What is a Child Theme

Make your customizations and keep them forever.

Every person has their own unique tastes. That is why each day we receive questions about how people can go about modifying or customizing their theme to satisfy their website needs with our themes. Making the changes to the code will get the job done, but when themes need updating based on bug fixes or theme enhancements, those who make the code edits will lose all their hard work when the update overwrites the old files. The one way to ensure that all theme customizations stay the way they are even after updates is with child themes.

"A child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality of another theme, called the parent theme. Child themes allow you to modify, or add to the functionality of that parent theme. A child theme is the best, safest, and easiest way to modify an existing theme, whether you want to make a few tiny changes or extensive changes. Instead of modifying the theme files directly, you can create a child theme and override within" - WordPress Codex

Child themes can be created in a matter of minutes and can save you hours and hours of work in the future. If you plan on customizing any of our themes, it is highly recommended to use a child theme.

Activate Child Theme in ModernThemes

This feature is not available in themes found on the WordPress repository. Click here for more options.

  1. Go to Appearance => Editor
    Create Child Theme
  2. Click on Activate Now
    Create Child Theme
  3. Go to Appearance => Themes to check that the child theme is active
  4. Go back to Appearance => Editor to make stylesheet changes or add functions

Other Child Theme Resources

Use these guides to create your child theme.

The tutorials above are very in depth and wonderfully written, but if you want a brief overview of child theme creation, we have outlined the basic steps below.

  1. Create a child theme folder that has can be easily identified, such as sensible_pro_child

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  3. Create a stylesheet for your child theme folder and name it style.css

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  5. Create the necessary child theme information and pull in the parent theme's stylesheet

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  7. Copy the theme file that you would like to customize, make the necessary code changes, and add it to the child theme folder

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  9. Compress the child theme folder to create a .zip child theme file, in example: sensible_pro_child.zip

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  11. Go to Appearance -> Themes -> Add New and upload the .zip child theme file

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  13. After upload, the WordPress screen should show that it recognizes the child theme files as an extension of the parent theme if installed correctly. If it has, press Activate

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  15. Confirm that the child theme is active, then check that your customizations have taken place.

  16. Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 5.47.01 PM

  17. In our example, we customized the Services titles to place them above the Icons instead of below, as they were originally. See the power of child themes below:

  18. Sensible Pro as Parent Theme

    Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 6.10.08 PM

    Sensible Pro with Child Theme modification

    Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 6.08.31 PM