How to Find Theme-Specific Documentation

Description Description

Your theme is an important and powerful part of your website. Each theme is different and contains different functions. The first step to mastering your theme is knowing how to find your theme’s documentation. This lesson will equip you with techniques to help find where your theme’s documentation resides.

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Prerequisite Skills Prerequisite Skills

It is helpful to have a basic understanding of how to:

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Objectives Objectives

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Know what theme they’re using
  • Know where their theme’s documentation resides

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Assets Assets

  • Twenty-Seventeen
  • Spectral
  • Three example themes: a standard twenty-x theme that’s easy to find documentation, one that’s a bit harder, and a very bad theme that has no documentation whatsoever (make up a custom theme for this one).

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Screening Questions Screening Questions

  • Do you have your own installation of WordPress?
  • Do you know what your theme is called?
  • Do you know where your theme’s documentation is located?
  • If you had a problem with your theme, do you know where to find help?

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Teacher Notes Teacher Notes

This is more of a soft skill external to WordPress than a hard WordPress skill. Spend more time with students to ensure they’re finding their documentation correctly.

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Hands-on Walkthrough Hands-on Walkthrough

Perhaps you’ve been using your theme for awhile now, and have some questions about changes you’d like to make. Maybe you’re looking at purchasing a theme and would like to make a wise decision by comparing support levels. Or perhaps you’re a developer working on a client’s site, using a theme you’ve never seen before. All of these cases are times when having access to your theme’s documentation is valuable.

The question becomes, how do we FIND this documentation? Let’s explore a number of methods you can use to find your theme’s documentation, support, and community forums.

1. Search the Theme’s Readme.txt File 1. Search the Theme’s Readme.txt File

WordPress-standard themes will include a Readme.txt file which holds additional theme information such as author, date, and theme title. This file usually contains a link to the author’s personal or professional website, and often contains a direct link for getting support.

Some themes will include their documentation files with their themes, so check your files to see if your theme author has done so as well.

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2. Search on the Web for your Theme 2. Search on the Web for your Theme

Using your favourite search engine, do a search for your theme’s name and the keyword “WordPress”. Ideally one of the top results will be the official home of the theme, which will contain a link to their documentation and support forums.

Add additional keywords such as “documentation” and “forums” to find these specific resources straight from your search engine.

Alternatively, your search results may find the theme on a theme marketplace such as ThemeForest. While these pages are primarily marketing-focused, they usually contain a link for their Documentation, as this can be a key buying decision.

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3. Check where you bought the theme from 3. Check where you bought the theme from

If you purchased the theme, check your purchase receipt. Often times this contains a link to the company’s web page and documentation. If it doesn’t contain this link, contact the company directly with your documentation link request.

If you downloaded the theme from the WordPress Theme Repository, then the Repository is your first place to look – find the Repository Page (refer to Step 2 on how to search for your theme) and click on the appropriate tabs to find documentation. All Repository themes also come with a forum, but it is up to the theme author whether they use this forum or whether they provide support on their own website.

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4. Ask the community 4. Ask the community

If none of the above steps have given you the documentation or answer you need, the next step is to reach out to the WordPress community – chances are there’s another person like you, and you can help each other!

There are a number of Facebook groups dedicated to WordPress questions, and even specific Groups for the top popular themes like Divi and Genesis. If you are using those themes, join the appropriate Facebook group and ask your question (after browsing and doing a search first!). A group like WordPress Themes and Plugins (https://www.facebook.com/groups/WordPressThemesPlugins/) can help you find your theme’s documentation, provided such exists.

Twitter is also a great place to reach out and connect with others who use your theme, and can help point you in the right direction. Even people who don’t use your specific theme may be able to help out.

Last but not least, if after all this research you are still without your answer, it’s time to reach out to the larger community. Write a blog post with as much detail as possible about your problem and head out to your local WordPress meetup (or online group, if one’s not nearby). Someone there will be able to give you a hand in determining once and for all where your theme’s documentation lives!

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Exercises Exercises

Find Your Theme Name
The first step in finding your documentation is determining your theme name.

  • Log in to your WordPress Dashboard, navigate to Appearances -> Themes, and determine which themes you have installed as well as which theme is currently active.

Find Your Theme’s Documentation
Using what we’ve learned above and today’s lesson, find your theme’s documentation.

  • Short point or step of the exercise

BONUS: Find Your Theme’s Support Forum
Our lesson did not cover how to ask for additional help if the documentation doesn’t provide you with an answer, but if you’re able to find your theme’s documentation, keep looking and see if you can find the theme’s support forum!

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Quiz Quiz

A short quiz for students to evaluate their retention of the material presented.
Write out the question.

  1. Where 3 places to look for theme documentation?
  2. Why is theme documentation helpful?
  3. How do you find the name of your current theme?
  4. Option

Answer: 3. Correct answer

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