Stuff You Can Use: Keep Your Theme Updated
Starting Monday, I’ll be making a bi-weekly(ish) post letting you know of recent theme updates. For many of you, this won’t matter too much: Tumblr themes automatically update whenever we push new version. If you’ve made any changes to your theme’s css or html, though, auto-updating doesn’t happen. So, to keep things working well, keep an eye out for our posts, and check your version numbers every now and then.
Odds are that if you’ve fiddled with your theme’s code then you know how to check its version. But, in case you don’t:
- Go to your blog in whichever browser you’d like, right click, and select “View Page Source.” Some browsers will phrase this option as “Show Page Source” instead, but it’s the same thing—”page source” is the important part.
- You’re now looking at your theme’s html. Under our super-classy Pixel Union ASCII tag, you’ll see your theme’s name and a version number (“v X.X.X”). That’s your theme’s version. Check it against what we’ve updated to, and if it’s not right, send us an email for that sweet re-up.
Stuff You Can Use: Find Your Customization Options
Following Tumblr’s dashboard redesign a couple weeks ago, we’ve gotten a number of panicked emails ranging from “Whar? Whar customization options?” to more elaborate death threats and comments about our mothers’ habits. But don’t worry folks, everything’s as it was—just in a different location. And while we realize this is obvious to a great many of you, we figured it’s still worth a quick run-through.
To begin, head up to the main settings cog and go to what’s now your account settings menu.
From here, simply head to the left side and select the blog you’d like to customize.
Customization options are now accessed here, beneath your blog’s URL in the “Theme” field.
Hit “Customize” and you’re off to the races.
Of course, if you have any other questions regarding your theme’s customization options, don’t hesitate to send us an email.
(Semi-relevant cat .gif courtesy of f*ckyeahcatgifs).
Stuff You Can Use: Ask, Submit, and Twitter (i.e., Blog Settings)—Properly
Among the questions we get on a daily basis, none is more common than “How do I setup the ‘Ask’ feature?” The answer to this is simple, but resides in an often overlooked place—the Blog view’s “Blog Settings.” From what we’ve gathered, it’s among the most overlooked menus on the platform—and so we thought it might be helpful to remind you what exactly dwells in that lovely little tab.
From your dashboard, click on the top navigation link to your desired blog. From there, simply click the “Blog Settings” tab, and blammo: everything not covered in the theme customization options, in one easy place. You can change your Author Photo, enable/disable the Ask function, and link your blog to your Twitter account. This last option is necessary for integrated APIs like “recent tweet” feeds like the one found in Fluid.
So, remember the Blog Settings menu: it’s the next best thing to a cat rave.
Stuff You Can Use: Google Fonts
Although we’re pretty sold on our typography choices, we regularly get asked how to change themes’ fonts. Google’s Web Fonts is among the easiest and most diverse resources available for doing so, and we’ve put together a straightforward, 3-step process for setting it up on your blog.
1. Head to your theme’s customization screen, and paste this code above the </head> tag. Save your changes, then close and reload your customization screen. You should now see two additional fields, labeled: “Google Font CSS” and “Google Font Family.”
2. Pop over to Google Fonts and pick a font you’d like to try. Click the “Quick Use” link beneath the font’s preview, and head down to the third section. Copy and Paste that line into the “Google Font CSS” box now in your theme’s customization sidebar.
3. Return to your chosen font’s page one more time and copy the specific name of the font found in section 4 (use the text between font-family: and the semicolon). Paste it into the “Google Font Family” box in your sidebar, and save your changes. You should now see your new font globally applied to your theme. Enjoy!
While most of our themes will work just fine with any font, some pairings don’t mix well. Just delete the code added in step 1 if you need to undo what you attempt here. And, of course, you can always email us if you’re stuck.
Stuff You Can Use: Redirecting to a Secondary Blog
If you’ve been on Tumblr for a while, you’ve probably encountered the quite common “my primary’s a secondary and a secondary’s my primary” dilemma. Since Tumblr still hasn’t made an internal mechanism for swapping out primary blogs, this can seem like an impasse. But fear not: for those of you who’ve abandoned your first-born, there’s an imperfect but simple workaround: add in a small redirect script to your theme’s html (courtesy of /entrepreneur):
Be sure to insert your (would-be primary) secondary blog’s URL into the third line. /e recommends adding the script directly to your theme’s html beneath the <head> tag, but you can save yourself the editorial hassle by throwing it into the “Description” box within the customization sidebar instead. Now, anyone attempting to visit your primary blog will be redirected to your secondary instead: de-facto switching, without an additional account or tedious post-transferral.
It’s not perfect, but it’s an easy way to make sure most of your visitors end up where you’d like them. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments on this lil’ trick, and enjoy!
Stuff You Can Use: Topherchris’ Fullscreen Image Viewer
Yesterday, Tumblr’s Topherchris posted a link to (and instructions for) plugging a fullscreen image viewer into your theme. Designed by Chris himself, it’s easily applied as an additional page on your blog. Why is this cool? Two reasons.
First, if you’re running a personal blog you likely have a swarming potpourri of text, image, link, and video posts. Creating an additional image-only page, and running a dedicated fullscreen image viewer on it, is a great way to keep your visual content partitioned and organized. Second, experimenting with smaller plugins like this is a great way to dig further into Tumblr’s backend (*comedic tuba sound*) and get a feel for what goes into a theme. And if you’re already code-savvy, it’s always a pleasure to play around with solid work like Chris’.
The instructions are pretty straightforward:
- First, go here. Hit Command-Option+U for the page source. Copy it.
- Then, head back to your blog’s customization sidebar. Create a new/additional page, and select “Custom Layout” at the top.
- Paste the copied page code into the bottom box, and name your new page. That’s it!
Let us know what you think, especially if you do any work of your own to the viewer. And as always, comment away!
We’re Here to Help: Get Your Damned Images to Display
In the first of an occasional series of tips and tricks, today we’d like to show you how to avoid Tumblr’s gray glyphs of fail.
It happens to the best of us. You’re excitedly assembling an image-punctuated masterpiece, you finish the last bits, publish, and then—BAM: your caption-area photos have vanished into a monotonous string of gray boxes. Don’t worry, though. There’s a simple solution.
The first thing to note is that this ultimately has nothing to do with the image type you’re trying to post. It’s just a matter of post type: image posts simply don’t have the proper controls to upload additional images within captions. The workaround is brilliantly simple though.
We hope this helps! And don’t hesitate to ask or send us a message if you have any requests for other mini-tutorials. We’re kind of functionally codependent like that.