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Get the value of a Sass variable from a theme partial file.

PHP June 8, 2019


nebula()->get_sass_variable($variable, $filepath, $return);


(Optional) (String) The variable name to get the value of
Default: $primary_color

(Optional) (String) The theme or full filepath to get the variable from
Default: child

(Optional) (String) What to return
Default: value

Parameter Notes

Variable names will be normalized, so ‘primary_color’, ‘primary’, and ‘$primary_color’ are all equivalent. Note: This is not meant to be used for multi-line variables.

$filepath can be “child”, “parent”, or a full filepath (including filename and extension) of where to look for the variable. Passing “child” or “parent” will only look for a _variables.scss file within the respective /assets/scss/partials/ directory.

If $return is “value” only the value of the found variable will be returned. Otherwise, it will return all “parts” of that line.

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Get the primary color from the child theme.

<?php echo nebula()->get_sass_variable('$primary_color'); ?>

Get a test variable from an animations partial and return all parts of the line.

<?php var_dump( nebula()->get_sass_variable('$testing', get_template_directory() . '/assets/scss/partials/_animations.scss', true) ); ?>

Source File

Located in /libs/Utilities/Sass.php on line 382.

1 Hook

Find these filters and actions in the source code below to hook into them. Use do_action() and add_filter() in your functions file or plugin.

Need a new filter hook? Request one here.

This function has no action hooks available. Request one?

        public function get_sass_variable($variable='$primary_color', $filepath='child', $return='value'){
            $override = apply_filters('pre_get_sass_variable', null, $variable, $filepath, $return);
            if ( isset($override) ){return $override;}

            //Use the passed variables file location, or choose from the passed theme
            if ( $filepath === 'parent' ){
                $filepath = get_template_directory() . '/assets/scss/partials/_variables.scss';
            } elseif ( $filepath === 'child' && is_child_theme() ){
                $filepath = get_stylesheet_directory() . '/assets/scss/partials/_variables.scss';

            $variable_name = $this->normalize_color_name($variable);
            $transient_name = 'nebula_sass_variable_' . $variable_name; //Does this need to be more unique (to include the location too)? Cannot just append $filepath...

            //Potential candidate for new Nebula transient() function
            $scss_variables = get_transient($transient_name);
            if ( empty($scss_variables) || $this->is_debug() ){
                $timer_name = $this->timer('Sass Variable (' . $variable . ')', 'start', 'Sass');

                if ( !file_exists($filepath) ){
                    $this->timer($timer_name, 'end');
                    return false;

                global $wp_filesystem;
                $scss_variables = $wp_filesystem->get_contents($filepath);
                set_transient($transient_name, $scss_variables, HOUR_IN_SECONDS*12); //1 hour cache
                $this->timer($timer_name, 'end');

            preg_match('/(?<comment>\/\/|\/\*\s?)?\$' . $variable_name . ':\s?(?<value>.*)(;|\s?!default;)(.*$)?/m', $scss_variables, $matches);

            //Return the entire line if requested
            if ( $return === 'all' ){
                return $matches;

            if ( empty($matches['value']) ){
                return false; //Color was not found

            //If the color is exists but is commented out ignore it
            if ( !empty($matches['comment']) ){
                return false; //This is breaking lots of things

            //Remove "!default" from colors if it exists
            if ( $return === 'color' ){
                return trim(preg_replace('/(!default)/i', '', $matches['value']));

            return trim($matches['value']);


To override this PHP function, use this hook in your child theme or plugin ("my_custom" can be changed):

add_filter('pre_get_sass_variable', 'my_custom_get_sass_variable', 10, 4); //The last integer must be 1 more than the actual parameters
function my_custom_get_sass_variable($null, $variable, $filepath, $return){ //$null is required, but can be ignored
    //Write your own code here

    return true; //Return true to prevent the original function from running afterwords

You can completely disable this PHP function with a single line actions:

 add_filter('pre_get_sass_variable', '__return_false');