WordPress has minimum theme template files as

  • style.css
  • index.php

and also some other files as listed here.

If the theme developer wants to build theme with less bells and whistles, what are some of the template files which should be included at minimum? There isn't any guidelines in the WordPress codex. Only thing that you can find is what files and when to include them. For making use of most of the WordPress functions without any conflict, there doesn't seem to be specific number mentioned for number of template files.

So how many files should be there when you build a theme from say raw html template?

2 Answers 2


To have the theme listed:

  • style.css

With at minimum this:

Theme Name: Minimum Theme
Description: Test
Author: Test
Version: 1.0

For the theme to be functional:

  • index.php

index.php must have a post loop, so this would be the bare minimum functional index.php

<head><?php wp_head(); ?></head>
if ( have_posts() ) {
    while ( have_posts() ) {
        the_title( '<h3>', '</h3>' );

index.php is the defacto fallback for all template files WordPress might look for. All the rest are entirely optional, though I advise that you use them.

For more information on which templates are possible, see here:


  • Thanks, I take that for the minimal themes, additional files can be clutter? :)
    – Ryu Ishida
    Feb 1, 2013 at 12:49
  • 1
    Not necessarily, it all depends what you need and what you're trying to do
    – Tom J Nowell
    Feb 1, 2013 at 14:37
  • Strictly speaking index.php doesn't have to have a loop or any code, if all template hierarchy branches are taken care of by more specific templates. Some themes in the wild are structured like that.
    – Rarst
    Dec 5, 2016 at 17:37

Two - styles.css and index.php. If you're gonna add additional functionality (some filters or actions) add to list functions.php. If you're gonna add additional templates + number of templates add screenshot of your theme + screenshot.(jpeg|png|gif)

It all depends on you. But minimum requirements are style.css and index.php.

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