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 20th, 2008 11:57 AM

    Thanks for that one, justification of title was not intended. I fixed it now in the theme.

    Bryan, the size of title font is set in entrytitle css tags.

  2. Feb 20th, 2008 7:17 AM


    I had the same issue and realized that Vladimir has coded the text to block justify which I do not like. So I went into the stylesheet and changed it to left justify. That solved the problem with the titles spreading across the top of the post in a weird, oddly spaced manner.

    You can see what I mean at On the Horizon.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Bryan
    Feb 20th, 2008 3:50 AM


    Which line do you edit to decrease the font size of the title for each post?

    If your title is wordy, like most of mine are, the words are spaced oddly.



  4. Feb 19th, 2008 3:36 PM

    Love the theme! Thank you :)

  5. Feb 18th, 2008 8:48 PM

    Thanks :) Yep the files are meant just to be populated, and they are already called where needed.

  6. Feb 18th, 2008 8:18 PM

    Excellent theme! One of the best free themes out there in my opinion.

    I was looking through the files and noticed two ad_middle, and ad_side that are blank? I'm assuming we're just supposed to paste our ad code in there and call them from another page?

  7. Feb 13th, 2008 6:26 AM

    Hello vladimir.

    I just downloaded your recent update, thank you very much. But something bothers me, for some unapparent reason, the portrait image just doesn't appear on my site. I wonder if I have done something wrong? I have checked the stylesheet and the header.php and even copying the default, but it's still strangely not shown.

    Also, I just recently bothered by minor problem because conflict of your themes with All in one SEO pack. If user add "Additional Post Meta Tags", the appearance of the theme will be somehow altered. I don't recommend anyone to use that feature since it will ruin the theme.

  8. Feb 12th, 2008 8:50 AM

    Hello Vladimir.

    Is there a possibility to change the color or the place from te categories , because I used also child-categories and the different between the two is not well seen.

    See a example on my site , the head-categorie is "Linux" and the sub-categories are "Pardus-Linux" and "Ubuntu"

    Many thanks for you answer.

    All the best.

  9. Feb 12th, 2008 12:56 AM


    I installed the script to add rotating images in the header and it worked like a charm. Thanks so much for the update.

    Warm regards

  10. Feb 11th, 2008 7:21 PM

    wow this is a really cooooool theme for wp :)

    thanks for making public.

  11. Feb 10th, 2008 11:11 PM

    Hopeful Spirit:

    Something like this should work:

    < ?php the_content(’Read the rest of this entry »’); ?>


    Curious issue, specially since I am using firefox on windows and everything works just fine. It may be the problem with sidebar column sizes you might want to try to reduce it. Unfortunately I can not try it (not having a Mac, yet ;)

  12. Feb 8th, 2008 7:43 PM

    Well done great looking Theme. Im in love at frist glance.
    I really would like to use it on my Page but it seems like something strange is goin on.

    When go to my Homepage using Safari everything is fine.
    But, if im using Firefox the Sidebars are displayed on top of each other rather than beside each other.
    Is there anything i can do against that behaveior.

    Same happens on your side viewed with Firefox (Vers2.0.0.12 on Mac)

    What can i do ??

  13. Frederik
    Feb 8th, 2008 5:23 PM

    its ok!

    i did the download for the theme here
    end in this version, it was not possible to change the footer...
    i rplaced the footer.php with your download

    regards frederik

  14. Feb 8th, 2008 4:19 PM

    I edited this code in the index dot php file:

    "<?php if ($postCount==1) the_content('Read the rest of this entry »'); else { the_excerpt(); _e('Continue Reading...'); } ?>

    So that it looked like this:

    "< ?php if ($postCount==1) the_content('Read the rest of this entry »'); else { the_content(); } ?>

    And got an error that prevented my page from loading.

    Please advise what I did wrong. I need the PRECISE code required in order to have full posts on my front page -- I want to control the excerpt size, length and option.


  15. Feb 8th, 2008 10:32 AM

    really a great theme

  16. Feb 7th, 2008 8:42 PM


    those are all general programming related questions for which I am afraid I do not have time for and are not connected with the theme. I hope you will find someone to help you with that (anyone want to help Frederik?)

  17. Feb 7th, 2008 8:35 PM
  18. Feb 7th, 2008 8:13 PM

    Frederik, leave the url to your site so that I can see what are you trying to do.

  19. Frederik
    Feb 7th, 2008 5:06 PM

    hello everybody, hello vladimir

    im just working with sites (no categorys). how can i put the content of all site into rss? just the big rss sign is left on my page.

    and how can i change the footer. i prefere e.g. "home contact ..."

    thank you.

  20. Feb 7th, 2008 3:30 PM

    Merci beaucoup Vladimir !
    Thank's very much for your tutorial!
    Best regards

  21. Frederik
    Feb 7th, 2008 1:47 PM

    me again! ;-)

    random bg works!
    is it know possible to show e.g. bg-portrait2.jpg on a special site id?


  22. Frederik
    Feb 7th, 2008 11:03 AM

    hi, its not easy to write on my new small apple keyboard ... ;-)

    im not working with categorys so i like to put 3-4 site titels in "your" tabs.
    how does it work?

    thanks and best regards

  23. Feb 6th, 2008 11:37 PM

    I decided to add a tutorial on a quick and easy way to have rotating images in header - the way I did it. You can read it in the main post now ;)

  24. Frederik
    Feb 6th, 2008 10:07 PM

    hello vladimir,

    very nice work! sorry for my english...

    two questions:

    the pic in the right corner changes with each topc is that right, who does ist work?
    did niot find an answer in "theme playground"

    i need adsense in the 2nd column (white bg)

    thank you very much for an detaild answer, because i m an newcomer!

    greetings from hamburg, germany

  25. Feb 4th, 2008 1:38 AM

    Okay, that makes sense then. Thanks!

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