How to Fix Shopify Missing Template layout/theme.liquid

So you’ve just downloaded a Shopify theme package in a ZIP file? And clueless due to facing this error?

zip does not contain a valid theme: missing template layout/theme.liquid
Shopify theme upload error - zip does not contain a valid theme

Let’s break down this issue to see how we can fix the missing template. Sometimes, the “issue” doesn’t really exist in the first place 😉

Double-check your downloaded zip file’s content

Intuitively, you don’t always click on the archive and see what’s contained inside, right?

But in this case, this simple action will help! So please use the unarchiving software on your computer to look into what’s inside the zip file.

a Shopify theme file archive folders

Many a time, a single zip file actually holds additional resources for the Shopify theme such as demo data and documentation. That said, the only theme package that you need to upload in this case is just the zip file with the name “”

However, let’s investigate a bit more to be sure that you’re about to upload the right theme zip file.

Make sure to upload the right file:

Now please unzip the into a folder and find out more.

Basically, a Shopify theme zip file should include these folders:

  • assets
  • config
  • layout
  • locales
  • sections
  • snippets
  • templates

So the layout folder should include a theme liquid file so that the issue won’t occur again.

a Shopify theme file includes these folders

Now open the layout folder, if you see a theme.liquid file, then you’re good to go. Just zip them back and upload the zip file to your Shopify store.

When uploaded successfully, navigate to the theme item > Actions > Edit code and you reach this liquid file. This is the base of the theme, which hosts repeated theme sections such as headers and footers.

layout theme liquid in Shopify theme

While the templates directory can include many .liquid files and they are all different from theme to theme, the layout directory must not miss the theme.liquid file. As it’s where all templates are rendered from.

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