The ALC Network relies heavily on a modified version of Theme Foundry’s Make theme. The front page of my site and the network home page both use the Page Builder “template”. This post will cover the basics of using the ALC General Theme (which is based on Make).
You can learn more about the theme from Theme Foundry’s Make help pages.
Use the right theme
There are a few options for themes for you to use on your personal site or Learning Center site. For Learning Center sites (like nycagile.org and alcmosaic.org) I highly recommend using the ALC General Theme. You can set your theme from your dashboard by clicking Appearance (or through the customizer). So before moving forward make sure you’ve got that theme set.
Creating a Page with Page Builder
By default when you create a new page it will use the Page Builder template. This powerful tool allows you to create “sections” of content in a few different styles. I’ll go over what each one does in a moment, but first let’s look at how to disable the page builder. Sometimes you just want to make a simple page with text! You’ll do this by, while editing your page, looking over at the Page Attributes “meta box” on the right directly under the Publish box.
Simply switch the Template to Default Template and you’ll see the page builder disappear and be replaced by the “standard” editor.
Page Builder Sections
The section is the building block of page builder. When you start there will be no sections. At the top you’ll see a few large buttons for creating sections, let’s start with a column section.
Columns are the basic building block for laying down text. It can be confusing at first because this section defaults to having three columns. Let’s assume you just want one column.
Each section has a few options along the top right of the “section bar”. The main one you’ll use is the gear for the section’s options. These are settings that affect all the elements within that section. Followed by duplicate, trash, and “show/hide” (which helps when you have lots of sections to show and hide ones you aren’t working on).
The Gear icon will open up a list of options for the section. These include a title, columns, and a number of other controls over the look and function of that section. The options are different for each type of section (more on them later). Let’s click that gear.
The pop over you now see is the list of options. Let’s change the number of columns from 3 to 1. You can poke around with the other options to see what they do. Once you’re finished click done.
You’ll now see that the three columns have become one. Each column (now only one) has their own options gear along with an edit button (the pencil) and a wigitize button (which turns the image area into a widget area that you can then set up to have widgets, it’s powerful but beyond the scope of this post).
To add text you simply click the pencil (which turns to three green lines when you have text) or the blank area under the optional image area.
From here you just add text as you normally would and it will appear as a single spanning column on your page.
The other sections
Here’s a brief explanation of the other sections with some example pictures from my blog’s home page.
Banners are for images or blocks that span the whole page, they are best for images with a little bit of text on top. You can have multiple images within a banner section for slideshows, this shows up on my home page as the slider under “Interesting things I’ve done”
The Gallery section is for displaying a grid of images. There are options for captions on hover (or like I’ve done, captions that disappear on hover).
This is a really powerful section as it is able to display posts (or pages) with certain attributes. On my home page I use it to display featured posts. These are posts with the tag “featured” in them.
The settings allow to display featured images, excerpts, and limit the number of displayed items.
This section is for packing a bunch of information into a small space. Using “accordion” or “tabs” to hide and display blocks of text within the section. You can see it in use on the ALC Network FAQ page. Each title is displayed but the body of only the title one clicks is displayed.
So you’ve learned how to make a basic block of text using a single column section. You’ve gotten a little more familiar with the Page Builder feature available in the ALC General Theme and you’ve learned how to turn off the page builder when it doesn’t suit your needs. Remember that much more information is available at the Make Theme’s Support area and you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more help.