How to upload a Shopify theme (full guide)

How to upload a Shopify theme (full guide)

Want to know how to upload a Shopify theme? It’s quick and easy once you have the right instructions in front of you. 

You want your Shopify store to be perfect and that starts with having a great theme. But how do you upload a theme to Shopify? Do you have to buy your theme, or is there another option? 

You have three options when it comes to Shopify themes. You can upload a custom-developed or downloaded theme from your device, or you can add or buy a free or paid theme from the Shopify store.

Below are the steps to upload a theme to Shopify. We’ve also included instructions on how to add a free or paid theme from the Shopify Theme Store. 

Then, we’ve outlined how to install your preferred theme from your Shopify Admin. This will allow you to get your store up and running without any hassle. 

How to upload a theme to Shopify

If you have a custom theme or have one downloaded, you can upload it to Shopify from your computer or smartphone. It’s easy to do the upload and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

Uploading from an Android or iPhone is different from doing it on your Desktop, so we’ve broken down both methods. 

how to upload a theme to shopify

Uploading a theme file from your desktop

Step 1:

  • Log into your Shopify store.
  • Go to the Online Store.
  • Select the Themes section. 

Step 2:

  • Scroll down to view More Themes.
  • Click the Upload Theme button.
  • Once you’ve clicked Upload Theme, a dialog box will appear.
  • Once again, select Upload Theme in the dialog box. 

Step 3: 

  • After you’ve selected Upload Theme, select Choose File.
  • Another dialog box will pop up for you to choose a file from your Desktop. 
  • The theme file should be in .zip format.

Step 4:

  • Select the file you want. 
  • Click the Upload button. 
  • The theme will now be on your Theme page on your Shopify admin, waiting for you to install it. 
upload theme to shopify

Uploading a theme file from iPhone or Android

Step 1: 

  • Open the Shopify app.
  • Tap the Store section. 

Step 2:

  • Go to the Sales Channels page.
  • Select the Online Store section.

Step 3: 

  • Select Manage Themes.

Step 4:

  • Go to the More Themes area.
  • Click the Upload Theme button and a window will pop up. 

Step 5:

  • In the pop-up window, select the Choose File button.
  • Choose the theme file from your device.
  • The theme file should be in .zip format.

Step 6:

  • Once you’ve chosen the file, select Upload. 
  • This will upload the theme to Shopify. You can find it on the Theme page on your Shopify admin.

Previewing and adding a theme to Shopify

There are a few ways to add a theme to your Shopify store. Above, we explained how to upload a theme from your Desktop or smartphone. But, you can also add a free theme or purchase a paid theme directly from the Shopify store. We recommend using this method if you’re not working with a custom theme or don’t have a specific theme already downloaded.

The free and paid themes are found in the themes section of the Shopify Online Store. You can view and explore any theme you like. Preview the themes, try out their features, or customize them to your liking. 

shopify theme upload

Paid themes can be previewed and customized before purchase, too. That way you can try one out first before committing to it.

Keep in mind that customizing a theme is not the same as editing the theme’s code. To edit the Shopify theme’s code, you need knowledge of CSS and HTML. This is best left to developers.

You can add multiple Shopify themes to your theme section. This allows you to create seasonal versions of your published theme and makes a scheduled theme change easier.

A scheduled theme change is when a theme is set to be published at a specific date and time. You can download the Shopify Theme Scheduler to schedule your seasonal theme versions. 

You can also make copies of your published theme to test any changes you want to make. 

Remember that while you can preview any of your themes, you can only publish one at a time. After switching to a new theme, the previous one will still be available in your theme library. 

If you’re not sure about publishing a new theme, there’s an easy way to get feedback. While previewing your theme, there’ll be a Share Preview button. Clicking this button will give you a link to the preview. 

You can then share a preview with anyone you’d like feedback from. It’s a great idea to get an unbiased opinion before publishing a new theme. 

Shopify help

Adding a free theme from the Shopify Store

On Desktop:

  • From the Shopify admin, go to Online Store, then go to Themes.
  • Scroll down to the Free Themes and click on Explore Free Themes. A window will pop up with all the available free themes. 
  • You can click on any theme to view its features and preview the theme and different styles.
  • Once you’ve chosen a theme, click the Add button. 
  • The chosen theme will add to the Themes section in your admin. 

On iPhone or Android:

  • Open the Shopify app.
  • Click Store. 
  • In the Sales Channels section, select Online Store.
  • Select Manage Themes.
  • Go to the Free Themes section and then select Explore Free Themes. 
  • Preview and choose the theme you want. 
  • Click the Add button. 
  • Your new theme will be in the Themes section.

Previewing a paid theme (paid theme trial)

shopify upload theme

As we said above, you can do a trial run for paid themes on Shopify. 

During the preview, you can customize the theme with the theme editor. This allows you to change the colors and style to level up your brand. 

If you want to compare themes, you’re allowed to preview 19 paid themes simultaneously. 

Steps to previewing a paid theme:

  • Go to Shopify Theme Store
  • Browse the paid themes and choose the one you like. 
  • Click Try Theme. This will add the theme to your online store. 
  • Go to your Shopify admin, select Online Store, and then Themes.
  • In the Theme Library, find the theme you want to try. 
  • Click the Actions button next to the theme name. 
  • Select Preview. 

After trying out and customizing the paid theme, you can choose to purchase it. All the customizations you did in the preview will show up in the purchased theme as well.

Remember that paid themes can only be published after you’ve purchased them. Doing so will also allow you to download the Shopify theme file to your email address.

How to install a Shopify theme

Once you’ve uploaded, added, or purchased your theme, you’ll need to install it. Changing themes on Shopify is not difficult if you already have them in your theme library. 

Be careful when changing themes. If you delete the current theme on Shopify, it will permanently remove it. When switching themes, simply choose the new one you want to publish. 

Follow these easy steps to install your chosen Shopify theme. 

how to upload theme to shopify

Step 1:

  • In your Shopify Admin, go to the Online Store section and select Themes.
  • Scroll to the More themes section to find your uploaded or purchased themes.
  • There will be two buttons next to the theme name: Actions and Customize. 

Step 2:

  • Select Actions.
  • A drop list will appear. 

Step 3: 

  • To install the theme, click Publish on the drop list. 

Remember to check your theme for any errors before publishing it. Yes, you can always go back and make necessary changes, but that will be extra work. It’s best to do it right the first time. 

Final Word

The best part about adding new themes to your Shopify account is that you can preview them. Once the theme is your Theme Library, you can edit and customize it at will. You can do a trial run of a paid theme, as well. This allows you to perfect your theme before publishing it.

And remember, when you upload a theme to Shopify, it needs to be in .zip format. 

If you need help setting up your Shopify store submit a task to us. We have tons of experience in customizing Shopify themes for our clients.

We can set up or upgrade your Shopify theme, or do any theme configurations you might want. We’re here to help with any Shopify theme development or customization.

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