Help File

Help File: Plexus

Help file last updated 21, Jul 2016

1.0 Getting Started

1.1 Downloading The Theme

Go to your ThemeForest Downloads page, locate the theme, click the green Download button and select the All files & documentation option.

Downloading The Theme

Unzip the file once it has downloaded and you will now see a folder called plexus-theme. Within this folder you will see the following:


1.2 Installation

Before installing the theme make sure you have installed WordPress 3.7 or higher. You can download WordPress for free from WordPress.org.

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

1.2.1 Installing Through WordPress Admin Panel

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

If the theme is too large to be uploaded you will need to increase the upload limit as explained here. Alternatively upload the theme via FTP as described below.

1.2.2 Installing Through FTP

If the theme is too large to be uploaded 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 full theme 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 the following 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.

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 Importing Demo Data

You can import the demo data so your site looks like the theme demo. This is the easiest way to setup your theme. It will allow you to quickly edit everything instead of creating content from scratch. The demo data imports posts, pages, categories, media, widgets and menus. It will not overwrite your existing content or modify any WordPress settings.

1.5.1 Importing Demo Data

To add the demo data follow the step 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. Now go to Appearance -> Menus and under the Manage Locations tab select "Left Menu" for Left Header Navigation and "Right Menu" for Right Header Navigation.
  7. 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).

1.5.2 Removing Duplicate Demo Data

Reimporting the demo data will not duplicate posts, pages, images etc if they have already have been imported, however menu items will be duplicated. If you want to remove these go to Appearance > Menus and manually delete the duplicate links. You can quickly remove them using the Quick remove menu item plugin.

1.5.3 Removing All Demo Data

If you want to remove all the demo data you imported there are two ways to do this:

  1. WordPress Reset plugin: This plugin is the fastest way to get rid of content. However, it will remove all posts, pages, menus, images, widget data, theme options, etc from your website, not just the demo data. It does not remove plugins, but will deactivate them. Only use this plugin if you are able to start over.
  2. Manual removal: This method will take longer and simply involves manually deleting all of imported posts, pages, menus, images etc.

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

Please read below to find out whether you can or cannot do a full theme update:

If you have made changes to the parent theme files you cannot do a full theme update and will need to update the theme manually. In future it is recommended that you create a child theme to make changes to the theme so you can update the parent theme without your changes being overwritten. To set up a child theme see Creating A Child Theme.

1.6.2.1 Full Theme Update

To perform a full update do as follows:

  1. Go to your ThemeForest Downloads page, locate the theme, click the green Download button and select the All files & documentation option.
  2. Unzip the file once it has downloaded and you will now see a folder called plexus-theme.
  3. Go to Appearance -> Themes and activate another theme (if you're using a child theme you will still need to activate another theme to delete the parent theme even though it's not activated).
  4. Now click the Delete link for the Plexus theme (if you're using a child theme make sure you delete the parent Plexus theme).
  5. Click the Add New button.
  6. Finally click the Upload Theme button and upload plexus.zip (NOT plexus-theme.zip).

1.6.2.2 Manual Theme Update

To perform a manual update do as follows:

  1. Go to your ThemeForest Downloads page, locate the theme, click the green Download button and select the All files & documentation option.
  2. Unzip the file once it has downloaded and you will now see a folder called plexus-theme.
  3. Now read the changelog so you can see what files that have been updated, added and/or removed.
  4. You can use DeltaWalker or DiffMerge and compare the code changes between your modified files and the new theme files.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 drop the dropdown menu and click Apply.

Updating Plugins


1.8 Basic Troubleshooting

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.


2.0 Visual Composer

This theme comes a full version of the Visual Composer plugin, which is a drag and drop frontend and backend page builder that will save you tons of time working on our site content.

2.1 Visual Composer Templates

Visual Composer templates allow you to automatically insert predefined layouts consisting of Visual Composer elements into a page. To add them to a page do as follows:

  1. Create or edit and a page and click the Backend Editor button.
  2. Click the Add Template button to open the Templates window.
  3. Click the Default templates tab and select one of the theme templates.

Default Visual Composer Templates


2.2 Updating Visual Composer

To receive Visual Composer plugin updates you will need to wait until a theme update is available which will include the updated version of the plugin. If you want to automatically update the plugin you will need to purchase the Visual Composer plugin separately in order to obtain a purchase code.


3.0 Creating Pages

3.1 Homepage

3.1.1 Setting Up 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).

3.1.2 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.

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.

3.2 Blogs

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.

3.3 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.

4.0 Theme Sections

4.1 Header

4.1.1 Changing The Logo

  1. Go to 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 Theme Options -> General Settings and add your social links in the social icon text fields (start each link with http://).

4.2 Navigation Menus

4.2.1 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


4.3 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 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.

4.4 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:

4.4.1 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

4.4.2 Setting Up Copyright Text

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

5.0 Network Settings

5.1 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.

5.2 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.

5.3 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.

5.4 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.

6.0 Styling Your Site

6.1 Style Settings

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

  1. Go to 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.

6.2 Page Background

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

6.3 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:

4.3.1 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. Whenever you update the parent theme any changes you have made to the child theme will not be overwritten. To install the child theme do as follows:

4.3.1.1 Installing Child Theme

  1. If you haven't done so already go to your ThemeForest Downloads page, locate the theme, click the green Download button and select the All files & documentation option.

    Downloading The Theme

  2. Unzip the file once it has downloaded and you will now see a folder called plexus-theme. Within this folder you will see plexus-child.zip.
  3. Go to Appearance -> Themes -> Add New -> Upload Theme and click Choose File and select plexus-child.zip.

4.3.1.2 Custom CSS Styling

If you want to change the appearance of the theme e.g. background colour, font size, font family etc. - everything CSS controls, you can change this from Theme Options > Styling in most cases. For more specific or advanced changes you will need to add your own CSS code to your child style.css file.

4.3.1.3 Overriding Templates

All the files in the plexus root directory can be overridden in your child theme.

For example if you add a modified copy of page.php to your plexus-child theme folder the site will use this version instead. In the future when you update the parent theme your version of page.php will not be removed.

In some cases it will be necessary to modify your child template files when updating the theme, for example if page.php uses a function name that has been changed in the parent theme. Such changes will be noted in the changelog, which you should read prior to updating the theme.

4.3.1.4 Overriding Functions And Filters

Files that cannot be overridden, such as those in the buddy/lib/inc/ directory contain functions and filters which can be added to your child functions.php file to override the parent theme functionality. If you want to edit a file, open the file in your text editor and look for any functions and filters you can override.

Overriding Functions

Open buddy/lib/inc/page-settings.php and you will see the following:

if ( function_exists( 'ghostpool_custom_init_variables' ) ) {
	ghostpool_custom_init_variables();
}

This is a function that allows you to insert your code into the file at this particular point.

So you can add the following to your child functions.php file to load your own variables instead:

function ghostpool_custom_init_variables() {

    // Custom page template
    if ( is_page_template( 'custom-template.php' ) ) {
		$gp_settings['layout'] = 'fullwidth';
		$gp_settings['sidebar_left'] = 'gp-default';
    }

    // Custom post type
    if ( is_singular( 'custom_post_type' ) ) {
		$gp_settings['layout'] = 'fullwidth';
		$gp_settings['sidebar_left'] = 'gp-default';
    }

    // Attachment page
    if ( is_attachement() ) {
		$gp_settings['layout'] = 'fullwidth';
		$gp_settings['sidebar_left'] = 'gp-default';
    }

}
Overriding Filters

Open plexus/comments.php and you will see the following:

wp_login_url( apply_filters( 'the_permalink', get_permalink() ) )

This is a filter which allows you to change the URL the page redirects to after you login, via your child theme.

So in your child theme functions.php file add:

function ghostpool_comment_login_redirect() {    
    $gp_link = home_url( '/' ) . 'custom-page';
    return $gp_link;
}
add_filter( 'the_permalink', 'ghostpool_comment_login_redirect' );

This changes the redirect URL to "http://domain.com/custom-page".

4.3.1.5 Including Files in Your Child Theme

When you need to include files that reside within your child theme you will use get_stylesheet_directory(). For example add the following to your child functions.php file:

require_once( get_stylesheet_directory() . '/my_included_file.php' );

4.3.1.6 Translating Child Theme

If you want to add your translation files to the child theme upload them to plexus-child/languages/. Make sure the language files are not prefixed with "plexus-", for example the file should be called en_EN.po and not plexus-en_EN.po.

For full instructions on translating the theme please see Translating The Theme (Localisation).

6.3.2 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 Theme Options -> Style Settings and add your CSS code to the CSS Code text box.

6.3.3 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:


7.0 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 Loco Translate and more advanced users can use Poedit.

7.1 Loco Translate

7.1.1 Translation

  1. Before you translate the theme make sure the following folder exists on your site, and is writeable by the web server wp-content/languages/themes/. This allows your translation files to be created outside of the theme folder so they will not overwritten when updating the theme.
  2. To set your default site language go to Settings -> General and select your language from the Site Language dropdown menu.
  3. Go to Plugins -> Add New, search for "Loco Translate" and install and activate the plugin.
  4. Go to Loco Translate -> Manage translations, locate the Plexus theme and click the New language link.
  5. This will take you to a page where you can choose the language you want to translate to - make sure this matches the language you selected from Settings -> General.
  6. Next select the "create in global languages directory" option.
  7. Once you've done this you can translate the theme.

6.1.2 Updating Your Translation

If you update the theme and new text needs to be translated you also need to update the language file as follows:

  1. Go to Loco Tranlsate -> Manage translation and select your language file.
  2. Click the Sync button to load all the new text from plexus.pot to your language file.

7.2 Poedit

7.2.1 Translation

  1. Before you translate the theme make sure the following folder exists on your site, and is writeable by the web server wp-content/languages/themes/. This allows your translation files to be created outside of the theme folder so they will not overwritten when updating the theme.
  2. To set your default site language go to Settings -> General and select your language from the Site Language dropdown menu.
  3. Install and open the translation program Poedit.
  4. Go to File -> New From POT/PO File and open the translation file from plexus-theme/plexus/languages/plexus.pot.
  5. You will be asked to specify the language you want to translate to.
  6. Now click on each string and enter your translation in the text box.
  7. After translating the strings save your file. The filename should be prefixed with "plexus" followed by the country code, so a Norwegian translation will be saved as plexus-nb_NO.po.
  8. PoEdit will create a .po and .mo file containing your translations. Upload these files to wp-content/languages/themes/.

7.2.2 Updating Your Translation

If you update the theme and new text needs to be translated you also need to update the language file as follows:

  1. Insert your modified translation file (e.g. plexus-en_US.po) into the plexus-theme/plexus/languages/ folder.
  2. Now open this file in Poedit and click Update and it will display the text changes from the latest theme update.
  3. Upload your updated .po and .mo files to wp-content/languages/themes/.

8.0 Advanced

8.1 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:

//

8.2 SEO Optimization

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