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.