Altering current themes

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    I want to know if anyone has tried to alter the current themes, and if so, what has and has not worked. The thing I am mainly interested in – apart from multiple themes – is altering the dimenisions of the main bulk of information, as well as the sidebart dimension, of the current themes.

    For Example, making the current theme I use – Contempt – use more of the browser and screen real estate by Giving it a 48 px margin on each side. (Anything less may take up some of the design of other themes and may cause problems.)




    Just for the record, I did not see that others had indeed asked this question. If you still want to answer this question – since the current posts I have found (so far) have not answered this – feel free to go ahead. :)



    To be able to alter your theme the first thing you need to do is purchase the CSS Upgrade.

    Then you can play with the theme and set the page size as you wish.



    From the “edit CSS” page:

    The CSS editor lets you modify the visual style of your blog. You can edit your CSS and preview the changes for free. If you would like the ability to save your changes and make your design visible to the public, please purchase the Custom CSS Upgrade.

    As far as I am aware, this means I should be able to view this for myself, right?

    Also, the question is still not resolved – the only answer I keep seeing when this is asked is “you need to pay for the upgrade.” Yes, I am aware of that; why should I attempt to pay for an upgrade if I can’t do what I want it to do? I’m not just asking “can I?”, I’m also asking how to do this. Would you pay for product A when it’s Product B that you want?

    (Sorry if I sound testy – I am super tired tonight, and I don’t like someone saying my question is answered when it isn’t.)



    If you want a definitive answer then how can asking volunteers on the forum be surmised as the way to get it? Send in a feedback or send an email to with a link to this thread. Then sysadmin will tell you the same thing Collin did.Collin has made the point that what you want to do can be achieved through css customization. There is no wordpress sysadmin staff support for css customization. If you choose this option your’e on your own. So the bottom line question is: do you have the skills to do the css customization all by yourself?
    If not then I recommend you please stop with the testiness on the forum as it’s a waste of energy, time and good will.



    Testiness is always a waste of energy, time and good will, unless it’s really, really amusing.

    But in fairness, I think it’s pretty likely that someone here has the answers. I mean, the post is in the CSS forum; someone here must be able to help. Asking questions before contacting staff is pretty standard in a forum like this; it’s what it’s for.



    Next time, mioght help us help you if you specifically state the question that you’re trying to ask. :)

    The actual themes are uneditable since is a shared environment and if you were to change the actual themes, you would be changing it for everybody.

    Now, having said that, you can modify the CSS files if you pay for the upgrade. Selections like widths and font types and the like are contained within the CSS. You can see what is defined if you talk a look at your own blog’s CSS file. You will note that widths are defined in there.

    Hope this helps,


    “The actual themes are uneditable since is a shared environment and if you were to change the actual themes, you would be changing it for everybody.”

    I am confused about this. How does a little money changing hands suddenly make the uneditable css editable? Your changes affect everyone using the theme unless you pay? Then they don’t affect everyone using the theme?

    Is the theme different from the css file?



    The themes are not editable.
    ‘Theme’ is made of two parts – the code and the style. The style is typically called the theme.

    Elements in the code are styled by CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) and they flow top to bottom and if anything comes after a previous declaration then the last takes precedence.

    You go a blog
    The page information is loaded and the page style is loaded.
    Now when that style is loaded it also checks if the next CSS is there – the upgrade.
    If it is, then any information in that ‘overwrites’ what was before so if the original has
    body {background-color:black}
    and the upgrade has
    body {background-color:red}
    then red winds – it was last so it takes over.

    So the upgrade allows you to intercept parts of current themes.

    That help?



    You can download a theme and look at the files involved to see the difference between CSS and PHP files. Try opening them with Notepad or Wordpad. Don’t try opening them with a browser. You’ll just get errors for the most part.



    Thank you – other than the response to my testiness (deserved, yet undeserved at the same time), The answers are a lot better. I realize my question seemed general, but that generalness was also as specific as I was seeking. Yes I knew you can’t edit the original theme files, but I was curious as to how to modify it, which is partially answered. The part that confuses me, at this point, is if I only type (copy) the full theme’s CSS and modify that, or if I just enter those parts that would change.

    I apologize for getting frustrated, but I still stand by what I said. If I’m asking a question, most of the time I’m either not finding the answer, or the answer I am seeing is not related to the question. (Answering “You need to pay for the upgrade” on questions like what and how, or even can sometimes, just ain’t that effective.)

    Thanks for the response.



    Think of the CSS file for the theme as the master copy and what you change overrides what is in there.

    What I would do is copy and paste the theme’s CSS file into the editor and change that. That way you can be sure you’re not missing anything.

    And I usually try to point people at the specific answer when I can. And I get yelled at for doing so. It’s pretty much a no win situation since folks want handholding most of the time. :)



    Please also remmeber that no one gets paid around here, not even me. We’re all volenteers. :)

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