A theme controls the general look and feel of your site including things like page layout, widget locations, and default font and color choices. WordPress.com has a wide range of themes for you to choose from in the Theme Showcase where each theme has an about page that includes features and instructions. New themes are always being added, so click on the Trending view in the Theme Showcase to see what’s new and popular. You can change your theme as often as you like.
Here’s an example of a theme, Pictorico:
Activate a Theme
To activate a theme, visit Appearance → Themes in any site’s dashboard or from the Theme Showcase and click the Activate button.
The active theme will have a Customize button and will be listed first.
Please note that the currently selected theme will not appear in the results when browsing or searching for other themes.
To view all 290 themes available, visit the Theme Showcase or access the Appearance → Themes menu option in your site’s dashboard. If you do not see the Appearance menu option, this means that you are not an administrator on the site.
You can sort themes by clicking the links for Trending, Popular, and Newest at the top left of the page, and you can filter those results for Free or Premium using the links at the top right.
Additional filters are available in the Theme Showcase for popular types of themes such as photography, food, music, portfolio, business, and more. You can also filter by feature, such as Custom Header or Post Slider, or by layout, color, or price.
Looking for a particular theme or a feature? Enter your keyword in the search box, and you’ll only be shown themes that match.
The search is real time and the count number shows the number of themes that match your search criteria. Note that the search results will be sorted according to your viewing mode, such as Trending.
To preview a theme before activating, go to Appearance → Themes and click the Preview button under any theme. This will show you a live preview of the theme with your content. It’s a great way to test drive a theme if you already have content on your site.
When you click the Preview button, you will open the Customizer. You can scroll up and down and even click around in your blog to get an idea of how the new theme will work with your content. If you like what you see, click Save or Purchase button in the bottom right corner of the Customizer window. Clicking the Cancel button found in the bottom right corner of the Customizer window to back out and continue browsing through the theme showcase for a better fit.
Another way to preview is to look at the demo site for the theme. You can get to the demo site by going to Appearance → Themes, clicking on any thumbnail (Theme Details when you hover), and then clicking the Demo button that appears at the bottom of the details screen. The Theme Showcase also has direct links to each theme’s demo site.
If you’d like to see how other people are using the theme, look for the “Awesome blogs using” section at the bottom of the theme’s about page in the Theme Showcase.
Clicking on a theme will show the theme details with a brief description of the theme.
If the selected theme is already the current theme, buttons to customize the theme are available at the bottom, otherwise the Purchase/Activate, Preview, Demo buttons are available.
If you already know this is the theme you want, you can go ahead and click on Activate/Purchase. Purchasing a theme will activate it by default.
Most WordPress.com themes allow the use of widgets. Some widget-enabled themes add a set default widgets if you have not assigned any widgets yourself. You will notice that when you go to Appearance → Widgets, these default widgets will NOT appear among your Current Widgets. To remove these default widgets, go to Appearance → Widgets and add one or more widgets to the widget area. This will replace all default widgets with your own.
For comprehensive information on WordPress.com widgets, please see our widget documentation.
In addition to our many free themes, we also offer a selection of gorgeous Premium Themes that feature intricate designs, exciting customization options, and exclusive support directly from the theme authors. Each theme has been carefully designed to help you present your message to the world.
If you like switching themes often or want unlimited access to the newest premium theme offerings, you might like the Unlimited Themes upgrade.
Uploading Custom Themes
Instead of uploading a theme, try checking out the current theme collection to see if there’s an option there that will work well for you.
WordPress.com does not offer the option to modify theme files directly, however, you may make changes a theme by adding CSS if you purchase the Custom Design upgrade. Custom Design also comes with custom fonts and colors which let you change entire color palettes and font selections for themes with a few clicks, no coding required.
You do not need to know how to code in order to change fonts or colors using the built in tools, however, you do need to have some CSS knowledge to make changes using the CSS Editor. Our support team can help you get started in the CSS Customization forum. We also provide links to tips, tutorials, and books on our Custom CSS page.
Note that the Custom Design upgrade does not permit the editing of the core PHP or template files of any theme. Learn More.