I have stock Magento 2 installed and running with a custom theme that uses the 'blank' theme as its parent.

My custom theme is active on my store and it works, I can create my own styles and template files and all is good.

I am at the point where I am trying to style my theme and I want to make use of Live CSS/LESS Updates.

I am using Chrome as my development browser.

Now, when I set Magento 2 to Client Side LESS Compilation, my page loads correctly as expected, however, when I inspect an element in the devtools of the browser, instead of seeing which file has the active styles, instead I am seeing style tags.

enter image description here

This is my first time using LESS, how do I go about fixing this so that the file names appear when inspecting elements.

2 Answers 2


You should use Server side less compilation with Grunt.

STORES > Configuration > ADVANCED > Developer > Front-end development workflow > Server side less compilation

enter image description here

Remember to delete the static content and deploy again.

  • If I use Server Side LESS Compilation, the less.js file is not loaded and I therefore cannot use less.watch(); to monitor changes on the go. Is what I am seeing normal behaviour?
    – Peter A
    Dec 17, 2016 at 2:56
  • Did you use Grunt? Dec 17, 2016 at 3:02
  • Yes, I am using Grunt.
    – Peter A
    Dec 17, 2016 at 4:47
  • i see now, this is the first time I am using Grunt as well. What your saying is to put it into Server Side Compilation, then use Grunt to watch for changes in the Theme. I take it this method will allow me to make all the changes I want without having to have to have to constantly flush cache, etc? Will that allow automatic updates in the browser without a refresh?
    – Peter A
    Dec 17, 2016 at 5:39


Keep in mind that Client Side LESS Compilation doesn't work in production mode.

I personally suggest for you to use GRUNT for the compilation if you want to be Magento Way.

Take a look what is cached to avoid common mistakes.

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