Some Moodle themes can no longer be attributed only to their author. Some themes have been part of the Moodle experience of thousands of users for years, many of which have helped shape it into what they offer today. For them, Moodle would not be the same without these themes.

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And if there is one theme that belongs among this club, it is without a doubt “Essential.”

Current theme developer Gareth Barnard has published updates for the three active versions of the “Essential” theme, which continues to be the most used (no other theme has achieved the 10 thousand sites mark), the one with the most fans, and one of the most downloaded (second only to “Adaptable”) Moodle themes. Over the years it has been a pioneer in responsive design and CSS3-based development, speed, and performance thanks to a generous use of typography over graphics, complete color and behavior customization, and social media integration through icons. In all these areas, it helped raise the game for the top free Moodle themes.

Here are the highlights of its latest update: (for Moodle 3.2): Accessibility cues added for administrators to improve text-based navigation and course search functionality improved. This will be the last update for Moodle sites running version 3.2. (for Moodle 3.3): Compatible with the new “Privacy API” in Moodle 3.3.5, which means it is GDPR compliant. However, compatibility with analytics is suspended, pending “clearer” use of GDPR with Moodle learning analytics. Search is also improved. (for Moodle 3.4): It includes the “Privacy API” and the search enhancements of

Download or install the “Essential” theme from the official Moodle plugin directory. (Make sure to choose the version compatible with your Moodle site’s version.) Read more at the “Essential” theme’s GitHub page and at the theme’s Moodle docs page.

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