Pen Multipurpose WordPress Theme Documentation

1. Installation

Pen theme has two versions: a free version, and a commercially-supported version. Although both versions offer the same set of features, installing them is a little bit different.

Installing the free version:

  1. Login to your WordPress administration back-end (usually /wp-admin).
  2. Navigate to Appearance → Themes → Add New, click the Browse button. Select the ZIP package of the theme from your computer and click "Upload".
  3. Once upload is complete, either click the Activate this theme link, or go back to the Themes page, find the Pen theme and click its Activate button.
  4. If you prefer to use this theme with a "Child theme" but you don't know how to create one, you can download this simple child theme. You'd repeat the step 1 & 2 to install this child theme just like the main theme. Please refer to Section 2 of this documentation for further information about child themes.

Installing the commercially-supported version:

  1. Unzip the package you have downloaded upon purchase.
  2. Login to your WordPress administration back-end (usually /wp-admin).
  3. navigate to Appearance → Themes → Add New, click the Browse button. Select the TO_UPLOAD.zip file from the package to upload it.
  4. Once the upload has completed you should not activate the theme. Go back to the Add New page and upload the TO_UPLOAD_CHILD.zip file as well, this file contains the child theme that you must activate. Once upload is complete, either click the Activate this theme link, or go to the Themes page, find the Pen Child theme and click its Activate button.
  5. Voila! you're done :)
Please note:
  • Paid users usually ask for customization beyond what is already available with over 200 options through the Live Customizer, this is why we encourage them to use a Child Theme. If you're using the free version and you think you may later need to edit the themes to customize we strongly recommend you to use the Child Theme.
  • After activating a new theme you'd probably want to assign your menus to its menu locations. In order to do that you should go to Appearance → Menus.
  • Please never modify anything inside the "parent" theme directory which is /wp-content/themes/pen, instead of that you can edit its child themes. This is important as any change made to the files of the parent theme will be lost with the next theme update and\or a reinstall.
  • If you need to add custom CSS and\or JavaScript, please do it with a plugin such as "Custom CSS & JS".
  • You can find some beautiful color schemes in the "Pen Theme" section (top menu).
  • The "Header" and "Footer" sidebar areas are meant to be used for advertisements, or any other rather "horizontal" widget.

1.1 Automatic Updates

The Pen automatically updates itself. If you are a paid user you would need to register your copy to receive updates and of course support.

Before you begin!

If you have either modified the theme or received a customized version from us, please contact us via www.htmlpie.com/supportbefore attempting an update.


Automatic updates for the commercially-supported version of the Pen theme would require an "activation key". Please visit www.htmlpie.com/register to register your copy and receive your activation key.

Follow these steps once you have created your key:

  1. Login to your WordPress administration back-end.
  2. Go to Appearance → Pen Theme (assuming the "Pen" theme has been activated already).
  3. Enter your activation key & enable automatic updates.
  4. Click the Save button and you're done!

1.2 Manual Update (Not Recommended)

Before you begin!

If you have either modified the theme or received a customized version from us, please contact us via www.htmlpie.com/supportbefore attempting an update.


Once you had the latest version, follow these steps to manually update your theme:

  1. Using a FTP client, or a Web-based tool such as cPanel File Manager: create a backup of the theme folder(s) at /wp-content/themes/pen (probably also /wp-content/themes/pen_child) or even your whole WordPress, then delete the entire /pen folder (/wp-content/themes/pen).

  2. Unzip the TO_UPLOAD.zip file (it's inside the ZIP package you have downloaded) and upload the /pen folder to the /wp-content/themes
  3. You are done!

2. Customization

You can modify much of the look&feel of this theme through the Live Customizer at Appearance → Customize.

If you need to add some CSS and/or JavaScript code, there is a very good plugin that you can install through Appearance → Recommended Plugins → Custom CSS/JS.

For further customization you may want to use a Child Theme. Please read this article if you have no idea what a "Child Theme" is or how to create one: https://codex.wordpress.org/Child_Themes


Google Fonts

As some people do not recommend Google Fonts, mainly because of the slight impact it may have on page load speeds etc, we have hand-picked 15 font families (85 variations) and bundled them with this theme (licenses carefully reviewed & included) so you can disable Google Fonts and still have 85 beautiful fonts to choose from. You can disable Google Fonts through Appearance → Pen Theme


3. Troubleshooting

  • I only get an error message about my style.css whenever I try to upload this theme!

    Chances are you are uploading the wrong ZIP file. If you have purchased this theme, the ZIP file should have two other ZIP files inside it, plus the documentation; the ZIP files are "TO_UPLOAD.zip" and "TO_UPLOAD_CHILD.zip".

  • All I can see is a blank page!

    Please change the "WP_DEBUG" in your wp-config.php to "TRUE". This will activate "error_display" in PHP. Refresh the page and you should see some errors or warnings, either send us these error messages or find some way to fix them.

  • I have created some translation files but everything is still in English.
    1. Make sure you have named your translation files correctly.
    2. Make sure your translation files are in the correct directory. Either /wp-content/languages/themes or /wp-content/themes/CHILD_THEME_DIRECTORY/languages
    3. Remove your .mo file and recompile the .po using POEdit or a similar tool.
  • Some plugin is not working properly when I switch to this theme, but it's fine on other themes!

    Please send us the plugin name, we'll take care of it in a jiffy.

If you need help you are more than welcome to contact support.


4. Recommended plugins


Any questions?