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Monday, April 12, 2021

A Brief Introduction to the WordPress Customizer

Zip has installed a theme, added a child theme. Let's look at the WordPress customizer where you can configure many settings that will affect the appearance of your website.

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Now that we’ve installed a theme for Slothverse.com and configured a child theme, let’s take a look at the WordPress Customizer. This will be a very brief tour because the customizer varies between each theme. Some themes (the premium Newspaper theme for example) has very little in the customizer and adds an entire panel in the WordPress admin area. Some themes, such as the Hueman theme that Zip has decided to try, have many features in the customizer.

What does the WordPress Customizer do?

The WordPress Customizer allows you to make changes that affect the appearance of your website and see your changes as you go before you push “publish.” It offers a panel of settings on the left and a large preview window that shows your page. It’s possible to navigate page to page while you’re in the customizer to view how your changes affect various pages on your website.

How do I Open the Customizer?

From the front of your website, you’ll find a link at the top in your admin bar (if you have the admin bar enabled.) From the admin area of your website, you can get there by going to Appearance>Customize.

Finding the WordPress customizer from the admin bar.
Finding the WordPress customizer from the admin panel.

What will I find in the Customizer?

As I mentioned, what you’ll find there depends on your theme. The Hueman theme’s customizer looks a bit different than standard, but for most themes, you’ll find a menu somewhat like this (without the Nimble Builder, of course):

WordPress Customizer in basic twenty twenty theme.

Most themes will have something like the following (note that this is a bit different than the settings above):

Site Identity:

This is where you can change your website title and tagline. You can also upload a site icon here that will show up for your website on various devices and in browser tabs as a favicon.

Some themes will allow you to upload a logo image in this area.


Some themes will allow you to choose a primary and secondary color for your website.


Some themes will allow you to use Google fonts by default. You can set your fonts, heading fonts, body fonts, and link colors. For some themes, you need to set the link colors under “colors.” Sometimes the settings for color and typography will be sub-options under a top heading called, “General.”


Some themes will give you options as to what you show in the header: do you want a background image? A header menu? Do you want to show the logo or the title and tagline? Do you want your header to be fullwidth?


Some themes will give you an option to set the general layout for the website? Do you want your pages to be fullwidth? Do you want a sidebar and, if so, on which side? Again, not every theme will give you such options.

Homepage Settings:

You can also find this under your settings in admin. But you can also choose here to select whether your homepage will be a list of posts or a static page and, if so, which page. And you can select your blog page here.


You can create a new menu here (we’ll go over menus soon in another post — note that you can also create menus in Appearance>Menus) and you can choose where your menu will appear. Different themes will add different locations for menus to appear.


Which widgets do you want to appear in your sidebar or widgetized footer area? We’ll also go over widgets in another post. You can also add widgets from Appearance>Widgets.

Additional CSS:

This is where you can easily add additional snippets of CSS to customize how your website looks. You’ll see your changes in the preview window.

As your customizer will change from theme to theme, it’s something with which you’ll need to play around and see what works for your website.

Some of these things we’ll be going over in greater detail in future posts.

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Cheryl is a former Occupational Therapist and WordPress enthusiast who became a writer in some parallel universe and occasionally, but infrequently, publishes things in this one. She writes two blogs (or is it three) which she won't quit because she knows that blogs, in her case, are like a hydra and if she cuts one off two more will take its place. When she's not doing that, she enjoys hiking, cycling, kayaking (formerly fast, now ebike), messing around with Adobe illustrator, making assorted things, meditating (though she wouldn't call that "like," and reading. She normally doesn't speak about herself in the third person, but she sometimes uses "we" in the royal sense while writing this blog. She lives in Poulsbo, WA with her spouse, her youngest adult daughter, a very old mutt, and a Siamese cat.
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