In the Themes Skill you will learn how to switch from one theme to another, for instance to support sidebars or a particular look. You’ll also learn three ways you can edit your theme.
- Have you completed the Menu Skill and learned to organize and navigate your site? If not, go here and come back later.
Themes in WordPress govern site appearance. Your home page and content (posts and pages) will look different depending on your theme. Check out all the themes you can use on your site at the bottom of the themes help page!:
- Click on a theme name to view a demo of it in a new tab.
- Layout Type and Home Page Type are either sidebar or full-width; see below.
- Almost all our themes support editing via Design Palette Pro; more info on this is below too!
Okay, so what’s the difference between sidebar and full-width themes? Sidebar themes, which include space (sidebars) on the right or left, allow you to add widgets in these sidebar areas (which you’ll add in the next Skill). Your pages and posts on a sidebar theme can either include the sidebar and widgets, or they can display full width—a popular format today that nonetheless restricts your page content and functionality.
The default Agency Pro theme on your new site, for instance, is a sidebar theme—except that it was initially set up as full width to keep things simple for starters. You can readily change this layout via Customize > Site Layout.
Once you’ve selected a theme, you can edit its appearance in three successively advanced ways: (a) Live Preview, (b) Design Palette Pro, and (c) Edit CSS.
To earn this Skill, follow the below steps, then follow the submission requirements at bottom.
- Go to the DS help site themes page and browse the list. Click on any sidebar theme to try it out in a live demo.
- Important!: You don’t have to change your theme as part of this Skill, but we encourage you to consider doing so. If you change your theme, for now you must select a sidebar theme (under Layout Type), which will assist you in the next two Skills badges. (You can always change it later as well.)
- To check out a new theme, go to your dashboard and choose Customize > Change. Roll over the theme you have chosen and select Live Preview to see what your site would look like. Make sure to verify/edit the following in Live Preview: (a) Menu (set your menu as Primary Navigation if it does not display), (b) Site Layout (see sidebar vs. full-width discussion above), and (c) Content Archive (set it to display entry excerpts). Feel free to play with other Live Preview options as well, such as colors or background image.
- If you DO want to switch to this new theme, make sure to save and activate it!
- More customized theme edits are done via Design Palette Pro, which you can launch via the admin bar; see here to play with a demo. Important!: if you changed your theme, go to Settings and select your new theme. Then you can feel free to experiment with other edits as you wish. If you end up with a big mess, the Settings > Reset button is your escape hatch—a nice way to start afresh if things don’t seem to be working.
- (Optional) Even more customized edits are done via Customize > Edit CSS. CSS is the code that your theme uses to govern its appearance; CSS snippets you add here will override defaults set in your theme or via the above. For some basic (and not entirely up to date) info on CSS edits, see here.
Submission requirements: Please submit a screenshot of the page that best shows off the edits you did to your current or new theme. Additionally, in the submission box give the name of your theme (and why you selected it, if a new theme), and how you edited it via the above. This Skill will be approved by a student helper checking your submission, so make sure it’s fully complete.