Magento frontend theme fallback to backend

Hi - we use a frontend pdf program that uses backend/adminhtml templates - and now these are not found. I think what we would like and have to to is tell Magento to:

  • first look for the theme in frontend
  • and if not found then look in the backend theme templates

question: Can this be easily achieved?

I understand you can influence frontend fallback - but don't know how you can add the functionality to look for all missing template files in the backend template model if frontend fails to find it

thanks in advance

  • Is moving the templates into the frontend not an option?
    – Smartie
    Sep 8, 2015 at 13:14
  • no ... too dangerous whenupdating
    – snh_nl
    Sep 8, 2015 at 13:16

1 Answer 1


It's not something you might be able to do with settings but if it's for a specific module you can change it's code a little to use the adminhtml theme.

To set the template that should be used at runtime you can use the following

 $package =  Mage::getDesign()->getPackage();
 $template = Mage::getDesign()->getTheme('template');


// your code goes here


This sets the templating engine to use the backend template. Now after you're done rendering the PDF restore it to the frontend shop values.

  • superb. And suppose one had to switch 'between' current and adminthml; how would we then store current? then set adminthml? the retrieve current? ---- just asking ....
    – snh_nl
    Sep 8, 2015 at 13:16
  • Updated my answer\ Sep 8, 2015 at 13:25
  • $package = Mage::getDesign()->getPackage(); seems to sometimes give some problems for example when run via cron "Call to undefined method Fooman_SpeedsterAdvanced_Model_Core_Design_Package::getPackage()" Mar 4, 2016 at 6:48
  • Suppose we would make it: $currentDesignArea = Mage::getDesign()->getArea(); Mage::getDesign()->setArea('adminhtml'); [code here]; Mage::getDesign()->setArea($currentDesignArea); Maybe package and template do not have to be explicitely set because the fall back mechanism will alsways find default/default in adminthml ... when we are done we re-set the Area Mar 4, 2016 at 6:50

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