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. Oct 7th, 2010 7:39 AM

    Amazing theme! And it's free too! Thank you

  2. Oct 7th, 2010 5:04 AM


    For a first time blog experience, 'Amazing Grace' is simply awesome! A number of my friends are so impressed with the template.

    There is something I would like to change. LEAVE A REPLY. How can I delete these three words and add wording of my choice?

    In Sincere Gratitude,

    • Oct 7th, 2010 8:36 AM

      Thanks Ed.

      You would search for the phrase in comments.php and replace it with something else.

  3. Sep 29th, 2010 2:00 PM

    Great theme, Thanks for keeping it free.

  4. Sep 29th, 2010 12:44 AM

    Hey Vladimir - am resposting because I think mine didn't go up.

    I am tryiing hard to get images/thumbnails to show in posts on category and archives pages - but no luck - any possibility of some pointers on this?


  5. jonny
    Sep 25th, 2010 9:43 AM

    what happen to the blue amazing grace?

    is it also updated?

    how do we make it work?

  6. Bob
    Sep 22nd, 2010 10:39 PM

    Hello Vladimir, beautiful theme. Can the column in the middle be moved to the further left? Like having the "content" column straight in the middle of the other two. And is this change allowed by you? Take care.

  7. Sep 22nd, 2010 8:36 AM

    The theme is updated to v3.6!

    - Translation support
    - WordPress 3.0 support (uses navigation menus)
    - Many fixes


    • Sep 22nd, 2010 8:34 PM

      Install failed? Do I need to uninstall the current theme and then upgrade? I was thinking the new v3.6 would simply over write the current theme files.

    • Oct 6th, 2010 3:20 AM

      [Task] Amazing Grace Theme Install

      Unpacking the package.

      Installing the theme.

      Destination folder already exists. /home3/ferreeec/public_html/ferreemoney/blog/wp-content/themes/amazing-grace/

      Theme Install Failed.

      Is there a preferred or alternative STEP to avoid this WP install failure?
      I see other Amazing Grace themes using the both upgraded versions, so obviously there is a migration path / scheme that works. Any tips or insight would be appreciated.


      • Oct 6th, 2010 11:40 AM

        Hi James

        You can try deleting the theme and then install using WP. For some reason to upgrade path seems to fail.

  8. sh2153
    Sep 22nd, 2010 2:58 AM

    Really nice theme.
    Mouse over the menu with sub-menu

  9. Kevin
    Sep 21st, 2010 1:48 AM


    I would like to change the articles on my homepage to show excerpts only, please advice.


  10. mituru
    Sep 20th, 2010 8:52 PM

    Hello Vladimir,
    Thanks for the great theme.

  11. giancarlo
    Sep 20th, 2010 8:36 AM

    hello how do i change this : in Italian? i dont see anything like that on any php page.

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  12. Sep 19th, 2010 2:13 AM

    Hi, can you please advice on how I can create a variable in order to change a link color for Blue and leave side bars color as it is in Green?

    Many Thanks

  13. Pam
    Sep 9th, 2010 1:23 PM

    Thank you so much Vladimir! I appreciate it very much. Very pretty theme :-)

  14. Aug 13th, 2010 7:13 PM

    Vladimir and those wanting to ADD the WP plug-in "sharing is sexy wordpress".

    I would REALLY like to upgrade my Amazing Grace Blog with this new social bookmarking plug-in but for some reason, the theme won't present it?

    According to the plug-in author, the most common error is because the header is missing a small piece of php code. It' s there, but the plug-in still won't work?

    Maybe I should use a previous version (2.7) v.

    Any pointers on those who have successfully loaded this new plug-in would be appreciated.



  15. Savannah
    Aug 12th, 2010 8:16 PM

    I can't get the photos to change in the rotating header. Does anyone know what to do? I followed the instructions but it won't allow me to update it once I've renamed the files I want to use as bg-portrait0, etc, etc.

    • Aug 12th, 2010 9:19 PM

      @savannah --

      This may sound silly, but the first time I used the theme, I sat there waiting for the pictures to rotate and thought something was wrong. But they don't "rotate" the way ads do. They only change when you refresh your screeen or go to a different page in the site. At least they don't in MY site (who knows, maybe they're supposed to and I didn't realize it!). Try refreshing your screen and see if they change.

      Good luck with the site and I'm sorry if this didn't help.


    • Pam
      Aug 13th, 2010 12:17 AM

      That's correct, it only changes when you refresh or change the page. Sounds like you're expecting something more like a flash banner image changer.

      • Savannah
        Aug 13th, 2010 2:05 PM

        No I realize they don't rotate unless you refresh. When I change the original files to the jpgs I want to be in the header, it won't even let me update it. Do you change the jpg files while in WordPress or before you install the theme? Like should I download the zip file and change the jpgs before I install it as my wordpress theme? Or can I change the jpgs after it's been installed as my theme?

        • Aug 13th, 2010 7:34 PM

          Gosh, it's been a while since I've done it but if I recall, I resized and cropped my photos first, renamed them and then uploaded them to the WP media folder (I think I used my ftp program for this step, but I'm not sure). I just checked and my photos are actually in a folder wp-content/uploads.

          I did NOT just upload my photos and have them fit nicely into the theme though. I have to copy the original photo and layer in my photo on the background "frame." Then, I saved the composites. I honestly don't know or recall if this was the "proper" way to do it but, although I love this theme, the documentation is poor (but it's free!).


  16. Aug 4th, 2010 5:49 AM

    I love your theme ... it was the first (and so far, only) WordPress theme I'd used and I was a bit hesitant to get something so "complicated." But it turned out to be incredibly easy to use and modify. I think my blog --- -- is the best looking out there thanks to this theme!

  17. Jul 29th, 2010 1:22 AM

    great job :) cool theme :) thans

  18. Jul 27th, 2010 6:19 AM

    I really like the Amazing Grace theme. Thanks so much. Will you be updating it so it works with the WordPress 3.0 "menus" tool. I'm looking for an easy way to create drop down menus for my category and pages nav bar.

    • Jul 27th, 2010 3:16 PM

      I love this look of this theme but I could use a little help fixing 1 bit that's a broken in WordPress 3. I'm using the 2 column view. When you view a post, and are not logged in, the 2 columns show below the content of the page. I'm pretty new to WP and themes so any help would be appreciated.

      • jo
        Aug 3rd, 2010 1:50 PM

        I have the same problem. will appriciate your help

  19. Jul 11th, 2010 7:18 PM

    I'm considering upgrading to WP 3.0 and would like to have other's experiences before doing so.
    Thanks in advance!!

  20. Jun 29th, 2010 8:01 PM

    What I meant was:

    Link to <?php the_title(); ?>"

    should read

    Link to <?php the_title_attribute(); ?>"

  21. Jun 29th, 2010 7:59 PM

    I have a little bug fix for this theme. People may have noticed that, when they search for a word and it appears in the title, bits of HTML appear in the title.

    The answer is in line 25 of amazinggrace/index.php:

    Link to

    should read

    Link to

    The tag with _attribute strips out all HTML from the title, rendering it suitable for including in HTML tag attributes. The normal title tag is used in the title that's displayed on the screen, which highlights the search terms.

  22. Jun 28th, 2010 7:44 AM

    Hi PREZ,

    Why don't you have a look at the 'sexy bookmarks' plugin, I use it on my blog and like the way that you can easily choose which social site you want to use and can personalize the message, it looks great and informal. Perfect for social bookmarking.
    Just a thought!

  23. Jun 28th, 2010 5:02 AM

    Great template by the way. There were two things I've been trying to accomplish and was wondering if someone could help a a novice like myself.

    1. I want to add different social bookmarking sites under the posts with the small icons. I didn't want Delicious and was trying to change the Delicious bookmark to a Facebook one and also wanted to add a Twitter and Myspace button. I was successful in displaying the Facebook icon but I don't know where to change the Delicious link to a Facebook on.

    2. I wanted to edit out the calender dates on top so they didn't display.

    Thanks ahead of time.

  24. Pam
    Jun 27th, 2010 4:17 PM

    I just upgraded to 3.0 and did a test post and so far, we're just fine. Perhaps it's a plug in conflict Maria, we only have 2 plugins: NextGEN Gallery and WP e-Commerce Plugin. We'll be adding more in the next few days though, so yes, a 3.0 "official" version would be nice. What say you, Vladimir? This is a beautiful theme, and I'd love to see it live on :)

    • Jun 27th, 2010 5:06 PM

      it is on my todo list, but the list is very long. Lot of people expect different things ;)

  25. Jun 24th, 2010 7:35 PM

    Hi Vladimir,
    I really hope there is planned an update for wordpress 3.0
    this would be very nice!!

    There are some errors and confusion (categories)
    my right sidebar is missing (can´t save widget for the right sidebar)
    I can´t save posts

    • Tammy
      Sep 9th, 2010 6:56 AM

      I would use this, I really like the look.

      Does anyone know if there is a planned update for the new version of wordpress? I don't really want to get it all downloaded and installed, just to see that it has bugs with new versions.
      Vladimir? Will it be updated? It really is one of the nicer designed themes if seen.

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