I'm running CE 1.9.0 & I've created a sub theme of the rwd template.

So I have folders like so: app/design/frontend/rwd/mytheme/layout/local.xml app/design/frontend/rwd/mytheme/templates/ - currently empty


In local.xml I have the following directive:


    <reference name="head">

         <action method="addItem">


However, the custom.css is being output at the top - even before the various js files, so that the rwd theme css is overriding my changes.

Within the Admin UI I have the following Design settingsDesign Settings

Anyone know why my custom.css is being output first, rather than last as I'd expect?

Thanks, Eddie

2 Answers 2


Cause of problem

The Mage_Page_Block_Html_Head::getCssJsHtml method is responsible for outputting the CSS/JS files that are added by the addItem method. The method groups items by their "if" condition, which results in any items with "if" values being grouped after those without "if":

switch ($item['type']) {
    case 'js':        // js/*.js
    case 'skin_js':   // skin/*/*.js
    case 'js_css':    // js/*.css
    case 'skin_css':  // skin/*/*.css
        $lines[$if][$item['type']][$params][$item['name']] = $item['name'];
        $this->_separateOtherHtmlHeadElements($lines, $if, $item['type'], $params, $item['name'], $item);

The app/design/frontend/rwd/default/layout/page.xml file adds the CSS files using conditional IE-style comments:

<!-- Add stylesheets with no media queries for use in IE 8 and below -->
<action method="addItem"><type>skin_css</type><name>css/styles-ie8.css</name><params/><if><![CDATA[ (lte IE 8) & (!IEMobile)]]></if></action>
<action method="addItem"><type>skin_css</type><name>css/madisonisland-ie8.css</name><params/><if><![CDATA[ (lte IE 8) & (!IEMobile)]]></if></action>

<!-- Add stylesheets with media queries for use by modern browsers -->
<action method="addItem"><type>skin_css</type><name>css/styles.css</name><params/></action>
<action method="addItem"><type>skin_css</type><name>css/madisonisland.css</name><params/><if><![CDATA[<!--[if (gte IE 9) | (IEMobile)]><!-->]]></if></action>


If you want to be able to add multiple CSS/JS files after the native files using the standard addItem/addJs methods, you can follow these steps:

  1. Create this file app/design/frontend/custompackage/customtheme/layout/local.xml and add these contents:

    <?xml version="1.0"?>
    <layout version="0.1.0">
        <default translate="label" module="page">
            <reference name="head">
                <block type="page/html_head" name="head_custom" template="page/html/head_custom.phtml">
                <action method="addItem"><type>skin_css</type><name>css/custom.css</name></action>

You're creating a new head_custom block so that you can add new items to it. If you look at the app/design/frontend/base/default/template/page/html/head.phtml file, you will see that getChildHtml() is being called after getCssJsHtml(), so head.phtml will first load all of the native CSS/JS files, and will then load the head_custom block, which will in turn load your custom CSS/JS files.

  1. Create this file app/design/frontend/custompackage/customtheme/template/page/html/head_custom.phtml and add this content to that file:

    <?php echo $this->getCssJsHtml(); ?>

Now, any items you add to the head_custom block will load beneath the native CSS/JS items.

  • Hi Erik, thanks for your detailed response &sorry for the delay in responding. I'll try this later & report on progress.
    – freshwebs
    May 30, 2014 at 9:34
  • Is the custom phtml template necessary? At first glance it seems to be working for me without it.
    – Yumecosmos
    Jun 25, 2014 at 22:20
  • Thanks Erik. Been breaking my head on this for a while. Worked perfectly! Dec 13, 2014 at 0:24
  • @Erik And what if "Merge CSS Files" is enabled? Will this additional custom.css be merged with other CSS files?
    – zitix
    Mar 2, 2015 at 18:18
  • @zitix - Yes, the custom.css file will be merged with other CSS files if "Merge CSS Files" is enabled. Mar 3, 2015 at 19:47

What about just to add into local.xml same css like that:

<reference name="head">
    <!-- Add stylesheets with no media queries for use in IE 8 and below -->
    <action method="addItem"><type>skin_css</type><name>css/custom.css</name><params/><if><![CDATA[ (lte IE 8) & (!IEMobile)]]></if></action>
    <!-- Add stylesheets with media queries for use by modern browsers -->
    <action method="addItem"><type>skin_css</type><name>css/custom.css</name><params/><if><![CDATA[<!--[if (gte IE 9) | (IEMobile)]><!-->]]></if></action>

And nothing more! :-)

  • Nice. This is the simpliest solution I know :)
    – jrosell
    Jan 24, 2016 at 12:35

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