The Appearance menu is the core area for changing the look of your site which, lets face it, is the most important thing to know when you are figuring out how to use WordPress. It incorporates four main areas:

  • Themes
  • Widgets
  • Menus
  • Editor


This is where you can add themes and change your existing theme. The screen is compromised of two tabs, the first tab is Manage Themes and this is where you can see all the themes installed on your site and which one is currently active. You can activate, preview and delete any installed themes from here.

The second tab is Install Themes and weirdly enough this is where you can install a theme from! You can either search the WordPress directory for a theme, there is even options to filter the theme choice by color, layout and some basic features. Or if you have bought premium theme like OptimizePress or a theme from Elegant Themes, you can upload the zip file from your computer to your site and install it.

There’s also a few options to see some featured themes, the newest added themes and the latest updated themes should you wish to.


Widgets are small pre made bits of code that come bundled with Wordspress, themes and even plugins. These can be added to your theme (if the theme has widget enabled areas, which most new and premium themes do) and removed simply by dragging and dropping, adding some marvellous functionality to your site.

Check out the article Using Widgets for more information on the widgets supplied by WordPress.


This is where you can add and amend Custom Menus, which are powerful easy to use menu systems. I wont go into too much detail here as it was covered in the article Custom Menus, but basically these menus allow you to add pages, posts, categories, tags and even custom links to a menu system, and allow dropdown menu creation too (dependant on your theme of course).


The editor is a built in code editor for your theme files. It always shows the style.css file first as to be fair this is the only one you should be changing unless you know exactly what you’re doing, but you can select the other theme files from the navigation on the right.

It is extremely basic, but allows you to make on the fly changes to your code should you need to, but remember there’s no back up system and the changes are live as soon as you press update.

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