Finding and Installing Themes from the Free Themes Directory

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The Free Themes Directory at http://WordPress.org/extend/themes has been around since July 2008. About a year later, the themes and plug-ins directories were incorporated into the WordPress Administration page, thus making finding and selecting themes as easy as clicking the Change Theme button on the Dashboard. You are taken to the Manage Themes page shown in Figure 12.3, where you can choose from three spots to open the theme search engine:

■ Click Add New Themes from the Appearance sidebar on the left.

■ Click the Add New button located next to the Manage Themes title.

Click Install Themes at the very top right of the screen, next to your username.

Figure 12.3

All three Add New buttons take you to the Install Themes page.

Figure 12.3

All three Add New buttons take you to the Install Themes page.

The WordPress.org theme search engine comes up, and it works largely in the same way as the WordPress.com theme search. That is, you can filter your search list based on color, columns, fixed or flexible width, and other features. The one major difference is that the availability of widgets is either a given or simply not a differentiator among the free themes. You can also define holiday, seasonal, or photoblogging-specific themes in the filters.

See Chapter 3 for more information on how to search the Free Themes Directory.

Besides the standard search, the Theme Management page lets you browse the directory in three categories: Featured, Newest, and Recently Updated. If you leave your Administrative page and go to the directory on the Web, you can also browse the currently Most Popular themes. It probably won't surprise you to learn that the themes listed in the Featured category track the Most Popular list closely. The WordPress faithful take the judgements of the folks who decide a theme is worth featuring very seriously.

When you find a theme you like in the directory, just click the Install link. A preview image will appear; click Install Now. The Theme Installer downloads the Zip archive containing the theme files to your hard drive. It then extracts the theme files into \wordpress\wp-content\themes\<theme-narne>. That's all you really need to install a theme to your system. When the installation is complete, you can take one of three actions (see Figure 12.4):

Do you want a theme that includes a thumbnail image on each post? A search for "thumbnail" (no quotation marks) turned up a few options even before WordPress 2.9 built in post thumbnail support. With version 2.9 released, that number should explode.

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