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Understanding Squarespace templates

All Squarespace sites start with a template. Built by our award-winning Design Team, Squarespace templates are a starting point to help inspire your site's design. You can keep the structure of your original design intact by replacing the demo content with your own, or you can completely change the design of your site and start from scratch. Each design is uniquely coded and designed exclusively for the Squarespace platform.

This guide reviews how Squarespace templates work and how they’re developed.

Templates in version 7.1 vs. version 7.0

Templates work differently depending on your site's version

Version 7.1

In our newest version of Squarespace, the word "template" refers to the design you chose as a starting point for your new Squarespace site. From there, you can customize your site in any way. Since all version 7.1 sites are part of the same template family, every site has the same features and style options, regardless of the original template.

Version 7.0

In our previous version, your site's template has a bigger impact, because each template has a fixed set of style parameters and special features that can’t be changed.

These features vary between template families:

To learn more, visit our template comparison charts.

Customizing templates

After picking a template that fits your site’s needs, you can customize it to help bring your content to life. How you customize your site depends on which version of Squarespace your site is on.

In version 7.1:

In version 7.0:

How much you can customize your site’s style depends on the template. To learn about the specific style options for your template, visit our template guides.

Tip: If you have coding knowledge, there are more advanced ways to customize your site.

Template development

Our developers and designers collaborate to create template designs that are beautiful from both an aesthetic and technical standpoint. The primary web languages that our developers use to build templates are HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JsonT, and JSON.

  • HTML creates the structural elements of a design, such as where content displays on a page.
  • CSS determines the style options for a design, like colors and fonts. We use the LESS CSS preprocessor to streamline our process and help ensure continuity throughout the template.
  • JavaScript creates the core functionality of a design, such as galleries, image loaders, and other interactive features.
  • JsonT is the language that specifies how data from our servers, like images and text, turns into the HTML that determines what's displayed on the page.
  • JSON is a data format that expresses the images and text you've added to your site in our editing interface. It's the link between the online editor and your template's JsonT code. You can think of it as the raw clay that is shaped by the JsonT. To see your site’s JSON, add ?format=json-pretty to the end of the URL while on any page of your site.

New templates and features

After a new design has been tested and finalized, we add it to our available templates.

As browser and user needs evolve, we update our templates and the Squarespace platform to keep up with new trends, and to ensure all Squarespace sites run at peak efficiency.

As a Squarespace user, you receive these improvements automatically. Often the changes are small, like updating the name of a style tweak to make it more intuitive. Sometimes they’re new options, like being able to choose a border color when you set a background image to Inset.

Note: Developers who’ve enabled the Squarespace Developer Platform won’t receive template-specific updates.

More help

To learn more about templates, visit these guides:

FAQ

Can I control how my content looks on a per-page basis?

In version 7.1, you can style individual sections on any page.

In version 7.0, you can customize some templates per-page. For example, in Supply you can set a different background color for Products Pages and Index Pages. In general, however, the style rules for site elements like colors, fonts, and header sizes will be consistent across your site.

Why don’t I have total control over every style attribute on my site?

Every Squarespace template has been crafted by our Design Team. Our designers develop style rules for each template that help you create a beautiful website without starting from scratch or needing advanced design skills. They also employ the latest coding techniques to ensure that your site is compatible with modern browsers and mobile devices.

To help your site stay consistent, and to prevent conflict between different elements, templates have pre-determined style tweaks with set parameters. Advanced users can further modify their site’s code with Code Injection, Code Blocks, CSS Editing, or the Squarespace Developer Platform.

Why can't developers design and sell their own templates? 

Our template designs are one of the things that make Squarespace special. We take great pride in creating designs that meet our standards of excellence and are optimized for the Squarespace platform. Therefore, we don’t make our designs available for other platforms, and it's not possible for third-party designers to sell templates for use on a Squarespace site.

We do, however, have a service that connects you with Squarespace Experts. Experts are familiar with our platform and might be able to help you if you need customized coding, design, or development help beyond our Customer Support.

Can I combine features from different templates in version 7.0?

Each Squarespace template has its own specialized code, which means you can’t mix and match features from different templates. You can achieve different layouts within your template by adding a Layout Page and customizing it with blocks, using the unique layouts of Cover Pages, or using Summary Blocks to pull content from different collection pages.

If you still can't find the feature you need for your site, you can:

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Understanding Squarespace templates