Child Themes!

| Category: Web Design

Love the TwentyEleven theme that came with your WordPress install? Does it look almost like what you wanted? Did you make changes to that theme, only to have your changes overwritten when WordPress had you update to the latest release?!?! Here's how to avoid that... create a child theme!

The easiest way to make changes to an existing theme is to create what is called a Child Theme. This is basically a sub-theme that uses all the main theme’s files and uses any files you include in its individual folder. That can mean adding on to an existing file (for instance, adding new functions to TwentyEleven by creating a functions.php file and adding your own stuff) or completely overwriting a file from the original theme (like including a new header.php file of our own). Here’s all you need:

  1. Create a folder inside your wp-content/themes/ directory. For the purposes of this post, I’ll call the folder “custom-2011”.
  2. Inside that folder, you’ll need only one file, the style.css file. This is where you can specify what the name of the theme is and the theme to which it is linked.
  3. Put this text at the top of your style.css file:
    /*
    Theme Name: Custom 2011
    Theme URI: http://clarinerd.com/blog/web-design/child-themes/
    Description: Child theme for the Twenty Eleven theme
    Version: 1.0
    License: GNU General Public License
    License URI: license.txt
    Author: Sharon Murphy
    Author URI: http: //www.clarinerd.com/
    Template: twentyeleven
    */
    @import url("../twentyeleven/style.css");

That’s it! Everything else you want within your theme is up to you. I’ve got a few ideas around this site and there are some great options out on the internet if you search for “twentyeleven child theme”.

If you don’t want to have to create the directory and files listed above, a ZIP is available below:

To install, here’s what you do:

  1. Navigate to the Themes area of your Dashboard.
  2. Click “Add New”.
  3. Choose “Upload”.
  4. Choose the ZIP file you just downloaded, and click “Install Now”.
  5. Activate the theme. You’re done!

Have questions? Have requests on more info concerning child themes? I’m here to help 🙂

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