Support » Themes and Templates » Modifying Basic Elements

  • Can anyone point me to a sinply and clear explanation of how to modify the following basic WordPress theme elements:

    – Header background colour
    – Header image
    – Sidebar background colour
    – Sidebar link colours (regular, hover, visited, etc.)
    – Names of sidebar titles (Pages, Archives, etc.)
    – Order of sidebar items (Pages, Archives, Categories, etc.)
    – Elements widths (total page width, sidebar width, header width, etc.

    I’ve looked through lots of posts and instructions and most assume a more deeper understanding about how CSS and template files work in WordPress than a new user could possibily hope to understand quickly.

    The above elements are the only ones I really need to modify to create theme that I would like to implement on my WordPress site.

    I am using WordPress to manage a small website not a blog.

    ~Rant Warning!~

    Again, I wish someone could but the elements the user can adjust into a menu under the DashBoard. Similar to discussion forum software like Invision Power Board where all the various menu, text, background colours, fonts etc. can all be adjusted from a browser driven control panel.

    I would like to gain a deeper understanding of CSS, etc. but I the WordPress community will not grow beyond those who are willing to learn these things in order to successfully implement their own WordPress sites. I’m a graphic designer NOT a programmer or coder and while I really like the way WordPress is implemented I do not understand why we are still hacking CSS files manually in NotePad if they are to be the great next hope for web design.

    ~End of rant~


Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • The documentation site for WordPress is called the Codex at It houses a wide variety of topics, documents, and step-by-step instructions to hold the hand of any level user. It is a work in progress, though, run by volunteers.

    Here are some of the articles that should help you.

    Introduction to Blogging
    First Steps with WordPress
    WordPress Lessons
    New to WordPress – Where to Start
    WordPress Blog Design and Layout
    Using WordPress Themes
    WordPress CSS Information and Techniques
    Creating individual Pages
    Stepping Into Template Tags

    As for the rant, the new development of WordPress Themes takes away the burden of coding and playing with codes for the user, though a few minor adjustments to personalize a theme may be needed.

    Some themes come with step by step instructions for such modification, but the Codex is packed with such information. A few minor changes here and there and it is fixed and the user may never have to revisit the code again.

    And WordPress isn’t the only player on the block. If you want “let the program do it for me”, there are hundreds of such software packages and web hosts with such services. WordPress is designed for those who either want to do nothing or everything to create their site. You won’t find that range in many other software packages.

    In other words, users don’t choose WordPress just because it is easy. They often choose it because it can give them the option of control and power with an easy interface.

    Well I hacked and slashed my way through the various CSS and template files and managed to get pretty much everything I wanted accomplished.

    Some of the reading helped give me a clearer understanding of how the CSS Stylesheet and the templates interact. This could be documented better IMHO. Thanks for the push to read (:

    The only remaining issue I have remaining is finding a way to add linked banner images to my sidebar menu and more importantly to the imgheader graphic.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


    Banner ads? Or graphics? Just open the template file you want (header.php for header, sidebar.php for sidebar…etc) and put the link to the banner where you want it to show up. Add CSS to it if you need to.

    Is there something special about these (do they come with javascript or something else)? If not, just put in the link to the images or banners.

    If there is a specific issue, a link to your site would help us solve it really fast, I’m sure.

    Oh, and as for the documenation, if you think it needs improving, please get involved with the WordPress Codex. We need all the help we can get for this volunteer project. Don’t forget, EVERYTHING associated with this forum and WordPress is volunteer, even the developer.

    I just added the banner to the imgheader image file for now.

    I will try your suggestion. Haven’t had time to get back to WordPRess today, although I was up until nearly 3 am working on it. First time a quite a while I actually “got it” well most of it enough to really get things done. I really enjoy working with WordPress!

    I do appreciate the fact that everyone is a volunteer and I would like to help out anyway and as much as my schedule allows me.

    Like I said, I’m a Lead Graphic Designer and I don’t have a strong enough knowledge of WordPress to really contribute yet. I could help with creating walk-throughs, etc. I did a lot of consulting work in the late 90’s for a company called NetObjects. They created a website creation and management product similar to Frontpage or Dreamweaver only a heck of a lot easier to use. IMHO.

    Anyway, thanks for all your help and please let me know how I can help.


Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
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