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Zen Cart Templates

The Zen Cart Template is the presentation layer of your ecommerce software - it determines how your cart appears to browsers. Other systems call this component a theme or a skin. If you are not familiar with templates, then the Zen Cart documentation article What is a template? is a good place to start.

What makes a template look good?

It's very easy to be misled when looking at templates in a marketplace. Try to ignore the product images they bundle in for demonstration purposes. These images are attractive and very high quality, but they won't be deployed on your site - *your* images will be.


I use a template called Zen Cart Bootstrap on my store. I strongly recommend the use of the Bootstrap template, since it is the most up to date and well maintained template available.

You can see examples of bootstrap on my store and on a test installation with the Zen Cart demo data.

Here's my store on desktop and iPhone:

bootstrap template bootstrap template

You can read more about the bootstrap template on the Zen Cart documentation site.

You can see an example of the Bootstrap template with the demo data on Demo Site 3.

responsive sheffield blue template

Responsive Classic

Zen Cart 1.5.5 and above comes with a built in mobile template called responsive_classic. You can see an example of it on Demo Site 5.

responsive classic template

You can read more about the responsive_classic template on the Zen Cart documentation site.

Responsive Sheffield Blue

The author of the responsive classic template has another template that's very popular called Responsive Sheffield Blue. You can see an example of it on Demo Site 1.

responsive sheffield blue template

What if I like love my desktop template?

Some customers are very attached to their desktop template and want to keep it, but want a responsive site too.  My solution for this is to keep their desktop template, and use the responsive_classic mobile friendly template only when someone visits from a mobile device.  I call this Responsive Fallback.

How do I update my template?

Any time you have a template override that's based on an older version of Zen Cart, you should mirror the changes made in newer versions to your copy. Obviously this is a lot of work and many people won't do it - but there's a shortcut: the most critical template fixes are identified on the Zen Cart Template Updates page.