Professional WordPress Themes

Elemental Help


  • WordPress 3.0+
  • PHP 5.2+ and a MySQL database
  • A host server with GD library (very common)


  1. Setup WordPress on your web space (info on WordPress and Theme installation here)
  2. Download your theme from the accounts control panel.
  3. Install/ Upload the theme on your website. There are sometimes problems with using the WordPress theme uploader so you may need to upload the theme files manually using an ftp client
  4. To experience the real power of Elemental, first get acquainted with the control panel options by clicking Elemental Options. Here you’ll configure your homepage categories, typography, navigation, contact form, and other helpful bits.
  5. Change the folder permissions of the /tools/cache/ and /tools/temp/ directories to 777
  6. Go to Appearance->Widgets and insert content for your sidebars and footer
  7. If you’re an author, click the Users->Your Profile and insert your bio information. Your photo will automatically be inserted via gravatars.
  8. Switch on your custom templates (Contact, Archives, Image Gallery, Sitemap and more) by clicking Pages->Add New, and applying the appropriate template in the Template pulldown menu.
  9. Search around the forums and read what people are doing with Elemental
  10. We recommend setting your permalinks to Date and Name Based to ensure all feeds work correctly
  11. Go set up an account at for your author photo
  12. If you want to include advertisements, install the WP125 plugin and drop the widget into your sidebar. Then go to ‘Ads->Settings’ and make sure to unclick ‘Include default ad stylesheet?’, as Elemental comes pre-styled for this plugin.


  1. Can I customize color and layout without affecting future versions of Elemental?
    As Elemental is primarily a framework, we strongly recommend using child themes to customize Elemental. Doing so allows you to make changes to your website separate from the core Elemental files. This means that as Elemental continues to evolve and release upgrades, you can overwrite those files without breaking your site.
  2. How do I associate an image with a post?
    Elemental comes with code which automatically pulls the first image from the body of your post, resizes it and inserts it on the homepage, category pages and search page. If there is no image in your post, the script checks for a custom field called Image, to support older versions of the theme.
  3. Why aren’t my images working?
    First make sure your /tools/cache/ and /tools/temp/ folders are set to 777 and that you’ve confirmed GD library is installed correctly on your host server. If your theme is installed somewhere other than the root folder, make sure to adjust your control panel under in Settings > Miscellaneous. If you still have no luck, please consult the forums.
  4. Why doesn’t the Twitter Widget display?
    There are a few possible reasons why the Twitter Widget could break.

    1. You need to make sure you have entered your details into the Widget settings correctly.
    2. Make sure the elemental/tools/temp directory has 777 permissions set
    3. Make sure is actually working
    4. Check that you have posted some new content some time in the last 28 days.

    Don’t forget that if the Twitter Widget doesn’t work then there are stacks of other ones you could use instead for free online. Many of them have more options so you may find something more complete there instead.

  5. How do I add author photos?
    The author archive photo corresponds to your account, which must be set up beforehand (see Elemental Configuration).
  6. How do I keep my excerpts looking consistent?
    By default, WordPress excerpts display the first 55 words of a post, but you can always tailor them yourself by using the Excerpt field in your Write panel.
  7. How can I learn more about child theming?
    We have included some resources on creating child themes on the general WordPress help page. We have also created a very simple child theme, called BlueSky, that you can use as a starting point for your own themes. This can be found in the accounts control panel.
  8. Can I show custom content on the Image Gallery template?
    Yes! The Image Gallery template supports nearly all the parameters from the WordPress query_posts documentation. To alter the content simply create a new custom field with the name query, and then pass it the parameters you desire. For instance you can give it “cat=1″ to display only content from category with id=1.
  9. Why don’t my category drop-down menus show up?
    Some menu items may not display in your menu’s. The reason for this is most commonly that categories have been created but they do not have any posts in. Generally this is fine (why link to an empty category) but if your parent category has no posts in it then it may not display it, or it’s children. So make sure that any category you want to display in the menus has at least one post in it.
  10. Why is the ‘XXXX’ Widget not displaying many/ any posts?
    A number of the widgets included in Elemental do not display blog posts if the posts have already been shown on the current page. This is so that the maximum number of posts possible can be linked to on each page.
  11. How do I align the crop location in my post thumbnails?
    The crop location can be selected from the ‘Thumbnail Crop Position‘ settings drop down, in the ‘Custom Post Details’ area of the write post page.
  12. Where can I find my Google Webmaster ID?
    Your Google Webmaster ID is used to identify your website on the Google Webmaster site so that you can get advanced statistics on your domain. The number is optional and can be found on When you add a new site you will be given the option to verify the site. Select the Add a meta tag to your site’s home page option, and then grab the ‘content’ section of the meta tag you are given. This is what you need to add to the theme options.
  13. How can I customise my blogs menus?
    WordPress 3.0 introduced custom menus, and Mimbo Pro supports these, however they work in a slightly different way to other themes. To make use of the menus you must set up a new menu in your website settings (appearance -> menus) and then go to the theme options and select the newly created menu in the ‘Main Navigation’ setting. The menu will then display on your website.



If you would like to contribute a translation in exchange for a single-license copy of Elemental, please download the blank English (en_EN.po) file, fill it out, save it correctly and send us a link.

Currently we have the following languages available:

Page Templates

Elemental comes with a variety of custom Page templates. These can be set up by doing the following (full documentation here):

  1. Adding a new page to the blog
  2. In the Page Attributes box selecting the desired template
  3. Publishing your shiny new page

The templates available as standard, in Elemental, are:

  • Archives (pageTemplate_archives.php) – General blog archives, with links to the different dates, categories, and the latest posts to start you off. It also includes a calendar.

  • Author Listing (pageTemplate_authorList.php) – A list of all site authors who have posted public content.

  • Contact (pageTemplate_content.php) – A full featured email contact form with integrated CAPTCHA to keep spam to a minimum.

  • Image Archive Gallery (pageTemplate_gallery.php) – A thumbnail gallery which pulls images from all posts.

  • Links (pageTemplate_links.php) – The Links template is an easy way to list all of the links stored in the Links section of the WordPress admin.

  • Logged In (pageTemplate_loggedIn.php) – The Logged In page only allows logged in users to read the content that has been entered via the normal WordPress post controls.

  • Full Width (pageTemplate_noSidebar.php) – The Full Width page template does exactly what it says on the tin – it removes the sidebar from the page making the content spread the full width.

  • Redirect (pageTemplate_redirect.php) – The Redirect template is not the design for a page you would visit, but is nevertheless incredibly useful. What it does is forward the user to a url – specified within a custom field titled “redirect”

  • Redirect First Child (pageTemplate_redirectFirstChild.php) – Redirect First Child is an unusual template in that it’s use is not immediately clear… and it may even not function as expected. It’s use is that it can be used as a parent for many other pages (to categorise) and then rather than adding content to it, you set the template to “Redirect First Child” and the page will automatically redirect to the first of the child pages in the page structure.

  • Sitemap (pageTemplate_sitemap.php) – The sitemap is quite simply a list of all of the posts that have been created. It lists everything on one page and is perfect for search engines looking to spider everything they can.

  • Tag Cloud (pageTemplate_tagCloud.php) – Tag clouds seem to go in and out of fashion however, for those who like them, this template is here to answer you prayers. What it does is quite simple – it creates a massive cloud of relevant tags that fills the page.


Shortcodes are simple peices of text designed to make it easier to add common things to your website without worrying about complex code. Elemental includes a number of shortcodes to help speed up your blogging.

  • [thumb] – Image resizer
    Convert a large image into a thumbnail without having to create multiple copies of the images.
    [thumb width="" height=""]http://urlToResize[/thumb]
    The content between the [thumb] and [/thumb] is required, and should be the url to the image you want to resize. Without this nothing will display.

    The parameters below are optional.

    • height = height of cropped thumbnail
    • width = width of cropped thumbnail
  • [Tinyurl] – convert a long url into a tinyurl and insert it as a link
    Create a link using a generated Tinyurl – perfect for masking/ shortening website urls.

Action Hooks

Action Hooks are regions of the theme where code can be freely inserted, which makes customising the theme as easy as can be. We have added a variety of hooks to Elemental:

  • bm_preContent – before any content
  • bm_pageTop
  • bm_pageBottom
  • bm_headerBefore
  • bm_headerAfter
  • bm_main_sidebar_before
  • bm_main_sidebar_after
  • bm_footer_content_before
  • bm_footer_content_after
  • bm_center_homepage_column_before
  • bm_center_homepage_column_after
  • bm_contentTop
  • bm_contentBottom
  • bm_contentBefore – before the main post content is displayed
  • bm_contentAfter – after the main post content is displayed


Filters are similar to Action Hooks however rather than displaying content they allow you to modify content so, for example, you can adjust the properties for a process that is about to take place. As such we have added many many filters to the theme so that you can customise all elements in your child themes:

  • bm_excerpt – called when a custom excerpt is created
  • bm_adminMenu – called in administration menu and can be used to add additional links to admin bar
  • bm_theThumbnailImage – generate thumbnail image
  • bm_theArchiveTitle – generate archives page title
  • bm_dropDownSettings – alter the settings of the dropdown navigation
  • bm_siteStats – add and edit site statistics generated by bm_siteStats (not often used)
  • bm_siteHeading – adjust the site heading link/ text
  • bm_socialLinks – add and remove items from the social links site list
  • bm_bodyClass – edit array of body class items
  • bm_title – edit array of items to appear in page title
  • bm_footerContent – add and edit footer content
  • bm_controlPanelOptions – add and edit control panel options
  • bm_headerPageNavigation – modify page navigation menu query
  • bm_headerCategoryNavigation – modify category navigation menu query
  • bm_listComments – modify wp_list_comments arguments (with type = comment)
  • bm_listTrackbacks – modify wp_list_comments arguments (with type = trackback)
  • bm_widgetDefaultArguments – default widget properties
  • bm_getPostImage – image details for use by TimThumb
  • bm_searchResults – search results
  • bm_searchImage – search image button (since it can’t be changed with css)
  • bm_404BadFileTypes – a list of file types to ignore
  • bm_listAuthors – list of authors and author details for author list template
  • bm_attachmentDetails – used on attachment pages to get the details of the current attachment
  • bm_loadActions – load actions list
  • bm_crumbLinks – bread crumb links
  • bm_loopTemplate – modify the loop template path
  • bm_loadScripts – modify optional scripts that are being loaded
  • bm_widgetSettings – modify the default widgets
  • bm_loadTemplate – load a template snippet from the themename/templates folder (or use the default in the elemental folder)
  • bm_meta – modify meta tags
  • bm_styleSettings – list of styles
  • bm_getDateArchiveLink
About Us

Pro Theme Design began in 2007 as a collaboration between two web designers...

Darren Hoyt
Darren Hoyt

Charlottesville, VA, USA

Established in the WordPress community for projects like Mimbo and Agregado, Darren also has 14 years experience designing websites for businesses and startups. His role at Pro Theme is taking what Ben builds and making it beautiful and simple to use.

Ben Gillbanks
Ben Gillbanks

Exeter, England, UK

Ben is a WordPress ninja, best known for creating Regulus. More recently he took over the development of the image-resize script TimThumb. He spends his time at Pro Theme Design turning Darren's ideas into reality.

Email us general questions or visit the support section with product questions.