Join Morten Rand-Hendriksen for an in-depth discussion in this video Previewing, installing, and changing themes, part of WordPress 4 Essential Training.
- The Customizer is meant to be the one-stop shop for customizing the appearance of your site on the front-end. And with some recent updates in WordPress 4.3, it's becoming just that. It all starts with a Theme Manager that you find here at the top. So far in the course, we've been working with a current default theme called "2015", now it's time to change things up. When you first install WordPress, the application comes equipped with a grouping of the latest default themes. Since 2010, these themes have been named after the year they were released.
And with the current version of WordPress, you get 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 pre-installed. Chances are, by the end of this year, we'll probably have a 2016 theme as well, but that's something that only the crystal ball knows right now. Once you open the Theme Manager in the Customizer, you can now preview your site using any of the other themes that have already been installed. So, let's say I want to see what my site looks like with a 2014 theme. I just hover over it and click "Live Preview".
And now I see my site running 2014. If I like what I see, I can continue customizing this theme. If I don't like what I see, I can go back to the Theme Manager and try a different one. Let's say the 2012 theme. And, as you can see, by simply selecting these different themes, I'm changing the appearance of my site in my browser. And, as I remember, this is only happening in my browser. It's not happening live on the web. If you find out the pre-installed themes don't fit your fancy, or you need more variety, you can install additional themes from the WordPress Theme Directory.
However, to do so. you have to leave the Customizer for a minute, go to the Dashboard, and select "Appearance" and "Themes". From here, you can click the "Add New" button, and this gives you direct access to the WordPress Theme Directory, where you can download free themes for your own site. Now, this Directory gives you lots of options. You can scroll through the current "Featured" themes, you can check out the most popular themes, you can check out the "Latest" themes, and you can also use a "Feature Filter" to say you want a theme that has a lot of white in it, and that is accessibility-ready.
And I run the filter and see what themes come up. Now, this Theme browser you see inside the WordPress Admin panel, is actually a duplicate of the Theme Browser you see on the WordPress Theme Directory on wordpress.org. So, if you find a theme here in this Directory, you'll also find it inside your own installation. Now, if you already know of a theme you want to install, you can also use the search bar to search for the theme name directly. Let's say I search for the theme called "Simone", which was created by a guy named Morton, who works for lynda.com.
And I want to install that onto my site. I can now either preview the theme, which gives me a preview of the theme using the default theme testing content, which is not your content. And, to be honest, it looks pretty weird that way. Or, you can click "Install". Now, this will download and install the theme into your site without activating it. So, this doesn't actually change the appearance of your site on the front-end. Now, you can click on "Live Preview" again, and, low and behold, this will open the Customizer.
So, now you can customize the new theme you installed, before you make it active on your site. And that means, you can now switch between your themes again, using the Theme Manager. And now that I am in the Manager, you'll see I currently have Simone as my preview theme, and if I switch to one of the other ones, let's say 2011 here, and go back to the Manager, Simone will now appear as one of my options. Now that you know how to find new themes and install them from the WordPress Theme Directory, take a few moments to go through some of the Directory and look at what types of themes are available and see if anything fits your fancy.
You can continue following this course using the 2015 theme, which is what I'm going to do, or you can choose to install a new theme and try using that as we continue forward in this course. All the functionality I'm going to show you will work on pretty much any theme. And any time there's functionality that only works on certain themes, I'll let you know. So, it's up to you if you want to continue using 2015, or if you want to find a brand-spanking new theme just for your own site.
Note: This course covers an older version of WordPress, which features the Classic Editor. Watch this course only if you are using the Classic Editor plugin or using WordPress 4.9 or earlier. Otherwise, watch WordPress 5 Essential Training, which covers the new Block Editor experience.
- Creating posts and pages
- Formatting text
- Publishing and scheduling posts
- Adding images, audio, and video
- Bulk editing posts and pages
- Customizing themes and menus
- Using widgets
- Extending WordPress with plugins
- Editing users profiles
- Configuring settings
- Getting new readers
- Keeping WordPress up to date and secure