Help File

Help File: Plexus

Help file last updated on 27, November 2014

1.0 Getting Started

1.1 Downloading The Theme

Download the theme from your ThemeForest Downloads page and unzip the file you just downloaded. You will now see a folder called plexus-theme, within the folder you will see the following:


1.2 Installation

Before installing the theme make sure you have installed WordPress 3.5 or higher. You can download WordPress for free from WordPress.org.

It is recommended that you install BuddyPress and bbPress before installing and activating the theme.

There are two ways to install the theme, please choose the one that best suits you:

1.2.1 Installing Through WordPress Admin Panel

You can also install the theme through the WordPress admin panel. However you will need to make sure the file size of plexus.zip does not exceed your upload limit - if it does please see http://wptheming.com/2009/07/upload_max_filesize for more information.

Then to install the theme follow the steps below:

  1. Log in to the WordPress Admin Panel.
  2. Go to Appearance -> Themes.
  3. Click the Install Themes or Add New button.
  4. Finally click the Upload or Upload Theme button and upload plexus.zip (NOT plexus-theme.zip).

1.2.2 Installing Through FTP

If the theme is too large to upload through the WordPress admin panel you should upload the theme through an FTP client instead.

To set up an FTP client refer to the WordPress documentation on this http://codex.wordpress.org/FTP_Clients.

Once you have set up your FTP client upload the plexus folder to your WordPress themes directory wp-content/themes/ (this is in inside the plexus-theme folder if you downloaded the main files download).

1.2.3 Activating the theme

Once you have installed the theme you should activate the theme by going to Appearance -> Themes and clicking the Activate link below the Plexus theme.


1.3 Installing Required & Recommended Plugins

1.3.1 Installing Plugins

This theme comes with three required plugins:

  1. Plexus Plugin: Includes a number of features that you can still use if you switch to another theme such as your slides and custom sidebars.
  2. Visual Composer: Adds a drag and drop page builder and front-end editor which many of the page templates rely on.
  3. LayerSlider: Advanced responsive WordPress slider plugin with the famous Parallax Effect and over 200 2D & 3D transitions.

The theme also recommends several other plugins used in the demo, which do not need to be installed if you don't want to use them. To view the recommend plugins go to Appearance -> Installed Plugins.

You cannot manually update the premium theme plugins unless you have purchased them separately. If these plugins have been updated you will need to wait until a new theme update is released that will include any plugin updates.

1.3.2 Plugin Issues

If the required plugins are not installed go to Appearance -> Install Plugins and click the Install link for each plugin.

Plugins

You can also find the plugins inside the theme folder you downloaded at plexus-theme/plexus/lib/plugins/. You can then upload each plugin zip file manually as follows:

  1. Log in to the WordPress Admin Panel.
  2. Go to Plugins -> Add New.
  3. Click the Upload link in the top sub-menu and upload each zip file.

If you using WordPress Multisite you should Network Active the Plexus Plugin from My Sites -> Network Admin -> Plugins.


1.4 WordPress Multisite

This theme is designed to work with WordPress multisite but will work just fine without it.

A multisite network is a collection of sites that all share the same WordPress installation. They can also share plugins and themes. The individual sites in the network are virtual sites in the sense that they do not have their own directories on your server, although they do have separate directories for media uploads within the shared installation, and they do have separate tables in the database.

To set up WordPress multisite please refer to the WordPress documentation for creating a network at http://codex.wordpress.org/Create_A_Network


1.5 Using Demo Content

The theme comes with three demo files. demo.xml imports example posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, tags, widgets.wie imports widgets and layerslider.json imports the LayerSliders. The demo content can help you in learning how the theme works.

To add this demo content follow the steps below:

  1. Go to Tools -> Import and select the WordPress option. If you are prompted to install the WordPress Importer plugin you should do this.
  2. Click the Browse button and locate the demo.xml file that is inside the plexus-theme/plexus/Help/Demo Content/ folder and double click the file to select it and then click the Upload file and import button.
  3. A new screen will appear, check the Download and import file attachments option and click Submit.
  4. To import the demo widgets go to Tools -> Widget Import/Export, click the Choose file button and locate the widgets.wie file that is inside the plexus-theme/plexus/Help/Demo Content/ folder and double click the file to select it and then click the Import Widgets button.
  5. If you get a message that a widget is not supported or already exists please ignore it. It just means the widget has not been added to the sidebar probably because it's already in the sidebar or it's not enabled on your installation (e.g. BuddyPress widgets).

  6. To import the demo LayerSliders go to LayerSlider WP -> All Sliders and locate the Import & Export Sliders panel.
  7. Click the Choose file button and locate the layerslider.json file that is inside the plexus-theme/plexus/Help/Demo Content/ folder and double click the file to select it and then click the Import button.
  8. Now go to Appearance -> Menus and under the Manage Locations tab select "Left Header Menu" for Left Header Navigation.
  9. Finally go to Settings -> Reading, select A static page option and from the Front page drop down menu select the page called "Home" (leave the Posts page drop down menu empty).

Only the main blog data will be imported, it is not possible to import the data for all the other blogs as well. Once you create your own blogs from My Sites -> Sites -> Add New you will see them appear in the Sitewide Blogs widget.


1.6 Updating The Theme

From time to time free theme updates will be released which will include bug fixes and feature updates.

1.6.1 Activating Update Notifications

In order to receive update notifications you need to do the following:

  1. Go to ThemeForest Downloads page and find this theme.
  2. Check the Get notified by email if this item is updated option as shown in the image below.

Update Notifications

1.6.2 Updating The Theme

Once you have enabled update notifications there are two ways to update your theme as follows:

1.6.2.1 If you have made NO changes to the theme files

If you have made no changes to the theme files you can update the theme as follows:

  1. Download the theme from your ThemeForest Downloads page and unzip the file you just downloaded. You will now see a folder called plexus-theme.
  2. Go to Appearance -> Themes and activate another theme.
  3. Now click the Delete link for the Plexus theme.
  4. Select Install Themes.
  5. Now click the Upload link in the top sub-menu and upload the new version of plexus.zip (NOT plexus-theme.zip).

1.6.2.2 If you HAVE made changes to the theme files

It is recommended that you create a child theme to make changes to the theme so you can upgrade automatically without your changes being overwritten. To set up a child theme see Creating A Child Theme.

However if you have made changes to the parent theme's template files you will want to update the theme manually so you do not overwrite these changes as follows:

  1. Download the theme from your ThemeForest Downloads page and unzip the file you just downloaded. You will now see a folder called plexus-theme.
  2. Now read the changelog so you can see what files that have been updated, added and/or removed.
  3. You can use DeltaWalker or DiffMerge and compare the code changes between your modified files and the new theme files.
  4. Before uploading the new theme you should make a backup of the current version you have installed. This can be done by downloading the theme folder from your server to your computer.
  5. Now upload the new plexus folder that is inside your plexus-theme folder to your WordPress themes directory wp-content/themes/.

1.7 Updating The Plugins

Whenever a new version of a plugin is available you will be emailed that the theme has been updated if you activated update notifications as described in the Activating Update Notifications section.

To update the theme plugins do the following:

  1. Update the theme as described in the Updating The Theme section.
  2. Now go to Appearance > Install Plugins and check the plugins that need updating, select Update from the dropdown menu and click Apply.

Updating Plugins


1.8 Basic Troubleshooting

1.8.1 General Issues

Disable all your plugins to see if this fixes any issues you are experiencing. If it does, reactivate the plugins one by one or in groups so you can identify which one is causing the problem.

If the problem is not fixed activate the default Twenty Twelve theme to see if this fixes the issue. If the problem still occurs it is likely a WordPress issue instead of a theme issue and you should post a support topic at the WordPress support site at http://wordpress.org/support.

If the problem is fixed it may be a theme issue, in which case post a support ticket at http://ghostpool.ticksy.com and include your website address and WordPress admin login details.

1.8.2 Does your server have the GD library compiled with its version of PHP?

This theme requires the GD library for image resizing. If your images are not working, check with your host to make sure it is installed.


2.0 Creating Pages

2.1 Creating A Homepage

2.1.1 Creating The Page

  1. Go to Pages -> Add New to create a new page.
  2. Give your page a title.
  3. On the right hand side in the Page Attributes panel select the "Homepage" page template from the Template dropdown menu.
  4. A new section will appear below the text editor in the Page Settings panel called Homepage Settings, which allows you to control the homepage.
  5. Go to Settings -> Reading, select A static page option and from the Front page drop down menu select the page you just created (leave the Posts page drop down menu empty).

2.1.2 Adding Slides

  1. To import the slider seen in the theme demo go to LayerSlider WP -> All Sliders and locate the Import & Export Sliders panel.
  2. Click the Choose file button and locate the LayerSlider.json file that is inside the plexus-theme/plexus/Help/Demo Content/ folder and double click the file to select it and then click the Import button.
  3. Now go back to the homepage you created and add the slider ID (this is probably "1") to the Slider ID text field in the Homepage Settings section.

Please note that I did not create the LayerSlider plugin, if you want to learn more about this plugin you should refer to the documentation here.

2.1.3 Adding Homepage Widgets

  1. To import the widgets seen in the theme demo go to Tools -> Widget Import/Export, click the Choose file button and locate the widgets.wie file that is inside the plexus-theme/plexus/Help/Demo Content/ folder and double click the file to select it and then click the Import Widgets button.
  2. Go to Appearance -> Widgets and locate the Homepage widget area on the right-hand side which you will now see populated with widgets.
  3. You can remove these widgets and add new ones if you want or to edit the existing widgets click on the down arrow by each widget title to reveal the widget options.

2.2 Creating A Blog Page

To set up a blog page to display all your posts you first need to create some posts as follows:

  1. Go to Posts -> Add New to create a new post.
  2. Give your post a title and content in the text editor.
  3. Scroll down to the Post Settings panel where you can control the way the post looks.
  4. On the right-hand side you will see a Featured Image panel, click the Set featured image link to set an image for this post.
  5. After uploading or selecting your featured image click the Set featured image button in the image upload window.
  6. On the right-hand you can assign your post to categories from the Categories panel e.g. "Blog".

The blog page is just an ordinary post category page which you can add to your navigation menu as follows:

  1. Go Appearance -> Menus and from the left-hand side in the Categories panel, select the categories you want to add to your menu.

2.3 Creating A Contact Page

The contact page is an ordinary page that uses a shortcode provided by the Contact Form 7 plugin to display the contact form. To set up your contact page do as follows:

  1. Install and activate the Contact Form 7 plugin.
  2. Go to Contact from the main menu on the left and click Add New to create a contact form.
  3. Once you've created your contact form it will give you a shortcode to copy and paste e.g. [contact-form-7 id="2804" title="Untitled"].
  4. Go to Pages -> Add New to create a new page.
  5. Give your page a title and in the text editor paste the shortcode you just copied.

2.4 Creating A Blog Directory Page

The blog directory page displays all the blogs from across your network. This page template will only work on WordPress installations using WordPress Multisite. To set up your blog directory page do as follows:

  1. Go to Pages -> Add New to create a new page.
  2. Give your page a title.
  3. On the right hand side in the Page Attributes panel select the "Blog Directory" page template from the Template dropdown menu.

2.5 Visual Composer (Page Builder & Shortcodes)

This theme comes bundled with the Visual Composer plugin, which provides a drag and drop interface for creating complex page layouts and provides many shortcodes. This can all be accessed by creating or editing a page and clicking the Visual Composer button.

For more information on using the Visual Composer refer to the video below:


3.0 Theme Sections

3.1 Header

3.1.1 Changing The Logo

  1. Go to Appearance -> Theme Options -> General Settings and find the Custom Logo Image option.
  2. You can either copy and paste your logo URL into the text box or click the Upload button to upload or use an image from your media library.
  3. If you upload or use an image form the media library, select the image you want and then click the Use Image button at the bottom of the window.
  4. For retina support make your logo double the width and height you want to display it at, you can then specify the logo width and height in the options.
  5. Go to Appearance -> Theme Options -> General Settings and add your social links in the social icon text fields (start each link with http://).

3.2 Navigation Menus

3.2.1 Creating Menus

  1. Go to Appearance -> Menus to set up your left and right header navigation menus.
  2. Click the create a new menu link and create two menus.
  3. Click the Manage Locations tab and select your menus from the Left Header Navigation and Right Header Navigation drop down menus.
  4. To create dropdown menus drag the menu items you want in the dropdown inwards and underneath the parent link as shown in the image below.

Navigation Menus


3.3 Sidebars

The sidebar area is used to display widgets. By default all pages display the Standard Sidebar. To create a new sidebar and assign it to a page do as follows:

  1. Go to Appearance -> Sidebars, click the Add Sidebar link and give your new sidebar a name.
  2. Now go to the desired page and scroll down to the settings panel and select one of your sidebars from the Sidebar drop down menu.
  3. To change the sidebar on all posts, pages, categories, products etc. this can be done from Appearance -> Theme Options.
  4. Now go to Appearance -> Widgets and drag and drop widgets from the Available Widgets panel over to the widget areas on the right.
  5. You can add any shortcodes, scripts, advertisements within a Text widget.

3.4 Footer

The footer comes in two sections. The first section contains the footer widgets. The second section contains the copyright text. To set up both sections do as follows:

3.4.1 Setting Up The Footer Widgets

  1. Go to Appearance -> Widgets and drag and drop widgets from the Available Widgets panel over to the five footer widget areas on the right.
  2. Each footer widget area represents a new column in the footer

3.4.2 Setting Up Copyright Text

  1. To replace the default copyright text, go to Appearance -> Theme Options -> General Settings add your own text in Copyright text box.

4.0 Network Settings

4.1 Network Admin Settings

The theme allows you to control what options other blog admins can access on your network. If you choose not to give other blog admins access to a specific setting (e.g. General Settings), then the main blog settings will be used instead. You can also override the logo link and navigation on other blogs and again the main blog settings will be used instead. To access the network settings do the following:

  1. Go to My Sites -> Network Admin from the admin bar at the top of the page.
  2. Now go to Settings -> Network Settings -> Theme Settings.

4.2 Sitewide Blog Images

Each blog admin can upload a blog image, which can be used in the GP Sitewide Blogs widget. To access this option do the following:

  1. Go to Appearance -> Sitewide Options and click the Upload button to upload or use an image from your media library.
  2. Once you select the image you want click the Use Image button at the bottom of the window.

4.3 Importing Sitewide Posts, Categories and Tags

This theme allows you to display content from blogs across your network. This is done by importing the last X amount of posts, categories and tags from across the network into the main blog (or whatever blog you specify). To enable this feature and import any existing posts from across the network do the following:

  1. Go to My Sites -> Settings -> Sitewide Tags, check the Enabled option and click Update Settings, you will now see the sitewide tag options.
  2. Check the Post to main blog option or leave it unchecked if you want to specify your own blog that you want to import the posts from across the network to.
  3. You can also change a number of other options and once you're done click Update Settings.
  4. Finally check the All blogs option, or specify individual blogs if you don't want to include them all, and then click the Populate Posts button.

4.4 Sitewide Widgets

The theme comes with six widgets which are described below:

  1. GP Sitewide Blogs: This widget displays blogs and their posts from across the network. Each blog admin can upload a blog image that can be displayed in this widget (blog images will only work if the widget is displayed on the main blog).
  2. GP Sitewide Posts: This widget essentially works like the default Recent Posts widget but has more options. It only displays posts from the site it has been added to, so it will display posts from across the network if you add it to your main blog (or whatever blog you're importing all your posts from across the network to).
  3. GP Sitewide Categories: This widget displays categories and their posts from the site it has been added to, so it will display categories from across the network if you add it to your main blog (or whatever blog you're importing all your posts from across the network to). I suggest telling blog admins to use the same category names so that when the posts are imported across the network, posts from different blogs can be displayed under the same category. You can also add category images and change the category colours by editing each category from Posts -> Categories.
  4. GP Sitewide Categories List: This widget works just like the default Categories widget but includes a few more options.
  5. GP Sitewide Comments: This widget displays comments from across the network or from a specific blog.
  6. GP Sitewide Author: This widget displays the author of the post the widget is on or you can specify the author profile you want to display.

5.0 Styling Your Site

5.1 Style Settings

With this theme you can style every element of the site as follows:

  1. Go to Appearance -> Theme Options -> Style Settings.
  2. Simply change the colors using the color picker or input your own color code.
  3. Click the Save Changes after you have finished editing this section.

5.2 Page Background

  1. Go to Appearance -> Background to add your own background colour or upload your own background image.

5.3 Customizing The Theme

If you want to customize the theme beyond what the Style Settings section offers the theme allows you to make customizations without editing the theme files so your changes are not lost when updating the theme. There are two ways of editing the theme as follows:

5.3.1 Creating A Child Theme

This theme comes with a child theme called "plexus-child". A child theme inherits the functionality of another theme, called the parent theme, and allows you to modify, or add to, the functionality of that parent theme. A child theme is the safest and easiest way to modify an existing theme, whether you want to make a small change or extensive changes. Whenever you update the theme any changes you make to the child theme will not be overwritten. To install the child theme do as follows:

  1. Go to Appearance -> Themes -> Install Themes -> Upload and click Choose File and select the plexus-child.zip file from inside plexus-theme folder you downloaded from ThemeForest.

For more information on child themes refer to the WordPress documentation at http://codex.wordpress.org/Child_Themes.

5.3.2 Custom CSS Settings

You can also add your custom CSS code from the theme options, however this is limited as you cannot edit the template files like you can with a child theme. To add your custom CSS code do the following:

  1. Go to Appearance -> Theme Options -> CSS Settings and add your CSS code to the Custom CSS text box.

5.3.3 Developer Tools

An excellent way of editing your theme is to use the developer tools that come with most modern browsers. The developer tools allow you to see what HTML elements need to be styled and allows you to edit the styling of the theme within the browser window. These changes are not permanent and nobody else sees them, it's just a great way of adjusting the look of your site quickly. Here are some links to the developer tools for each of the major browsers:


6.0 Translating The Theme (Localisation)

The theme is localisation ready so all that is needed is your translation. This documentation covers two methods to create your translation. The easiest method is to use a plugin called Codestyling Localization and more advanced users can use Poedit.

6.1 Switching Languages

The theme includes a language file that contains all of the English text which is located in the theme folder at plexus-theme/plexus/languages/.

WordPress needs to be told which language it should use. Open wp-config.php (this is located in the root of your WordPress installation where wp-content/ is) and modify the line below, or add it if it is missing. We've set it to Norwegian in the example below. See the complete list of language codes and country codes to find your exact locale.

define ('WPLANG', 'nb_NO');

6.2 Translating - Codestyling Localization

Codestyling Localization is the recommended method for most users as it is the simplest to setup and allows you to translate both the theme and plugins such as BuddyPress and WooCommerce.

  1. Go to Plugins -> Add New, search for "Codestyling Localization" and install and activate the plugin.
  2. Go to Tools -> Localization and follow the instructions on how to translate the theme and plugins (such as BuddyPress and WooCommerce).

6.2.1 Updating Your Translation

If you update the theme and the language file has been updated, you will need to rescan Plexus using the Codestyling Localization plugin and then translate the new strings.

  1. Go to Tools -> Localization and find Plexus in the translations list.
  2. Click the Rescan link to update the language file.

6.3 Translating - Poedit

Translating the theme using Poedit is an alternative to translating the theme using Codestyling Localization plugin and only recommended for more advanced users.

  1. Install and open the translation program Poedit.
  2. Go to File -> New From POT/PO File and open the plexus-theme/plexus/languages/en_EN.po.
  3. You will be asked to specify the language you want to translate to.
  4. Now click on each string and enter your translation in the text box.
  5. After translating the strings you can save your file. Poedit will give it a filename based on the country code, so a Norwegian translation will be saved as nb_NO.po

6.3.1 Updating Your Translation

If you update the theme and the language file has been updated, you will need to update the translation file and then translate the new strings.

  1. To do this insert your modified translation file (e.g. en_EN.po) into the plexus-theme/plexus/languages/ folder overwriting the new file.
  2. Now open this file in PoEdit and click Update and it will display the text changes from the latest theme update.

7.0 Advanced

7.1 Optimizing Page Speed

In order to improve the page load speed you will want to optimize your site. This is not something the theme alone can do as it would make editing the theme difficult for the customer and relies on your own site content.

We recommend you follow the steps provided by GTmetrix at http://gtmetrix.com/wordpress-optimization-guide.html.

The theme comes with the ability to add fragment caching to the theme widgets which is disabled by default (since v1.2) as it is not supported on servers with PHP below 5.3. To enable fragment caching open each widget file located under plexus-theme/plexus/lib/admin/inc/widgets/ and find the fragment_cache line at the top of the page SIMILAR to:

//gp_fragment_cache('sitewide_author', DAY_IN_SECONDS, function() {

And remove:

//

At the bottom of each file find:

//});

And remove:

//

7.2 SEO Optimization

The theme was created with the best SEO practice in mind, but to add greater SEO functionality we recommend you use the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin.


8.0 Credits