Switching Themes via StyleCatcher

  1. In Movable Type navigate to Design > Styles.
  2. Choose “Sanbox Themes” in the left nav.
  3. Select a theme.
  4. Apply theme.

Installing Themes Manually

  1. Download desired theme from Sandbox Designs Competition.
  2. Place the theme folder in $MT_HOME/mt-static/plugins/Sandbox/themes/ .
  3. Navigate to Design > Templates. Open the “Styles” index template.
  4. Replace the content of the “Styles” index template with a link to the stylesheet of the newly added theme in the styles.css index template. (Replace “THEME-NAME” with the name of the theme.)

    @import url(<$mt:StaticWebPath$>plugins/Sandbox/themes/THEME-NAME/style.css);
  5. Save & Publish the “Styles” index template.

  6. View your blog.

Customizing a Theme

  1. Create a new index template for your custom styles named Custom Styles with an output file of custom-styles.css
  2. After the @import in the Styles index template, add a link to your Custom Styles template after the link to the theme you wish to customize. If you wanted to customize the Moo-Point theme after using StyleCatcher to enable it, the code would look like this might look something like this:

    /* This is the StyleCatcher theme addition. Do not remove this block. */
    @import url(<$mt:StaticWebPath$>support/themes/moo-point/moo-point.css);
    /* end StyleCatcher imports */
    @import url(<$mt:Link template="Custom Styles"$>);
  3. Add any styles you wish to override into the Custom Styles index template. Click Publish & Save, then view your site.

Roll Your Own Theme

  1. Create a sibling folder next to an existing theme, or duplicate an existing theme to base your theme upon.
  2. Update the link to the theme in the Styles index template to point to your new custom theme and then click Save & Publish. Your Styles index template might look like this:

    @import url(<$mt:StaticWebPath$>plugins/Sandbox/themes/custom-theme/style.css);
  3. Edit or add styles and images to your new theme. Because the theme file isn’t managed through MT (though it can be if you have the theme file published as an index template) there is no need to republish after making changes to your stylesheet.


  1. Posted November 12, 2008 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

    I’ve installed Sandbox 1.1 to my MT 4.21 install. I had planned on using it on my main blog but tried it out on my ‘Sandbox’ blog, a blog created in 4.21, first. I’ve refreshed my templates with the Sandbox templates and I applied a style with Stylecatcher.

    The style is a mess, however. All in one column and jumbled. I tried two different styles and neither works. Check it out here.

    What did I do wrong?

  2. Posted November 12, 2008 at 11:46 AM | Permalink


    You are using a sandbox theme, but you are not using the Sandbox template set.

    1. Go to Design > Templates.
    2. Click on “Refresh Blog Templates” under Actions.
    3. Choose “Apply a new template set” and select “Sandbox”
    4. “Make Backups…” if you want
    5. Click “Continue” and then “Confirm”
    6. Rebuild your blog.
  3. Posted November 12, 2008 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

    That’s what I did originally, but just for giggles I did it again. Same result.

    Something’s goofy here.

    Any other ideas?

  4. Posted November 12, 2008 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    Yup, something’s goofy. I’ve never heard of this issue.

    • Create a new blog and specify to use the Sandbox template set. What happens?
    • Are you on MT4.2?
  5. Posted November 12, 2008 at 7:08 PM | Permalink

    OK, the new one looks fine, but commenting is messed up. The commenting buttons are wrong and I get this error when trying to comment:

    Can’t call method “value” on an undefined value at lib/MT/App/ line 1154.

    I had some commenting weirdness when I installed Mid Century to my main blog. I posted to the forums on that here. Could this be related?

  6. Posted November 12, 2008 at 7:26 PM | Permalink

    Oh, and yes, I’m on 4.21.

    I tried swapping my test blog to the Promised Land theme and it was messed up again. Swapping back to SandPress and it looks OK.

    I was really looking forward to themes and template sets in MT 4.21 and they’ve been nothing but trouble. :-(


  7. Posted November 13, 2008 at 9:01 AM | Permalink


    Is your MT 4.21 install completely stock, or have you merged with previous version? added plugins?

    Mid-Century did have a few issues with previewing comments. I’ve committed fixes to the repo for that issue, Jim may add a little bit and then release a new version of the set.

    The themes that were developed for Sandbox all seem to have small imperfections in their design. I’ve fixed many of the issues in the files we made available in the Theme repo for Sandbox. I also notified the theme designers of my findings.

    Sorry that you’re experiencing these issues. Of course we throughly test everything we release. Hope I can help you solve them. I’ll contact you offline.

  8. Posted November 13, 2008 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    Fresh MT 4.21 install into a new directory. Plug-in list:

    Individual Plugins

    Action Streams 1.0 Blog Cloner 2.0 Feeds.App Lite I want to see that! 1.0 Link Roller 2.6b1 MT-Notifier 4.0.5 MT-RF2CF 1.0.0 MT-Twitter 1.0 Mid-Century Template Set 1.0 MultiBlog 2.0 StyleCatcher 2.2 Textile 2.05 TypePad AntiSpam 1.0 WXR Importer 1.1 Widget Manager Upgrade Assistant 1.1 sandbox 1.0

    Plugin Set: Markdown

    Markdown 1.0.1 SmartyPants 1.5.1

    Plugin Set: PhotoGallery

    Collect 1.2 FilterCategories 1.1 FirstNWords 1.3 PhotoGallery/ PhotoGallery/ PhotoGallery/ PhotoGallery/ Photo Gallery 2.1 PhotoGallery/ PhotoGallery/ PhotoGallery/

    Plugin Set: alogblog

    alogblog/ - Disabled alogblog/ - Disabled

    Plugin Set: spamlookup

    spamlookup/ - Disabled spamlookup/ - Disabled spamlookup/ - Disabled

  9. mike bowers
    Posted January 12, 2009 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    Running into the same issues as salguod. This is my first time with MT. I’ve a clean install of 4.23, StyleCatcher 2.2 (which over wrote the version that came with MT), and Sandbox 1.1. That’s it. I have noticed that the template output files are previewing beautifully through Design > Templates. Subsequently, the urls ending in index.php are displaying correctly while the usual urls are not.

    Any ideas?

    Best regards

  10. mike bowers
    Posted January 12, 2009 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

    Update. While looking further, I found both .php and .html versions of index, archive, 404, as well as my original test posts. These have a created date corresponding to the initial sandbox install. I weeded them out, and everything seems to be back on track.

  11. Jackie Brennan
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    I am having a problem where the columns are not displaying properly. Everything is displaying in 1 column, instead of 3 columns. This is now happening with the default styles. Any ideas?

  12. Posted February 2, 2009 at 10:17 PM | Permalink

    Jackie, did you read this FAQ?

  13. Jackie Brennan replied to comment from Beau Smith
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 8:27 PM | Permalink


    In what file (name and path) are you changing this variable?

    What this does is change the value of the blog page_layout variable, a text string which is output as a class on the html body tag. The style hooks into this class for layout. You could change the layout variable manually in the header code by replacing the code with one of the six layout variables for the Sandbox theme:

    Your help is much appreciated!

  14. Posted February 4, 2009 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    Jackie, to manually set the page_layout variable, add this to top of all index and archive templates:

    <$mt:Var name="page_layout" value="LAYOUT-VALUE-HERE"$>

    Or for an even more fancy solution… create a new template module called “Blog Config” containing the code above. Then include it at the top of every index and archive template using the following code:

    <$mt:Include module="Blog Config"$>

    This second solution is recommended because you can then update the page_layout in one template vs having to update it in all index and archive templates. =)

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