Odoo celebrates freedom. Freedom for the designer to go further and freedom for the user to customize everything according to their needs.
Ready to create your own theme? Great. Here are some things you should know before you begin. This tutorial is a guide to creating an Odoo theme.
An introduction for web designers
If you are a web designer using Odoo for the first time, you are in the right place. This introduction will outline the basics of Odoo theme creation. Odoo’s team has created a framework that’s powerful and easy to use.
From common CMS to Odoo
Where is my header.php file?
This is usually the first question from a web designer used to working with Wordpress or Joomla and coming to Odoo for the first time.
Indeed, when using common CMSs, you have to code several files (like header.php, page.php, post.php, etc.) in order to create a basic structure for your website. With those systems, this base structure acts as a design foundation that you have to update over time to ensure compatibility within your CMS. So, even after you have spent hours coding the files, you have not even started on the design yet.
This does not apply to creating Odoo themes.
Odoo default theme structure
Odoo comes with a default website structure. It is a very basic “theme” that provides minimal structure and layout. When you create a new theme, you are actually extending this. Indeed it’s always enabled in your setup and it acts exactly like the CMS’s base structure we mentioned above, except that you don’t have to create or maintain it. It will upgrade automatically within your Odoo installation and, since it is included in the Website Builder module, everything is smoothly integrated by default.
As a result, you are totally free to focus on design while this structure does the job of providing integrations and functionality.
Basic layouts for pages, blog, eCommerce and much more
Website Builder integration
Automatic Sass compiling
Automatic Js and CSS minification and combination
An Odoo theme is not a folder containing HTML or PHP files, it’s a modular framework written in XML. Never worked with XML files before? Don’t worry, after following the tutorial, you’ll be able to create your first theme with only basic knowledge of HTML.
Using classical web design workflows, you usually code the layout of the entire page. The result of this is a “static” web page. You can update the content, of course, but your client will need you to work on making even basic changes.
Creating themes for Odoo is a total change of perspective. Instead of defining the complete layout for a page, you can create blocks (snippets) and let the user choose where to “drag&drop” them, creating the page layout on their own. We call this modular design.
Imagine an Odoo theme as a “list” of elements and options that you have to create or extend. As a designer, your goal is to style these elements in order to achieve a wonderful result, regardless of where the end user chooses to place them.
Let’s take a tour of our “list” elements:
A piece of HTML code. The user will drag&drop, modify and combine them using our built-in Website Builder interface. You can define sets of options and styles for each snippet. The user will choose from them according to their needs.
These are normal web pages, except that they will be editable by the final user and that you can define an empty area that the user can “fill” by dragging snippets into it.
Styles are defined using SCSS files (or you can use standard CSS files). You can define a style as default or optional. The default styles are always active in your theme, the optional styles can be enabled or disabled by the user.
Thanks to Odoo’s modularity, everything can be personalized even more. This means there are endless possibilities for your creativity. Adding functionalities is easy and it’s simple to provide the end user with customizable options.
Odoo’s XML files, an overview
Any Odoo XML file starts with encoding specifications. After that, you have to write your code inside a
Almost every element and option that you create has to be placed inside a
<template> tag, like in this example.
The previous code defines a title, but it will not be displayed anywhere because that template is not associated with any part of the Odoo default structure. In order to do that you can use xpath, qWeb or a combination of both.
Keep reading the tutorial to learn to how properly extend it with your own code.
Create a theme module
Odoo’s themes are packaged like modules. Even if you are designing a very simple website for your company or client, you need to package the theme like an Odoo module.
Create a folder and name it like this:
theme_followed by your theme’s name.
Create an empty document and save it to your folder as
__manifest__.py. This will contain the configuration info for your theme.
Create another empty file and name it
__init__.py. It’s a mandatory system file. Create and leave it blank.
Create them in the main folder. In
viewsyou’ll place your xml files that define your snippets, your pages and your options.
staticfolder is the right place for your style , images and custom js code.
The final result should be like this:
__manifest__.py you created and copy/paste the following:
Replace the first four property’s values with anything you like. These values will be used to identify your new theme in Odoo’s backend.
category defines your module category (always “Theme”) and, after a slash, the subcategory. You can use one subcategory from the Odoo Apps categories list. (https://www.odoo.com/apps/themes)
depends specifies the modules needed by our theme to work properly. For our tutorial theme, we only need website and website_theme_install to install/update. If you need blogging or eCommerce features as well, you have to add those modules too. If you plan to offer your theme to the majority of users, it is however recommended that you only depend on website and website_theme_install for the base of your theme. You can then create a second theme, which is an extension of the first one and another Odoo feature like the eCommerce.
data property will contain the xml files list. Right now it’s empty, but we will add any new files created.
Installing your theme
To install your theme, you just place your theme folder inside addons in your Odoo installation.
After that, navigate to the Odoo Website module, go to .
Under Website section click the Pick a Theme button, then hover over your theme and click Use this theme.
Update your theme
Since XML files are only loaded when you install the theme, you will have to force reloading every time you make changes on an xml file.
To do that, click on the Upgrade button in the theme selection screen.
Structure of an Odoo page
An Odoo page is the visual result of a combination of 2 kind of elements, cross-pages and unique. By default, Odoo provides you with a Header and a Footer (cross-pages) and a unique main element that contains the content that makes your page unique.
To inspect the default layout, simply create a new page using the Website Builder. Click onand add a page name. Inspect the page using your browser.
The most important feature or your theme should be the style it provides. Odoo includes Bootstrap by default. This means that you can take advantage of all Bootstrap styles and layout functionalities out of the box.
Of course Bootstrap is not enough if you want to provide a unique design. The following steps will guide you through how to add custom styles to your theme. The final result won’t be pretty, but will provide you with enough information to build upon on your own.
Let’s start by creating an empty file called style.scss and place it in a folder called scss in your static folder. Let’s add an example rule which adds a top border on the footer. Copy and paste it, then save the file.
Our file is ready but it is not included in our theme yet.
Let’s navigate to the view folder and create an XML file called assets.xml. Add the default Odoo xml markup as seen before then copy/paste the following code between the Odoo tags. Remember to replace
theme_tutorial with your theme’s main folder name.
We just created a template specifying our scss file. As you can see, our template has a special attribute called
inherit_id. This attribute tells Odoo that our template is referring to another one in order to operate.
In this case, we are referring to
assets_frontend template, located in the
assets_frontend specifies the list of assets loaded by the website builder and our goal is to add our scss file to this list.
This can be achieved using xpath with the attributes
position="after", which means “take my style file and place it after the last link in the list of assets”.
Placing it after the last one, we ensure that our file will be loaded at the end and takes priority.
Finally add assets.xml in your __manifest__.py file in the data section.
Update your theme.
Our scss file is now included in our theme, it will be automatically compiled, minified and combined with all Odoo’s assets.
You can now see the beautiful footer border on the website.
Advanced tips for styling
In the introduction, we saw how to add a basic file of CSS rules into the system to extend the website. This is actually the last step you should need to add style to your theme.
The Odoo website builder already allows the user to create pages by adding a large variety of default well-designed blocks. It also allows a large set of customization possibilities. What may not be straightforward for the user is to combine all of those options to make something really beautiful. This is where your theme can shine. First try to construct the spirit of your theme by enabling a nice set of Odoo default options. This also allows you to ensure two things:
You do not re-invent something which already exists. If Odoo provides an option to have a border on the footer, don’t recode it yourself. Enable it, then extend it if needed.
You ensure that the user can still use all of Odoo features with your theme. Again, if Odoo provides an option to have a border on the footer and that you recode it yourself, you may break the default option or make it useless, making the user have a bad experience. Your option might also not work as well with all the other Odoo features relying on it.
So here are the steps to create a robust and consistent style for your theme:
(1) Set the values for Odoo-provided SCSS variables
Odoo declares many CSS rules, most being entirely customizable by overriding the related SCSS variables. First, create a new file called primary_variables.scss and add it the same way as the style.scss file. The only difference it that you won’t add it in the
assets_frontend template but in the
This defines two color palettes for the user to choose from. Odoo relies on five named colors to be used by the website builder. By defining those in your theme, you ensure a consistent colored Odoo theme. Starting with Odoo 14.0, a lot more variable are there for you to customize.
(2) Set the values for Bootstrap variables that Odoo do not surcharge
If Odoo does not provide the variable you are looking for, then try to find a Bootstrap variable which allows it. Indeed all Odoo layouts respect Bootstrap structures and use Bootstrap components or extensions of them. So if you customize a bootstrap variable, you add a generic style for the whole user website.
Bootstrap values must not be overridden in the primary_variables.scss file but in another dedicated file, extending the
With for example:
(3) Add your own CSS rules as seen in the introduction
You may also want to design your snippet first, as we will see in a later section of this tutorial.
Extend Odoo Layout
By default, Odoo header contains a responsive navigation menu and the company’s logo. You can easily add new elements or style the existing one.
To do so, create a layout.xml file in your views folder and add the default Odoo xml markup.
Then copy-pasting the following code.
This xpath will add a welcome message just before the page content. You can do a lot more of thing with xpath and qweb, check the related doc for more details.
The last step is to add layout.xml to the list of xml files used by the theme. To do that, edit your
__manifest__.py file like this
Update your theme
Great! We successfully added an id to the header and an element after the navigation menu. These changes will be applied to each page of the website.
Create a specific page layout
Imagine that we want to create a specific layout for a Services page. For this page, we need to add a list of services to the top and give the client the possibility of setting the rest of the page’s layout using snippets.
Inside your views folder, create a pages.xml file and add the default Odoo markup. Inside
<odoo>, instead of defining a
<template>, we will create a page object.
As you can see, pages come with many additional properties like the name or the url where it is reachable.
We successfully created a new page layout, but we haven’t told the system how to use it. To do that, we can use QWeb. Wrap the html code into a
<t> tag, like in this example.
<t t-call="website.layout"> we will use the Odoo default page layout with our code.
As you can see, we wrapped our code into two
<div>, one with ID
wrap and the other one with class
container. This is to provide a minimal layout.
The next step is to add an empty area that the user can fill with snippets. To achieve this, just create a
oe_structure class just before closing the
It is worth mentioning there is an alternative to create pages using the
<template> directive we saw before.
This would allow your page content to be further customized using
Our page is almost ready. Now all we have to do is add pages.xml in our __manifest__.py file
Update your theme
Great, our Services page is ready and you’ll be able to access it by navigating to
<yourwebsite>/services (the URL we chose above).
You will notice that it’s possible to drag/drop snippets underneath the Our Services list.
Now let’s go back to our pages.xml and, after our page template, copy/paste the following code.
This code will add a link to the main menu, referring to the page we created.
The sequence attribute defines the link’s position in the top menu. In our example, we set the value to
99 in order to place it last. I you want to place it in a particular position, you have to replace the value according to your needs.
As you can see inspecting the data.xml file in the
website module, the Home link is set to
10 and the Contact us one is set to
60 by default. If, for example, you want to place your link in the middle, you can set your link’s sequence value to
Since snippets are how users design and layout pages, they are the most important XML elements of your design. Let’s create a snippet for our Service page. The snippet will display three testimonials and it will be editable by the end user using the Website Builder UI. Navigate to the view folder and create an XML file called snippets.xml. Add the default Odoo xml markup and copy/paste the following code. The template contains the HTML markup that will be displayed by the snippet.
As you can see, we used Bootstrap default classes for our three columns. It’s not just about layout, these classes will be triggered by the Website Builder to make them resizable by the user.
The previous code will create the snippet’s content, but we still need to place it into the editor bar, so the user will be able to drag&drop it into the page. Copy/paste this template in your snippets.xml file.
Using xpath, we are targeting a particular element with id
snippet_structure. This means that the snippet will appear in the Structure tab. If you want to change the destination tab, you have just to replace the
id value in the xpath expression.
<t> tag will call our snippet’s template and will assign a thumbnail placed in the img folder. You can now drag your snippet from the snippet bar, drop it in your page and see the result.
Options allow publishers to edit a snippet’s appearance using the Website Builder’s UI. Using Website Builder functionalities, you can create snippet options easily and automatically add them to the UI.
Options group properties
Options are wrapped in groups. Groups can have properties that define how the included options will interact with the user interface.
Bind all the options included into the group to a particular element.
data-js=" custom method name "
Defines the list of elements where the snippet can be dropped into.
Defines the list of elements that the snippet can be dropped beside.
Default option methods
Options apply standard CSS classes to the snippet. Depending on the method that you choose, the UI will behave differently.
More data-select-class in the same group defines a list of classes that the user can choose to apply. Only one option can be enabled at a time.
The data-toggle-class is used to apply one or more CSS classes from the list to a snippet. Multiple selections can be applied at once.
Let’s demonstrate how default options work with a basic example.
We start by adding a new file in our views folder - name it options.xml and add the default Odoo XML markup. Create a new template copy/pasting the following
As you can see, we wrapped all our options inside a DIV tag that will group our options and that will target them to the right selector (
To define our options we applied
data-select-class attributes to the
li elements. When the user selects an option, the class contained in the attribute will automatically be applied to the element.
selectClass method avoids multiple selections, the last “empty” option will reset the snippet to default.
Add options.xml to
__manifest__.py and update your theme.
Dropping our snippet onto the page, you will notice that our new options are automatically added to the customize menu. Inspecting the page, you will also notice that the class will be applied to the element when selecting an option.
Let’s create some css rules in order to provide a visual feedback for our options. Open our style.scss file and add the following
Great! We successfully created options for our snippet.
Any time the publisher clicks on an option, the system will add the class specified in the data-select-class attribute.
data-toggle-class you will be able to select more classes at the same time.
data-toggle-class are great if you need to perform simple class change operations. But what if your snippet’s customization needs something more?
As we said before,
data-js propriety can be assigned to an options group in order to define a custom method. Let’s create one for our testimonials snippet by adding a
data-js attribute to the option’s group div that we created earlier.
Done. From now on, the Website Builder will look for a
s_testimonial_options JS option each time the publisher enters in edit mode.
s_testimonial_options name that we used before.
As you will notice, we used a method called
onFocus to trigger our function. The Website Builder provides several events you can use to trigger your custom functions.
Fires when the publisher selects the snippet for the first time in an editing session or when the snippet is drag-dropped into the page
Fires each time the snippet is selected by the user or when the snippet is drag-dropped into the page.
This event occurs when a snippet loses focus.
Fires just after a snippet is duplicated.
It occurs just before that the snippet is removed.
Fires just after that the snippet is drag and dropped into a drop zone. When this event is triggered, the content is already inserted in the page.
It trigger before the publisher saves the page.
assets_editor instead of
Update your theme
onFocus event. If you close it, then click outside of your snippet and then click in it again, the event will trigger again.
Editing Reference Guide
Basically all the elements in a page can be edited by the publisher. Besides that, some element types and css classes will trigger special Website Builder functionalities when edited.
Any section element can be edited like a block of content. The publisher can move or duplicate it. It’s also possible to set a background image or color. Section is the standard main container of any snippet.
.row > .col-lg-*
Any large bootstrap columns directly descending from a .row element (respecting Bootstrap structure), will be resizable by the publisher.
This attribute will prevent editing to the element and all its children.
Apply it to an element inside a contenteditable=”False” element in order to create an exception and make the element and its children editable.
<a href=”#” />
In Edit Mode, any link can be edited and styled. Using the “Link Modal” it’s also possible to replace it with a button.
<span class=”fa” />
Pictogram elements. Editing this element will open the Pictogram library to replace the icon. It’s also possible to transform the elements using CSS.
Once clicked, the Image Library will open and you can replace images. Transformation is also possible for this kind of element.
This html structure will create an
<iframe> element editable by the publisher.
SEO best practice
Facilitate content insertion
Modern search engine algorithms increasingly focus on content, which means there is less focus on keyword saturation and more focus on whether or not the content is actually relevant to the keywords.
As content is so important for SEO, you should concentrate on giving publishers the tools to easily insert it. It is important that your snippets are “content-responsive”, meaning that they should fit the publisher’s content regardless of size.
Let’s have a look to this example of a classic two column snippet, implemented in two different ways.
Using fixed image, the publisher will be forced to limit the text in order to follow the layout.
Using background images that fit the column height, the publisher will be free to add the content regardless of the image’s height.
Basically, page segmentation means that a page is divided into several separate parts and these parts are treated as separate entries by search engines. When you design pages or snippets, you should be sure to use the right tags in order to facilitate search engine indexing.
Specifies an independent block of content. Within it should be a piece of self-contained content that should make sense on its own. You can nest
<article>elements within one another. In this case, it’s implied that the nested elements are related to the outer
Indicates the header section of a self-contained block of content (an
Is the snippet default tag and it specifies a subsection of a block of content. It can be used to split
<article>content into several parts. It’s advisable to use a heading element (
<h6>) to define the section’s topic.
Is used to wrap a section of headings (
<h6>). A great example would be an article with both a headline and sub-headline at the top:
Describe your page
You should use appropriate, relevant keywords and synonyms for those keywords. You can define them for each page using the built-in “Promote” function found in the bar at the top.
Define a title and a description
Define them using the “Promote” function. Keep your page titles short and include the main keyword phrase for the page. Good titles evoke an emotional response, ask a question or promise something.
Descriptions, while not important to search engine rankings, are extremely important in gaining user click-through. These are an opportunity to advertise content and to let people searching know exactly whether the given page contains the information they’re looking for. It is important that titles and descriptions on each page are unique.