From Georgetown University Commons Knowledge Base
The WordPress codex describes themes like this:
Fundamentally, the WordPress Theme system is a way to "skin" your weblog. Yet, it is more than just a "skin." Skinning your site implies that only the design is changed. WordPress Themes can provide much more control over the look and presentation of the material on your website.
We offer 60+ blog themes to Commons users. Some of these themes are customized with Georgetown branding. A number of these, like "Georgetown Course Template" and "Hoya," are already set up with courses in mind. The majority of the themes that you'll find in the themes list, however, are basic WordPress themes that offer different levels of customizability. "Atahualpa," for example, allows users to make changes to everything from the font style to header image to blog page setup. Others, like "Chaotic Soul," offer limited customizability, most often taking the form of changeable header images. Others allow no modifications beyond the usual sidebar changes (see widgets for more on sidebar changes).
Changing your blog theme
To change your blog theme, go to your dashboard. Select "appearance," and then "themes." You will see a list of five or more pages of themes from which you can choose. To preview your blog content in a theme, just click on the "preview." You will then have the option to either apply the theme to your blog by clicking "activate" in the upper right or to close out of the preview by clicking the "x" in the upper left. There is no limit to the number of times you can activate a different theme.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering your theme:
- Different blog themes display pages differently. Most of the time, pages will display horizontally somewhere near your blog header. Some of the newer themes will allow you to display sub-pages of pages by hovering over the main page title. Other themes, however, will list together all pages you create, whether they are main-level pages or sub-pages. Keep this in mind if you are planning on creating a number of pages-- it may make your navigation bar (filled with your pages) unwieldy. If you are using a theme that does not automatically display pages, you can add the "pages" widget to your sidebar. (See widgets.)
- You may find that you lose your log-in link when changing your theme-- you will originally have had found it under "site admin," "meta," or "options." To retrieve this widget for your sidebar, go append /wp-admin/ to your blog home page URL, then follow the instructions on the [widgets] page for adding a widget. You'll want to add the "meta" widget.
- While we unfortunately cannot make theme customizations for you, you should consider trying highly customizable blog themes like "Atahualpa."
- With few exceptions, you can make your sidebar display the things you want to have it display. See the widgets page for more information on customizing your sidebar.