference Card

In case you missed it, Palantir has published a printable cheat sheet for theming in Zen which is pretty handy. It lists and describes the various stylesheets that ship with Zen and various lines in the .info file, and also has a huge list of the various CSS classes and IDs Zen provides for quick reference. Check it out here.

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michaelbr's picture

recommendations for newbie to start working with Zen

I'm new to Drupal and have installed and configured a simple site using default Garland theme, now I'd like to make my own theme and after some research, it seems the best way is to use Zen, but I don't know where to start, can someone tell me if there's a tutorial or handbook for a newbie in theme, I did some research and found some tutorials for D5 but not D6, I'm using D6-10. I'm still in the learning curve, so any best practice, tutorial, handbook for Zen theme building is appreciated.

Thanks for your comments/suggestion

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Eric At NRD's picture

Sub-Theme Submission

I find the Zen theme to be immensely useful, and wanted to give back a little something as a "thank you".

I've created a sub-theme that labels all of Zen's block level elements (div id="page", div id="header", etc.), and creates very colorful outlines around them to make it easier to figure out the id and class for each area of the page (sort of like using the Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox with "Display Id & Class" and "Outline Block Level Elements" enabled). This is obviously not something anyone would want to use as an actual theme, but I've found the resulting output helpful as a theme development reference.

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Renzy's picture

Viewport moving from right to left

Hi there,

I have just about finished building my first very basic theme for a client using Zen sub-theme. I have used the fixed width layout with a 3 column design. I have a problem where the viewport, or entire page width is moving slightly from right to left, or left to right. It appears to be dependent on the length of the page, with navigating between the shorter pages, that do not require a scroll, it is not happening. However move from a page with long content, to a shorter one, then the movement is noticeable.

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no longer here 327072's picture

How to troubleshoot for missing background images?


I am building/styling a Zen subtheme. I'm doing something quite simple using a background-image to replace a list item (<li>), but the image isn't showing up in the page.

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demisone's picture

Bug in Zen Classic theme: Logo link is using base_path instead of front_page

Hi there all and thanks everyone for their work in the zen theme! I'm pretty new to drupal and I was using it as a basis in a multi-lingual site but I was in front of a bug: when the presentation language was different than the default language the logo link (which is supposed to take you back to the home page) was pointing always on the default language. I started searching on google, thinking that it was a drupal problem, but since I couldn't find nothing I started to search through the source code of zen theme.

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mariay's picture

How to stop taxonomy terms from showing below node title?

I am using the 6.x-1.x-dev Zen Classic theme from 16 Dec. 2008. The text "in" followed by the taxonomy term appears under node titles. I would like to remove this or at least change the "in" to something understandable such as "Keyword: " or "In category: ". I tried identifying what to change with Firebug without success. Any help would be much appreciated!

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don@robertson.net.nz's picture

Override zen_preprocess_* functions


I am trying out Zen by rebuilding a Drupal 5 theme as a Zen sub theme in Drupal 6. Pretty impressed with them both so far

I have created a _preprocess_page function, but it seems to inherit the results of the zen_preprocess_page function. Is there any way of overriding the zen function without having to edit the zen/template.php file?



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marcus7777's picture

Six Toes site

just a big thanks to all of the help with zen, THANK YOU. It helped me make a site for my brother sixtoes.co.uk

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ctmattice1's picture

Help with theme_preprocessor function

I building a subtheme for zen and have run into a issue I could use some assistance/ guidance on.

I kept wondering why the maintenance page kept rendering in the default drupal theme in D6 where in D5 I could get it to render under a modified zen theme I call oldzen. In searching for the answer I found out how to do it and made the changes needed in settings.php, copied zens page.tpl.php file to my subtheme and renamed it maintenance-page.tpl.php

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irishjays's picture


Hello, just started implementing the zen theme in my drupal sites. Practicing on the wedding site for my lady and me. Invitations are out, site looks fine in FF and safari, but IE6 really looks like crap. I'm using zen liquid, but have tried it with fixed and had the same result. Can someone take a look see

I've spent 4 hours fiddling with no result, I'm about to go insane. attached is an image of what my site looks like in IE6.

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micahcirce's picture

Whats the difference in the CSS files

I'm a newbie to Drupal/Zen and a relative newbie to web design in general. I'm having some trouble understanding how all the CSS files in the new sub-theme I'm creating interact? "print.css" is self explanation. The other's are a bit confusing to me. "layout", "html-elements", and "Starterkit" (which i've properly renamed).

Is there any documentation that explains the interaction of these three? If not, could someone give me a few words of advice/explanation.

Thanks. I really like what this theme and group is doing.

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NonProfit's picture

So, what’s so great about Zen?


Pardon, the combative title...this is a post with serious intent. I'm a themer who up until this point has preferred to start from scratch. (My tpl.php files validate to xthml 1.0 strict standards.) I've used Zen before and find it much easier to start with a blank canvas. I've reviewed the code from some really beautiful high-profile sites and noticed Zen was the parent theme. I recently attended a Drupal camp and Zen was hyped by a developer I really respect. So, now I'm starting to rethink using it.

When/why is it better than rolling your own page templates?



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dellintosh's picture

Some sites I've built using Zen

Woah, totally missed putting this site up here. But these websites were built as a zen sub-themes, and I just want to say how much Zen rocks!

http://www.meredithandrews.com - Meredith Andrews

http://salvadorlive.com - Salvador

http://thespillcanvas.com - The Spill Canvas

http://francescamusic.com - Francesca Battistelli

The part that excites me is that I can build these sites around Zen and greatly improve my efficiency!

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Removing Drupal CSS and module CSS at Drupal Zen

What is that??!!!!

To remove the Drupal Core CSS and Drupal Module CSS simply edit your template.php
insert this code snippet or edit the sample _preprocess function.

Remember to update [template_name] to your specified sub theme name.

* Override or insert variables into all templates.
* @param $vars
* An array of variables to pass to the theme template.
* @param $hook
* The name of the template being rendered (name of the .tpl.php file.)
function [template_name]_preprocess(&$vars, $hook) {

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ineation's picture

Zen theme candidate for D7 core ?

Hi there, I am sure that you have seen the discussion about having a new core theme for D7.

If not you can go there :

As Zen is for sure an obvious candidate, I suggest the Zen Task force group may work on a proposition of an updated D7 Zen plan that answers the different needs that are expressed in the above discussions.

Should we start a wiki for the specifications of a D7 core Zen Theme ?

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Renzy's picture

starterkit not compatible with drupal 6.4

I was about to have a go at building my first zen sub theme.

Installed files as described in documentation, and after navigating to the theme admin page next to the image of the starterkit icon the message says that:

"This version is incompatible with the 6.4 version of Drupal core", (and the toggle box in crossed out by default).

I am running 6.4 on a test site and downloaded Zen for drupal 6.

Can someone please advise,
TIA - :0)


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stevier's picture

Subtheming Zen 6.x-1.0 beta 3: Issues in Safari

I'm trying out Zen to create a theme for a site, and I'm running across a really strange issue in Safari. I had to edit page.tpl.php to get some rounded corners into my menu, and what seems to be happening on Safari is that it doesn't recognize the tag after one of these elements. Thus, it's trying to render the entire menu in a space that's only 8px wide. In Firefox, the width is messed up a bit too, but not nearly as much as it is in Safari.

Here's the code I added to page.tpl.php:

if ($left):

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charlie_lab's picture

Can this layout make simple by using the zem theme


I have now a textpattern site (http://www.tamarawobben.nl)
I'm now testing Drupal.
Can i easily change the zem theme so i have the layout as my old site.



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iainduncan's picture

zen and phptal status?

Hi folks, just wondering if anyone can comment of the status and/or feasability of using zen with phptal. I've used zen with success for a couple of projects now and have been quite pleased, but would love to be able to use a template attribute language. ( I'm a huge fan of Genshi for python ). I noticed a comment from Olav of phptal regarding a port but the last action in phptal land seems to be from a while ago.

vancouver, bc

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