Pattern skin

Pattern skin provides a CSS based default look and feel - flexible and W3C compliant. Its layout and color scheme are designed to provide a nice, clean and productive editing environment

Select a theme to change the look, or tune the entire appearance with CSS or templates.

Browse available themes

You may quickly change the appearance of this skin by setting a theme.

Browse themes

Pattern skin has quite some flexibility out of the box. Try one of the provided themes or use them as inspiration for your own theme.

Other styling options

  1. Set WEBHEADERART (currently: /pub/System/PatternSkin/header5.gif)
  2. Set WEBBGCOLOR (currently: #B9DAFF)

Set these variables site wide in Main.SitePreferences.


Click to enlarge:
Click for full screen image
Click to view full screenshot

Information for site administrators

Creating your own look

If you want to make more changes than the themes on this page allow, you have the option to change CSS files and templates to make changes (small or large).

Template customization

PatternSkinCustomization - how to configure page elements.

Style sheet customization

PatternSkinCssCookbook - how to customize the visual style.

Changing graphics

The original Photoshop files of the skin graphics (mainly background images) are attached to PatternSkinGraphics.

Top, Bottom and Left Bar customization

Most will customise top, bottom, and left bars.

  • Topic System.WebTopBar defines the content of the top bar. If this topic does not exist the topic System.WebTopBarExample will define the top bar. Foswiki does not ship with a WebTopBar topic so by creating this topic as a copy of WebTopBarExample and customizing the copy, you will not later risk that upgrading Foswiki will overwrite your top bar. The top bar is common for all webs.
  • Topic System.WebBottomBar defines the content of the bottom bar. If this topic does not exist the topic System.WebBottomBarExample will define the bottom bar. Foswiki does not ship with a WebBottomBar topic so by creating this topic as a copy of WebBottomBarExample and customizing the copy, you will not later risk that upgrading Foswiki will overwrite your bottom bar. The bottom bar is common for all webs.
  • Topic WebLeftBar defines the content of the left bar. Each web has its own WebLeftBar. If this topic does not exist the topic WebLeftBarExample will define the left bar. Foswiki does not ship with WebLeftBar topics so by creating these topics as copies of WebLeftBarExample and customizing the copies, you will not later risk that upgrading Foswiki will overwrite your left bars. You can choose to display the WebLeftBar on the right side of the screen.

See these topics for more information: WebLeftBarCookbook, WebLeftBarExample, WebLeftBarLogin, WebLeftBarPersonalTemplate, WebLeftBarSearch, WebLeftBarWebsList, WebTopBarExample, and WebBottomBarExample.

Selecting edit and view templates

EDITACTION -- Selects an edit template

The EDITACTION preference lets you change how editing works, for when you only want to edit one of either the topic text, or the form attached to the topic. If EDITACTION is defined as text, then hide the form. If EDITACTION is defined as form, then hide the normal text area and only edit the form.
  • Example: Set EDITACTION = text
The Edit and Edit wiki text buttons simply add ;action=text or ;action=form to the URL for the edit script, as appropriate. If you have defined EDITACTION you can still edit the topic content or the form by removing the ;action=form or ;action=text from the edit URL in the browser and reload.


Compatibility with Foswiki 1.1 has been restored. However system changes are required:
  • The SKIN must be overridden to "pattern01x01,pattern". You can safely set this in your SitePreferences before upgrading this extension.
    • #Set SKIN = pattern01x01,pattern
  • You must not manually install by extracting the archive directly into your Foswiki instance. You must use the Extension Installer. The installer will omit two files which are incompatible and must not be installed on Foswiki 1.1.
    • data/System/WebCreateNewTopicComponents.txt
    • data/System/WebCreateNewTopicTemplate.txt

Note: PatternSkin is included with Foswiki by default. Use the following instructions only if you are upgrading PatternSkin.

You do not need to install anything in the browser to use this extension. The following instructions are for the administrator who installs the extension on the server.

Open configure, and open the "Extensions" section. "Extensions Operation and Maintenance" Tab -> "Install, Update or Remove extensions" Tab. Click the "Search for Extensions" button. Enter part of the extension name or description and press search. Select the desired extension(s) and click install. If an extension is already installed, it will not show up in the search results.

You can also install from the shell by running the extension installer as the web server user: (Be sure to run as the webserver user, not as root!)
cd /path/to/foswiki
perl tools/extension_installer <NameOfExtension> install

If you have any problems, or if the extension isn't available in configure, then you can still install manually from the command-line. See for more help.

To set pattern skin as default (site wide) skin, use these settings in Main.SitePreferences:

  • Global skin styles. To change the look of the site, point these variables to custom CSS attachments.
    • Set FOSWIKI_LAYOUT_URL = /pub/System/PatternSkinTheme/layout.css
    • Set FOSWIKI_STYLE_URL = /pub/System/PatternSkinTheme/style.css
    • Set FOSWIKI_COLORS_URL = /pub/System/PatternSkinTheme/colors.css

  • Themes that add upon the global skin styles. Choose from the Theme Browser at PatternSkin.
    • Set PATTERNSKIN_THEME_VARIANT = /pub/System/PatternSkinTheme/variant_foswiki_noframe.css
    • Set PATTERNSKIN_COLUMNS = /pub/System/PatternSkinTheme/column_left.css

  • Overriding styles that add upon the global and theme styles. Enabled by default but empty to prevent browsers from fetching %USERLAYOUTURL%-style URLs.


If you have set the SKIN setting to pattern and you still don't see the layout as on the screenshot, a few settings in may have been disabled.

Check these preference settings here:
  • FOSWIKI_LAYOUT_URL = /pub/System/PatternSkinTheme/layout.css
  • FOSWIKI_STYLE_URL = /pub/System/PatternSkinTheme/style.css
  • FOSWIKI_COLORS_URL = /pub/System/PatternSkinTheme/colors.css
  • SKIN = natedit,pattern

If FOSWIKI_LAYOUT_URL or FOSWIKI_STYLE_URL don't give a value or point to non-existing files, check in DefaultPreferences and in SitePreferences that the following preferences do exist and that they are set to on:
   * %SYSTEMWEB%.PatternSkin settings:
      * Set FOSWIKI_LAYOUT_URL = %PUBURLPATH%/%SYSTEMWEB%/PatternSkinTheme/layout.css
      * Set FOSWIKI_STYLE_URL = %PUBURLPATH%/%SYSTEMWEB%/PatternSkinTheme/style.css
      * Set FOSWIKI_COLORS_URL = %PUBURLPATH%/%SYSTEMWEB%/PatternSkinTheme/colors.css

NOTE: customization of these values should be done in Main.SitePreferences

If this still does not work, contact the administrator who installs skins.

For further troubleshooting and feedback, go to

All PatternSkin topics




Screenshot: Click for full screen image
Preview: Preview with this skin
Base Name: pattern
12 Feb 2018 V.6.12: Foswikitask:Item14633: Wrong language is used in the <html> tag.
Foswikitask:Item14629: Certain topics can be overridden without permission.
Foswikitask:Item14639: Operational topics in Main, Sandbox webs should be protected from editing non-admins.
8 Dec 2017 v.6.11: Foswikitask:Item14434: Translated text with reserved characters used in WebCreateNewTopicComponents will create wrong HTML
Foswikitask:Item14488: PatternSkin is missing "body" zone used by NatSkin and many extensions.
Foswikitask:Item14556: clean up header area.
4 Apr 2017 V.6.10: Foswikitask:Item13883: Fix HTML errors in PatternSkinElements.
8 Feb 2017 v.6.09: Foswikitask:Item14315: Attachment count always shows latest revision when viewing prior versions.
Foswikitask:Item14235: Sanitize some template fields.
23 Jan 2017 v.6.08: Foswikitask:Item13831: JS error in LanguageSelector
Foswikitask:Item14281: Cookie related changes. Inconsistent use of the domain and secure flags.
Foswikitask:Item14286: PatternSkin*Navigation topics are broken, and difficult to tailor.
28 Nov 2016 v.6.07: Foswikitask:Item14069: Improve sanitization of attach filename
Foswikitask:Item14092: Add hook to attach.pattern.tmpl to support attachment properties.
Foswikitask:Item14145: Deprecation of beforetext/aftertext templates breaks compatibility with other skins.
Foswikitask:Item14219: Add WebSideBar toggle cookbook.
04 Apr 2016 V.6.06: Foswikitask:Item13950: Remove refresh cache links for guests
Foswikitask:Item14039: SkinBrowser is too slow, searches are too broad.
03 Feb 2016 V.6.05: Foswikitask:Item13880: Malformed HTML in WebCreateNewTopic
03 Dec 2015 v.6.04: Foswikitask:Item13885: Restore compatibility with Foswiki 1.1.
06 Nov 2015 v.6.03: Foswikitask:Item13814: Raw view should use monospaced font.
24 Sep 2015 v.6.02: Foswikitask:Item13707: fixed non-default themes
08 Sep 2015 v.6.01: Foswikitask:Item13669: Macros topic has is no longer a good reference for a quick lookup of macro syntax
Foswikitask:Item13504: Missing % in Docs
Foswikitask:Item13619: Remove RevCommentPlugin hooks from from templates.
31 Oct 2012: v.6.00: Updated styles for forms and form elements. Simpler login screen. Theme "115" provides legacy support, Change to decimal versions.
26 May 2012: v.5.5.1: WebCreateNewTopicTemplate functionality moved to core.
23 Apr 2012: v.5.5: Foswiki 2.0 release. Foswikitask:Item11783 - use new INCLUDE topic list feature.
This change breaks compatibility with releases older than Foswiki 2.0.
06 Apr 2012: v.5.4.19: Foswiki 1.1.5 release. Minor documentation updates and changes for consistency
Foswikitask:Item11622: Add <div> to revision information
Foswikitask:Item11623: Improve linking of user topics for unknown but previously registered users.
02 Dec 2011: v.5.4.18: Foswiki 1.1.4 release. Minor changes for consistency
02 Oct 2011: v.5.4.17: Update javascript for attachment counting.
26 Aug 2011: v.5.4.15, v.5.4.16: Additional support for running Pattern Skin on Foswiki 1.0.x release.
28 May 2011: v.5.4.14: Fixed search results on Foswiki 1.0.x versions.
29 Apr 2011: v.5.4.13: Added no-column CSS for Fatwilly theme.
12 Mar 2011: v.5.4.12: Visual fixes for Fatwilly theme.
06 Mar 2011: v.5.4.8: Now that TablePlugin styles are not automatically loaded to every page, header style needs a small change.
30 Dec 2010: v.5.4.7: Added custom login.sudo template.
26 Dec 2010: v.5.4.6: Clean up templates regarding foswikiFormStep elements.
18 Dec 2010: v.5.4.5: Link author names when NOAUTOLINK is set to on.
14 Dec 2010: v.5.4.4: Fix check all / uncheck all checkboxes on rename and delete topic pages.
12 Dec 2010: v.5.4.3: Fix trimming and stripping spaces in web topic creator javascript.
09 Nov 2010: v.5.4.2: Remove redundant files from repository. v.5.4.1: Revert usage of $percent back to $percnt
19 Aug 2010: v.5.4 - Version for Foswiki 1.1.
31 Jul 2010: v.5.3.1 - Documentation updates
27 May 2010: v.5.3 - Added "flexible width" column styles.
05 Apr 2010: v.5.2 - Visual update.
04 Apr 2010: v.5.1 - Added Foswiki site skin as theme, including horizontal navigation topic; see PatternSkinHorizontalNavigationExample.
04 Apr 2010: v.5.0 - Changed themes from single css file to file collections to preserve older appearance and to provide bigger restyling within a theme.
12 Mar 2010: v.4.0.9 - Fixes printing in Firefox 3.6.
23 Feb 2010: v.4.0.8 - Signature format can be set in preference SIGNATUREFORMAT.
17 Jan 2010: v.4.0.7 - Repeat search phrase in search box. Version for Foswiki 1.0.9
07 Dec 2009: v.4.0.6 - Remove spurious newline from attachagain template. Add support for new option to work around IE8 bug with slow/erratic textareas. Fix printing in Safari (thanks Foswiki:Main.MichaelMoss). Remove bogus info on setting view template on topic creation (thanks Foswiki:Main.MartinKaufmann). Make action buttons easier to skin. Fix textareabuttons not displayed when NOWYSIWYG=1.
29 Sep 2009: v.4.0.5 - Fixed broken link in PatternSkinCustomization. Fix code/pre white-space styling. Make behaviour javascript work with IE8. Add clear:both to the css for the .foswikiContentFooter - that way it could be over-ridden by a subskin. Made links in headers should look like links.
07 Sep 2009: v.4.0.4 - Consolidated versions in trunk and release branch. Version for Foswiki 1.0.7.
26 Jul 2009: v.4.0.3 - Fixes a couple of minor template/css bugs.
18 Jan 2009: v.4.0.2 - Fix printing with theme theme_foswiki and column_right.
17 Jan 2009: v.4.0.1 - Fix reading of WEBHEADERART variable.
30 Nov 2008: v.4.0.0 - Foswiki 1.0.0 RELEASE VERSION
03 Aug 2008: v.3.0.1 - TWiki 4.2.1 (Edinburgh) RELEASE VERSION
13 Jul 2007: v.3.0.0 - TWiki 4.2.0 (Edinburgh) RELEASE VERSION
15 Jan 2006: v.2.0.6 - TWiki 4.1.0 (Edinburgh) RELEASE VERSION
26 Sep 2006: v.2.0.5 - Fixed form background colors
22 Jul 2006: v.2.0.4 - Refactored info in colors.css; fixed textarea color
26 Jun 2006: v.2.0.3 - TWiki 4.0.3 (Dakar) RELEASE VERSION
31 Jan 2006: v.2.0.0 - TWiki 4.0.0 (Dakar) RELEASE VERSION
28 Aug 2004: v.1.0.9 - TWiki 3.0 (Cairo) RELEASE VERSION
08 Aug 2004: Initial version (v1.0.0)

PackageForm edit

Author Arthur Clemens
Version 6.12
Release 23 Feb 2018
Description Pattern skin provides a CSS based default look and feel - flexible and W3C compliant. Its layout and color scheme are designed to provide a nice, clean and productive editing environment
Copyright © 2004-2018 Arthur Clemens, Foswiki contributors
License GPL (GNU General Public License)
Topic revision: r1 - 2022/06/17, ProjectContributor
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