Thesis 2.3 has just been released. In this article and accompanying videos I walk you through the basics of using Thesis 2,3
The Thesis 2.3 Interface
We take you on a tour of the Thesis interface so that you understand what each of the areas are and what you can do in them. There are a few different ways to access the same menu choices and you will see all that here.
Depending upon the skin you choose you will have different choices in the skin menu which will not carry over if you change skins. This is unlike the site menu which has options that are independent of the skin. Settings that you make here will stay the same no matter what skin or mode you are working in.
The Box menu options are like the site menu options in that the boxes and options stay regardless of the skin being used.
Since most skins have all of their specific options in Skin Content, Skin Display or Skin Design. We go over what each area controls and take a look at the options in each of these. These are the areas that novices will begin with as they customize their sites.
The Skin Editor is the most powerful part of Thesis’ customization. It is essentially a template editor. It’s the place where you can choose templates that you want to customize. It’s also the place you access the Data Manager which is as important for beginners as for any type of user.
The Data Manager lets you backup your skin data. It’s very, very simple to use and backup the options you’ve made to your skin. We talk about the different ways in which you can use the backups as you are working on your skin.
We have an entire seminar on the editor that shows beginners how to use it in case there is customization needed beyond what you can do with Skin Content, Display or Design.
Introduction to Customizing the Thesis Classic Responsive Skin for 2.3
This is where you get some basic instruction in using Skin Design setting the width of the page and choosing a font size.
We recommend that you start your work on any site in Skin Design where you can lay out the size and number of your content columns and then set the fonts. As part of that process you see how useful Thesis’ Golden Ratio Typography Calculator is in choosing the right font size for your site.
Add a Header Image to Thesis 2.3
The difference between the Logo and Header Image in Thesis is important. If you use a Logo it will replace the site title but the tagline will remain. If you use the Header Image the image you use will completely take the place of whatever was in the header.
We show how to figure out what the right image size is for the space. If you don’t get the size right and it is too big then the image will be scaled to fit. If it’s smaller than the given space the image will sit off to the left side of that space.
Set the Site Colors with the Thesis 2.3 Color Scheme Generator
In Skin Design you’ll find the Thesis Color Scale which allows you to go through a range of colors if you are experimenting. We show how to change the colors out individually if you want to customize the results. You can, of course, also enter specific colors for each option if you already know what you want to use.
Set Your Heading Styles with Thesis 2.3 Design Options
Heading styles are found in Skin Design as well. We show how to choose different fonts and colors and how to know what you have set values for in Layouts, Fonts, Sizes & Colors.
We talk about Google Fonts and how and why they slow your site down. Thesis implements a different method of loading them so they don’t impact the site speed as much. No modifications are necessary to Thesis if you choose to use Google Fonts.
Add Sitewide Video, Images or Text with the Thesis 2.3 Text Box
This is the first time we go into Skin Content to make changes. We show different ways to get to the Sidebar Text Box when you are ready to add text, video and images to the text box. You can have just one type of content or all three.
When adding images you need the image tag and the easiest way to get that is using a sandbox page which we show how to add and set that up. Then it’s simply a matter of cutting and pasting the code.
Another way to get content into the text box is using shortcodes. Anything that creates a shortcode can be placed in the text box via the shortcode. Products often have shortcodes. You can use a shortcode for google maps and so on.
If you decide you don’t want to use the text box, you can always hide it which we show how to do.
Add Your Own Copyright with Thesis 2.3 Attribution
You will find the Attribution on the bottom of the site and can edit it in Skin Content. You want to change the default attribution with your own custom text. If you want to add a link in your copyright we show the easy way to do that using the sandbox page to again generate the code needed.
Create a Widgetized Footer with the BYOB Simple Thesis Classic Responsive Footer Widgets Box
From the Manage Boxes menu you can install a box. Boxes are not plugins and can only be added here. We show how to download and install a free box from BYOBWebsite, the BYOB Simple Thesis Classic Responsive Footer Widgets Box. This box actually works with any of the DIY Themes Skins.
An important thing to note is that anytime you affect the Skin CSS you need to re-save Design Options in Skin Design which regenerates the skin CSS. That’s necessary here for the widgets to display properly.
If you have never added a widget before, we walk you through that process so that you have widgets to add to the box. You can use this to add contact information or any other information you would like in your footer.
If you are using more than one template for your pages and you don’t want to have the widgets show up on a specific template you can remove them. We show how to do this and even though this is a more advanced option it is not hard to do.
Style Your Widget Areas with Thesis 2.3 Design Options
The widget areas we just added can be styled in Skin Design using Design Options. You can change the font family, font size and color for the headings and text.
Remove Author and Date References with Thesis 2.3 Content Options
The author and date references, along with many other Post and Page options are found in the Post/Page Output in Skin Display Options. These are easily turned on and off by adding or removing a check mark.
On the same page you have Skin Display Options you have Skin Content options you can change. This is where we altered the Attribution but you can also change your navigation menu here. If you have more than one menu to choose from this is where you can change it.
Installing and Activating Skins
Skins are a way of styling the Thesis Theme. They are a collection of templates and styles and are similar to child themes that Genesis uses. When you change skins your content remains but the styling and layout change.
Under Manage Skins you can easily change the skin you are using. You don’t have to activate it to see what it looks like. You can choose to preview it in development mode first. Visitors won’t be able to see the changes in this mode only you will.