I have inherited the job of editing my agency's webpage. I didn't create the site, and I am not sure whether the IMW custom theme that is active is a child type theme for 2011, or whether all customizations up to this point have been made to the original theme. Do need to create a child theme for this site, how to do that considering all the customizations that have already been applied.

What do I need to provide to support for answers

I read some of the answer posts but still am unsure. So If I do not see "Child" in the CSS, then it is not a child theme? I was thinking that maybe the IMW Custom theme was a child theme itself based on the 2011 theme, just without the word child being used to designate it as such. IF IT IS NOT A CHILD THEME, then all of the customizations up to this point have been done to the theme itself. How would I go about creating a child theme from this point? I am so confused.

  • 1
    You can disable the child theme and see what happens, typically a child theme style.css has the following tag at the top Template: parent theme name here
    – Wyck
    Commented May 11, 2014 at 15:02
  • No. That isn't really what the answers say. Read carefully. For example, you aren't looking for "Child" in the stylesheet; you are looking for "Template:"
    – s_ha_dum
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 15:11

3 Answers 3

  • Read the stylesheet. A child stylesheet must have Template: somethemename to function as a child theme.
  • Look in Appearance -> Themes. A child theme should have a notice about requiring a parent theme.
  • Use code similar to this (note: debugging only):

      function () {
        if (get_template_directory() === get_stylesheet_directory()) {
          echo 'not a child';
        } else {
          echo 'child';



  • 1
    Nice collection. I like your 3rd option, but I think I would use wp_footer instead of wp_head or wrap the result inside a HTML comment <!-- --> (+1)
    – birgire
    Commented May 11, 2014 at 16:25
  • 1
    That is why I said "debugging only". The code just throws content onto the page with zero concern for layout or markup. It is purely "proof of concept".
    – s_ha_dum
    Commented May 11, 2014 at 16:26
  • 1
    I know ;-) This was actually just a comment for the other readers that are going to test this on their live sites regardless ;-)
    – birgire
    Commented May 11, 2014 at 16:32

Since WP 3.0 there is a function is_child_theme() that returns a bool value.

  • And returns a PHP warning on 7+ for referencing constants without quotes - better get_template_directory() === get_stylesheet_directory()
    – Q Studio
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 14:15

If you cannot find any CSS in the Appearance > Customize > Additional CSS section, but the current theme has clearly been modified from another theme, follow the Wordpress guide on Creating a Child Theme from a Modified Existing Theme.

The Wordpress explanation clearly walks through how to use a DIFF tool to identify where changes have been made. Keep in mind that this does assume you can find the original, unmodified theme. There's a link to a "worst case scenario" tutorial, which sounds like what you might be facing.

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