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. tobsn
    Jun 22nd, 2010 12:01 PM

    an update for wordpress 3.0 would be nice - categories error :-(

  2. Jun 21st, 2010 3:39 PM

    Now that version 3.0 is available, it would be great to hear that Amazing Grace theme is 100% compatible with the latest version. I've got 13 plug-ins installed on my Blog. My current content is focused on Local Search Marketing so I am hoping the new WP version will handle this content as well. When do you think this will happen?

  3. Jun 21st, 2010 4:35 AM

    I love this theme Vladimir - thank you so much.

    Just one thing I can't figure out how to adapt - and that is to add the hierarchy on the category. It mentions hierarchy in the code but does not work. -- any ideas?

    Thanks so much.

    • Jun 21st, 2010 3:40 PM


      I haven't been able to figure this one out either. If and when you do, could you pop me a quick note.



  4. Laurent
    Jun 19th, 2010 3:14 PM


    Please, do you plan to publish a compatible version with WordPress 3.0 ?

    Have a nice week-end

  5. Jun 15th, 2010 10:18 AM

    Hello Vladimir,

    I found the reading tab and figured it out. Thank you so much. I have another inquiry though -- this if you don't mind.

    I am trying to get the "archives and categories excerpts to full posts" -- which to me means that when I click and arrive on any of the category page the listings will also include the thumbnails/photos plus the full posts.

    Here is my problem. When I go to the themes editor, I cannot find the file "archive.php" in order to change "the_excerpt" with "the_content". Any idea where the file might be? or is it integrated in any of the existing files?

    Once again, thanks in advance.

  6. Jun 12th, 2010 7:35 AM

    Thank you so much for the amazing grace theme. I absolutely love it!

    I have a question though, would it be possible to restrict the maximum number of entries on the homepage? I am leaning towards having a maximum of five to seven posts then the rest will be automatically archived.

    One again, thank you.

  7. Jun 11th, 2010 10:17 PM

    Hi Vlad,

    I have traduce in french the specifications of amazing grace. It could be useful for french speakers.

    Thanks for this beautiful theme.


    • Jun 13th, 2010 7:32 PM

      Good job! With upcoming new release of the theme you will be able to use language files directly.

  8. Jun 2nd, 2010 3:32 PM

    Good neat template. I will be using this in my website, I will just change the graphic colors. I hope that I can finish my site with this template.

  9. May 5th, 2010 5:06 AM

    I've found the error.

    In the file index.php search at the line #20:

    And replace by:

    Now looks fine on IE.

  10. Apr 25th, 2010 3:37 AM

    Hi Vladimir, your theme is very beautifull and I am using on .

    I am having one issue that do not know how to solve, pages and posts are being displayed very good with firefox 3.x but not displayed with Internet Explorer. How can I find the reason that produces this issue?


  11. Apr 14th, 2010 8:49 PM

    Trying to get amazing grace to play nice with buddypress - see url above - it works, but top images are bumped off - any suggestions?

  12. Ezio
    Apr 13th, 2010 7:45 PM

    Hallo from Italy Vlad, i think there's a little correction to do in this page at "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." where 'portait' really is 'portrait', just to avoid mistakes...Thanks at all for your works with WP, i'm a great fan of your products!

  13. Apr 12th, 2010 9:40 AM

    Hi - great theme, very easy to get going, easy on the eye. I have one question tho, on my category pages, the images in the posts are not showing - are they disabled by default, or am I doing something wrong.

    Also, I don't seem to be getting three columns - perhaps its because I've just started? Just getting the two.



    url: (blog using grace)

  14. Mar 29th, 2010 11:22 PM

    Today I placed a question that the titles in Grace did not working in IE, Safari and Chrome.
    I like to say that I found the problem. It was a plug-in or better to say I was using to much Plug-ins.
    I removed several plug-ins, the ones I did not use and the reward was that the problem was solved.

    Thanks for the attention of my small problem


  15. Tom
    Mar 26th, 2010 11:50 PM

    Hi, can anyone explain how to change the header images into a slideshow. Assuming someone has implemented it already. If not ...... is there any chance of adding it as an upgrade ?

  16. Mar 22nd, 2010 11:34 AM

    It's soft and simple for me. Thank you for shared.

  17. Mar 22nd, 2010 8:47 AM

    nice theme..thanks for sharing keep up the good work..

  18. Mar 21st, 2010 6:09 PM

    Love the theme, and the best thing is that is free, fresh, clean and modern... :) thanks guys...

  19. Mar 20th, 2010 1:06 PM

    Hi Vladimir,
    I am using this theme for my new blog.
    I will edit the tabs soon. Great-looking theme. Thanks!

  20. Jan 6th, 2010 6:51 PM

    your theme is awesome. but it creates some problems in mozilla firefox 3.6. plz take a look. thank you.

  21. Jan 6th, 2010 3:04 PM

    Dude that's so awesome! And the CSS is really well laid for customization! I love the theme, thanks man!

  22. Dec 29th, 2009 6:38 PM

    I use this theme for my travel tips website .
    It's Great.Thanks.

  23. Dec 12th, 2009 5:48 PM


    I am running the Amazing Grace theme on a WP 2.8.6 installation. I would like to replace the searchbox for a adsense for search in the same position on the page. Is there a way to do this without too much coding or preferrably none at all.

  24. Dec 11th, 2009 2:22 PM

    hi, could you tell me where I can find the header hight in order to resize it?
    I want to embed a flash swf but it should have a bigger header
    I have it on tests and under construction to

  25. Dec 6th, 2009 6:48 AM


    I love your theme and it has been perfect to get my blog set up! I just have one question - I cannot find the archives.php. I wanted to change the front page to excerpts, and I did on the index.php - i just can't find the archives.php, could it be under a different name?

    Your theme is so easy to use and has such great tutorials and guides! I don't know much about computers and I was able to do almost everything. Again, thank you for your great work.

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