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Themes control the look and feel of your WordPress site.  When you first create a site, you pick a site template and that template controls which theme is automatically activated. No matter what template you choose, you can still change your theme at any time by going to Appearance > Themes.

Thousands of themes have been developed for WordPress, and the Commons provides a small subset of those to choose from. We try to ensure our themes are up to date and look good on all devices, but we also ask that when you select a theme, make sure it is designed to responsively fit your content to smaller displays.

With such a variety, how can you choose the right theme for your site? One way is to simply page through the selections and preview ones that look good. When you are shopping around for themes, there is a preview button available which simulates what you’ll get. If you like it, simply click to activate.

When you go to Appearance > Themes, there is a search box:

All the metadata the theme developer(s) have provided for the theme can filter our themes. Try “two column,” “three columns,” “magazine,” “photo”, “journal”, or “parallax” search terms and see what themes show up.

Another option is to look at other sites on the Commons. If you find one that you really like, scroll down to the bottom and find its name. (If you can’t find its name, go to view source and search for the  “/theme” and you should be able to discover its name.  Then go back to the Appearance > Theme tab and search for that name.

Customization and Personalization

Don’t want your site to look like someone else’s? Some themes offer additional configuration options on the dashboard, including ways to change pictures, logos, and fonts. Each theme offers at least one way to customize it by manually overriding its CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). This “Custom CSS” option is not for everyone, and requires some knowledge of the way CSS is used to “style” HTML. But if you find a theme that you really like, but don’t like the background color or the font, you can use this method to modify it to your liking.