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. Dec 4th, 2011 7:52 AM

    I am still using Amazing Grace ... Today I happened to pull up my web site in MSIE 9. Much to my dismay, the left and right side bars have fallen to the bottom throughout my entire web site. In Google and Firefox the web site layout remains perfect.

    My WordPress version is: 3.2.1

    I have tried sifting through everything to see if there was an error somewhere. The only additions I had done is adding new posts and widgets. I have gone through and removed my widgets one by one to see if that would fix it. It did not.

    I tried expanding the WRAP in my CSS file but that did resolve my issue.

    The footer is also different. (the brown across the bottom does not go all the way across, it is centered with margins on either side now)

    I don't know what I have overlooked and have tried to figure this out on my own for hours. Any suggestions or help will be forever appreciated.

    Thank you!

    Maria Heath

  2. Oct 19th, 2011 5:36 AM

    Great theme! Quite easily adjustable. Thanks ^^

  3. Sep 29th, 2011 6:01 AM

    why i have some error when i trying to install auto featured image plugin
    and try to add new post ?
    did anyone get same problem with me ?


  4. Bruno
    Aug 24th, 2011 2:48 AM

    Amazing Grace works with WP 3.2?


  5. Jun 1st, 2011 8:37 AM

    Nice theme :) , i will try this on my Blog

  6. Apr 24th, 2011 1:45 AM

    Hi Vladamir. I used to use Amazing Grace and recently relaunched my blog with the latest version of this theme. I am very happy with it.

    But, I have come across and issue. I have been using chrome and used it when I was upgrading, etc. I opened my site in Firefox and IE today and the sidebars are misplaced. Any idea how this happens? Any assistance would be much appreciated. Thank you for this theme. I love it!


  7. Alana
    Mar 29th, 2011 6:39 AM

    How do I edit the rss feed to link to my feedburner account?

  8. Mar 8th, 2011 2:26 AM

    I just upgraded to the newest release of WP and it messed up the control panel features of Amazing Grace! I am entirely upset over this. And I do not know what to do now. :(

    And coming here has proved to be NO HELP because NOBODY responds.

    • Mar 8th, 2011 2:31 AM

      Hi Maria, did there used to be a control panel? I just installed AG for the first time and didn't see any so I just assumed this theme could be customized only by going directly to the source code. A control panel would be nice indeed.

    • Mar 8th, 2011 9:17 AM

      Hello Maria, AG does not have a control panel. Can you be more specific?

      • Mar 18th, 2011 4:14 AM

        Hello Vladimir and Lubos...

        I apologize for the freakish message, but I was in such a panicked state. When I upgraded to the newest release of WP the Dash Board changed. Not understanding this, and seeing my links getting readjusted, I fell apart because I spent so much time learning to customize this theme. (I LOVE YOUR THEME!)

        I called my hosting company to see if they could revert me back to the prior day so I could have control over what I had grown accustomed to. They were going to charge me more than my annual hosting fees!

        When we make "Pages" or "Posts" there used to be "Send Trackbacks" and "Custom Fields" - those vanished! I spent the entire night REDOING Linking Michiana. I had reinstalled the prior version of WP and redid my MYSQL.

        I am not certain because I am afraid to try it, but I have my data base backed up now. (that was a learning experience) BUT I **THINK** that the new word press release condensed options inside the Dash Board.

        Since I am here, could I please ask:
        For the "Description" on each page ... how is that supposed to work? I over-wrote it in the header to all be the same - which I know is not a fantastic idea, but I want to be able to write my own description. Is this something I can do with the "custom field" like I did for "seotitle"?

        I made sure to check the box to be notified of comments, I forgot to do that when I was last here.

        Again, I am very sorry for freaking out here .. If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have done the same thing! Thank you so much for responding to me!

        • Mar 18th, 2011 4:19 AM

          I wish to clarify, that when I mentioned the new release condensed the POSTS and PAGES in the dashboard, I **think** that I could have expanded the options (screen options top right of the screen) - but did not realize that this could have been a possibility until after I went through the trouble of redoing my web site.

          My version of word press is not broken, and I fear upgrading it!

  9. Mar 8th, 2011 1:13 AM

    Hi Vladimir,

    Lubos from here. I just started playing with your AG theme for my next project, a little consulting site I am starting on a side, Your theme is great and I like how it's coded up, very simple! Question for you, I want to add a Twitter "button" next to the RSS one (rssbig.jpg) in the header. You wouldn't happen to have this graphics lying around, and if not, refer me to a site where I can grab a Twitter icon that will match your nice 3D RSS logo?


    • Mar 8th, 2011 9:18 AM

      You can do a Google Images search for 'twitter icon' :)

      • Mar 9th, 2011 4:16 AM

        Yeah, except that it's not easy to find one that looks like your rss logo. Anyway, did a quick edit in Gimp, doesn't look all that great, but will do for now. Thanks anyway!

  10. Feb 20th, 2011 4:14 AM

    I have it sorted out. Sorry for reacting prematurely.

    What I experienced was, when I clicked on a category, I got the short title. When I clicked on the link to read more... my seotitle was there.

  11. Feb 20th, 2011 3:50 AM

    I have a question about the Custom Field that can be added to Pages and Posts.

    I had found some guidance here to get this function to work for seotitle. This works great for the Pages but not the Posts. With the Posts I add the 'seotitle' with its description. When I preview it shows that the title worked. However, when it is NOT in preview mode the 'seotitle' is gone. (My guess is it is falling back to wp_title)

    I hope you can help. Thank you.

  12. Feb 4th, 2011 5:52 AM

    I want to say thank you for your Amazing Grace theme. I had a glitch with the title on the main page, I managed to find the fix in one of your pages and applied it to the header. After getting a bit acquainted with WP, I have changed almost all the images so I could use my own colors. This theme was easy to customize.

    I am still learning my way around, so I will hold off with my questions for now. Again, thank you for a great theme. :)

    • Josh
      Apr 20th, 2011 11:50 PM

      Hi Maria,

      could you give me hint how you fixed the bug in the homepage title? I have the same issue and see it's working on the pages site, but it doesn't work on the homepage... ?


      • Apr 21st, 2011 4:12 AM

        This is where I found the fix for my theme. I am using Amazing Grace.

        When you create a post or a page there should be some options below your text box where you can add custom fields. I write in seotitle and then write into the next field what I want for a title. (and then update)

        When you preview your page, it may not show the title - but when it is published all should be well.

        (this was off the top of my head, if I what I said did not help, let me know and I will go into my site and give you better instructions)

        • Josh
          Apr 21st, 2011 10:06 AM

          Hi Maria,

          many thanks for your swift reply, but unfortuntaly I think I didn't get it completely. My homepage is a static page, so I don't have any fields below. In the end I only want to show the default title set in the WP backend itself.... weird...

          Thanks for your support!!

          • Apr 21st, 2011 6:07 PM

            Josh, I am on my way out shortly. I will be glad to help you later today. I will try to set aside some time to explain things better.

            As for your static page, are you referring to how you set your "welcome" or "home" page to be your main URL? That would not matter. When I can go through the steps myself, I will write you a clear list of how to do that.

            I understand how important it is to have things be just right.

  13. Jan 28th, 2011 8:06 PM

    Can someone tell me how to add a child category. I see that 3.6 is supposed to allow this option, but when I add a child category it doesn't show up below the parent category. Thanks.

    • Jan 28th, 2011 8:41 PM

      Michael - I posed the same question awhile time ago. If/when you get a fix to this, please share. - Neil

    • Jan 28th, 2011 8:53 PM

      Hi guys, I think it needs to be custom coded at this, we'll try to make this a standard feature in the next update!

  14. Jan 17th, 2011 3:11 AM

    Hello Vladimir,

    Thanks for your beautiful WP theme. I just installed the Xilitheme plug-in for iPhone/Touch formatting. Any possibility of you creating a variant of AG theme for the iPhone?


  15. Jan 1st, 2011 7:47 AM

    Hey Vladimir,

    thanks for your amazing grace plugin! I just found a "nasty" typo on your instructions that really brought some confusions to me. you write:
    "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."

    but it should be bg-portRait1.jpg, bg-portRait2.jpg and so on.

    It took me quite a while to figure it out because i just copyed by console and didn't look in the folder.

  16. Dec 25th, 2010 10:55 PM

    new problem:

    AG doesn't seem to generate a page title on the main blog page
    I'm going to go hunt around in settings, maybe I missed something

    on child pages, it works perfectly--- each is titled according to it's category or tag or ... whatever

  17. Dec 21st, 2010 9:59 PM

    is there an 'easy' way to add a footer sidebar w/ widgets?

    I tried to find the array value in the functions.php file... but that did not seem like an easy approach.

    I notice that the footer.php file has a 'get sidebar' fxn, so I wonder if it would be very difficult?
    I like the footer for ads and Meta functions (login/register etc).

    Thanks again for a very nice theme.

    oh- last question: is there any benefit to using the SEO for images plugin w/ Amazing Grace? I see that the theme is SEO from the start, but wonder if that applies to images.

  18. Dec 21st, 2010 9:56 PM

    forget it, I found my problem. "Redirect" plugin was redirecting.
    I solved the problem by turning off all plugins, then turning them back on two at a time.
    I know, one at a time would be 'safer' but two was faster. Once I re-created the issue, I just tried again with 1 at a time for the last two.

    problem solved.

  19. Dec 21st, 2010 8:27 PM

    Great Theme!
    I seem to have created a problem for myself. I added some pages to
    and now whenever a visitor arrives, they do not go directly to Home, but rather to another page.

    In the pages list, there is no "home" listed.

    It isn't in the trash, either.
    Can I rebuild a "home" page? I'd like visitors to land on the blog, not on static content.


  20. Nov 17th, 2010 1:58 AM

    Where does one add this code?

    Add this tag to your blog's home page by pasting the code below into the HTML:

  21. jonny
    Nov 12th, 2010 8:58 AM

    hello how do i add adsense to archives and category pages?

    they tell me to find the archives.php, but that doesnt exist on this theme?

    also how do i add adsense to the middle of a post? using this theme?

  22. Nov 2nd, 2010 5:00 PM

    Hello Vladimir,

    Thanks for these themes -- I love them! I was using Amazing Grace on my blog, but like Blue Grace better.

    I'm curious how to fix a couple things, though. Can you help?

    1) When I click my blog title, it takes me to my main website (, not the front page of the blog itself (

    2) When I do a search in the search box, it takes me to my blog partner's website, which is an external link.

    3) The footer is in the third column, instead of being at the bottom.

    Can you help me fix these issues?

    Thank you very much,

  23. jonny
    Nov 1st, 2010 11:57 PM

    what does ad_middle.php actually do?

    cause i just put a adsense code there, and nothing happens?

    i want to put the code above the first post? how to do that?

    • Jan 5th, 2011 4:43 AM


      I am not sure what the ad_middle.php does either, but, if you want your add just below the header in the center of your page, you need to create a horizontal banner add in adsense then paste the code into the main index template, just before the . I hope this help.


  24. Nov 1st, 2010 11:13 AM


    I've The Answer to have Excerpts on the home page of Amazing Grace :

    In index.php, you only have to add "is_home() || " here :

    <?php if (is_home() || is_archive() || is_search()) : ?>
    <?php printf('', get_permalink()); _e('Continuer a lire : ', 'amazinggrace'); the_title(); ?>

    <?php the_tags(''.__('Tags: ', 'amazinggrace'), ', ', ''); ?>



  25. Glenis
    Oct 10th, 2010 12:04 PM

    Really nice theme thanks very much - small donation on the way. I want to change the excerpts to full entries but there is no archives.php?

    "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"

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