how to make a wordpress theme

Page Templates

Pages are one of WordPress’s built-in Post Types. You’ll probably want most of your website Pages to look about the same. Sometimes, though, you may need a specific Page, or a group of Pages, to display or behave differently. This is easily accomplished with Page to make a wordpress theme


1 Selecting a Page Template
2 Creating a Page Template
2.1 Conditional Tags
2.2 Specialized Page Template
2.3 Custom Page Template
2.3.1 Filenames
2.3.2 File Folders
3 What Page Gets What Template?
3.1 Template Terminology
3.2 Template Hierarchy
4 Examples
4.1 Archives with Content
4.2 A Page of Posts
4.3 Example Using Custom Fields
4.4 Example Using Custom Post Types
5 Identifying a Page Template
6 Page Template Functions
Selecting a Page Template
Screenshot of Page Attributes module with Template select options pulled down
Your Theme files should include a default page template (named: page.php). Your Theme may also have one or more custom page templates, for instance, to display content in wider columns. Or you may have created a custom template of your own.

Edit Page Screen: You can assign a custom template for any individual Page by using the Template dropdown in the Edit Page screen (part of the Page Attributes module):

Select a Template from the list (e.g., My Custom Page).
Click the Update button (or Save Draft if not yet published).
All Pages Screen: The Quick-Edit and Bulk Edit options on the All Pages screen also have Template dropdowns.

Template List Will Show Only If:

There is at least one custom page template file in your active Theme’s folder. If you change your Theme, the page templates in your previously activated Theme will not display.
You are viewing a screen for editing a Page: page templates are not a default option for posts or custom post types.
Creating a Page Template
WordPress offers several ways to display Pages. All involve editing or adding files in your active Theme’s folder. If your active theme is not one that you have designed yourself, use a child theme to make the changes. Otherwise the changes will be overwritten when the theme is updated to a new version.

Conditional Tags
Edit your default template: You can often make smaller Page-specific changes with Conditional Tags in your Theme’s page.php file. For instance, this code loads one header file (header-home.php) for your front page, another for your About page (header-about.php), and the default header.php for all other Pages:

if ( is_front_page() ) {
get_header( ‘home’ );
} elseif ( is_page( ‘About’ ) ) {
get_header( ‘about’ );
} else {
Specialized Page Template
Create a template for one Page: For more extensive changes, intended for just one specific Page, you can create a specialized template file, named with that Page’s slug or ID:

For example: Your About page has a slug of ‘about’ and an ID of 6. If your active Theme’s folder has a file named page-about.php or page-6.php, then WordPress will automatically find and use that file to render the About page.

To be used, specialized page templates must be in your active Theme’s folder:


A specialized page template file can not be in a sub-folder, nor, if using a Child Theme, in its Parent Theme’s folder.

Custom Page Template
Create a template that can be used by any Page: A Custom Page Template can be used by multiple Pages (see Selecting a Page Template above). To create a custom page template make a new file starting with a Template Name inside a PHP comment. Here’s the syntax:

Template Name: My Custom Page
Once you upload the file to your Theme’s folder, the template name, “My Custom Page”, will list in the Edit Page screen’s Template dropdown. (The select list has a maximum width of 250px, so longer names may be cut off.)

A quick, safe method for making a new Page template is to use with a copy of your page.php: This way you start off with the HTML structure of your other pages, then you can edit as needed.

A custom page template file can be in a sub-folder, or, if using a Child Theme, in its Parent Theme’s folder.


Name your template file so you can easily identify its Template Name, e.g., filename my-custom-page.php for template name “My Custom Page”. Some coders group their templates with a filename prefix, such as page_my-custom-page.php (Don’t use page- prefix as WordPress will interpret the file as a specialized page template.)

For information on Theme file-naming conventions and filenames you cannot use, see reserved Theme filenames.

File Folders

To be used, a custom page template file must be stored (see FTP) in your active Theme’s folder, or it Parent Theme’s folder, or a sub-folder within either (since: 3.4.0). WordPress finds custom page templates in all these location:

For a file to be recognized as a custom page template, it must start with the string “Template Name:” in a comment. After that you can to add other information, like:

* Template Name: My Custom Page
* Description: A Page Template with a darker design.

// Code to display Page goes here…
The Template Tags article describes the many built-in WordPress Template functions you can use for page display.

What Page Gets What Template?
Template Terminology
The term “template” has several related uses in WordPress:

Templates are the files of a WordPress Theme that determine how your site displays.
Template Tags are built-in WordPress functions you can use inside a Template file to display, or retrieve, data (such as the_title() and the_content()).
Template Hierarchy is the logic WordPress uses to decide which Theme template file(s) to use, depending on the request, e.g., the URL of a user-clicked link.
Template Hierarchy
Detail of WordPress Template Hierarchy flow chart, showing only Page Templates When a user requests a specific Page, the core WordPress code has logic that decides which Theme template to use for rendering that Page. The above image, a detail of the Template Hierarchy, diagrams that logic:

Custom Template — If the Page has a custom Template assigned, WordPress looks for that file and, if found, uses it.
page-{slug}.php — Else WordPress looks for and, if found, uses a specialized template named with the Page’s slug.
page-{id}.php — Else WordPress looks for and, if found, uses a specialized template named with the Page’s ID.
page.php — Else WordPress looks for and, if found, uses the Theme’s default page template.
index.php — Else WordPress uses a the Theme’s index file.
(Note: There is also a WordPress-defined template named paged.php. It is not used for the Page post-type but rather for displaying multiple pages of Archives.)

The following are instructional examples of custom Page Template files. Note: Your WordPress Theme’s template file structure and HTML structure may be different.

Archives with Content
This example of a Page Template display the Page’s content at the top, then a list of archive (by month), then the site categories below that.

Save this to arc-cont.php:

Template Name: Archives with Content

get_header(); ?>

Archives by Month:

Archives by Subject:

A Page of Posts
The following custom page template file displays the content of the Page, followed by the posts from two specific categories (specified by their category slugs). It is designed to work within a child Theme of the Twenty Thirteen theme. If you are using a different theme, you need to replicate the HTML structure of your own theme within this template.

Save this to pageofposts.php and then assign the Page of Posts Template to your new Page:

Template Name: Page Of Posts

/* This example is for a child theme of Twenty Thirteen:
* You’ll need to adapt it the HTML structure of your own theme.

get_header(); ?>

/* The loop: the_post retrieves the content
* of the new Page you created to list the posts,
* e.g., an intro describing the posts shown listed on this Page..
if ( have_posts() ) :
while ( have_posts() ) : the_post();// Display content of page
get_template_part( ‘content’, get_post_format() );


$paged = (get_query_var(‘paged’)) ? get_query_var(‘paged’) : 1;

$args = array(
// Change these category SLUGS to suit your use.
‘category_name’ => ‘music, videos’,
‘paged’ => $paged

$list_of_posts = new WP_Query( $args );


Example Using Custom Fields
This Page Template example displays posts from a specific category depending on a Custom Field assigned to a Page. The value of the Custom Field “category” is retrieved and used as the category to retrieve the posts in that category. If the category of posts you want to display is called “Events” then assign the Custom Field “category” with a value of “Events” to the Page. Note that this will adhere to pagination rules meaning that four (4) posts will display per page with links to older/newer posts provided.

Save this to pageofposts.php and then assign the Page of Posts Template when creating the action Page:

Template Name: Page Of Posts with Custom Fields

get_header(); ?>

if ( is_page() ) {
$category = get_post_meta( $posts[0]->ID, ‘category’, true );
$cat = get_cat_ID( $category );
if ( $cat ) :
$paged = ( get_query_var( ‘paged’ ) ) ? get_query_var( ‘paged’ ) : 1;
$post_per_page = 4; // -1 shows all posts
$do_not_show_stickies = 1; // 0 to show stickies
$args=array (
‘category__in’ => array( $cat ),
‘orderby’ => ‘date’,
‘order’ => ‘DESC’,
‘paged’ => $paged,
‘posts_per_page’ => $post_per_page,
‘ignore_sticky_posts’ => $do_not_show_stickies
$temp = $wp_query; // assign original query to temp variable for later use
global $wp_query;
$wp_query = null;
$wp_query = new WP_Query( $args );
if ( $wp_query->have_posts() ) :
while ( $wp_query->have_posts() ) : $wp_query->the_post(); ?>




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Example Using Custom Post Types
Custom Post Types allow WordPress sites to display many different types of content. This example displaying the posts on a Page belonging to a custom post type. In this case, the custom post type is book. The custom Page Template below can work in any Theme or as a Child Theme template file.

* Template Name: Page of Books
* Print posts of a Custom Post Type.

get_header(); ?>

$type = ‘book’;
$args = array (
‘post_type’ => $type,
‘post_status’ => ‘publish’,
‘paged’ => $paged,
‘posts_per_page’ => 2,
‘ignore_sticky_posts’=> 1
$temp = $wp_query; // assign ordinal query to temp variable for later use
$wp_query = null;
$wp_query = new WP_Query($args);
if ( $wp_query->have_posts() ) :
while ( $wp_query->have_posts() ) : $wp_query->the_post();
echo ‘

echo ‘

echo ‘

echo ‘

else :
echo ‘

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$wp_query = $temp;

Identifying a Page Template
If your template uses the body_class function, WordPress will print classes in thetag for the post type (class name: page), the Page’s ID (page-id-{ID}), and the page template used. For the default page.php the class name is page-template-default, e.g.:
Note: a specialized template (page-{slug}.php or page-{ID}.php) also gets the page-template-default class — not its own body class.

When using a custom page template, the class page-template will print, along with a class naming the specific template, e.g.:
Page Template Functions
These built-in WordPress functions and methods can help you work with page templates:

get_page_template() returns the path of the page template used to render the page.
wp_get_theme()->get_page_templates() returns all custom page templates available to the currently active Theme (get_page_templates() is a method of the WP_Theme class).
is_page_template() returns true or false depending on whether a custom page template was used to render the Page.
get_page_template_slug() returns the value of Custom Field ‘_wp_page_template’ (null when value is em

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Some truly interesting information, well written and broadly user pleasant.


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