I am very dummy to Magento. In My app\design\frontend folder I have the following folders:

  1. base
  2. default
  3. rwd
  4. MyCustomTemplate

My initial thought was that, since I have configured magento to user the MyCustomerTemplate, all the other folders will be ignored ALWAYS.

However, it seems like sometimes magento look into the base folder and displays results according to the base folder files.

For example, I was trying to edit the popup.phtml for Order tracking, and the file wasn't exist in MyCustomTemplate folder, but I was able to find it in the base folder. and after editing the file I could see the changes are taking place in the magento front end.

My question are:

How can I know when magento uses the file in CustomTemplate and when uses the base folder?

Can other folders like "default" or "rwd" be possibly used?

3 Answers 3


You should learn Magento theme fallback process.

In short, Check current active theme. If file not exist then check parent theme if not exist then check base theme.

There are some cool post:

theme fallback 1

theme fallback2


Magento will look in your custom theme folder for templates first and if it doesn't find the relevant file it will default to Base.

You can enable template path hints on Magento admin that will show the templates used on the front end.

admin > system > configuration > advanced > developer

Select your store view in the upper left corner Then set the following options

enter image description here

Then set the following options

enter image description here

Once you've done the above, refresh the front end and you should have something like below:

enter image description here

You can now easily find what template to make edits to.

For extra reference, here is a link to someone far more experienced in Magento than I and he explains about Parent/Child Themes.


Magento uses fall back system.

if a file is not found on template folder then it will fallback to default/base so in your case when the file was missing in your custom template Magento used the default file.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.