How to Convert a theme to a Project?

Is there was a way to convert a theme to a *.rw6 file? Some themes come with instructions, others don’t. If a theme were converted to a project file it would be easier to see what was going on, swap out images, change text, etc.

NO, two entirely different animals.
Think of a theme as a frame work to build you site in and a set of styles to make it cohesive and pretty.
The project file is just that, it holds all the file pointers & info to generate your sites code (publish/export).

Each theme has it’s own styles and feature list, some allow for many,many styling changes some do not. You have to look at the theme and decide if it fits your needs. If you want a theme that is basically a blank sheet that allows you to do whatever you want using stacks, html, markdown etc with little or no restrictions then you need to look at the more “advanced/manual” themes like; foundation, bootstrap or freestack (there may be others).

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Some developers offer a demo project file along with their themes so you can see how things are done. Some do not. I think this is where the confusion lies. Themes are just the look of the site, project files are every part of your site inside RapidWeaver.

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I dunno, when I look at a theme I see a web page. True, it’s full of lorem ipsum content, but so what? If what I want to do is modify that theme–for after all, that is why themes are sold–why can’t I do this? I think we’re beyond the days of (simple) html text, where you would create content between the tags and the theme would prettify that content. Now there’s simply too much going on; a page is like a mini-OS and it is difficult to see where the content should be added even though the placeholder text properly renders.

Wow !!! A Theme is what you can use to make many Projects.

A project when saved is a .rw6 file, you can have as many .rw6 files as you like, but the Theme you used to make the project stays the same.

I don’t really see what your problem is ? Creating web site “projects” doesn’t get any easier when using Rapidweaver !


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You work with the wrong tool, I think.
With RapidWeaver you can do, what you want, the best websites.
But, you should work with another tool.
With RapidWeaver you have problems.


@Oscar: I think the problem is the shift to responsive websites. Things were much easier with Rapidweaver 5. The issue I raised here is that a theme is a template for a web site. The rw6 file reflects changes to a theme. Currently, as @zeebe pointed out, “some developers include demo projects along with their themes ‘so you can see how things are done.’” This last point is obviously key–without the demo project currently you can only guess. You shouldn’t have to guess. Yes, you can use one theme for dozens of projects, but without the underlying demo/rw6 theme, you can’t easily see what is going on.

All theme developers have pretty extensive previews on their sites so you can see different example pages and a selection of the available styles, extra content areas, banners, footers and so on. There’ll always be a few surprises when you start to use a new theme in earnest but you should have a pretty good idea of what it can do before you purchase it.


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You can see the beautiful results. Agreed. But there is no path on how to get there, no checklist of additional software needed and in the cases I’ve seen, no demo project. You get a theme that sits in the theme drawer. The workflow is: Add page=>Stacks=>Add Stacks. Click on the theme and it works its magic–if you’ve guessed correctly. If you haven’t…just keep clicking on themes till one more or less is acceptable? I don’t think so…

The ‘path on how to get there’ is surely learning how to use the software? Rapidweaver’s a powerful and flexible program but like most things, you get out of it what you’re prepared to put into it.

After a while you get to know which developer is good for a strong graphical theme or one with nice typography, one that’s lightweight, one that has clever menu effects and so on. Same thing with stacks.

It’s part of the fun :sunglasses:


I did use it and was reasonably productive with RW5 and iWeb Creator. The programs just worked.
Then I jumped to front-end coding using Brackets/Sublime Text/Emacs. Divitis under Bootstrap. Not fun at all and lots of delayed deployment. Finding that RW6 now supports Bootstrap (Muse didn’t, Macaw didn’t, Dreamweaver didn’t, at least not out of the box) was joyous news.
But accomplishing anything is like pulling teeth. If you’re forced to pulling apart themes with Sublime Text in order to make changes, what’s the point of RW in the first place? As to typography, I can (with a text editor and an html file) set up web fonts, pull *.woff files, etc. but I look at my RW project and ask myself, which of these stacks work with Bootsnap? With Stacks 3? With any or all of these themes? Who knows?
I know I’m being awfully negative but the difference between RW5 and RW6 is like Windows Notepad vs. LaTeX.

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@mokane99 Sounds like you need Foundation to allow you to use a completely freeform design and not be restricted to a conventional theme layout and positioning. Check out Joe Workman’s Foundation.

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The difference between RW5 and RW6 is certainly not as big as you’re trying to imply.

I think your problem is that you don’t like to read developers’ descriptions, look through demo pages and videos, download demo products and demo projects – in a word: educate yourself. Do it before you even begin thinking of starting a project. All general info is out there, up for grabs. In case of specific problems, you can always ask for help – either here, or on developers’ sites.[quote=“mokane99, post:11, topic:5960”]
If you’re forced to pulling apart themes with Sublime Text in order to make changes, what’s the point of RW in the first place?

Why would you want to “pull apart themes with Sublime Text”? Each theme has multiple options of styling. You can save your own styles and reuse them on many projects. Or you can use same theme with exclusive styling for each of your projects. And in case your theme of choice does not allow some specific tweak that you have in mind, you can accomplish it by adding some CSS.


@Rovertek: [quote=“Rovertek, post:13, topic:5960”]
Why would you want to “pull apart themes with Sublime Text”?

One simple reason would be to change the default images. In order to change images on one of the default themes, you have to do the following:

  1. Copy the theme (there was a thread about this; someone (else) couldn’t figure out how to access the theme’s internals.
  2. Right click on the copy; this would give the option “View contents in finder”. This option was not available by right clicking the original theme.
  3. Open index.html in Sublime Text.
  4. Find the image you want to change and record its name.
  5. Find the image in the copied theme’s folder.
  6. Open up a graphics program to get the statistics for the image.
  7. Scale (or modify) replacement image to same statistics.
  8. Rename original image.
  9. Save scaled desired image to name of original image in same location as original image.
  10. Then and only then, back to RW.

So that’s one reason. I’m not endorsing Sublime Text, any well-behaved editor (Emacs, Vim, Aquamacs, Brackets) will do. An editor that “fixes” quotes, corrects spelling, etc. like Textedit is probably not the best choice.

Maybe there’s a way to do this easily in RW. If you had a project file, there’d be no reason at all to do this. You would be able to see the image sitting in a stack in RW and could swap it out easily. Which is another reason why themes should be accompanied by project files.



Most themes allow you to change default images once you create a page from the Theme inside RapidWeaver, can be a stacks page, a styled text page, a markdown page, an html page… whatever… (Usually through CSS or settings in the Theme Style Settings (site wide or page specific in page inspector)) Some have a dropdown selection in page inspector, some you have to copy the image into the sidebar area, some you have to use the FreeStyle stack.

There really is no reason to do what you want to do, it is a waste of time and secondly, if there is a Theme update, then you don’t get to use the updated code without again modifying your duplicated Theme based off the updated Theme.

If you really need to know the image name and dimensions (specs), build a sample site and export it locally, there you will see the HTML generated by RapidWeaver including CSS files, font calls, jQuery calls, images, etc in various folders.

I’ve only been using RapidWeaver since v6 and have no issues getting to where you want to be with just about any Theme just by figuring out how it works, reading instructions, watching video’s and viewing Theme Demo’s on the Developer site.

I DO AGREE that every Theme Developer should include a sample project at least based off the built in RapidWeaver page types as a starting point. Not everyone wants to spend the money on Stacks initially so a demo of a stacks page in the project file would possibly confuse beginning users.

Stacks is there so YOU can define the structure of your site within a Theme’s given parameters as a Theme is basically a Sitewide Style with images…


I’m looking at Tesla now, which is one of the default stock themes. Switch from preview to edit and there is no way to swap out an image. Open the inspector and it gives some stats concerning the banner image, but there is no way to swap the image out. And this is a stock theme! Adding a stack above the user-defined content will only push the stock banner up on the page. With no project file it’s like trying to read cuneiform.

That’s because Tesla is a ‘free’ theme included with RW6. If you go to you’ll find the pro paid-for version which will let you change the images easily enough. Pretty sure it’s baked into the theme.

The newer themes included with RW6 are paired down versions of the pro themes which can be bought from the developers’ sites. They’re good enough for basic sites but if you want more flexibility, then you’re better off investing in a pro theme.

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You can’t modify the main image with CSS?

` @media only screen {
header {
background-image: url(images/banners/banner_20.jpg);

@media only screen and (max-width: 768px) {
    header {
        background-image: url(images/banners/banner_20_medium.jpg);


@media only screen and (max-width: 480px) {
    header {
        background-image: url(images/banners/banner_20_small.jpg);



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@Turtle See my comment about “Why would you want to pull apart themes with Sublime Text”? If you’re forced to pulling apart themes with Sublime Text in order to make changes, what’s the point of RW in the first place?

@robbeattie Who would guessed? If I were the developer I would at least mention this somewhere within the stock theme itself. So I’m looking at 50+ themes. On which of these can you easily change the banner image? Who knows? I’m not picking on Tesla–I’m picking out themes that came with RW–none of which came with project files by the way–and testing each one to see if I can live with the result. There seems to be no other way of doing things in RW.

@mokane99 Yep, I can see how that confuse and frustrate a newcomer to RW. Truth is, the best themes are from third party developers and cost extra. If you use one of these you’ll find much of the flexibility that you’re complaining is missing from RW and its included themes.

Have a look at - plenty of flexible themes there - like Flood, Solstice and Boutique - or (check out Stripped). Both offer free demos of their themes so you can see if something there suits you.