Theming ownCloud

Themes can be used to customize the look and feel of any aspect of an ownCloud installation. They can override the default JavaScript, CSS, image, and template files, as well as the user interface translations with custom versions. They can also affect both the web front-end and the ownCloud Desktop client. However, this documentation only covers customizing the web front-end, so far.


Throughout this section of the documentation, for sakes of simplicity, it will be assumed that your owncloud installation directory is /owncloud. If you’re following this guide to create or customise a theme, please make sure you change any references to match the location of your owncloud installation.

To save you time and effort, you can use the shell script below, to create the basis of a new theme from ownCloud’s example theme.

Using this script, you will have a new theme, ready to go, in less than five seconds. You can execute this script with two variables; the first one is the theme name and the second one is your ownCloud directory.

For example: mynewtheme /var/www/owncloud
# Invoke this script with one argument, the new theme's name.
# Written by Dmitry Mayorov <> & Matthew Setter <>
# Copyright (c) ownCloud 2018.
set -e


if (( $# != 2 ))
  echo "Not enough arguments supplied."
  echo "Usage: $( basename "$0" ) [-v] [-h] [theme id] [owncloud directory]"
  exit $E_BADARGS



echo "Bootstrapping theme development."

cd "$owncloud_directory"

# Copy the example theme to your theme
echo "Copying default theme"
cp -r "$apps/theme-example" "$apps/$app_name"

# Remove the default signature, which will cause a code integrity violation
if [ -f "$apps/$app_name/appinfo/signature.json" ]; then
  echo "Removing default signature.json file to avoid code integrity violation"
  rm "$apps/$app_name/appinfo/signature.json"

# Replace the default id
echo "Updating theme id"
sed -i "s#<id>theme-example<#<id>$app_name<#" "$apps/$app_name/appinfo/info.xml"

# Set the appropriate permissions
echo "Setting theme file permissions"
chown -R www-data:www-data "$apps/$app_name"

# Enable the theme (app)
echo "Enabling theme"
sudo -u www-data php "$owncloud_directory/occ" app:enable "$app_name"

echo "Finished bootstrapping the new theme."

cd "$OLDPWD" 

How to Create a New Theme

At its most basic, to create a theme requires two steps:

  1. Copy and extend ownCloud’s example theme, or create one from scratch.
  2. Enable the theme in the ownCloud Admin dashboard.

All themes, whether copied or new, must meet two key criteria, these are:

  1. They must be store in an app directory of your ownCloud installation, whether that’s the core app directory (apps) or a custom app directory.
  2. They require a configuration file called appinfo/info.xml to be present.


To ensure that custom themes aren’t lost during upgrades, we strongly encourage you to store them in a custom app directory.


Here’s an example of the bare minimum which the file needs to contain:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
    <name>Example Theme</name>
      <owncloud min-version="10" max-version="10" />

And here’s a longer, more complete example:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
    <name>Example Theme</name>
    <description>This App provides the ownCloud theme.</description>
    <author>John Doe</author>
        <owncloud min-version="10" max-version="10" />

The value of the id element needs to be the name of your theme’s folder. We recommend that it always be prefixed with theme-. The main reason for doing so, is that it is alphabetically sorted in a terminal when handling app folders.

The type element needs to be the same as is listed above, so that ownCloud knows to handle the app as a theme. The dependencies element needs to be present to set the minimum and maximum versions of ownCloud which are supported. If it’s not present, a warning will be displayed in ownCloud 10 and an error will be thrown in the upcoming ownCloud 11.

While the remaining elements are optional, they help when working with the theme in the ownCloud Admin dashboard. Please consider filling out as many as possible, as completely as possible.

Theme Signing

If you are going to publish the theme as an app in the marketplace, you need to sign it. However, if you are only creating a private theme for your own ownCloud installation, then you do not need to.

That said, to avoid a signature warning in the ownCloud UI, you need to add it to the list in config/config.php. The following example allows the app whose application id is app-id to have no signature.

'' => [

How to Override Images

Any image, such as the default logo, can be overridden by including one with the same path structure in your theme. For example, let’s say that you want to replace the logo on the login-page above the credentials-box which, by default has the path: owncloud/core/img/logo-icon.svg. To override it, assuming that your custom theme was called theme-example (which will be assumed for the remainder of the theming documentation), add a new file with the following path: owncloud/apps/theme-example/core/img/logo-icon.svg. After the theme is activated, this image will override the default one.

Default Image Paths

To make building a new theme that much easier, below is a list of a range of the image paths used in the default theme.

Description Section Location
The logo at the login-page above the credentials-box General owncloud/core/img/logo-icon.svg
The logo in the left upper corner after login   owncloud/core/img/logo-icon.svg
All files folder image   owncloud/core/img/folder.svg
Favorites star image   owncloud/core/img/star.svg
Shared with you/others image   owncloud/core/img/share.svg
Shared by link image   owncloud/core/img/public.svg
Tags image   owncloud/core/img/tag.svg
Deleted files image   owncloud/core/img/delete.svg
Settings image   owncloud/core/img/actions/settings.svg
Search image   owncloud/core/img/actions/search-white.svg
Breadcrumbs home image   owncloud/core/img/places/home.svg
Breadcrumbs separator   owncloud/core/img/breadcrumb.svg
Dropdown arrow Admin Menu owncloud/core/img/actions/caret.svg
Personal image   owncloud/settings/img/personal.svg
Users image   owncloud/settings/img/users.svg
Help image   owncloud/settings/img/help.svg
Admin image   owncloud/settings/img/admin.svg
Logout image   owncloud/core/img/actions/logout.svg
Apps menu - Files image   owncloud/apps/files/img/app.svg
Apps menu - Plus image   owncloud/settings/img/apps.svg
Upload image Personal owncloud/core/img/actions/upload.svg
Folder image   owncloud/core/img/filetypes/folder.svg
Trash can image   owncloud/core/img/actions/delete.svg


When overriding the favicon, make sure your custom theme includes and override for both owncloud/apps/core/img/favicon.svg and owncloud/apps/core/img/favicon.png, to cover any future updates to favicon handling.


When using custom filetype icons in a custom theme, it is necessary to run occ maintenance:mimetype:update-js to activate them. For more information please refer to mimetypes management.

How to Override the Default Colors

To override the default style sheet, create a new CSS style sheet in your theme, in the theme’s css directory, called styles.css.

How to Override Translations

You can override the translation of any string in your theme. To do so:

  1. Create the l10n folder inside your theme, for the app that you want to override.
  2. In the l10n folder, create the translation file for the language that you want to customize.

For example, if you want to overwrite the German translation of “Download” in the files app, you would create the file owncloud/apps/theme-example/apps/files/l10n/de_DE.js. Note that the structure is the same as for images. You just mimic the original file location inside your theme. You would then put the following code in the file:

    "Download" : "Herunterladen"
  "nplurals=2; plural=(n != 1);"

You then need to create a second translation file, owncloud/apps/theme-example/apps/files/l10n/de_DE.json, which looks like this:

  "translations": {
    "Download" : "Herunterladen"
  "pluralForm" :"nplurals=2; plural=(n != 1);"

Both files (.js and .json) are needed. The first is needed to enable translations in the JavaScript code and the second one is read by the PHP code and provides the data for translated terms.

How to Override Names, Slogans, and URLs

In addition to translations, the ownCloud theme allows a lot of the names that are shown on the web interface to be changed. This is done in defaults.php, which needs to be located within the theme’s root folder. You can find a sample version in owncloud/app/theme-example/defaults.php. In there, you need to define a class named OC_Theme and implement the methods that you want to overwrite.

class OC_Theme {
  public function getAndroidClientUrl() {
    return '';

  public function getName() {
    return 'ownCloud';

Each method must return a string. The following methods are available:

Method Description
getAndroidClientUrl Returns the URL to Google Play for the Android Client.
getBaseUrl Returns the base URL.
getDocBaseUrl Returns the documentation URL.
getEntity Returns the entity (e.g., company name) used in footers and copyright notices.
getName Returns the short name of the software.
getHTMLName Returns the short name of the software containing HTML strings.
getiOSClientUrl Returns the URL to the ownCloud Marketplace for the iOS Client.
getiTunesAppId Returns the AppId for the ownCloud Marketplace for the iOS Client.
getLogoClaim Returns the logo claim.
getLongFooter Returns the long version of the footer.
getMailHeaderColor Returns the mail header color.
getSyncClientUrl Returns the URL where the sync clients are listed.
getTitle Returns the title.
getShortFooter Returns short version of the footer.
getSlogan Returns the slogan.


Only these methods are available in the templates, because we internally wrap around hardcoded method names.

One exception is the method buildDocLinkToKey which gets passed in a key as its first parameter. For core we do something like this to build the documentation link:

public function buildDocLinkToKey($key) {
  return $this->getDocBaseUrl() . '/server/latest/go.php?to=' . $key;

How to Test a Theme

There are different options for testing themes:

  • If you’re using a tool like the Inspector tools inside Mozilla you can test out the CSS-Styles immediately inside the css-attributes, while you’re looking at the page.
  • If you have a development server, you can test out the effects in a live environment.

Settings Page Registration

How Can an App Register a Section in the Admin or Personal Section?

As of ownCloud 10.0, apps must register admin and personal section settings in info.xml. As a result, all calls to OC_App::registerPersonal and OC_App::registerAdmin should now be removed. The settings panels of any apps that are still using these calls will now be rendered in the “Additional” section of the dashboard .

For each panel an app wishes to register, two things are required:

  1. An update to info.xml
  2. A controller class

Updating info.xml

First, an entry must be added into the <settings> element in info.xml, specifying the class name responsible for rendering the panel. These will be loaded automatically when an app is enabled. For example, to register an admin and a personal section would require the following configuration..


The Controller Class

Next, a controller class which implements the OCP\Settings\ISettings interface must be created to represent the panel. Doing so enforces that the necessary settings panel information is returned. The interface specifies three methods:

  • getSectionID
  • getPanel
  • getPriority

getSectionID: This method returns the identifier of the section that this panel should be shown under. ownCloud Server comes with a predefined list of sections which group related settings together; the intention of which is to improve the user experience. This can be found here in this example:

getPanel: This method returns the OCP\Template or OCP\TemplateReponse which is used to render the panel. The method may also return null if the panel should not be shown to the user.

getPriority: An integer between 0 and 100 representing the importance of the panel (higher is more important). Most apps should return a value:

  • between 20 and 50 for general information.
  • greater than 50 for security information and notices.
  • lower than 20 for tips and debug output.

Here’s an example implementation of a controller class for creating a personal panel in the security section.


namespace OCA\YourApp

use OCP\Settings\ISettings;
use OCP\Template;

class PersonalPanel extends ISettings {

    const PRIORITY = 10;

    public function getSectionID() {
        return 'security';

    public function getPriority() {
        return self::PRIORITY;

    public function getPanel() {
        // Set the template and assign a template variable
        return (new Template('app-name', 'template-name'))->assign('var', 'value');

Create Custom Sections

At the moment, there is no provision for apps creating their own settings sections. This is to encourage sensible and intelligent grouping of the settings panels which in turn should improve the overall user experience. If you think a new section should be added to core however, please create a PR with the appropriate changes to OC\Settings\SettingsManager.

All documentation licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.