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A WordPress theme provides the look and feel for your site as a template. By default, your site will be set up with a Dartmouth-branded theme. You can customize the Dartmouth theme, or select a different one. Many themes allow you to change the header image and background color, and other customizations as well. The level of customization available varies from theme to theme. Available themes are listed here, and you can peruse our showcase.

Choosing a Theme

To activate a theme, go to Appearance > Themes and click "Activate" next to the desired theme. You can change your theme as often as you like.

Customizing the Dartmouth Theme


You can specify whatever color background you like. You may also upload an image to be used as a background image.


  • Header image: By default, the Dartmouth theme comes with several pre-loaded images available for your header. You may select one of these images to appear on all pages, set the header to display one at random, or upload your own image to be used as a header. Or, you may opt to have no header image at all.
  • Display Text: You may display the title and tagline of your site, or you can choose to hide this text. You can choose the color of your header display text.

Theme Options

  • Color Scheme: You may choose a base color palette for your site. This color scheme can further be customized with custom header and background colors (above) or link color (below).
  • Link Color: Your color scheme comes with a certain link color by default, but you can choose whatever color you like for linked text on your site.
  • Default Layout:  You can choose whether to layout your site with left-side sidebar, a right-side sidebar, or no sidebars as well

Post Formats

The Dartmouth Custom theme also uses Post formats to style different types of content accordingly.

If you are new to WordPress, it is best to leave all your posts in the default "Standard" format; it will fit your needs well. However, if you would like to branch out:

Alongside the Standard Format (for traditional blog posts and longer articles) are six additional Formats; Aside, Link, Gallery, Status, Quote, and Image.

The Aside Format is for shorter posts of about 1 paragraph. Because they’re shorter and meant to be digested quickly the title of the Aside post is hidden on Index pages.

The Link Format looks a lot like the Aside post but if you’re using the Twenty Eleven Ephemera Widget to display a list of your recent Aside and Link posts (found in Appearance → Widgets) the title of your Link posts will point to the URL of the first link in your post instead of pointing back to the post on your blog.

The Gallery Format is meant for posts using the Gallery shortcode. Gallery posts will show a thumbnail from your galleries on Index pages.

The Status Format is for short personal updates. Each Status post will show the avatar of the post author alongside the content.

If you have a post that’s almost entirely a quote the Quote Format will make those quotes stand out.

The Image Format is meant for posting one image and one image only. Here the post meta, seen below your post, is presented more like a caption for the post.

(Post formats documentation from the Twenty Eleven theme documentation, on which Dartmouth Custom is based.)

Using Other Themes

The "Dartmouth Custom" theme was built in-house and branded with a Dartmouth look and feel. We offer additional themes for you to use as well. However, as these are third-party products, we cannot offer any help with their use or the ability to fix any bugs you might encounter while using them. However, if you do find a bug with any of the themes offered on Dartmouth WordPress, please let us know so we can correct the issue and and alert our community.


Many themes also support Widgets -- little chunks of content that can be dragged into regions on your page template. These regions are often called "sidebars," but then do not have to be located on the side. Some common widgets include page listings for navigation, category listing, freeform text, recent comments and a calendar of posts. Some plugins come with their own widgets as well; so if you activate certain plugins, you may notice additional widgets.

Widgets can be found under Appearance > Widgets. To add a widget to a region (or sidebar), simply drag it over. Some widgets have additional options to customize.

Widget locations are dependent on theme settings. Therefore, if you change themes, your widgets will likely lose their locations and will need to be rearranged.