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In this lesson I'll show you how to work with different themes in WordPress completely altering the look and feel of your blog with just a quick click. A WordPress theme controls the layout as well as the styling of a WordPress site. There are a great many WordPress themes available and customizing one is a terrific way to learn how WordPress works, as well as developing your own custom site, but before you can gain access to the theme you'll need to activate it. Let me show you how that's done. So here we are in the WordPress Dashboard, and I am going to expand the Appearance category, and you see the very first option is Themes where there are two tabs, Manage Themes and Install Themes.
On the Manage Theme side you'll see two themes ship by default with WordPress. Twenty Ten listed down below here under Available Themes and Twenty Eleven, which is the currently activated theme. I could activate Twenty Ten, but honestly there's not a tremendous difference between these two themes. So that you can get a good sense of the power of themes, let me install and activate another theme. We'll go to Install Themes, here, where you can, if you like, search for a theme with specific characteristic as you see here, Colors, Columns, Width, and so on.
You can also browse the Featured Themes or the Newest Themes or Recently Updated. As I said there are thousands and thousands of themes. But I am going to kind of cut to the chase here, and let's go to Search, and we are going to search for a theme called Motion that I thought was kind of really nice and very, very different from the default themes. So let's take a look at how that looks in preview. I'll click the Preview link below that.
And you can see the thumbnail over on the left, and this is just the generic preview text and setup that is used at every WordPress theme. As you can see, it has a very different background and a very different feel to the navigation. Now as I scroll down you can see how the various headings are handled as well as basic paragraphs, the different list types, forms, and so on. So I am going to go ahead and click Install and WordPress will download the install package, unpack it, set it up, install it, and now that it's installed we could do a Live Preview which would show you what your content look like with this theme.
But let's go ahead and just activate it so we can see it very quickly. You will notice that the previously currently active theme, Twenty Eleven, has now been moved down to Available Themes. So let's take a look at our existing content for the Roux Academy site in the Motion theme. I'll go ahead and just click Roux Academy here, and there is the Roux Academy titled there as well as our video production blog and here is our video, and actually it looks quite nice sitting there.
Let's take a look at the standard blog entry that we had put in here. Here is the Roux Academy Art Conference with its styling. I'll go ahead and click on that to go to the single page. As you can see, it's really a different style, all the way through, including your links which even have a dotted border below it. Very stylish. Next, I want to show you one other way to bring in a theme and along the way introduce you to the simple theme we'll be customizing to create our site-specific blog.
So let's head back to the Dashboard, go back down to Themes. Here is another way to get to it just roll over Appearance and then choose Themes from the flyout menu. Now again we'll go to Install Themes, and this time choose the Upload link that you find near the top. And we'll choose a file, we'll navigate to your exercise files, Chapter 4, and select the custom.zip file.
Themes are stored as zip files, so you want to make sure that you choose that one rather than the uncompressed custom folder that you see there. Click Open and then back in WordPress choose Install Now. It looks like it's installed successfully. Let's activate it. Now this is a very stripped-down theme that was created from scratch. If you're interested in how that was done, check out my course from the lynda.com online training library. Now let's take a quick look at the site with the theme applied.
Again, I'll go up and click Roux Academy. As you can see, it's very bare bones which makes it ideal for applying your own custom look and feel. Here is my video, let's go to the Roux Academy Art Conference. There's that. Here is the Conference Schedule At-A-Glance. It looks like we need some styling there to take care of that. Let's head back to the Home page. Now you may be wondering how themes fit into the overall site structure. Let's head back over to Dreamweaver so you can see exactly how it works.
I am going to expand the Files panel here so you can focus on that. Now let's open up the blog folder, which you will recall, of course, is our WordPress folder, and there within the blog folder is another folder called wp-content. So let me open that up and scroll down. Let me open up the names a little bit here, because it is going to be expanding into that area and here we see several subfolders under wp-content, including themes.
So if we expand that one, you'll see a different folder for each of the themes. There are the two default themes twentyten and twentyeleven and the themes we brought in, motion and custom. When you're first working with WordPress, you will probably download and try out a bunch of themes just to see what's available. That's fine. However, there will come a time when you want to remove any unused themes, especially when you're turning over a custom site to a client. Now you can via the Manage Themes area in WordPress delete any unwanted themes.
Let me show you where that is go back to Dashboard > Themes, and if I go down to the Available Themes here, each of them has a Delete option. Now you also have the ability to remove themes right from Dreamweaver. So I'll head back to Dreamweaver where you will see that all you really need to do is to go in the themes folder and delete the related subfolder. So let's get rid of motion here. I'll select that and press the Delete key. Dreamweaver asked for confirmation, I'll click Yes, and now that, that file is gone let's head back to WordPress, and once I refresh the page, you will see that Motion is no longer one of my Available Themes.
With basic theme management under your belt you are ready for the next step, child themes.
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