What is a WordPress Theme?

A WordPress theme, or template, is a collection of files that work together to create the layout and design, ie your sidebars, font styles and colors.  The Theme may give images a border or change the font style for a caption on an image.  Your theme changes how your website looks without changing any of the core WordPress code (that is the heart of your website) or any of the information contained within your website.

Where do you get a WordPress Theme?

You can get WordPress themes from the WordPress Theme Directory.  These themes have been inspected and checked for compliance with the WordPress core code.  They are free for downloading.  The directory allows you to search by popular themes and latest themes.  You can also search by layout, features and subject with the feature filter.

WordPress Theme directory.

How do I download a WordPress Theme?

You can download a theme into your own theme directory using the Add New Themes option in the Appearance sub-menu.

  1. Add new WordPress theme.Log into your WordPress dashboard/admin panel
  2. Select Appearance from the left side menu
  3. In the menu that pops up, select Themes
  4. Select Add New
  5. You are now looking at the WordPress theme directory.  Use the search or filter options to find the Theme you want to use
  6. Click the Preview link to preview the Theme’s features or Install Now to upload the theme to your Theme Directory

If you have downloaded a Theme to your computer, you can use the Upload link in the top row to upload a zipped copy of the Theme you want to use.  This will upload the Theme into your directory.

Learn more about Themes at the WordPress Codex.

Ok, you have a Theme, how do you start using it?

  1. WordPress Theme Details, Activate and Live Preview.Log into your WordPress dashboard
  2. From the left sidebar menu, select Appearance then select Themes
  3. From the Themes panel, hover over the Theme thumbnail image for the Theme you want to use.  You can learn more information about the theme by clicking Theme Details.
  4. Continue hovering over the thumbnail to:
    1. Click the Live Preview link to see a live preview of your Theme, using your website content or
    2. Click the Activate button to active the Theme you want to use.

Your Theme selection will become active immediately.

Note:  If the Theme preview is blank, do not activate the new Theme without looking into this issue.  There could be a problem with the Theme’s code and your website may not display properly.

Cropping an image

You upload you image to the Media Library.  You realize your image needs to be cropped.  Ugh.  In the old days, you would have to crop that image in your photo editing software and upload the image again. Good news . . .you can now crop your image from the Media Library.

Cropping an Image

Start in the Media Library.  Select the image you want to crop.

The Edit Media or Attachment Details page is next screen.  Click on the Edit Image button below your image.image-editing-01

To start cropping an image, click and drag over the area you want cropped.  The cropped area will become darker.  The area to preserved will be brighter.  Move the crop square as needed to get the crop you want.  Click and hold on any of the little squares (in the corners, center top, bottom, left and right area of the image) to lengthen or shorten the crop.  To scale smaller or bigger, click and drag a corner square.

image-editing-02
Happy with the the new look?  Click the crop button above the image.  The cropped image will replace the original image.  When you are done editing your image:

  • click  the Save button below the image
  • AND THEN click the blue Update button in the right sidebar to update the image.

Media Library

The Media Library allows you to edit, view and delete media you uploaded to your website or blog.  The Media Library provides you with two ways to view your library, the Grid and List Views.  You can toggle between the Grid and List Views by clicking on the icons under the Media Library title.

Toggle the Media Library Views between List and Grid Views.

Media Library Grid View

The Grid View gives you thumbnails of your images, audio and movie icons.

Media in the Library Grid View.

Media Library in the Grid View showing drop down menu.

 

With the grid view,  your media library automatically displays all media items.  It can also be sorted by images, audio, video and media items not attached to a page or post.

 

 

 

 

Media Library List View

The Media Library List View is a table which lists all of your media in a row.  Media is listed with the newest upload first.

Media Library in the List View.

By hovering over a library item in the the List View, you get three options:  Edit, Delete Permanently and View.  You can also quickly see what page or post the library item is attached to and when it was uploaded.

media-library-05

Click Delete Permanently to delete the image from the database.  Clicking View will bring you to the attachment page for the library item.  Clicking Edit will bring you to a page where you can add a caption, alternative text for screen readers and a description of the image.

Media Library - view media to edit the Caption, Alternative Text and Description.