Create a WordPress Theme Settings Page with the Settings API

By Narayan Prusty
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Most WordPress themes have a Theme settings page to customize its features, behaviour and styles. Providing a theme settings page with your theme makes it easy for your users to customize your theme instead of directly editing the PHP or CSS files. This makes updating your theme easier, as users will not lose the changes they’ve made.

In this tutorial we’ll learn the ‘WordPress’ recommended way of creating a theme settings page, that is, using the WordPress Settings API. The WordPress Settings API was added in WordPress 2.7 and since then it has become one of the most popular WordPress APIs. This tutorial will also be useful if you’re planning to add a settings page to your WordPress plugin. Let’s get started.

What Shall We Include in a Theme Settings Page?

Options in your theme settings page depend on what features and customization your theme supports. That said, there are some common things which are included in every theme settings page. Some of the common options are: social URLs, static or responsive layout and header logo to name a few. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to include these four options in our theme settings page.

Creating a Theme Settings Page Menu Item

First we have to create a menu item on the admin panel that will access our theme settings page.

We can create a menu item using the WordPress Menu API. Here’s the code to create a menu item.

function theme_settings_page(){}

function add_theme_menu_item()
{
	add_menu_page("Theme Panel", "Theme Panel", "manage_options", "theme-panel", "theme_settings_page", null, 99);
}

add_action("admin_menu", "add_theme_menu_item");

Here, theme-panel is the unique ID representing our menu item. theme_settings_page is the callback for displaying the content of the page created by the Menu API. We’ll be coding this function next.

Here’s how it looks.

Theme Settings API

Overview of the Settings API

The Settings API is used to populate the page created by the menu item API. A settings page is divided into sections and fields.

For the sake of this tutorial, we’ll just be creating a single section and will put all the fields inside that section.

Here is the code for the theme_settings_page function to create a section and add the submit button.

function theme_settings_page()
{
    ?>
	    <div class="wrap">
	    <h1>Theme Panel</h1>
	    <form method="post" action="options.php">
	        <?php
	            settings_fields("section");
	            do_settings_sections("theme-options");      
	            submit_button(); 
	        ?>          
	    </form>
		</div>
	<?php
}

Here we’re registering a section using settings_field with an ID section. theme-options is a group ID to all of the fields belonging to a section. Finally, the submit_button() function echoes the submit button for our theme settings page.

Here’s how that should look.

Theme Settings API Example

Adding Social Profile URLs

Now, let’s add fields in our settings page to store our Facebook and Twitter profile URLs. Almost every WordPress theme has social profile options, therefore it’s a handy, practical example.

Here’s the code to add input text fields using the Settings API.

function display_twitter_element()
{
	?>
    	<input type="text" name="twitter_url" id="twitter_url" value="<?php echo get_option('twitter_url'); ?>" />
    <?php
}

function display_facebook_element()
{
	?>
    	<input type="text" name="facebook_url" id="facebook_url" value="<?php echo get_option('facebook_url'); ?>" />
    <?php
}

function display_theme_panel_fields()
{
	add_settings_section("section", "All Settings", null, "theme-options");
	
	add_settings_field("twitter_url", "Twitter Profile Url", "display_twitter_element", "theme-options", "section");
    add_settings_field("facebook_url", "Facebook Profile Url", "display_facebook_element", "theme-options", "section");

    register_setting("section", "twitter_url");
    register_setting("section", "facebook_url");
}

add_action("admin_init", "display_theme_panel_fields");

After the admin panel is initialized, we’re registering the sections and fields display callbacks. Here we’re using three important functions:

  1. add_settings_section is used to display the section heading and description.
  2. add_settings_field is used to display the HTML code of the fields.
  3. register_setting is called to automate saving the values of the fields.

Here’s what our settings page should now look like.

Theme Settings API Social Profiles

We’ve now seen how to add input text fields using our settings page. Let’s see how to add a checkbox by providing an option to choose between static or responsive layouts.

Adding Option to Choose Between Layouts

Let’s see how to expand out the display_theme_panel_fields function to display a checkbox to choose between layouts.

Here’s the code to achieve this.

function display_twitter_element()
{
	?>
    	<input type="text" name="twitter_url" id="twitter_url" value="<?php echo get_option('twitter_url'); ?>" />
    <?php
}

function display_facebook_element()
{
	?>
    	<input type="text" name="facebook_url" id="facebook_url" value="<?php echo get_option('facebook_url'); ?>" />
    <?php
}

function display_layout_element()
{
	?>
		<input type="checkbox" name="theme_layout" value="1" <?php checked(1, get_option('theme_layout'), true); ?> /> 
	<?php
}

function display_theme_panel_fields()
{
	add_settings_section("section", "All Settings", null, "theme-options");
	
	add_settings_field("twitter_url", "Twitter Profile Url", "display_twitter_element", "theme-options", "section");
    add_settings_field("facebook_url", "Facebook Profile Url", "display_facebook_element", "theme-options", "section");
    add_settings_field("theme_layout", "Do you want the layout to be responsive?", "display_layout_element", "theme-options", "section");

    register_setting("section", "twitter_url");
    register_setting("section", "facebook_url");
    register_setting("section", "theme_layout");
}

add_action("admin_init", "display_theme_panel_fields");

We added a new settings field using add_settings_field and registered it using register_settings as usual. One thing to note, if we want to tell whether a user has checked the checkbox or not, we’re using the checked() function.

The checked() function compares a value with an another value, if they’re equal then it echoes a checked attribute, otherwise nothing.

Here’s how our settings page looks now.

Settings API Checkbox Example

Uploading a Logo

The register_setting function takes a third argument which is a callback, this callback is fired before it saves the settings into the database. We can utilise this callback to handle uploads.

Here is code to upload a logo in our settings page.

function logo_display()
{
	?>
        <input type="file" name="logo" /> 
        <?php echo get_option('logo'); ?>
   <?php
}

function handle_logo_upload()
{
	if(!empty($_FILES["demo-file"]["tmp_name"]))
	{
		$urls = wp_handle_upload($_FILES["logo"], array('test_form' => FALSE));
	    $temp = $urls["url"];
	    return $temp;   
	}
	  
	return $option;
}

function display_theme_panel_fields()
{
	add_settings_section("section", "All Settings", null, "theme-options");
	
    add_settings_field("logo", "Logo", "logo_display", "theme-options", "section");  

    register_setting("section", "logo", "handle_logo_upload");
}

add_action("admin_init", "display_theme_panel_fields");

Here, we’re using wp_handle_upload to store the image file and retrieve its URL and store it as a option.

Here’s how our settings page looks now, it’s shaping up nicely!

Settings API Logo Example

Retrieving Settings

A theme needs to retrieve the setting values on the front end. The Settings API internally stores the values using the Options API. Therefore, you can retrieve the values using get_option() function.

It’s quite simple, here’s the code.

<?php

$layout = get_option('theme_layout');
$facebook_url = get_option('facebook_url');
$twitter_url = get_option('twitter_url');

Conclusion

In this article we saw how we can easily create a theme settings page using the Settings API. We created a text, file and checkbox input fields to take input in various data formats. Go ahead and try to expand the page and add more form controls yourself.

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To bring you up to 65% off web hosting, plus free access to the entire SitePoint Premium library (worth $99). Get SiteGround + SitePoint Premium Now
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