WordPress Basics – Using Theme Options

Due to reader requests, I’m going to do some posts on WordPress basics specifically for those using Artisteer generated themes. If you exported a template using Artisteer Version 3, you’ll be very pleased with the Theme’s Options panel under the Appearance Tab of your Dashboard. You’ll definitely want to make use of this very practical feature as it will save you a lot of time and searching trying to change or edit simple items. Let me share with you some key options you can select there.

Headline and Menu Options:

  • Hide Your Headline and/or Slogan Text
  • Show or Hide your Home page menu item or rename it.(Note: this can also be done through the custom menus you create in the Menu’s Panel
  • Highlight Active Categories in your menu
  • Trim long menu items
  • Choose whether you want to display categories or pages in your menu if you have not created a custom menu and selected it within your Menu Panel.

Posts Options:

  • Display or hide the “older/newer” posts links at the top and/or bottom of post pages
  • Hide or Display those same navigation links in the front posts page and/or in single post views
  • Limit the number of characters used in those links, if desired

Featured Images:

  • Choose to auto-generate a thumbnail image from the first image of the post if desired.
  • Set the thumbnail dimensions

Post Excerpt Options:
Post excerpts can already be added at the bottom of individual posts if you would like to use a separate small post introductory text rather than just using the more tag for only displaying the first portion of the post when viewing a category. It’s an excellent option to display the best part of your content in a small amount of space as a teaser to get people to read the full post. In the Theme Options page, you can choose to automatically generate an excerpt from all posts that you have not chosen to use the more-tag for or that you have not manually added an excerpt to. You can also choose the word number you’d like to cap the excerpts to in these options, as well as the tags you’d like to be able to include (such as bolding font, italics, and font heading styles.) You can also choose to apply your excerpt tag filters if desired.

Pages and Comments

  • Select what people see when they encounter a 404 page (a page that is displayed when they have entered an incorrect url or search item. Here you can select if you’d like them to see a random post instead, choose the title of that post, and also choose if you’d like them to see the tags and choose the title of the tags such as “Tag Cloud” which is set by default.
  • Gives you the option of using smilies (which there are a ton of them to choose from) or not within comments

Sidebar Options
I LOVE this feature as it gives you the default block option for your sidebars and displays each widget section to choose the default style for. If you want to learn more about adding more styles, or defining the current styles further, please view my posts on Adding More Widget Styles to WP Part 1 and Part 2.

Footer Options
If you have added your own content to the footer through Artisteer, you may be wondering why it doesn’t automatically appear here. At the bottom of the Theme’s Option Panel, you will see a button to “Save Changes” or “Rest Default.” By clicking Reset Default, you will be able to have the Artisteer content updated. However, it will not save any changes you made through the Theme Options Panel.

I’m going to show you a trick on how to still keep that content that you added through Artisteer, and also easily keep the changes you have made or are making to the Theme’s Options panel.

  1. Click on the “Editor” tab under Appearance on your WordPress Dashboard.
  2. In the left hand column of the page, find and click on the default.php file.
  3. Go toward the end of that file, and you’ll find the footer content that you added through Artisteer. Copy that content.
  4. Go back to your Theme Options Page, and delete the content within the Footer field and paste in the content you just copied. You can edit as necessary. Special Tip: You can add into the footer content any of the short code provided as examples below that field. So,for example if you want your copyright date to automatically change, just put in [ year ] (only with no spaces) where you currently have the date displayed.
  5. Make sure to make any other edits or additions as desired on the Theme Options page, and click Save Options at the bottom of the page

Finally, the other nice feature of the Theme Options, is the ability to easily add Advertisements within the theme. It gives you 5 different places for you to add your advertisement code, as well as some example short code you can use.

So, if you have not done so already, make sure to take advantage of these incredible options right within the Dashboard of your WordPress theme! :)

© 2011, reflectingthedesigner.com. All rights reserved.

steve dream
March 15th, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Hi Sarah

You website is simply beautiful. I absolutely adore your work. I am trying to help a friend out with a website and i am at my wits end. She of course wants her new website on wordpress. so after looking at your work and weeks of haggling . she wants to go with Artisteer 3.0 . so I have been looking over videos and from what you state you endorse it totally. How does one create a horizontal menu with it or are you supposed to create a menu elsewhere . I was confused because every video i’ve seen is not illustrating… how to. I love the look of the templates and from what i’ve seen they look awesome but she needs a website look and feel so . from what i saw a three column works but I don’t know what to tell her about the horizontal menu which is important . she likes the web 2.0 style horizontal tab menu and i need to know is this easily accomplished in artisteer or would she still need a html editor ? i ‘m really at a loss as to what to say. you are a God of artisteer , my favorite guru and web designer. i would really appreciate any information that you can provide. Thank you. if i can get a satisfactory answer to this I will tell to hurry and buy this product . if she requires several other programs additionally i would like to inform her. she has had dreamweaver in the past. but now she is ready she says to jump inot wordpress since money is very limited i am trying to help her as best as I can.

March 17th, 2011 at 4:10 am

Hi Steve,

If I’m understanding you correctly, it’s very simple to create a menu within Artisteer. Note, you don’t actually populate the fields, you just choose how your menu, menu items, and submenu items will be styled. It automatically puts out both a horizontal and vertical menu. When you are in your WordPress dashboard, you have the ability to create a custom menu or pull from either categories or pages to populate your menu. It’s very simple to do. She would need no knowledge of code or have to edit any code whatsoever to do this. It’s simply a matter of dragging and dropping the desired pages, categories, or custom links in place within WordPress.

March 23rd, 2011 at 3:08 am

Hi Sarah,

Great information on your site! I noticed that you have a Read More button for you post summaries and was wondering if there is an easy way to do that? Currently, the themes I’ve generated from Artisteer 2.5 generate simple text links Continue Reading or something like that. Is the Read More button an option in Artisteer 3.0?

Thank you,

March 23rd, 2011 at 3:20 am

Hi Kevin,

It’s actually fairly simple to do, and I plan to do a post soon with simple instructions on creating exactly what I have here. For now, though, you can find some basics on this from this link to WordPress.org and that might be all you need to get the concept for styling your own.

March 23rd, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Thank you for the link. I figured out how to get the image within my function.php and now it’s just a matter of css styling it. You must be using a 3.0 template since I see wrappers in your markup that my standard 2.5 template doesn’t contain.

Again, thanks for you help!

June 26th, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Hi Sarah,

Nice blog. I have some question regarding Artisteer options, maybe you can help me out.
I’m using version and have some problems saving changes in theme options.
– I want to remove RSS button and comments, but when I save changes, there is no effect at all on main page. Do you know any possibility how to fix it or other ways to remove comments?
– File default.php I don’t have in the list of Editor files to change footer text, maybe issue with the version!?
– I can’t find advertisement options you mentioned above, maybe this version of Artisteer don’t have it!?
– When I’m trying to save changes for Slogan options, close button not working, it just adds =true# at the end of url and does nothing…

Thanks for your help

July 15th, 2012 at 9:43 am

I was searching for how to use that Advertisement option. Can you please explain a bit where to insert code for inserting it in post?


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