Customizing Your Theme In The WordPress Appearance Editor

Wordpress Appearance Editor

Editing files in the Appearance Editor may take some pratice.

One of the tabs on the WordPress Dashboard is the Appearance Editor. This screen / area is where you can directly edit the files of the Theme you have selected for your website. You want to be very careful in this section. Editing these files can drastically effect your website in many ways.

These files are written typically in PHP & CSS and if you don’t understand coding you should avoid making any changes in this section unless you are confident about your programming. Any changes you make in this section will directly overwrite any of the files you are editing.

THERE ARE NO REVISIONS SAVED IN THIS AREA SO BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL WHEN VIEWING OR EDITING FILES IN THIS SECTION!

Contact Us Today for help and more information regarding the Appearance Editor Screen.


Here is the explanation of the Appearance Editor from WordPress.org


Among the many user editable files in a standard WordPress installation are a Theme’s Template and Stylesheet files. The Appearance Editor Screen allows you to edit those Theme files.

Appearance Editor Screen

Edit Themes

The built-in Theme Editor allows you to view or change any code kept in a Theme Template or Stylesheet files. The particular file contents are displayed in the large text (or edit) box that dominates this Screen.

If a specific file is writable (see Changing File Permissions), changes can be made and saved. If a file is not writable, the message You need to make this file writable before you can save your changes. See the Codex for more information will be displayed. Of course, you will need to change the File Permissions before changes can be saved.


If any of this terminology is unfamiliar to you, you should stop and contact us today. Just one simple mistake to these files can bring down your entire website !


The name of the Theme file being edited is displayed at the top of the text box. If the full text of the file cannot be viewed, a scroll bar to the right of the text box is provided. Since Theme files are pure text, no images or pictures can be inserted into the text box.

Select theme to edit

From this pull-down box, select the Theme that needs to be edited and click the Select button on the right. Once the Select button is clicked, that Themes Template and Styles files will be listed on the right side of the text box and the Stylesheet (style.css) file for that Theme will be placed in the text box.

Theme Files

Listed to the right of the large text box is a list of the Theme Template or Stylesheet files that can be edited. Click on any of the file links to place the text of that file in the edit box.

Be very careful editing PHP files of your current theme. The editor does not make backup copies. If you introduce an error that crashes your site, you cannot use the editor to fix the problem. In such a case, use FTP to either upload a functional backup of the problem file or change the folder name of the current theme so WordPress is forced to use a different theme.

Update File

Remember to click this button to save the changes you have made to the file. After clicking this button you should see a splash message at the top of the screen saying “File Edited Successfully”. If you don’t see that message, then your changes are not saved! Note that if a file is not writeable, the Update File button will not be available.