Use locate_template instead of TEMPLATEPATH to Include Files in a BuddyPress Child Theme

Today I ran into an interesting problem while developing a BuddyPress theme. I was attempting to include a custom sidebar using PHP’s “include” function. The WordPress codex page on “include tags” gives us this:

<?php include( TEMPLATEPATH . ‘/sidebar-index.php’ ); ?>

The problem is that the above code doesn’t always work when you are utilizing a child theme (I am building a child theme based on the default BuddyPress theme). Rather, you should use the “locate_template” hook:

<?php locate_template( array( ‘sidebar-index.php’ ), true ) ?>

What the “locate_template” hook does is searches the child theme’s template folder before searching the parent theme’s template folder.

Pretty nifty, eh?

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  1. alan on March 6, 2010 at 3:57 am

    thanks this works perfect…

    thanks for sharing.this is why I like wordpress ,community is awesome!

  2. Marco on March 8, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Hello, I’m facing some problem with this method, I tried to use a hook in child functions.php so I won’t touch files directly, but that didn’t work. Could you drop me a line via mail so I can show you what I’ve done and maybe show me where’s the error.

  3. Toby on March 8, 2010 at 1:40 pm


    Can you explain a little bit more?

    So far, I have only used the “locate_template” hook from a child theme’s page and post template files, so I can’t vouch for how it might work in the functions.php file.

  4. Marco on March 9, 2010 at 4:43 am

    Hello, here’s what I’ve done in functions.php (shouty is the site theme name):

    /*define constant*/

    /*here we insert, after the regular sidebar, Shouty’s left sidebar*/
    add_action(‘bp_after_sidebar’, ‘shouty_include_sidebar_left’);
    function shouty_include_sidebar_left() {

    But this does not load the sidebar_left.php givin an error of file/folder not found in child theme dir, even though is actually there and I can’t figure why. I use this method with frameworks like Hybrid, Thematic and the new Genesis and it always works well.

    ps. I tried hardcoding but doesn’t work either.

    • Toby on March 15, 2010 at 11:08 pm

      Have you tried using include( TEMPLATEPATH . ‘/sidebar-index.php’ ); rather than define(‘SHOUTY_DIR’, STYLESHEETPATH); ?

  5. Marco on March 16, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Yes I did it at first.
    TEMPLATEPATH leads you into the parent theme, giving the error of file/dir not found. Quite the same error as STYLESHEETPATH, this time from the child theme’s dir.

  6. Toby on March 16, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Will the path work properly if you include your code in the template itself (i.e. index.php rather than in functions.php)?

  7. dreamdrivendesigns on October 12, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks for the tip on inlcude templatepath not working in BuddyPress, I encounter this problem myself. Was looking for a solution. Thanks