Zendesk Theme Development
August 25, 2021
1 min

Zendesk theme development is painful

I have been working with zendesk theme development in the past 2 weeks, with the lack of documentation, the development process is very painful. For work, we are using Enterprise version of zendesk.


To start off with, there are multiple login portal in zendesk. Customer service login, dashboard login and theme admin. the place I have to go is


Once you login in, you will be able to export your existing theme.

Export theme

The default template we used was Copenhagen and the new design changes I made was based on this theme. So I will need to export this theme as a zip file.

A theme is exported as a zip archive of templates, JavaScript, CSS, and assets. This enables you to work on the theme outside of Guide, using your own development tools.

Exporting your theme is the only way to access the manifest.json file for the theme. The manifest file enables you to customize the theme’s branding settings, including colors, fonts, and images

Export Theme help center

Running themes locally

this is the most painful part, due to the lack of documentation.

Get WEB API and install ZAP

1. If not already done, enable API access in your Zendesk Support account by going to Admin > Channels > API.

Your Zendesk API Your API KEY

2. Install the Zendesk apps tools (ZAT).

Zendesk App tools

In terminal

sudo gem install rake
gem install zendesk_apps_tools
sudo gem update zendesk_apps_tools

In the exported theme folder. run the following command

zat theme preview

for subdomain, it will be youstite.zendesk.com



your login email with a "/token"


the web api key generated previously

then in terminal the local server will run.

to preview

If you find my tips are useful, please support my work :)

This is it for now, I spend a lot of time just to get my local server running, I hope this will help you save sometime when you have to do a zendesk theme development.


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