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. Feb 4th, 2008 1:20 AM

    Thanks, my ego sends greetings ;)

    The graphics changes are very easy. All the themes graphics are in images folder and you should only replace them with any graphics of equal dimensions. I have provided psd files so that you can edit the graphics more easily. Tutorial on how to edit graphics is photoshop is little out of my scope but changing colors should be fairly easy to accomplish. Remember I am not a designer I am more of a usability freak so for design help you should really ask elsewhere.

  2. Feb 3rd, 2008 10:32 PM


    Beautiful modifications!


    Just wanted to inflate your ego at bit : ) I've tried over 25 themes and only two, yours and "elegant blue" made the final cut. And of the two, Amazing Grace won out, mostly because it is "prettier" and the fact that your theme allows for a banner. You can use one in Elegant Blue, but it just doesn't look right....

    One thing a lot of the designers could learn from you is your perfect columns. With a lot of themes, if an ad, for instance is too large, it overlaps into the next column. With your setup, one can put the the oversized "stuff" into the outermost column where it causes no harm and looks natural.

    For the non-designers among us, would you care, if you have the time, to write a small tutorial on how to use the photoshop file to change the color scheme? What do you do with it, where does it go? Do you have to change code : ) Or should I just give up all hope of modifying the color scheme : )

    Anyway, thanks again for the great theme and keep up the great work.


  3. Feb 1st, 2008 4:29 PM

    Hi Vladimir! I just have one question for you...

    The image in the top right corner seems to randomly change when updating your page - how does it work, and how can I implement it on my blog(which uses your great theme)?


  4. Feb 1st, 2008 3:00 AM

    Diogenes that is a beautiful work in my opinion :) Specially like the Blog title font.

  5. Feb 1st, 2008 1:04 AM

    Hi, I´ve made the modifications I talked about. If you wish you can visit and see AmazingGrace in a blue dress. ;-) I´d like your opinion about the BG and Links colors, if you have any suggestions please let me know. ThankYou!

  6. Jan 31st, 2008 1:51 PM

    Thank's for your nice theme
    I use the french version made by "Libretto"
    I don't know how to use amazing grace psd file ?
    Can your help me please ?
    Best regards

  7. Jan 26th, 2008 3:29 AM

    Lovely theme! Great job!
    I may try to implement it on my blog
    ( )

  8. Jan 25th, 2008 1:49 AM

    Sure, I have added the psd as an available download in Customization section. Good luck!

  9. Jan 25th, 2008 1:22 AM

    Hi, I liked very much your theme, but I´d want to change its colors, is there any way to do it without have to edit the already compressed .jpg files ?? Maybe a .psd file for donwload or something ?
    Congrats for the beautiful theme.

  10. Jan 24th, 2008 11:51 PM

    It's not that hard to do, you can look at the ThemePlayground (link at the end of theme review) they have done it with the theme the proper way (using a flickr feed) and were willing to write about it.

    I also did it on my blog but in a slightly more rudimentary way. What I did was to create about sixthy backgrounds and then at the top of my header.php I was changing the style to load one by random.

  11. K
    Jan 24th, 2008 10:44 PM

    Thanks for this theme, simple and neat but how would I be able to use my own images (rotating?) on my header up on the right side?


  12. Jan 24th, 2008 5:58 PM

    Hi Vladimir,

    Thanks for the link. The Amazing Grace got a two thumbs up and if I had ten thumbs, I'd make it ten! Hehe

    All the best! :)

  13. Jan 23rd, 2008 3:38 PM

    You can use service to add email subscription very easily to your blog. See how it is done in my blog, under the first post there is option for both rss and email subscription. Email subscription is a link you get from feedburner and that's all you have to worry about :)

  14. Sheila
    Jan 23rd, 2008 3:27 PM

    Beautifully done, Vlad! A very relaxing theme.

    Question: Most of my readers do NOT understand or use RSS, so I'd like to add an email sign-up box.

    What should I do?


  15. Jan 22nd, 2008 9:35 PM

    It is similar to it as Magnus did design for me, but not quite like it ;)

  16. Steve
    Jan 22nd, 2008 9:03 PM
  17. Jan 22nd, 2008 4:01 PM

    Hi, very nice theme.. This is what I am searching for ...:)

  18. Jan 21st, 2008 8:34 PM

    that's excellent theme....
    I am using it :D

  19. Jan 21st, 2008 7:21 PM

    Hello, for first thanks you for this fantastic theme.

    i have a question, is possible to have bookmark buttons for all post with the first?

    Thanks for all and excuse me for my english.

    bye Lino

  20. Jan 21st, 2008 3:59 PM

    Rosina, I am not sure what you are trying to do so why do not you drop me a detailed comment via the contact form and I'll see what I can do.

  21. Jan 21st, 2008 2:52 PM

    This is an excellent theme, and much thx to Vladimir for the professionalism, and of course, the sharing. Also appreciate your recent promptness in giving me the help I needed for a mod. ;-)

  22. Jan 21st, 2008 1:56 AM

    Vladimir -- This is a very nice theme with a great layout. The columns are just right.

    If you have a look at my weblog you'll see that I simplified the style somewhat, stripping out almost all colors and images from the header. That just works better, given the very busy nature of my weblog.

    I do have a question/request. Would it be possible to put the postmeta stuff in a div of its own? That way it would be easier to add/remove things. For example, I'd like to have a "subscribe to comments" link and also tags instead of categories, but I'm not comfortable enough with the loop to go in there and change those things with very specific directions. Do you do custom changes, for a fee? I'd like to know it was being done correctly.

    Thanks again

  23. Jan 20th, 2008 9:50 PM

    Thanks, cheers. Indeed I forgot we are in 2008 now :)

  24. Jan 20th, 2008 8:25 PM

    Hey, nice theme indeed, I am considering recommending it to someone I know.

    I just wanted to mention that your "update" dates for the versions listed here say 2007... I was under the impression that this was a new release, so I suspect you've forgotten that it's a new year! (I'm still getting used to it myself, I'll admit!)


  25. Jan 19th, 2008 9:16 PM

    I am now using this theme with rotating header images! LOVE IT!

    Great work, Vladimir. And thanks for making it available to everyone free of charge.

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