Using Post Sandbox Examples for Testing WordPress Themes

You’ve just started your new WordPress site, and you are browsing the selection of Themes WordPress has to offer. You fall in love with a Theme and start filling it with content. Then you discover a huge flaw. You hate how your pictures align, and how your headings look. With a Sandbox post you can alleviate that issue.

According to the WordPress.org article “Test Driving WordPress:”

A Sandbox is a term related to the sandbox you might have played in and built sand castles in as a child. It is a playground for working on concepts and exploring your imagination.
Test Driving WordPress – WordPress Codex

Essentially, a sandbox post lets you take a test drive of your theme before you put it live on your site. It is a post that shows you an example of every HTML and CSS code and how it will be displayed.

How to Create a Sandbox Post

One way to create a sandbox post is to use a pre-formed HTML template that tests every HTML and CSS designable edit found within the post content area of a website. A pre-formed HTML and CSS template can be found on “Designing a WordPress Theme: Building a Post Sandbox.”

Add new from admin panelStep 1: Start by making a new post that you can paste your sandbox text into.

Step 2: In another browser tab or window, download the sandbox post text file from the Sandbox article. Open it in a text editor and copy the content and paste it into your new post, add appropriate categories and tags, and publish the post.

Add new content to a post to be published

Step 3: Now it’s time to test our your new theme. From the Administration Panel go to Appearance. This will list the Themes you have selected and uploaded. If you are on WordPress.com, it will showcase the Themes the company offers. If you are using a self-hosted version of WordPress, you may search for Themes to add to your site from the WordPress Theme Directory.

Panel to select themes

Step 4: Once you’ve selected a Theme you think that you may want to use, hover over the Theme to select preview. This will bring you to a web page view of your site that will let you navigate around your site. Visit your sandbox post and see what your content will look like.

Preview theme selection

Step 5: View your sandbox post so that you can see what every element looks like to make the right selection for the needs of your website. Once you’ve found one that suites you, hover over the theme and select activate. If it is a paid theme this is where you will be prompted to purchase it.

Activate theme selection

Creating Sandbox Post with a WordPress Plugin

You can also use a WordPress Plugin WP Example Content to have it automatically create the posts and pages on your site so you can see how all the page views will be represented as well as see how the menu with child and grandchild of nested pages will look in your menu. First you need to install the the Plugin. If you are unfamiliar with installing WordPress Plugins, we have a tutorial on how to install a Plugin on a self-hosted version of WordPress.

WP Example Content Button in theAdmin PanelOnce installed, click on the WP Example Content menu to check the options. You can add or remove the posts and Pages for testing easily in the options.

WP Example Content Button in theAdmin Panel

WP Example Content WordPress Plugin creates Pages called:

  • Blockquote Page
  • Headers Page
  • Image Page
    • Child Page
      • Grandchild Page
  • Links Page
  • Multiple Paragraph Page
  • UL and OL Page

It then creates posts called:

  • Headers Post
  • Links Post
  • Blockquote Post
  • UL and OL Post
  • Image Post
  • Multiple Paragraph Post
  • Another Post with Everything In It
  • An Ordered List Post
  • A Simple Text Post
  • A Post With Everything In It
  • Quotes Time!
  • A Post With a Left-Aligned Image
  • Another Text-Only Post
  • A Post With an Ordered List
  • A Post With a Right-Aligned Image
  • A Post With an Unordered List
  • A Simple Post with Text

It then assigns categories and tags to the post so that you can see what different categories and tags may look like.

Remove all Sample PostsAfter testing, return to the options menu to select the option to remove the content. This will remove all the testing and sandbox content from your site.

Authors: Belinda Luce and Tim Burns

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