I am posting this information in order to provide a link that will more easily provide solutions for typical problems faced by most new Zenners. (Devs feel free to edit this for completeness and accuracy.)
Start here to learn just about everything you need to know to get started customizing your site - http://tutorials.zen-cart.com/index.php?article=230
Zen Cart is built on a system called ‘overrides.’ When you have worked hard on customizing your site you do not want to lose all that work when a new version or cart update comes along. So, follow the guide for creating a custom template and it will ‘override’ the stock template after any updates.
All of the files you change should go in special folders you create for your template. Something like /custom or /my_template. Your new custom template folder should only contain files that have actually been edited for your site. Copy the files from template_default, edit them, and make sure they are in the correct ’my_custom_template’ folder. Most of the /custom folders will be in directories that also have a /classic folder. The classic folder is a landmark to let you know you are in the right place.
If you are using ver 1.3+ you should use the template default as a basis for your new template and not the Classic template.
Remember to edit template_info.php and turn on the template in admin.
The Wiki also has great information. However, since the forum experienced an emergency reload, the links may not have been updated. Be patient. Some of the information refers to ver 1.2+ and is slightly different in 1.3+ so read carefully.
If your new template does not work, please double check the following things before having a panic attack, starting to blame the devs, claiming there must be a bug and/or appealing to everyone’s good nature since you ‘are such a newb.’ Before posting a thread needing "emergency attention" ask:
- Are your edited files in the correct folders?
- Are you editing the correct files?
- Have you misspelled a file or folder name?
- Have you have turned on the template?
- Have you have used Admin> Tools> Developers Tool Kit? Put the text you want to change in the box at bottom left and select ‘all files.’ You will get a list of files with that text.
- Have you re-read the tutorials because you missed a step.
I have committed all these sins, and more, so do not think you could not have made a mistake.
Best wishes for your Zen success.