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WordPress: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Chapter 13. Editing Themes: The Key to Customizing Your Site

As you’ve traveled through this book, you’ve taken a look at every significant feature that WordPress offers, and used those capabilities to build a variety of sites. However, you’ve always played by the rules, picking themes from the theme gallery, installing plug-ins from the plug-in directory, and sticking to the safety of the WordPress dashboard. But there’s a whole other world of possibilities for those who can color outside the lines.

The key to unlocking more flexibility and building a truly unique WordPress site is to create your own theme. As you know, a theme is a mash-up of HTML markup, formatting rules, and PHP code. Ordinarily, these details are hidden from you—the people who create the themes and plug-ins your site uses handle all this, while you focus on writing fab content and adjusting settings in the dashboard. But if you decide to cut loose and become a theme customizer (or even a theme creator), you step into a different world. Be forewarned: this world can seem dizzyingly complex. But you don’t need to understand every detail. Instead, you simply need to find the parts of a theme you want to change, and work on those.

In this chapter, you’ll start your journey to becoming a theme customizer. You’ll take a close look at how themes work, and you’ll learn how to make small alterations that can have big effects. First, you’ll try modifying styles. Then, you’ll crack open the theme files to change the code ...

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