Changes to Pressbooks Themes in New Books at

Note: The changes detailed here are specific to If you are using, go to this post to see changes. 

We’ve been working on some major improvements to Pressbooks, and we’ll be releasing a few of them very soon.

We’re excited to share that all of your favorite themes are soon going to be easier to use and more customizable without needing to use CSS!

We’ve looked at the themes you use and love the most, and will be improving them to expand our theme options in the coming months. These improved themes will be controlled by the same options currently available in the Clarke and Asimov themes, with more on the way.

As well as improving our existing themes, we’ll be adding two new themes, McLuhan and Jacobs. Also on the way: a new look and navigation for those using the public web book format.

In the meantime, we’ll be hiding a handful of less-used themes for new books so that we can concentrate on improving those that get the most use going forward. The retiring themes are:

  • Galbraith
  • Goodison
  • Luther

We will also be retiring Dillard, but leaving Dillard Plain. These themes are identical aside from a glyph in Dillard, which will be reintroduced as a theme option in future.

In saying goodbye to these themes, we will be welcoming three new additions, the first two of which already support the new theme options:

    • McLuhan (replacing Luther as the default theme for new books)
    • Jacobs
    • Lewis

If your book’s theme is on the list for retirement, don’t worry, any existing books will not be affected by the change. It will apply to new books only, on which you will be able to select from the updated set of 20 themes.

If you really want to apply a soon-to-retire theme on future books, you can still create new book shells and apply that theme to them between now and Jan. 31.

Worried about changes to an existing book?

Once again, any existing book will retain their theme, even if it’s being retired, for as long as you want to keep it, until / unless you change your theme. And, as we move forward with converting our existing themes, we’ll be testing every step of the way to ensure that existing books are only improved by our changes, not disrupted.

However, we know that reprinting existing books can require sticking to a strict page count. If you’re concerned about this, you may want to apply the theme lock feature to your book, which “locks” the theme to the current version, meaning the theme options are restricted (until you unlock the theme) and the theme won’t be updated when we roll out our improvements. You don’t need to apply theme lock to keep a retiring theme on your book, but you might want to apply this feature if you’re done with formatting and want to keep your book exactly as is.

To apply the theme lock feature, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings → Export
  2. Check the box that says “Lock your theme at its current version.”
  3. Save your changes.

Special note to users with Custom Webbook CSS

Custom changes entered using the old Custom CSS theme will no longer be applied to the webbook after Jan. 31. Instead, your web book will be displayed in the new McLuhan theme, without any customisations. To retain any changes, you will need to migrate them to the new Custom Styles option. Here’s how.

These are just a few of the improvements that are coming in January. Stay tuned! And please let us know at if you have any questions.

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