On Magento category-pages you can select how to view the available products: By price, name or relevance, and ascending or descending. Within the Magento backend, the default ordering (price, name or relevance) can be configured but strangely enough the default direction (ascending or descending) not. Here is a XML layout update that allows you to do this anyway.

Read more: Set the default direction or ordering for Magento category-pages

The Magento theme uses two very powerful elements, with which you can modify most of the HTML-output of the Magento system: XML layouts and PHTML templates. Core hacks are very bad, so Magento allows you to override each file within your own Magento theme.

While this is no problem with PHTML templates, XML layouts contain many times complicated structures. If you could add your own custom XML layout file, you allow have to manage this file - separating your own changes from the core files. This tutorial shows you how to build a custom Magento module, that only adds its own XML layout file - so you can safely add XML updates to it.

Read more: Build your own Magento override-module

Learn how easy it is to create a custom column layout for Magento. The tutorial is based on the Magento Enterprise Edition but also applies to the Magento Community Edition. A custom column layout is helpful if you want for instance a "left" column to only appear on certain pages.

Read more: Video: Custom column layout