Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace is a lightweight, super-optimized WordPress theme packed with features. It uses 3 column layout for maximum accessibility and small digital footprint for minimum bandwidth usage and loading times. Now updated for WordPress 3.0 support!

Download Amazing Grace


  1. Modern styled, SEO Optimized, Clean, 3 columns, Photo-friendly, Widget ready
  2. Valid XHTML/CSS document
  3. WordPress 3.0+ support (threaded comments, menu navigation system)
  4. Optimized for speed and loading time
  5. Out of box full SEO optimization including titles and page headings
  6. Out of box Social networking support
  7. Customized 404 page
  8. Adsense ready
  9. Plus much more..

Few words on the theme

The name comes from a popular tune called Amazing Grace. It is my favorite tune and it exactly describes how I feel about this theme. Find more about this beautiful song in Amazing Grace Lyrics, Chords and Movie.

When a theme is in question, I prefer ease of use and speed above everything else. That is why Amazing Grace uses optimized images, excerpts on home page (it helps generate more page views too), no javascript and "you can't miss 'em" navigation menus.

Additionally, I have fully optimized the theme for SEO so you do not have to worry about it. Just write your best stuff and the theme will take care of everything else.

Built in social bookmarking include Digg and

Regarding design, I have hired a very talented designer called Magnus Jepson who did the initial design. I have taken it from there and after few months the theme came to it's final representation.


Images used in the themes are provided as example only and have been obtained through Internet wallpaper sites without any known copyright information. They may be copyrighted by their respectful owners.

Installation & Usage

  1. Unpack this archive in your wp-content/themes/ directory.
  2. Go to Admin WordPress and select presentation.
  3. Select Amazing Grace
  4. You can also use Theme Test Drive plugin to see how the theme looks with your content before going live with it


Everyone has a different taste and there are couple of easy customization changes you can do to change Amazing Grace to suit your needs.

If you did not find what you need you can check out my WordPress Forums.

  1. Create images you want to rotate and put them in your images/folder under the names bg-portait1.jpg, bg-portait2.jpg and so on.
  2. Open your style.css and remove background reference from #portrait-bg section
  3. Enter this code in your header.php just below the stylesheet line (one beginning with link rel="stylesheet")
  4. <style type="text/css">
    #portrait-bg { background: url(<?php bloginfo('template_directory'); ?>/images/bg-portrait<?php echo (rand()%69); ?>.jpg); }
  5. Replace "69" with your maximum picture number
  • Preparing rotating images - You can read this tutorial. Alternately you can download the instructions by Sven Niemetz for a more flexible solution.
  • Show Full Entries/Excerpts on index page - If you want full entries replace the_excerpt() with the_content() and vice versa. Changes should be applied to index.php and archives.php
  • Display categories - Theme will display four categories by default. If you have more then this, you need to edit file header.php, and find wp_list_categories (at the bottom). This function controls how your categories are shown. You can include or exclude certain categories. Full description of the command is available here.
  • Display pages - Pages are displayed also in header.php. You need to find a line with wp_list_pages. This command also allows you to include and exclude pages to show and you can read full description here. Alternatively, you can remove the command and just list pages manually one by one in the same way the Home page is listed in the line above.
  • Change archives and categories excerpts to full posts - Edit archive.php and change "the_excerpt" with "the_content"
  • Add AdSense (or any other) ads - You can add your AdSense code to ad_middle.php. Easiest way to insert ads into sidebar is to create a text widget, paste the adsense code into it and palce it anywhere on your sidebar
  • Display Social bookmark buttons - If you want to display social bookmarks buttons, edit function.php, and remove 'return;' at the beginning of the file.
  • Different Social bookmark sites - It is little trickier but generally can be done by changes in functions.php. You will need some icons too.
  • Download Plugins - Find out about all the plugins I use to help you customize the theme further.

Change log

  • Aug 02nd, 2008, v2.4 - Compatibility with 2.6 (mostly CSS changes).
  • Jul 06th, 2008 v2.0: Added many visual tweaks and gravatar support.
  • Feb 19th, 2008 V1.2: Fixed search issue, changed stylesheet to reflect recent changes on the blog
  • Jan 18th, 2008 v1.1: Added hover background for entry links; fixed footer link colors; maximum of five categories displayed by default; category drop down boxes styled
  • Jan 13th, 2008 v1.0: Initial release


Amazing Grace theme is released under GPL License.

You may freely remove footer links if they bother you.



See my WordPress Consulting Services page for more information and rates.


  1. Jan 18th, 2008 9:30 PM

    Hi Robert,

    find the number of categories you want excluded from your admin panel.

    then use


    Hi Vladimir.

    Everythings working fine now. Thanks for helping me.

    I’ve made a dutch translation of your theme. If someone wants it , they can send me a mail.

    All the best.

  2. Jan 18th, 2008 8:39 PM

    Excellent work. As some sort of a colleague I congratulate you on a job well done!

  3. dw
    Jan 18th, 2008 6:30 PM

    great theme!!!
    I am a rookie at blogging and was wondering how to change the top photo on every page on this theme?



  4. Jan 18th, 2008 5:02 PM

    This is an excellent design which i may use for the blogging part of my Seo Directory, excellent job =)

  5. Jan 18th, 2008 2:11 PM

    Hi Robert,

    find the number of categories you want excluded from your admin panel.

    then use


  6. Jan 18th, 2008 12:46 PM

    Hello Vladimir.

    Thanks for this very nice theme , I love it from the first moment I saw it.

    But, you can play with argument exclude to wp_list_categories and exclude categories you do not want. Example wp_list_catageories(’exclude=2,4,14&..

    This wont work for me , nothings happens. What ever I put in 2,7,12 the same default categories display's in the header.

    What have I do wrong ?

    Can you give me the all code for changing this.

    All the best.

  7. Jan 17th, 2008 3:24 PM

    I use the excerpt to control the meta description as I don't like the way WordPress handles that. Still I write the excerpt as a part of the post and therefore it would be nice to be able to show both content and excerpt in the first post on the front page. But I do love the fact that only excepts are shown on the rest of the posts on the front page.

    I've tweaked the template for the single file to match my requirements - see example here.
    Does It make more sense now? :-)

  8. Jan 17th, 2008 12:29 PM

    Show both content and the excerpt? How and why would you want to do that? :)

  9. Jan 17th, 2008 8:29 AM

    Hi Vladimir,
    I'd really like to show both exerpt and content on the first post on the front page. I see the excerpt/content is controlled in the same php string - alas I'm not that much of a php'ist.
    Is it possible to tweak in order to show both exerpt and content?

    btw I'm getting good response on your theme on my blog.

  10. Jan 17th, 2008 3:12 AM

    I left it out by mistake. Re-download the theme archive, and remove comments around ad_side in sidebar.php to enable the ads.

  11. Jan 17th, 2008 1:40 AM

    One more question. In the theme editor, there are two options, ad_side, ad_middle

    I can get ads to show up using the ad_middle, but not the ad_side?

    Any ideas?

  12. Jan 16th, 2008 11:28 AM

    vladimir, thank you very much for the theme and the bug fixes. I think I will use this theme for quite time :D. Just wait till I review this theme on my site!

    have a good day!

  13. Adam Sicinski
    Jan 16th, 2008 6:42 AM

    I have been looking for a theme for my new Blog for the past couple of weeks. Going through over a thousand different themes really got my head spinning. Some were nice but weren't practical. Others were practical but looked too plain. And then there were others that looked great but had bugs and other niggling issues with them.

    I almost gave up hope until I came across your wordpress template by accident. In my opinion this is the most outstanding wordpress template I have come across and will be using it on my new Blog later this month when it is up and running. My new Blog will rely heavily on pictures, and your theme makes photos look amazing. Then there are the colours which are calming yet professional in appeal.

    Thank you for releasing this theme and making it available to others. You have most certainly lifted a great burden off my shoulders.

    Thanks again.

  14. Jan 16th, 2008 12:21 AM

    Pål: The issue occurs because of styles added to entry image posts (big ones :) So you might play with removing padding, margin and border commands from .entry img section of style.css to get results you want.

    Bryan: Thanks so much for feedback. I have carefully designed columns to best fit two most used resolutions people use today - 1024 and 1280 pixels wide. As for category tabs, yes I have only 4 so it kind of fits. But, you can play with argument exclude to wp_list_categories and exclude categories you do not want. Example wp_list_catageories('exclude=2,4,14&..

  15. Jan 15th, 2008 11:55 PM

    Bryan, I had the same issue - sorted it by replacing the wp_list_cats-string with the wp_list_pages-string (in the header).

    You can see the result on my blog.

  16. Jan 15th, 2008 11:47 PM

    Absolutely love this theme. I've been looking for a new theme, but most have issues. You fix one thing, then something else goes wrong...

    Here are a couple of thoughts.

    - Your columns are perfect. Themes that don't take into account that some ads/gizmos are larger than 160 pixes is annoying. Some nice themes look horrible as your ad bleeds over the template. And the most annoying thing, when you try to change the column size, it hoses the theme. (At least for the non-programmers among us).

    - I did the change to show full posts. My preference : ) You might want to mention that you also need to delete the "Continue reading" or it still shows up on your complete post.

    - as for the category tabs, this might be the one problem with your theme. I have about 15 categories so far and as a result, tabs were created well into the posts themselves. Finally, I deleted some code and made the category tabs go away.

    You might want to look into that.

    But, without the tabs there, the header looks a little plan. Anyway to modify it so that top menu tabs are brought down to where the category tabs were?

    Once again, great theme!



  17. Jan 15th, 2008 11:45 PM

    thanx for the quick response - all sorted now.

    Btw - there is a minor issue with icons/smilies getting a grey border. Looks cool on large images - but less cool with the smilies... Still love the theme, though.

  18. Jan 15th, 2008 11:38 PM

    Pål: to change position of description text open the stylesheet file (style.css) and find margin-left:250px; in #header p section. Change this to 50px and you will get results you want.

    libretto: thanks for the translation!

    When working with changes in the theme I heartly recommend using Firebug plugin for firefox, it makes it so much easier. Check this article to find more

  19. Jan 15th, 2008 11:18 PM

    Very goog word. I found the way to acces to the admin pannel very clever.
    I've made a french translation of your work here :

  20. Jan 15th, 2008 11:14 PM

    cool theme - I'm using it on my blog already :-)
    I just have an issue with my description being too long. I'd like to move it to the side, but I can't find the right way to do it in the CMS.
    I bet you have the solution for that :-)

  21. Jan 15th, 2008 9:46 AM

    Glad you like it guys !

  22. Jan 15th, 2008 4:56 AM

    Thank you for adding your beautiful new theme to wpthemez. As soon as the thumbnail gets indexed in, I will definitely add a comment and give it a vote.

  23. Jan 15th, 2008 4:06 AM

    Hi Vladimir,

    Lovely theme! Yes I like it very much :). Keep up the good work!!!


  24. Jan 14th, 2008 10:57 AM

    Thanks for the feedback. I've added instructions on how to show full posts in the customization section.

  25. Jan 14th, 2008 12:22 AM

    Hi Vlad, thanks for visiting my site. This theme looks amazing! It's a 1024x768 screen size friendly theme too, so that's a big plus for me. I did "test drive" it and my content looks nice in it. With a little bit customization, I would use this in a heartbeat.

    There is one thing though, is there a way to disable "read more" feature in the front page? I don't like to tease my readers that way. :-)

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