Underscores WordPress Starter Theme Adds Support for Sass

Underscores community project contributors announced today that the theme now includes support for Sass. The popular WordPress starter theme is an open source project maintained by Automattic, and many of its users requested Sass support, according to contributor Tammie Lister. “The community firstly asked for Sass. As Sass is in core, this makes sense. It was already part of most themers’ workflow.”

If you visit Underscores.me and click on “Advanced Options”, you’ll now find that you can check a box to add Sass support:


Lister emphasized in the announcement that support for Sass is included in a way that gives developers the freedom to use it as they please:

Not everyone compiles or uses Sass the same, so _s shouldn’t force anyone to follow one path or another. In this sense, the Sass provided takes a pure approach, not requiring Compass or any other scripts.

Sass support came about from a combination of numerous pull requests and forks of the project on GitHub. However, the project’s contributors do not wish to limit everyone to Sass and are open to other CSS preprocessors. “I’d still love to see a fork of Less for _s. We’re keen it opens up the way to other preprocessors,” Lister told the Tavern regarding the Sass support announced today.

Earlier this year, WordPress.com formally opened up its marketplace to theme developers. Theme submission guidelines are fairly strict and developers are encouraged to use the _s theme for a head start. While many theme authors appreciate the ability to save time with mixins and variables, using a preprocessor is not required for submitting to WordPress.com.

Every WordPress themer has a unique workflow that may or may not involve a preprocessor, and the Underscores project contributors plan to respect that. “_s doesn’t tell you how to do things, it gives you a start. Anything we add to it should also do that,” Lister said.

The addition of Sass support marks another turning point for the project, as Lister notes that the GitHub repository will now be used solely for development. If you want to use Underscores in a project, the team encourages you to download it directly from Underscores.me.

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  1. I would appreciate if they start supporting Less. I use Less not Saas.


    1. Aakash – You might send them a pull request – I know they are eager to add Less support, too. :)


      1. Good idea. I dont know why people love Saas so much. I love Less. :)


    2. We definitely want to refine the Sass setup and make sure it’s pretty spot-on/useful, first. Then, we can look at bringing it over to Less. If /when we add a Less setup, I suspect it will be pretty close to the Sass version. Pull requests are welcome. :)


    3. Me too. LESS seems easier for theme developer to learn and use. I’d love if _s can support both LESS and SASS.

      Anyway, this is a big and good step ahead.


  2. This is great news, def. gives me a boost to start using sass.

    Can someone please point me to a tutorial in setting up sass in a local environment. Thanks :)


    1. You can go about it a few ways. Since you’re just starting out, I would recommend either trying the command line method tutorial via The Sass Way or via CodeKit (mac only). CodeKit has a friendly GUI and some pretty nifty reload features.


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