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How to edit a WordPress theme

Sometimes you just don’t like the way your theme looks and all you want to do is just change certain parts of it. There’s multiple ways to do so and some of them require a little knowledge about web development languages, let’s discuss the easy ways first.

Getting to do dashboard

For both of the methods however, you’ll have to make your way to your WordPress dashboard, again; there’s two ways of doing this as well.

The direct URL

By default, your WordPress dashboard can be reached by simply adding “/wp-admin/” to your website’s address, without the quotes, this is required for websites that don’t allow users to make or log into their accounts as they usually have the default login buttons removed.

So if your website is:

http://www.example.com

Your dashboard will be located at:

http://www.example.com/wp-admin/

Through the website

After logging in on your WordPress site, take a look at the top bar and find your website’s name over there. After hovering over it a menu will drop down allowing you to click on a button called “Dashboard”

Screenshot #1

Customizing the theme itself

So we’re finally talking about how to go about customizing the theme itself, as promised, the easy method first.

Click the customize button

This button will be found in the same menu by which you went to the dashboard. (See the above screenshot, third item from the top)

Another way of getting to the theme customize screen is through the dashboard. At the left side you’ll be able to see a menu with a rather diverse scope, after finding the option that says appearance and hovering over it; a new menu will open to the right.

The option to customize your theme should be there if the theme’s developer allowed such an option.

Screenshot #2

You’ll be able to change various options, including but not limited to background color, background images, fonts, color themes, etc. for most themes out there.

Here’s a few screenshots of the customizable options for the theme Twenty Thirteen, which is one of WordPress’ default themes.

Screenshot #4 Screenshot #5 Screenshot #3

If the customize button isn’t there

Then the theme’s developer didn’t add support for changes in the original theme. But that’s not the only way theme customizations are done!

This method requires that you have knowledge of the following the web development languages.

  • CSS
    • This is what gives the look to your website, without CSS your website has no colors, default fonts and nothing unique.
  • HTML and PHP
    • Having basic knowledge of these will definitely help you as you go about your quest of making the ultimate custom WordPress theme.

 

 

Do NOT go past this point if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Chances are you’re going to break your entire website without knowing how to fix it!

We will NOT be responsible if you do so!

To the theme editor!

To get to the theme editor, again go to your dashboard and look at the menu at the left. After hovering over the appearance button you’ll see a list of options, one of which will be “editor”, click it and you’ll be sent over to the theme editor.Screenshot #6

 

After getting to the theme editor, take a look at the right side. You’ll see a list of files that your theme is using, it’ll look something like this.

Screenshot #7

Some of the files you should be interested in are, from top to bottom.

  • footer.php – Edit this file to change the footer on your WordPress site, whether you want to add your copyright info to the bottom or just leave your name there, this is the file you want to be in.
  • functions.php – Every single theme function that isn’t covered everywhere else can be found here. Do look over here if you want to change them.
  • header.php – Similar to the footer, but at the top! Everything at the top of your website is going to be here.
  • page.php – Not shown in the screenshot, but this file has everything to do with the pages you add to your WordPress. If you want to remove the sidebar, just remove the PHP function which calls the sidebar from this file, and there won’t be any more sidebars on your pages!
  • index.php – Usually the content file, it governs how posts are displayed in general.
  • style.css – This is where you want to be for basic design changes! If you know CSS, this is the file to throw all of your knowledge into.

We can’t stress this enough, do NOT mess with these files unless you’re absolutely sure of what you’re doing! And even if you’re confident in your skills, check everything twice!

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