wordpress customizer
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The WordPress Customizer has been one of the main assets when it comes to the functionality of WordPress sites for a long time now. It’s a powerful front end editor that can be used to quickly kickstart WordPress projects from scratch.

With the WordPress Customizer, you can drastically change the appearance and functionality of your WordPress website from one manageable interface. That includes making changes to page elements such as your site title, background image, menus, fonts, colors, and more.

In this post, we’ll first briefly show you how to access the WordPress Customizer, and then we’ll dive heavy into the basics of how to use it, by walking you through its most powerful features:

How to access the WordPress customizer

To get to the WordPress Customizer, navigate to Appearance / Customize from your WordPress dashboard. You will be taken directly to the Customizer interface, with your theme preview on the right, and the Customizer menu on the left:

Viewing the WordPress Customizer Interface

How to use the WordPress customizer

Now that you have accessed your WordPress Customizer page, let’s take a look at how to use the WordPress Customizer to quickly launch or modify a website.

Just one more thing before we get cracking – note that the Customizer’s functionality relies largely on how much effort the active theme’s developers have put into utilizing it. For the sake of this tutorial, we will be using our own Neve theme, which makes excellent use of the Customizer.

Configure Site Identity and design

First up, we have site identity, which gives you control over the name and tagline of your WordPress website. Navigate to Site Identity to get started.

Usually, you will see the Site Identity option in the main menu, right after you enter the WordPress Customizer. In Neve, though, you will find it if you click on the pencil icon that shows up when you hover over your site’s title or header menu.

Changing the site title with WordPress customizer

You can fill out the two fields under Site Title and Tagline, and immediately see the results on the preview window on the right. Furthermore, you can upload a favicon or site icon from this interface. Once you’re done, simply click Publish.

Manage menus

The WordPress Customizer also enables you to configure your website’s menus. To get started, click on Menus on the WordPress Customizer menu.

To create your website’s first menu, click Create New Menu, type in your menu’s name, select the menu’s location (primary, secondary, or footer), and then click Next:

Creating a menu using WordPress customizer

In the next phase, you need to add the pages that you want to display in the menu. Click on Add items to select the pages. You can also display blog posts, categories, and tags.

Viewing WordPress Menu Settings

The WordPress Customizer will enable you to do a number of things with your new menu. You can change the name, adjust the order of the menu options, add new options, and configure its location. You can also specify if you would like WordPress to automatically update it when future top-level pages are created.

Viewing WordPress Menu Settings

It’s an extremely comprehensive set of configurations, squeezed quite comfortably into a small and manageable interface – a perfect example of the WordPress Customizer’s usefulness.

To find out how to populate your menu with pages and posts, we recommend this guide on working with custom menus in WordPress.

Swap website colors

The colors used by your WordPress theme can also be modified, which will greatly impact the design of your website without much effort at all. To do this, head over to Colors on the Customizer menu.

Depending on how many colors your theme makes use of, you can freely change them all before previewing the results via the window on the right. The Neve theme, for example, enables you to swap out colors for the links used across the website.

Set single post settings

As well as simplifying settings that are found elsewhere on your WordPress back end, the WordPress Customizer also has some features that you won’t be able to modify anywhere else. Your website’s single post settings are one example of this.

By clicking Layout, then Single Post on the WordPress Customizer menu, you’ll see what we mean.

The next interface enables you to make some small yet important changes to the way your blog posts are displayed on your website. You can configure your settings to hide the author’s avatar, hide the featured image, change the header layout, change the order of the page elements, and more:

Changing WordPress post settings

Modify a background image

If your theme makes use of a background image, the WordPress Customizer lets you make changes to that, too. Click on Colors & Background, then Background Image to get started.

Once again, the WordPress Customizer shows its power by enabling you to swap out your background image and configure a range of display options from within the same, small interface.

Interestingly, you can also configure your background image to Scroll. This essentially gives your background image a parallax effect, a popular website design trend that gives your website some depth:

Changing WordPress Background Options

Mobile and tablet previews

Last but certainly not least, let’s take a look at the WordPress Customizer’s mobile and tablet preview options.

By default, the Customizer will display your website preview in desktop mode. However, if you use the icons at the bottom of the WordPress Customizer, you can switch between desktop, tablet, and mobile view:

WordPress Customizer Preview icons

For example, by clicking on the tablet icon, the preview window on the right will quickly transform, showing you how your website will look to visitors using tablet devices:

Viewing the WordPress Tablet Preview

Final thoughts on the WordPress Customizer

WordPress is renowned for being a relatively easy CMS to use, and the Customizer is arguably its most approachable feature.

As you can gather from the guide above, it empowers you to do a variety of website-transforming tasks within a very simple interface.

So, if you aren’t making use of the WordPress Customizer, you may be wasting quite some time doing those same customizations elsewhere on the WordPress back end.

The next time you kickstart a WordPress project, bear in mind that you can use the Customizer to:

  1. Configure your site’s identity and appearance
  2. Manage site menus
  3. Swap website colors
  4. Specify single post options
  5. Modify a background image
  6. Preview your website in desktop, mobile, and tablet mode

Will you be using Customizer to help quickly launch future WordPress projects? Let us know your plans in the comments section below!

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