Support » Networking WordPress » Help !!! Sharing Themes that have been modified

  • msujc


    Ok guys, heres the issue. I am working on creating a blog for teachers at a school district. I have been asked to modify a theme such as weaver ii or similar theme with a lot of custom options. The district wants all blogs to share the same theme and for that theme not to be editable by the teachers only the administrator (Me). I am able to modify my theme by going to appearance then within that theme chaning the header, colors ect from within that themes available options. However these changes only occur on my site. I have the theme network enabled and all the sites are sharing the theme but the changes are not copying over. It is leaving those changes unsaved. Do you guys have a tip or advice on how to accomplish this. I want to pick a customizable theme, make the changes then enable the theme with the modifcations on all teacher sites. I don’t know alot of css so I have been making these changes using the themes built in options, no html or code editing.


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  • PAFoster


    Hi there,

    i think you will find that changing themes usiing their own option panels means that those changes are changed in that site’s database, in this case, just your site.

    Networking enabling the theme is only allowing each blog to use the theme, and therefore the options panel. The owner of that blog who has access to that theme’s panel can then set there own settings, which then saves in the database for that site.

    That is my understanding.

    You appear to have two options,

    1) Make the same changes in the options panel on each site.
    2) Make the changes in the theme itself, by editing the styles.txt file.

    Sadly neither is what you want.

    If you were to spend ages setting the changes in each panel on all the sites, since the panel is by default available to anyone with dashboard admin access, then they could be changed again.

    You could get round this by only allowing the teachers to be ‘editors’ that way they have no access to change things on the site including accessing/adding themes, and plugins etc.

    And you’d need to do that with any theme that has an options panel.

    Your only option as far I see it (and I may be wrong) is to edit the theme’s style.css and any of the templates as necessary, then that would be changed on all blogs.

    You also need to be aware that if you update the theme when a bug fix or new version comes along, then your changes will be overwritten by the update.

    What you need to do is create a child theme, – and that’s not as difficult as it sounds.

    You probably only need to do a basic one which is one directory folder with a new style.css file in it that uses the original file, but makes the changes you’ve added to the new file. For example this will change the title of each blog in your network green.

    #site-title a {
        color: #009900;

    The option panel in theme would do this by using a php function to save and get the changed colour from the blog’s database file – which in itself causes another problem, in that the colours etc you want to change probably won’t be referenced in the style.css file anyway.

    I don’t know any CSS but by a little trial and error and knowing some HTML, I have been able to do some edits, by making a change of colour and seeing if it change the part of the theme colour I wanted changing. I’ve gotten better at guessing where to look in the style.css file for the bits I need to change. And if the css file has been written correctly with plenty of notes and divided up into different sections, that makes it easier too.

    Summing up then I believe you are going to need to:

    a) choose a theme that doesn’t have a theme specific options panel.
    b) create a child of the theme you do choose.
    c) create a new style.css with the changes you need.
    d) network activate the child theme, (and I the parent, I think) then set the child theme in each site – I believe there are plugins that allow you to set your newly created theme as the default theme for each new blog on the network.

    You may feel you need to hire someone to do this work for you, though if you are very clear on what you want changing, this shouldn’t take more than 10-15mins for a proficient wordpress expert.

    I suggest you post your requirements on You post what you need and anyone who wants to do the job will email you with a quote.

    I suggest you ask in the requirements that the person replying adds something in the in the subject line when contacting you.

    Many agencies apply for everything as the more the apply for the mor likely they are to get work. It’s done automatically by them often using some svraping tool that collects the job posting for many outsourcing sites.

    As such the job requirements are never read and you end up with a lot of people saying they can do it, even though they have no idea what you want until you’ve gone backwards and forwards with emails – then they quote a stupid price without you realising.

    I normally ask toward the end of my posting for the applicant to write the colour of the of snow as the first word in the subject line of the email. Then you will know as you scan your inbox, which people have actually read your requirements, so you can dump the rest without having to worry about them.

    Applogies for the essay, just hope this goes someway to helping you out! 🙂

    Regards, Paul.

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