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Basic theme customization

From: Start with a Theme: Video Blogs in WordPress

Video: Basic theme customization

Like most WordPress themes, Twenty Twelve comes with its own set of customization options that allow you to personalize your site. The options on this theme are relatively basic, but using them the right way, they can be quite effective at making your site look and feel like you, if you know what I mean. You can access the customization options in your theme in several different ways. One of the coolest ways to access it is by using what's known as the Theme Customizer. You can get to the Theme Customizer if you're on the front page of your site, and you're logged in and then you go to the WordPress toolbar, go to your site name and select Customize.

Basic theme customization

Like most WordPress themes, Twenty Twelve comes with its own set of customization options that allow you to personalize your site. The options on this theme are relatively basic, but using them the right way, they can be quite effective at making your site look and feel like you, if you know what I mean. You can access the customization options in your theme in several different ways. One of the coolest ways to access it is by using what's known as the Theme Customizer. You can get to the Theme Customizer if you're on the front page of your site, and you're logged in and then you go to the WordPress toolbar, go to your site name and select Customize.

This opens the Theme Customizer inside WordPress and from here you can control different aspects of your theme. You can set a Site Title and Tagline like I showed you earlier in the course. You can also select Colors, for instance, in the Twenty Twelve theme you can set a Header Text Color. Currently, it's #444, which is a gray, but you can set it to any color you want. So, you can see here I can set it to a blue. You see the color changes here, or I can set it to red, and again the color changes or I'll set it back to #444. And you can also set the Background Color.

The Background Color is what is behind here. So you can set that to another color if you want to. And here I'll show you something really neat. If you set the Background Color to white, you'll notice how the site changes? That's because since you already have a lot of white space around the site, if you set it to white, it would just look really weird, because you have so much space at the top so the developers have actually created a custom function just for white backgrounds to utilize the space on the page better.

You can also set a Background Image if you want. You can experiment with this. I don't personally like using Background Images, but it's fun if you have the right image. And you can finally select if you want to have a Static Front Page or not. But there are two more features you can activate to customize your site. They're just not currently available because you haven't activated them yet. To get to those features, you have to go to the back end of WordPress. So I'm going to click Cancel and then go to the Dashboard, and when I go down to Appearance here, you'll see we also have Header and Menus.

But they weren't available in the Theme Customizer because we haven't yet made a menu, and we haven't yet uploaded a header image. So we're going to do that now. First, I'll make a menu. So I'll create a new menu. I'll call it Main menu. Click Create menu and then I can add items to my menu. So I'll go down here, and I'll click on View All, and I'll add my Creative Cloud as a menu item, and I'll also add Photoshop as a menu item. These are both category items.

Now I'll Save my menu, and if I go back to the front page and go back to my Theme Customizer, you'll see we now have Navigation as an option and from here, I can switch between the default navigation and the Main menu that I just created. Now you see it adds my custom menu items here. You can also add a custom header either by going to the Dashboard and going to Appearance and Header or by just going to the toolbar and selecting Header and from here you can upload a header image.

You simply click Choose File to find an image you want to use. I have an image on my Desktop that I created. I'll open that image and upload it and from here I can now crop the image if I want to, in any way I want, and when I'm done cropping, I can click Crop and Publish, and that header image will now appear. So when I go back to the front page, you'll see we now have a header image here. Now that you've added a header image, it's a little bit weird that you have the title first above here and then you have it again in the header image, so you may want to remove the title.

You can do that from the Theme Customizer by going to Customize and then going to Site Title & Tagline and turning off Display Header Text. Now you just have the menu at the top and then you have the big header image and then you have your content. So if I want to finalize customizing my site, I'm going to change the background color to white and click Save and Publish. Now I can close my Theme Customizer, and you see we have a site that looks quite different from what it did when it came out of the box.

Knowing how to customize your theme and experiment with different settings allows you to take ownership of your site and make it your own.

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