This guide will show you how to update your theme after making code customizations, following our best practices guide.
In this article:
About Custom Themes
We highly recommend that you look into hiring a web developer when making any edits to your theme code unless you are very familiar with HTML and CSS. You can always check out our Experts Marketplace for developers who are familiar with our system to create custom coded solutions! The Thinkific Store on Fivver and Upwork.com are also popular options.
Errors within code can break the functionality of your site and we do not provide support for code customizations, which is why we highly recommend seeking the assistance of a developer. You can learn about editing theme code here: Custom Themes (For Developers).
Document your Theme Customizations
When updating your Thinkific theme, any code customizations you have made will be overwritten and will need to be manually reapplied. We recommend creating a reference document or spreadsheet that details how you've edited your Thinkific Theme. This will make the following process quicker and less error-prone, as you can quickly reference the document and copy/paste as needed. This also allows for Theme updates to be done by other members of your team.
A few examples of what you can include in your reference guide are:
- File Name (The Thinkific Theme file that has been edited)
- The lines in which the code has been edited (ex. lines 24 - 32)
- Details of the customization (what the changes are, why they were made, and etc)
- The snippet of code, or a link to the code (depending on the size of the code, it may make sense to link to a file)
How to Update Your Theme
These are the best practice steps we recommend taking in order to update your theme without affecting your students. They can be adjusted as you need to fit your own internal processes.
In the steps below, we will recommend duplicating your theme as a backup. Note that only the master theme (original theme installed) can be updated, a duplicated theme cannot have its version updated, so you should generally avoid using a duplicated theme for your primary site.
- Go to Design Your Site
- Select Theme Library
- In this step we won't be updating just yet, but we'll need to locate your master theme. If your master theme is the currently published theme, there will be an Update button if an update is available.
If a duplicated theme is currently published, you can find your master theme in the "My installed themes" section below your published theme.
- Duplicate the theme by clicking on the ellipses (three-dot menu) and clicking Duplicate
- Your duplicated theme will appear under the "My installed themes" heading and will have the name of the theme and "(Copy 1)" as the title
- Publish the duplicated theme to ensure your Students aren't affected and can safely begin the update process.
- Once the duplicated theme has been published, locate the master theme under "My installed themes", click the ellipses (three-dot menu) and select Update Available
- After the master theme has been updated, reapply your theme customizations to the newly updated theme
- Prior to publishing the updated theme, preview your theme to ensure everything is functioning correctly
- When ready, click Publish on the theme!
Rename Your Duplicated Theme to Help with Version Control
By default, your duplicated Thinkific Theme will include a "(Copy #)" depending on how many times you have duplicated the theme. We always recommend renaming the duplicated theme to follow a more structured naming system to easily manage your theme versions moving forward.
Below are the common naming systems we see:
- Theme Name - Month/Year: Add the month and year in which you last updated the theme, this will let the team know that this theme was last used at this period.
- Theme Name - Version Number: If you're making changes more often, adding a version number may make more sense. For example, if you recently updated your Empire Theme you could name it "Empire - V 1.0"
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I accidentally clicked "Update" without duplicating the theme?
While we always strongly recommend you duplicate the theme first, we understand accidents can happen! We do have a method for you to roll back to a previous theme version. You can find the steps in this article: How to Restore a Previous Theme Version
Do I need to follow this for every update?
Yes, you do. Every time you want to update your theme to the latest version, you will need to follow the above steps. While we recommend keeping your theme up to date at all times, we understand that often the changes to the theme may not always justify the time spent updating the theme.
We would recommend reviewing what changes have been made to the Theme to see what has been changed in the Theme to help with your decision making. We keep a change log updated for each theme: