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One-Click Child Theme

Contributors: tychay

Donate link:

Tags: theme, child theme, child theme creator, child theme creator, CSS, stylesheet, custom theme, customize theme, shared hosting

Requires at least: 3.0

Tested up to: 4.1.1

Stable tag: trunk

Adds a Theme option to any active theme allowing you to make a child theme.


Please visit the plugin homepage.

Useful for shared hosts, this allows you to easily create child themes from any theme just by clicking.

Ever since WordPress 3.0, you shouldn’t directly modify CSS of any downloaded themes because if you update the theme, your changes will be destroyed. Instead, it is recommended that you create a child theme and edit the CSS there so that updates to the parent theme will be inherited instead of destroy your changes.

The problem many run into is currently the only way to child theme something is edit files on the filesystem. This is non-intuitive for shared-hosting sites with one-click WordPress installs (it usually involves a “shell account” or learning how to use FTP).

This attempts to get around that issue, by adding a button to the themes page to allow you to child theme the page. (It’s not really one-click, though.)

Inspired by @janeforshort's and @designsimply's WordCamp SF 2011 talk on CSS theming as requested by @sfgirl for her blog.


###Installing The Plugin###

Extract all files from the ZIP file, making sure to keep the file structure intact, and then upload it to /wp-content/plugins/. Then just visit your admin area and activate the plugin. That's it!

See Also: "Installing Plugins" article on the WP Codex

###Using the plugin###

If you have the capability to install themes in your admin, then the themes menu will have a new submenu called "Child Theme". Clicking on this gives you a form that will allow you to create a child theme based on the current active theme.


###1. To use the plugin, click one of these two palces in the Appearance section of your wp_admin

To use the plugin, click one of these two palces in the Appearance section of your wp_admin

###2. Fill out this form

Fill out this form

###3. You will see the theme will be successfully child-themed, but will track the parent theme correctly.

You will see the theme will be successfully child-themed, but will track the parent theme correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

I already modified my CSS in the existing theme? How do I use One Click Child Theme to fix this?

You can wait for the theme to get updated and have it break it, or you can:

###4. Go through the steps for installing and running the plugin above to create a child theme

[missing image]

###5. Click on the Appearance > Editor in your admin dashboard menu (or network admin menu if multi-site).

[missing image]

###6. Select the parent theme in the drop down on the right, click Select and make sure you are editing the file style.css (select on the right).

[missing image]

###7. Copy the changes you made, if you managed to remember them.

[missing image]

###8. Select the child theme you created to the drop down in the left (you should be editing style.css).

[missing image]

###9. Paste your changes to the end of the file.

[missing image]

Your plugin broke my site!

I didn't think that's possible, but if so, I want to fix it!

First, check what really happened. Is your admin console broken, is the theme broken (go to a new window and check your blog). If a theme fails to work and for some reason I didn't catch that error, WordPress should restore the previous theme (or whatever the default theme is) so your actual blog should be okay and recoverable. If for some reason it didn't default to the right theme, go into the Appearance menu and re-enable the parent theme.

Then go to the support page, describe what happened (screenshots help too) and anything else and we'll try our best to help you.

I can't find this Theme Option button you are alluding to in the documentation?

I really need to update the screenshot. It's still there, but the location has changed as WordPress has been upgraded.

###10. Go to the Appearance tab

[missing image]

###11. Click on the Active theme (it should say "Theme Details" when you mouseover)

[missing image]

###12. An overlay appears. The Theme option button "Child Theme" is there

[missing image]

When I go to the Child Theme menu, it says "X is already a child theme" and I can't create a child theme.

Making grandchildren of themes is non-trivial, so I disabled the form if it is already a child theme. Instead I offer the ability to repair the Child theme or copy template files from the parent into the child for editing.

Can the plugin be deleted after I create a Child Theme with it?

Yes. The main purpose of the plugin is fulfilled. Congratulations! (Personally, I'd disable it, instead of delete it.)

Having said that, there are some things that this plugin help with after your child theme's birth. Think of it as a parenting guide for your new child theme.

Features like?

  • Repair a child theme created in the old style.
  • Copy templates over from your parent theme into your child theme.
  • Replace the child theme screenshot with one of your site

When you have an active child theme, click on Appearance > Child Theme to get to these functions.

What does the "Repair Child Theme" button do?

WordPress changed the recommended way of handling parent references in child themes. If this plugin detects your child theme was done in the old style, it shows this button. Clicking on it will make the plugin attempt a repair into the new style.

How come the screenshot service just shows a big 404

The most likely scenario is your WordPress site_url isn't publicly accessible from the web.

What's with the debugging/error code on child theme creation?

You have an old version of this plugin, please update to the latest one.

I wrote this plugin back during a talk at WordCamp SF 2011 about CSS Themeing in order to help the person sitting next to me. I just didn't get to some things… for years. Sorry about that! The debugging code didn't affect any behavior — it was a sign of me being lazy and not realizing that the plugin would have tens of thousands of avid users!

The theme screenshot service doesn't seem to be working.

First of all, is the blog accessible from the public Internet? If not, then that is the problem.

But sometimes, even then, mshots seems a bit on the slow side. The plugin uses’s mShots service. You know, I worked at Automattic for years on and I still haven't quite figured out mShots. Eventually I've gotten the animated loading GIF to be replaced by a real retina-ready JPEG screenshot of my blog homepage. Trust me, when it works, it works great! But the experience may be a little like trying to get a vending machine to accept a crumpled dollar bill — Americans know what I mean. Suffice it to say that you might have to hit reload a couple times, or just fiddle around a bit.

= Why should I use your plugin and not insert competitor here =

What? People have forked my idea because I left Automattic for Wikimedia three years ago? This means war! Other plugins, you're going down! Steel yourself for the pent-up aggression of a pointy-haired boss being kept away from a programming console for years.

As to why this plugin is the best? OCCT is Coke Classic to every other plugin's New Coke. Experience the original plugin taste your parents knew and loved! Plus, I have four-year old screenshots on my theme page, a way cooler plugin icon, and a baby picture of me and my brother on the banner. Also, this plugin strikes the right balance of features, is free (no "pro" version and not even a PayPal link), and (now that I've figured out how to admin the plugin page), I've been adding volunteers to support it. Even if I sucked into the vortex of middle management again (isn't going to happen, that s--t is EVIL) this plugin will live forever in the hearts and minds of bloggers everywhere!

Which reminds me, if you want to help out, we're cool with that. Like WordPress itself, this is a volunteer endeavor. Contact us in the support pages and we'll hook you up!


Version 1.7

  • Documentation: FAQ fixes

Version 1.6

  • Feature: Added ability to generate theme screenshots (thanks @janeforshort/@jenmylo for the idea)
  • Feature: Redirect to theme page on child theme creation
  • Feature: Successful child theme creation suggests you edit its style.css file
  • Performance: Only run code in admin page
  • Bug: Added in some missing gettext
  • Bug: Removed the double errors/updates being displays
  • Documentation: Make sure description is under 140 characters
  • Documentation: Screenshots now display
  • Documentation: Added banner image and plugin icon
  • Documentation: Other minor tweaks including updated FAQ and license

Version 1.5

  • Feature: Added ability to repair child theme
  • Feature: Added ability to copy any template file from parent theme (thanks Michael Rawlings for the idea)
  • Design: Upgrade look of form to resemble most admin forms.
  • Bug Fix: Properly shows a status message on success.
  • Documentation: Added section for FAQ and Screenshots.
  • Documentation: Some housecleaning of filesystem structure of plugin

Version 1.4

Version 1.2

  • Bug Fix: Remembers to network enable (activate) the theme after creation.
  • Feature: Added screenshot support (Thanks! Chris Robinson
  • Bug Fix: WP_Error handling
  • Documentation: Refactored codebase

Version 1.1

  • Feature: Added RTL support

Version 1.0.1

  • Commenting changes.

Version 1.0

  • Initial release


Git mirror of One-Click Child Theme on Plugins







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