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I would like to keep my main theme as the active theme, but allow users to select a slightly different layout via the "Page/Post Attributes" panel. Ideally, I'd like to store this layout under my main theme's "styles" directory, in its own folder.

MyTheme > styles > My-special-Layout > style.css

So that in the "Page Attributes" panel, I see a template there called "My-special-layout"...

However, I have two issues...

  1. I can't seem to get the "child" theme to appear in the "Page Attributes" panel. (I'm simply adding a folder under my main theme directory and placing a style.css file there that has the value "Template: my_main_theme_directory"). But I never see any templates appear in the "page attributes" panel.

  2. I can't get the "Page Attributes" panel on the POST editor. I'd like to allow the template to be applied to Posts as well as Pages. How to get this panel on the post editor?

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

You're not doing child themes right. A child theme is a separate theme altogether that everyone must use, but relies on another theme for all template parts it doesn't provide. What you want is templates:


Basically, just create a new theme file in the theme's root directory (e.g. foobar.php) write this at the top:

Template Name: Foobar

That will give you a new template called Foobar (obviously, change Foobar to whatever you want. That's the name that will appear in the dropdown menu on the editor page).

As of now, WordPress only supports templates for pages and custom post types, not posts. There are ways to hack this, like checking for a post meta on posts and pulling it on template include:

function my_post_templater($template){
  if( !is_single() )
    return $template;
  global $wp_query;
  $c_template = get_post_meta( $wp_query->post->ID, '_wp_page_template', true );
  return empty( $c_template ) ? $template : $c_template;

add_filter( 'template_include', 'my_post_templater' );

function give_my_posts_templates(){
  add_post_type_support( 'post', 'page-attributes' );

add_action( 'init', 'give_my_posts_templates' );

If you put that code in your theme's functions.php file, that should work (as long as you actually have custom templates in your theme folder).

For more information about child themes, read here:


share|improve this answer
Thanks John, you are right. I changed the title since I realize I'm not really looking for a "child theme" but rather a template. However, I want the template to use the existing layout for the main theme (index.php, single.php, page.php, etc) and pull its style information from styles/mytemplate/style.css. How can I do that? – Scott B Sep 9 '10 at 13:54
How does one choose a template for a custom post type? AFAIK selectable templates via page attributes only work for pages. – Michael Feb 11 at 6:52

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