BEGINNER'S GUIDE

What is WordPress Customizer? And How to Use It? (Beginner’s Guide)

Last Updated: 12 mins By: ThemeGrill Author

Are you wondering what is WordPress customizer and how to use it? This subject might be tricky for many people, especially beginners. But don’t worry—we’re here to help.

The WordPress Customizer is primarily used to change the appearance of your theme. It offers plenty of options for customizing and modifying your WordPress site.

Beginners might be confused about how to get started and where to access the WordPress customizer. Thus, here’s a complete guide on how to customize WordPress site.

Let’s learn more about the WordPress Customizer in detail.

What is the WordPress Customizer? (Overview)

WordPress allows you to take your site’s theme to the next level through the Customizer.

WordPress Customizer is the one through which you can tweak the appearance of the theme you’re currently using, from header to footer.

The WordPress Customizer is accessible right from your WordPress dashboard and has different options based on the theme you are using.

Also, note that WordPress Customizer and WordPress Theme Customizer are the same thing. Don’t get confused between these two. 

The theme customizer allows you to customize many things, which are listed below for you.

  • Site title and tagline: Customize your site’s title and tagline 
  • Swap website color: Change your header text color and background color.
  • Header media: Add a header video or header image, as per your preference.
  • Background Image: Change your background images.
  • Widgets: Add widgets such as a sidebar and footer.
  • Homepage settings: Add your customized homepage, which your visitors will see first.
  • Additional CSS: Add additional CSS to enhance your site
How to customize WordPress site using WordPress Theme Customizer
WordPress Theme Customizer

These options are discussed in detail below, along with some other customization options in WordPress. 


How to Access the WordPress Customizer?

First of all, let’s discuss how to access the theme customizer.

Go to your WordPress dashboard. Then go to Appearance >> Customize.

Customize Option
Customize Option In WordPress Dashboard

Alternatively, you can also navigate through Appearance >> Theme.

Now go to your active theme and click on Customize.

Customize WordPress Theme Using Controls
Customize Option in WordPress Dashboard

It’ll take you to the customizer interface, which contains your theme preview on the right and a customizer menu on the left. 


Customizer Controls

The customizer controls are just the buttons you can click on to hide the customizer

Hide Controls
Customizer Controls

The pencil icon

Some elements in the customizer preview will have a pencil icon next to them, which is a shortcut to the customizer controls.

You can edit that specific element by clicking on the pencil icon.

Pencil-icon
The Pencil Icon

However, these icons can be seen only by the site owners or administrators, not by the visitors.


How to use the WordPress Customizer?

You should already know how to access your WordPress Customizer page by now. Let’s examine how to customize WordPress theme and quickly launch or modify a website. 

Before getting started, note that the customizer’s functionality depends on the theme you’ve activated on your site. However, basic customization options will be available for almost every theme.

Aside from that, the availability of other useful options relies largely on how much effort the active theme developers have put into utilizing it.

Thus, always choose customizable themes.

In this article, we’ll be using the multipurpose theme Zakra, which makes excellent use of customizer. 

WordPress Customizer Using Zakra Theme
Zakra Theme

Now, let’s see how to customize WordPress site using the theme customizer step by step.

i. Configure Site Identity and design 

It’s better to start with Site Identity before other customizations. Site Identity gives you control over the name and tagline of your WordPress website. To get started, navigate to Site Identity

You can fill in the two fields under the Site Title and Tagline. A site title is what your visitor will use to search your site, and a tagline is a brief description of your website’s content. 

WordPress Customizer for Site Title
Customize options for Site Title and Tagline

You can also upload a favicon or Site icon from this interface and add your website’s logo. A favicon is an image that appears along with your site title in the web browser.

Once you’re done, click Save and Publish. The results will be displayed in the preview window on the right before publishing.


ii. Swap Website Color

You can also modify your theme’s color, which will greatly impact your website’s design. To do this, go to the Customizer menu and select Colors. 

You will then have the option to change the header text color and background color using Header Text Color and Background Color, respectively. 

The Header Text Color allows you to change the color of your Site Title and Tagline. Similarly, the Background color allows you to change your background color. 

Customize Color Using WordPress Customizer
Customize the option to change the color

Depending on the number of colors your theme uses, you can freely change them according to your preference. Zakra has all the necessary colors.


iii. Header Media

The WordPress theme customizer also allows you to add header images and videos. To do so, navigate to the customizer menu and select Header Media

First, you will see options to add a header video. Click on Select video to add a new video.

If you don’t have a video, you can also directly add a YouTube link in the option or enter a YouTube URL. 

WordPress Customizer Header Media
Customize the option to add and change Header media

If you don’t want to add a video, you can add an image. Just click on Add new image to add an image. If you wish to change the image, click on Hide image and add a new image. 

Thus, customizing the header in WordPress is not a big deal using the Zakra theme.


iv. Background Image

To change your background image, click on Background Image and get started. You can change or remove the background image.

WordPress Customizer for Background image
Customize the option to add and change the Background image

The same small interface allows you to swap out your background image and configure a range of display options. 

Another option is to preset the image. Originally, it will be on by default. However, you can change it according to your preference. The other available options besides Default that you can choose are:

  • Fill Screen
  • Fit to screen
  • Repeat
  • Custom

You can also select the image’s position and size and whether you want your background image to repeat.

Background Image Options
Background Image Options

Lastly, you can give your page a parallax effect if you want your background image to scroll with the page or keep it fixed


v. Manage Menus 

The WordPress Customizer also allows you to configure your website’s menus. To do so, click on Menu on the WordPress customizer menu. 

To create your website’s first menu, click Create New Menu, type in your menu’s name, and then click Create Menu. Once your menu has been created, you can click on its name to adjust its settings.

Manage Menu through WordPress Customizer
Customize the option to create and manage the menu

The WordPress Customizer allows you to do a number of things with your new menu. You can change the name, add new options, adjust the order of the menu options, and configure its location.

You can also specify if you would like WordPress to update it when top-level pages are created automatically in the future. 


vi. Widgets

A widget is a small application or content block that lets you add useful content to your site’s sidebars and footers

Click on Widgets on the Customizer menu to add footer and sidebars. You’ll be given options such as Sidebar Right, Footer One, Footer Two, Footer Three, and Footer Four.

You can add a search option for the sidebar, recent posts, and recent comments, which will appear on the right. 

WordPress Customizer Widgets
Customize the option to add Widgets

There are also multiple options to add to your footer. They are: 

  • Archive: A monthly archive of your monthly posts.
  • Audio: Displays an audio player.
  • Calendar: A calendar of your site’s posts.
  • Categories: A list or dropdown of categories.
  • Custom HTML: Arbitrary HTML code. 
  • Gallery: Displays an image gallery.
  • Image: Displays an image.
  • Meta: login, RSS, and WordPress.org links.
  • Navigation Menu: Add a navigation menu to your sidebar.
  • Pages: A list of your site’s pages.
  • Recent comments: Your site’s most recent comments.
  • Recent posts: Your site’s most recent posts.
  • RSS: Entries from any RSS or Atom feed.
  • Search: A search field for your site.
  • Tag cloud: A tag of your most used tags.
  • Text: Arbitrary text.
  • Video: Displays the video from the media library, YouTube, Vimeo, or another provider. 

You can add four of these options at once, each on one footer as ‘Footer one,’ ‘Footer two,’ and so on. 

Customizer Widgets Footer One
Customize the option to add Widgets

Note: All widgets provided by the theme might not appear on specific Customizer pages. But if you want to access all of the sidebars, you can go to Appearance >> Widgets.


vii. Homepage Settings

Your homepage is set up by default to show the latest posts and comments. In the homepage settings menu, you can change what visitors can see when they first access your site:

  • Your latest posts: It’s a classic blog style, where your latest posts are shown in reverse chronological order ( newest to oldest). 
  • A static page: It’s a fixed, static site page. This option is useful if you do not want the blog page to appear on your homepage.

You can also customize your homepage. To do so, go to your dashboard, select Pages, and click on the option Add New. You can create as many pages as you want. Then select one of these pages as your homepage.

You can also select the Posts page to show on the homepage.

Wordpress Customizer Homepage Settings
Customize option to change Homepage settings

viii. Additional CSS

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. It’s a markup language that controls the appearance of HTML elements on a web page.

You can add your own CSS code in the Additional CSS panel to customize your site’s appearance and layout.

This will allow you to make changes to your site and see them live on the right side of your screen.

WordPress will automatically suggest attributes based on the letters you type when you start writing some CSS codes. Also, it will display error messages if you have not written a proper CSS statement. 

WordPress Customizer for Additional CSS
Customize the option to add Additional CSS

Additional WordPress Customizer Options

There are some other extra features that you can use to enhance your WordPress site:

Preview your website on different resolutions

You’ll find three icons at the bottom of your customizer menu next to Hide Controls. These icons allow you to test your site on different screen resolutions, such as desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. 

Resolution Icon Using WordPress Customizer
Customize the option to see the website in different resolutions

One important thing a website owner should do is ensure that their site is mobile responsive and looks good on all screens. Thus, always use a responsive theme.


Publish, Save, or Schedule your Customizer setting

Once you have made the necessary changes, don’t forget to apply them to your site. Otherwise, all your hard work will be a waste. 

To apply the change, click on the Publish button. Once done, click on the close button at the top-left corner of your screen to exit the customizer menu.

If you need more time to finalize your new design, you can save it as a draft and even share it with someone without giving them access to your admin area.

To save it, click the gear icon next to the publish button. This will open the Action panel, which has three options: Publish, Save Draft, and Schedule.

To store your changes, click on the Save Draft radio button on the action panel.

Similarly, the Schedule option allows you to publish your changes on a specific date and time. This option is useful if you wish to schedule your theme changes to go live at a time when there is the least traffic.

Publish Save Draft Using WordPress Customizer
Customize the option to Publish, Save drafts, and schedule

Lastly, if you want to reset the unpublished changes, you can click on the Discard Changes link on the action panel.

Discard Changes Made Using WordPress Customizer
Customize the option to Discard

Conclusion

That was a complete guide on how to customize a WordPress site using the WordPress theme customizer. We’re confident that you got the answer to your question about what the WordPress customizer is.

We hope that you can use all the theme customization options, such as site titles, background images, colors, and so on, to make the best use of them for your website. 

Other customizable options include previewing your website in different resolutions and publishing, saving a draft, and scheduling your customizer settings. 

We hope this article was helpful and that you learned something new. If you liked it, you may also want to read our article on the default WordPress theme, customizing WooCommerce forms, and so on.

For more, visit our blog page. You can also stay updated by following us on X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook!  

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ThemeGrill Author

We are a team of SEO copywriters and editors who work both individually and in the team. ThemeGrill author is where one of the editors here is working on one project personally. Write to us @themegrill_blog in Twitter.

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