Sunday, May 24, 2009

3 Columns : 565 : Left and Right Sidebars

Article Series: 3 Column Step by Step Guides

This is a tutorial that gives step by step instructions to convert a default 2 column 565 Blogger template in to a three column template with two sidebars on left and right hand sides of the main post area.

(If you really want to understand what's happening here, read the article series Three Column Templates Explained.)

1) Add a new CSS id selector for the 2nd sidebar wrapper.

  • Go to Layout -> Edit HTML
  • Locate the #sidebar-wrapper section (Do a Find using your browser)
  • Copy that full section and paste below the existing sidebar section (it doesn't have to be below) and rename it to #left-sidebar-wrapper
  • Change the float: $endSide to float:$startSide of this newly copied section
  • Change the occurrences of $startSide in the background property to $endSide. (See the code snippet below)
#sidebar-wrapper {
background:$sidebarBgColor url("$startSide.gif") no-repeat $startSide top;
color: $sidebarTextColor;
font-size: 83%;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix ... in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix ... float */

#left-sidebar-wrapper {
no-repeat $endSide top;

color: $sidebarTextColor;
font-size: 83%;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for ... IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix ... float */

2) Introduce a new div element, as a child of the content-wrapper, to be the placeholder for the 2nd sidebar
  • Locate the <div id='main-wrapper'> element.
  • Copy the code shown in red, above that section (this has to be above)
<div id='crosscol-wrapper' style='text-align:center'>
<b:section class='crosscol' id='crosscol' showaddelement='no'/>

<div id='left-sidebar-wrapper'>
<b:section class='sidebar' id='left-sidebar' preferred='yes'>

<div id='main-wrapper'>
<b:section class='main' id='main' showaddelement='no'>
<b:widget id='Blog1' locked='true' title='Blog Posts' type='Blog'/>

3) Expand the width of the other wrappers to accommodate the new sidebar
  • Locate the CSS section called #outer-wrapper
  • Change its width property to 1006 pixels
#outer-wrapper {
background: #889977;

4) Do necessary adjustments to margins, padding etc
  • Locate the #main-wrapper section
  • Insert a left margin of 12 pixels. (add the line shown in red)
#main-wrapper {
width: 460px;

float: $startSide;

5) Modify the CSS rules for the wire frame layouts editor.
  • Locate the end of the skin denoted by "]]>"
  • Add the following code shown in red, above that line.
/** Page structure tweaks for layout editor wireframe */

body#layout #outer-wrapper {
padding-top: 0;
body#layout #header-wrapper,
body#layout #content-wrapper,
body#layout #footer-wrapper {
padding: 0;

body#layout #main-wrapper {

body#layout #sidebar-wrapper,
body#layout #left-sidebar-wrapper {


Save the template. Switch to Page Elements view and enjoy your 3 column template! (The new sidebar may not be visible until some widgets are added to it)