Search, Preview and Install Free Themes from WordPress Customizer

WordPress 4.7 beta 1 has been already released and the new default theme Twenty Seventeen is bundled with that. The final version of WordPress 4.7 is scheduled to release on December 6, 2016. This version is coming with lot many new features including Themes Search and Install option from Customizer window. It means you don’t need to go to the Appearance ==> Themes page to search and install a new theme. Just open the Customizer and if you find that the current theme is not doing the expected task, just search and install free theme without leaving the Customizer. It also allows you to preview the new theme after installation.

This is exactly how the new Customizer ==> Themes panel looks.


Check Featured, Popular and Latest Themes from

On Customizer ==> Themes window, you can see 3 options to list themes from repository – Featured, Popular and Latest. The Customizer window will show an option to install and preview these themes without leaving the page.

Feature Filter to Search and Install Free Themes

Some filters are also provided on Customizer to show only selected themes from theme repository. Here are some important filters available,

  • Layout – This filter allows you to see theme with certain layouts only. For example, if you are looking for theme with grid layout to showcase posts, select the Layout filter as Grid. Similarly, you can also select One Column, Two Column, Three Column, Left Sidebar, Right Sidebar layouts as filter to show themes with these layouts only.
  • Features – Based on features available with the theme, you can search and list the themes. For example, if you are looking for BuddyPress compatible themes, select the “BuddyPress” feature from this filter. Apart from that, there are many other features filter available such as accessibility ready, custom background, theme option, RTL ready and many more.
  • Subject – This filter allows you to select the category or the purpose of the theme. If you are looking for eCommerce themes, select the filter “eCommerce” in the Subject. Other subjects available are blog, holiday, photography, portfolio, news, education, food and drink etc.

Get Favorites from Account

You can also fetch your favorite themes from repository directly into the Customizer window. WordPress allows you to set favorite to the themes using your account. Now you like to see and install your favorite theme, that can be done using the “Favorites” option on the Customizer ==> Themes panel. This option is not restricted to only your favorites, but you can fetch any other account holder’s favorites by entering his account name.

Exploring and installing themes from Customizer enables WordPress users to make all changes in the look and feel of the site using only one panel i.e. Customizer. With WordPress 4.7, the Customizer has become more powerful and useful.

Update – Search, Install and Preview of Themes from Customizer has been removed from WordPress 4.7 beta 2 because of the following reasons.

  • Displaying on mobile devices is broken.
  • Inability to close the feature/filter accordion.
  • Checkmarks are overlayed on top of the search form.
  • The full-screen plus reload experience isn’t polished.

Here is what Helen Hou-Sandí, WordPress 4.7 release lead said about the changes,

This is a great goal for core, and is close, but it is not in shape to be shipped for 4.7 and there is not enough time left in the development cycle to alter and polish sufficiently. There are bugs, but more than that, there are more fundamental questions around the use of existing UI, general UX, and how findable themes are (not) on the .org side.

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