Network News Thesis Skin screenshot

Free Thesis Skin: Network News

by Ben Cook on September 7, 2010

Update: I’ve finally gotten around to updating this Thesis Skin for Thesis 1.8! Unfortunately I can’t keep up with all the updates to Dynamic Content Gallery so please read the installation instructions provided by the plugin developer.

When I declared that Premium Themes Are Dead, I received a LOT of feedback arguing that there will always be a market for premium themes since they give you a head start on the design process.

My response was that skins for framework themes such as Thesis provide that same “leg up” on the design and layout, without sacrificing any of the flexibility.

And, while I firmly believe that, there is one slight problem… there just aren’t many skins available yet.

So in an effort to help my prediction about premium themes come true, I decided to create a free Thesis Skin that heavily mimics one of my favorite premium theme designs.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce…

The Network News Thesis Skin!

Feel free to click around the demo site to check things out.

As those of you familiar with premium WordPress themes world will no doubt notice, the skin is based heavily on the Gazette theme by WooThemes, but offers even more flexibility.

Note: Let’s go ahead and get one thing out of the way right off the bat. I did not rip WooThemes off. Their themes are released under the GPL license and this is exactly the kind of thing the GPL is designed for. Besides they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

If you’re already comfortable using Thesis as well as the custom.css & custom_functions.php files using the skin will be a breeze for you.

If you’re not quite to that level yet, I’ve documented the process below in as much detail as possible. Please don’t let the length of the instructions intimidate you, I just wanted to make it clear enough that even someone new to Thesis can use the skin.


So what do you need for this skin to work?

Well obviously, you need to have the Thesis theme (and yes, that’s an affiliate link *waves to FTC*).

Also, this skin is also built for Thesis version 1.8.

I left comments within the custom.css file for those of you using older versions of Thesis, but you really should upgrade to the newest version.

You’ll also need to install the Dynamic Content Gallery plugin which will create the featured content slider on the home page for us.

Installation (Updated for 1.8!):

In order to download the files for the skin you’ll need to enter your name and email in the form to the left.

Don’t worry, we won’t be spamming you or anything like that. We simply want to be able to alert you when we update the skin or release a new one you might be interested in using.

Anyway, once you’ve confirmed your information you’ll receive an email with a link to download a zip file.

Unzip the files into a folder that will be easy to find later.

Upload the custom.css, custom_function.php and layout.css files to the Custom folder, over-writing your current versions. While I didn’t make any edits to the layout.css file, it would be best to upload the version I’ve provided just to make sure we’re all starting from the same place.

Tip: Always save copies of your current files before uploading the new versions. They’ll act as a safety net of sorts in case anything should go wrong or you make a mistake.

Next navigate to the Manage Options page in the Thesis menu.

On the Thesis Options Manager page (as seen in the screen shot above), click the green Download All Options button to save your current settings as a backup. That way you can always go back to the design you have now if you decide not to use the skin for some reason.

After creating your backups, click the browse button on the All Options field of the Upload Options section. Select the network-news-thesis-options.dat file and click Upload.

Warning! Importing these options will overwrite any of your current options. However, it also saves me from having to explain every single option I’ve clicked as I did with previous skins.


To display your logo instead of the big red block that’s there by default, you only need to make one simple edit to your custom.css file. Replace with the file path to your logo and save!

The default logo size is 384 x 100. The skin can easily accommodate a wider logo, however that will limit your use of the banner widget in the header .

If your logo is taller than 100 pixels, you’ll need to edit the height setting in the custom.css file one line above where you entered the image URL. You may also need to adjust the margin-top: value (currently set at -82px) for the sidebar_header in your custom.css file in order to keep it centered vertically.


The Network News was designed to incorporate a 468 x 60 banner advertisement into the header. To make use of the banner, add a text widget to the sidebar named Banner. Drop your banner code into the widget, click save, and you’re all set.

If you don’t want to use a banner, not a problem! Just don’t insert a widget into the Banner sidebar and the sidebar won’t be displayed.

Featured Content Slider – Warning: Outdated!

Last but certainly not least, we need to get the featured content slider working. Michael Gray has an amazing tutorial on how to create the slider and it’s actually his code that I’ve incorporated into the skin.

Note: The code on Michael’s site is slightly out of date. We’ve gone ahead and made this change to the code so be sure not to over-write it.

Setting the plugin up can be a bit tricky so I’ll try to walk you through a few of the items that are specific to this Thesis skin.

Once you’ve installed and activated the Dynamic Content Gallery (DCG) plugin (version 3.1), you’ll need to go to the DCG settings page and skip down to step 3 to specify what content you want to feature.

DCG gives you 5 “slots” to feature in the slider and allows you to mix and match how you want those slots distributed. Rather than mixing and matching across several categories, I just created a Featured category, and inserted the category id (in my case 5) into each of the 5 category id spots.

Since I want to display the last 5 posts from that featured category, I simply numbered 1 through 5 in each of the post select boxes.

Steps 4 & 5 let DCG know where to find the images you want to use in the slider. I’ve input /wp-content/uploads/ in both fields since that’s where my images are stored.

Tip: WordPress defaults to managing your uploads into month and year based folders. Unless you want to be continually updating this setting in DCG, I recommend unchecking that box and forcing WordPress to store your images in one large folder.

Step 7 is where you’ll need to set the desired width, height, and colors for your slider. Since I want the slider to take up the full width of my content section, I set the width to 595. The height is up to you but I used 270. The rest of the settings are fairly self explanatory and I’ve included a screen shot of my settings for easy reference below.





click for larger image




Tip: Make sure my post images are cropped to the 595 x 270 dimensions so the images aren’t stretched or distorted in any way.

Once you’ve entered the desired settings, click the update options button to lock them in.

Before the slider will work you’ll need to a) make sure to save a few posts into your featured category and b) create two custom fields on each post you  want to display in the slider.

The fields are as follows:

  • Key = dfcg-image with a Value = Image filename including extension eg. myImage.jpg
  • Key = dfcg-desc with a Value = Description text eg. Here’s our latest news!

After you enter each of the custom fields once, WordPress will automatically remember them for future use. When you want to put a new post into the featured slider, just make sure you add those two fields.

Also, make sure you only include the file name of the image in the dfcg-image field. The plugin is already set to look for the images in your uploads folder so you only need the myImage.jpg portion of the file name.

Customize to Taste!

I’ve said countless times that the best thing about the Thesis theme is the incredible flexibility it offers.

I’ve tried to capitalize on that as much as possible with this skin offering all sorts of widgetized areas that should make it easy for you to mix and match the different content you want to feature on your site.

I really enjoyed the process and plan on creating a few more skins so if you have any questions or suggestions please leave them in the comment section below!

With this being a a free skin I won’t be able to offer support for every question or problem you might encounter. However, leaving the attribution link in the footer definitely won’t hurt your chances 😉


{ 133 comments… read them below or add one }

Danny Brown October 10, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Am I right in thinking that even though this is a skin, you still need to add CSS and HTML code to it to get it looking like this?



Ben Cook October 10, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Danny, the skin is actually only 2 files, the custom.css and custom-functions.php files.

You have to drop those two files into the “custom” folder in your Thesis theme, and then make the tweaks that I lay out in the post. If you don’t have the Thesis theme, this skin won’t work for you.

David October 12, 2009 at 9:54 am

Nice skin mate!! Love it.

I will download when I get a moment and test drive it!! I agree, premium themes are dead!!

Ben Cook October 12, 2009 at 11:11 am

I’ve had a couple of questions about changing the color away from red.

If you’re using Thesis 1.5.1 you’ll only need to open up your custom.css file and do a search for #CC0000 (the color of red I used) and replace it with your desired color.

In Thesis 1.6 you’ll also need to edit the color settings for your Nav Menu in the Design Options panel.

Daniel October 17, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Hey There,

Thanks for sharing this great Thesis skin! I actually had my site designed in a VERY similar fashion and deleted my Thesis folder by accident today. It turns out that I had backed up everything but the stylesheet but luckily your skin was there to save the day (and my site).

You can see my slightly edited version over at the following site:

Keep up the good work!

Ben Cook October 18, 2009 at 1:26 am

Daniel, glad you like the skin!

I’m hoping to be releasing more fairly soon since this one has been met with such great response.

web techy October 23, 2009 at 12:44 pm

really nice release, I really appreciate your efforts in creating such a nice looking theme for thesis. 🙂

Ben Cook October 24, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Web Techy, I’m glad you like the skin. I’m working on another one now that should be available shortly. You might want to subscribe to our RSS feed so you don’t miss it!

rishil November 9, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Loving the detailed set up instructions. Working on it now – see how it turns out 🙂 Kudos for the free release! (once built you get link from site)

Ben Cook November 9, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Rishil, no problem! When I have a few minutes I hope to take advantage of Grag Bosers new plugin which would make installation even easier. Gonna have to wait til after Pubcon though 🙂

Dan November 12, 2009 at 10:00 am

Great job with the skins, I’m playing around with Network right now. I have no idea what I’m doing in general with design and CSS – could you tell me how to go about changing the header/logo? I see the part in the instructions saying to change the path to where my image is located, but I’m not sure how to define a path for an image i have on my desktop, not online. Does that make any sense? Would appreciate any help!

Ben Cook November 13, 2009 at 11:51 pm

Dan, you have to upload the image to your server. You can do this by adding an image through the Media section of your WordPress dashboard. Then copy the image URL and past it in as directed.

ceasor November 20, 2009 at 2:17 pm


Thanks for the cool skin. I’m using it right now on two of my sites. I followed your directions to the “t” on my test site, and everything worked out great.

However, I’m running into one problem when I uploaded it onto my real site, The featured content gallery isn’t showing on the home page.

I retraced my steps and have gone over the custom.css and custom_function.php to make sure I haven’t messed anything up there. It’s all checking out. Would you have any clue where else I could checkout to see if I messed up.


Ben Cook November 20, 2009 at 3:19 pm

ceasor, I’m glad you like the skin. If you had it working on a test site but it won’t work now I’m guessing you have a competing plugin that’s causing you issues.

Any other plugin that uses JQuery could be the issue. I believe there’s a known issue with the lightbox 2 plugin but that’s the only one I know by name.

Other than that I’m at a bit of a loss since you had it running on the test site. If you run into a problem still let me know and I can take a look at the code while the theme is active but that’s about all I can do.

John December 30, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Love this skin especially the featured content slider & your instructions are great but I was wondering how I would go about switching the positions of the nav bar and the category bar (openhooks?) and also leaving the category bar blank (without breaking the page format) seeing as how the category column is already above the fold.

Definitely will be linking back to you once the site is up.

Ben Cook January 4, 2010 at 3:01 pm

John, I’m glad you like the skin!

If you’d like to ditch the category bar you’ll need to remove the following code from your custom_functions.php file:

starting with
“function category_navigation(){
and ending with

If you’d like to move the nav bar down, just move the nav function into the thesis_hook_after_header space.

Let me know if that helps, or if you have any other questions.

John January 4, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Hi Ben
Thanks for that!
Worked great once I took out the code (see below) in between the two lines you pointed me to… just removing your lines gave me an error message, locked me out of the dashboard etc and freaked me out 😀
I’m new to css though so I expect to get freaked out every so often when something doesn’t quite work how I expect 😉
One step closer to going live… thanks for your help!


extra code I removed:

Ben Cook January 5, 2010 at 1:25 am

John, sorry about that! WordPress ate some of the code in my comment. Glad you got it sorted out.

Whenever you’re editing the custom_functions.php file, if you screw it up, it will throw your site into the error you saw. It’s important to either work from a local copy on your machine, or to keep a backup handy 🙂

John January 5, 2010 at 5:47 am

Thanks again Ben
Today I learnt the hard way about keeping a recent backup handy when I installed a plugin after I did your edit that completely screwed up my site. Had to reinstall WP & start from scratch… I believe it’s called a learning experience…. hmmm 🙁 but lesson learnt!

xphunt3r January 5, 2010 at 9:32 am

this is freaky awesome… Can it use as three column??????

Ben Cook January 5, 2010 at 10:27 am

@xphunt3r yeah, it handles three column just fine. I’m glad you like the skin.

eatingRD January 10, 2010 at 3:16 pm

wow! This looks like a great skin! I’m currently contemplating the purchase of thesis since I’ve been so frustrated with other themes that are so hard to customize without knowing code really well. Can you make that left picture a slide show? I’d like to incorporate something like this for my food blog & I want to make double sure it will be worth it since I’ve already paid out of pocket for a theme that isn’t user friendly and customizeable. Thanks!

Ben Cook January 10, 2010 at 3:27 pm

@eating – you mean the big picture at the top of the page? That already is a slide show using the Dynamic Content Gallery plugin. If you take a look at the demo site for the skin you can see how it works.

eatingRD January 10, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Yes, Nice!! this is perfect thank you! Would I be able to do something like this with a bit wider page? And in order to get any skins I would have to have a developer’s account or would I be able to add a slider with a personal account? I think you’ve just convinced me to purchase & start experimenting, looks great and I love how you have a ton of other helpful tutorials for coding retards like me 🙂

Ben Cook January 10, 2010 at 4:22 pm

@eating you can use any skin or plugins with a personal license of the Thesis theme. If you’re purchasing it, I’d love for you to do it via my affiliate link (the banner at the top right of the page).

The width of the site as well as the slider depend on your settings. If you want the slider to be the entire width of the site like in the example link you posted, you’ll need to change which hook you place the slider in.

When you get to that point feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to help you out.

eatingRD January 10, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Of course I will, thanks! I’m not sure what ‘hook’ is, but will soon find out.

Ben Cook January 10, 2010 at 4:37 pm

@eatingRD I think it’s probably time for me to put together a Thesis Theme Starters Guide for people just like you. I’ll start working on that but feel free to ask any questions you have either in comments on the tutorials, in the Thesis forums, or via my contact form.

There’s a bit of a learning curve but it’s WELL worth it.

eatingRD January 10, 2010 at 9:34 pm

That would be a great idea! I just downloaded Thesis and am trying to figure it all out. I had another question about this skin: Is there a way to just have a slider with random pictures that I like (not necessarily linking to recent posts) and then have the recent post snippets at the bottom like the one demoed? Thanks!

Nexus January 13, 2010 at 9:17 am

Finally got the error exposed in my previous comment. Your custom code is no longer available with the last DCG.
global $post; include (ABSPATH . ‘/wp-content/plugins/dynamic-content-gallery-plugin/dynamic-gallery.php’);
should be change for :

Ben Cook January 13, 2010 at 10:28 am

Nexus, sorry about that mate! DCG updated and I forgot to update the instructions accordingly. I’m going to be going back and updating the code in these skins here shortly but it’s been difficult to find the time lately.

I appreciate you giving me the heads up on this though & I’ve added a note to the instructions.

Nexus January 13, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I’m happy if I could help a little.
I’m still having a problem, but it’s not the skin, it’s me and my very very basic skills with CSS : the widgets in the footer appear below each other instead of being next to each other.

What have I to do in the custom css please ?

Bob Blizzard January 16, 2010 at 11:43 am

I am a newbie. I have and Thesis 1.6 installed on my hosting site. I have not started my design because I want to use skins which look to be easier. I really like the Network News skin. I uploaded the skin but when I went to activate the theme it said I had a broken theme because I do not have the template or Style sheet. I used the file manager in Blue Host to upload. I did not use Filezilla. ould this be a problem. As I said I am new and I am a writer not a techie but I feel confidant once I get it loaded properly.

Gregory January 16, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Had a look at you thesis skin , it looks swell. Heads up on a good job. Just wondering can one hide a category from showing in the category nav bar? If so let me know how, only things stopping me from using your thesis skin and getting it from your affiliate link.

Ben Cook January 16, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Bob, my guess is that you uploaded the files to the wrong place or maybe haven’t changed the name of the custom-sample folder to simply custom.

I’d suggest checking that first and if that doesn’t work, posting in the Thesis support forum as they’ll be better able to assist you with that.

Ben Cook January 16, 2010 at 2:54 pm

You can hid a category from showing in the nav bar. You simply add “exclude=4,7&” before the “title_li=” in the category_navigation function in your custom_functions.php file. The example I’ve used will exclude two categories, the ones using ID 4 & 7. Obviously you should customize this to exclude the categories you don’t want displayed but it shouldn’t give you any trouble.


Gregory January 16, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Hey! that was real quick dude. Nice to know it can work the way I was looking at. Will get Thesis this weekend thru your Aff link 🙂
Have a good weekend and keep up the good work – helping everyone.

Perry January 27, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Great skin! Any instructions on how to include sub-categories in the second nav bar so that there’s a drop down effect?

Bob Blizzard January 28, 2010 at 4:13 pm

I have uploaded per instructions but I am getting this error message. Why and how do I fix

Broken Themes
The following themes are installed but incomplete. Themes must have a stylesheet and a template.

Name Description
Network News Skin Stylesheet is missing.
thesis-settings-export Stylesheet is missing.
__MACOSX Stylesheet is missing.

Ben Cook January 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Bob, it sounds like you might not have installed Thesis quite correctly. Did you change the name of the custom-sample folder to just custom?

Bob Blizzard January 28, 2010 at 5:19 pm


Thanks but I just figured out what I was doing wrong. Thanks

Ben Cook January 28, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Glad you figured it out! Are you willing to share in case anyone else runs into the same problem?

Sarah February 16, 2010 at 10:23 am

Hi Ben, subscribed to your feed — would like to have this skin, but I don’t see any other form on the left as described to request the zip file. Can you hook me up with it? 🙂

Ben Cook February 16, 2010 at 10:59 am

Sarah, hmm you’re the second person to mention that.

What version of which browser are you using and are you on a Mac or a PC? I’d like to nail down this issue as soon as I can.

You might try looking at the page in IE (never thought I’d say that lol).


Sarah February 16, 2010 at 11:06 am

firefox 3.6 on a PC

Sarah February 16, 2010 at 11:17 am

figured it out– it was my Ad Blocker Plus Firefox ad-on that was blocking it.

Ben Cook February 16, 2010 at 11:27 am

Ahhh! I was gonna say I tested it on FF 3.6 as well and didn’t have any problems.

It looks like you’ve joined the list now. Thanks for following up and letting me know what the issue was. I should probably ad a note on the skins that you need to disable Ad Blocker.

Let me know if you have any other questions or issues. 🙂

Sarah February 16, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Sigh. I’m stuck. Featured Content Slider is not working and CSS got messed up somewhere along the way. 🙁

Ben Cook February 16, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Sarah, it looks like you don’t have DCG set up properly. You need to make sure that you’re a) telling DCG where to look (in my case it’s wp-content/uploads/ folder) and then b) you need to input the URL path for the image in each post that you want to see appearing in the slider by using the dfcg-image custom key tag and then dropping the file name in (such as myimage.jpg).

Also, don’t forget that you have to tell it which categories to pull posts from.

I’m not sure where the css would get messed up, you can always re-upload the custom.css file to your server if need be.

Sarah February 16, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Thanks for looking at my site, but I followed your instructions to a T and it still didn’t work. 🙁 Very disappointing, I’m just going to disable the carousel I guess.

Ben Cook February 17, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Sarah, it looks like you’ve got the slider almost working. It looks like it still can’t quite find the images for the posts although it is pulling the title & excerpt data just fine.

DCG admittedly isn’t the easiest plugin to use but once you figure it out it really does look sharp.

Liz February 20, 2010 at 11:12 pm

I’m working on this on a development site:

Really loving the skin and so grateful you made it free. I’m playing around and have a few questions –

How can I stretch my banner to fill the entire header space?
How can I adjust the category nav bar to support subcategories?
How can I change the font color in the category nav bar?

Thanks again as this is a great skin and I’m finding your instructions to be dead on the money, so things are working really well.

Ben Cook February 22, 2010 at 12:46 am

Liz, the short answer is that all of those things can be done in your custom.css or custom_functions.php files.

The banner width is fairly easy & is found in the width property following this line of code:

.custom #header #logo a {

The subcategories is not nearly as simple & would be done in your custom_functions.php file. I don’t have the space here to explain it all but I believe the Thesis forum has a couple of threads on this topic.

To change the font color you need to look for this bit of code in your custom.css file:

.catnav li a {

and change the color:# value to whatever color you’d like.

I hope that helps & I’m glad you enjoy the skin 🙂

Nick February 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Hi Ben,

Love the look of the theme and would like to try it out on one of my sites

Problem is when I upload the “design option”-file I get an error message which I can’t get my head around. Maybe you can spot where I go wrong?

Message is:
Fatal error: Call to undefined function dynamic_content_gallery() in /home/mictur/public_html/creativegotland/wp-content/themes/thesis_16/custom/custom_functions.php on line 44

Ben Cook February 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Nick, do you have the Dynamic Content Galler plugin installed & activated? The code that’s erroring out is calling a function that plugin creates.

Nick February 22, 2010 at 4:07 pm

There we go, no I don’t! Must have missed that in the instructions. I knew I shouldn’t do these things after a long day in the office 😉

Oh well, thanks for a very quick response – you rock!

I’ll get some sleep now and go at it again tomorrow.


kristy March 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Incidentally, the site I listed is just my “practice” domain where I’m pretty much just goofing around and learning the ropes with different themes, so if it looks unfinished, that’s why (I have two other sites using other “premium” themes, but I won’t spam you with them here ;). Just wanted to share my love for this super killer skin!

Tanya March 8, 2010 at 12:14 am

I am working on a new site and have the same issue as Sarah with the DCG slider – the title & excerpt are pulled correctly but images do not show. Anyone knows how to solve it?

Ben Cook March 8, 2010 at 12:55 am

Sarah’s issue was not being able to see the form to download the skin.

However, if the images are not being pulled in DCG then I’m guessing you either a) haven’t defined the general folder correctly, or b) you’re inputting the entire URL in the dfcg-image special key field. Do you have a URL that you can show me?

Tanya March 8, 2010 at 3:03 am

Thank you, Ben, for replying so quickly. I was able to solve the issue. The latest version of the DCG plugin (as of 2010-2-9) doesn’t require custom fields dfcg-image & dfcg-desc. Instead you enter the image/description in the DCG box on the post page located in the right sidebar.

Ben Cook March 8, 2010 at 3:11 am

Tanya, thanks for alerting me to the new version! I’ve been out of the loop the last week or so and didn’t realize they’d made changes. That’s a MUCH more user friendly way to do things & I’m glad you got it sorted out. I guess I need to update these skin posts now eh? 😀

Dave March 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Hey Ben –
Love this skin. I’m early stages of setting up my site and glad I found your work, thanks for sharing your work.

A few questions if you please –
– I’m having a problem controlling what appears in the both nav menus (both above and below the header. How/where do I control this? I make changes in the Thesis Options but it seems to have no effect.
– Is there a way to change the color of the red lines above and below the content?

Thanks again!

Ben Cook March 23, 2010 at 10:16 am

You can do both of those things. For the red lines, you’ll need to edit the custom.css file and change the color on the custom #footer { border-top: 3px solid #CC000} and the border-bottom color on the .catnav section.

To control which categories appear in the navigation, you’ll need to edit the custom_functions.php file. You need to find the function category_navigation and where it says wp_list_categories(‘title_li=’) you’ll need to add exclude=4,7 which will exclude your categories with the ID of 4 and 7. Obviously you can mix and match the categories however you wish but the resulting code would look something like this: wp_list_categories(‘exclude=4,7&title_li=’).

I hope this helps!

Justyna March 31, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Hi Ben,

this skin is really awesome and I’m preparing to install it on one of my domains. Can it be used with Thesis 1.7?


Ben Cook March 31, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Justyna, I’m in the process of checking all our skins. I wouldn’t expect any problems but I will need to update the files that are sent out so that you can import it using Thesis’ new import feature rather than the plugin.

Justyna April 1, 2010 at 7:04 am

Hi Ben,

thanks for your quick reply:) I’m waiting for any updates from your site than.


Ben Cook April 1, 2010 at 7:52 am

Everything works fine with Thesis 1.7. I’ll be updating the download files to use Thesis’ new built in importer this evening but it all works fine.


Justyna April 3, 2010 at 9:48 am

Hi Ben,

I have installed your skin but unfortunately there is an error. It has something to do with the dynamic content gallery.

Here is what displays:
Fatal error: Call to undefined function dynamic_content_gallery() in /home/……./public_html/wp-content/themes/thesis_17/custom/custom_functions.php on line 44

What would you advice to do?


Ben Cook April 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Justyna, have you also installed Dynamic Content Gallery Plugin as stated in the directions? It sounds like the skin isn’t finding it.

Justyna April 5, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Thanks Ben,
that was the mistake:)

It works now!

Samuel April 11, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Firstly, i would like to say thanks to you for released this nice skin. But iam wondering does it work with thesis 1.7?

Ben Cook April 11, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Samuel, it does work with Thesis 1.7 although I’ve not updated the files to use the native import script that’s new in 1.7. It still uses the Thesis Import/Export plugin.

John April 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Hi Ben,

Very strange problem and I cannot deduce the error or fix (probably something stupid, sleep deprived) – 2 sites one that had the net news skins fine and opted to check out your affiliate skin and another site with a brand new Thesis/NetNews install.

In both cases I cannot upload the thesis-options.dat fie – I get the same error message:

“Whoops! The file you attempted to upload is not a valid Site Options file. Please try uploading the file again, or else download a new, valid Site Options file.”

From there any number of problems persist obviously in working with the Thesis style CP Any ideas?

Steven April 20, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Is there a way to make a thumbnail show on the homepage and it not show in the post itself? I’ve tried different combinations of stuff, but anything that shows on the homepage always shows at the top of the post page. Thanks.

Steven April 20, 2010 at 2:37 pm

ok, what’s weird is that I posted in only the thumbnail section then only in the post section and post was the only thing that displayed anything. Just did a new post and tried it in the post section and the thumb was blank. Tried in thumbnail section and is now working. Weird. Not sure what happened before.
Anyway, one more question that I haven’t been able to figure out…
I know how to make the main Nav menu have drop downs from child tabs, but how do I make the category menu have drop down tabs?
Thanks again.

Ben Cook April 21, 2010 at 11:02 am

Unfortunately I haven’t updated this theme to use the new importer that’s native to Thesis now. It still uses the Import/Export plugin to bring the .dat files in. I’ll work on updating to the new system but I’m a bit swamped at the moment.

Ben Cook April 21, 2010 at 11:05 am

Steven, I believe if you have sub-categories the menus will have drop downs automatically.

Steven April 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm

I have 4 pages in my Nav menu created from “Pages” in wordpress. Then from the Categories menu in wordpress I have created 6 categories and 3 of them have a sub-cat or two. They do not pop down on hover. The Nav menu does though. Thank you for your time.

Jim April 26, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Hi Ben

Thought I remembered reading that the new Thesis Options Manager essentially replaces the old Import/Export Plugin…but having trouble correlating your 5 files for this Network News skin with the Thesis Options Manager. I FTPd the custom.css, custom_functions.php and layout.css files separately. But when I try uploading the netnews-design-options.dat via the Design Options field of the Thesis Options Manager, I get this error msg:

“Whoops! The file you attempted to upload is not a valid Design Options file. Please try uploading the file again, or else download a new, valid Design Options file.”

Also, I can’t even find an explanation or discussion of the new Thesis Options Manager feature in the User’s Guide, Answers or Forum. Am I missing it?

Thanks again for all your skins!

Ben Cook April 26, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Jim, the new Thesis options manager has replaced the Import/Export plugin, however, I’ve not yet updated the files to match. You can still install this skin using the Import/Export plugin and everything will work perfectly fine.

Hope this helps!

Liz April 26, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Hi Ben!

Strange comment, I know, but I keep getting email updates with new comments to this thread, and yet no new comments appear on the actual webpage after March 8, 2010.

I thought I saw an email with a comment from you that you were looking to update the skin to work with Thesis 1.7, but can’t find that post here. Would love an update on that. Since I haven’t installed it on my production site yet, it would be great to just do 1.7 and Network News at the same time.

Hope all is well!

Liz April 26, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Okay, that’s odd. When my comment was posted, all of the sudden all of the post-3/8 comments appeared.

So I can see that you have, in fact, updated for Thesis 1.7. I’ll re-download and see how that simplifies things. Looks like it solves my subheadings issue, at least!

Thank you again!

Ben Cook April 26, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Liz, yeah, 1.7 and this skin will work fine together, however you’ll still need to use the Import/Export plugin rather than Thesis’ native options feature.

That’s the only difference and unfortunately, I still haven’t gotten around to updating the .dat files to work with Thesis’ native importer.

Ron May 3, 2010 at 3:07 am

Hi there, I have signed up and confirmed my subscription. However, I haven’t got the link to download the skin yet. Been waiting and looking for my download links.


Ron May 3, 2010 at 9:46 am

Actually, that was very dumb of me. I am using adblock in my firefox so the signup form was missing. I mistook the subscribe block as the signup form.

Avantexte May 4, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Thanks for the excellent skin and tutorial on its application!

A couple notes for those attempting to apply this to Thesis 1.7:
1.) At some point in the process, Thesis will tell you it’s time to update your version of Thesis. It’s all okay. Breathe. Click the button. It will work. Better than you’d think it would.
2.) I’m guessing the Dynamic Content Gallery has been upgraded as the options in its settings panel don’t fit those listed in this tutorial. Nonethless, things still work out pretty well. In fact, the upgrade seems to have made some of the instruction here unnecessary (e.g., just pick the One Category option and you won’t have to go through items discussed under step 3 in the dynamic content section above). Plus they seem to have added a Meta box where you just add the full path (if you selected that option) to the image you want to display rather than adding a custom field. In other words, they kinda added the custom field for you, but put it under the meta elements.

Again. You rock. I have to say that I was getting a bit frustrated with Thesis till I found this site.

David May 10, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Is there a way to make use of the space to the right of my logo instead of the banner? I want to put my email sign up form from Aweber up in that area. Is there a way that you know of to do that? The code normally goes into text widget in the sidebar but I really don’t want to push what I have there now any further down below the fold.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

mohdisa May 14, 2010 at 9:51 am

Hi Ben, 1st of all I would like to say thanks for design this skin. It is very awesome. I has one question, how to display Parent category in category navigation menu? I hope you will understand what I want. Sorry if my English is not good.

Shanon May 23, 2010 at 10:09 am

Is it possible to use this skin with Thesis v2.7? When I tried to upload the Options, it throws everything out of whack. I love the skin!

Ron Wilczek May 29, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Do you still monitor this post? I cant get the pictures or descriptions to display using the page method. I vreated 2 test pages. Here is a test image URL: and the next image ends in “test2.jpg”

In the Image file management (REQUIRED) field I selected “partial URL” and inserted the URL to the top level domain as:

On the 2 pages I created the custom fields “dfcg-image” and “dfcg-desc.” The image was entered as “test1.jpg” in the “dfcg-image” but does not display.

When it did not work I also tried inserting the entire image path in the “Multimedia Box Image” with no better results.

Additionally, descriptions I inserted in both pages did not show up. What showed up was the first few words on the page.

THANKS! for any help you can give. I love your skin.

mom2ej May 30, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Hi Ben,
I happen to have the same/similar question to mohdisa. I would like to display pages not categories in the cat nav menu. Is this possible and how? I would appreciate any help! Thank you for this great skin!

Ben Cook May 30, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Sharon, this skin is compatible with Thesis 1.7 but you need to use the Thesis Import/Export plugin to upload the options, not Thesis’ native importer.

Ben Cook May 30, 2010 at 11:58 pm

You can put pages in the main navigation, the cat nav as it’s currently coded only pulls categories (hence the name). You could have it pull pages but that would require some tweaking of the custom function.

Ron Wilczek May 31, 2010 at 11:22 am

Ben, I seem to have figured out my problem with my thesis 1.6 theme and DCG. On the right side of my newly created “page” is a section labeled Dynamic Content Generator. Is is different from the custom fields where I created the “dfcg-desc” and “dfcg-image” keys. Inserting my info in that area made it all work. Using the custom fields did not work. Perhaps I misread your instructions and that is how I was suppose to do it.

Now the issue I have is that the URL associated with the image in the DCG does not work if I use a custom structure in the permalink setting such as /%postname%/ to create keyword rich pages. The URL will only work if I use the “default” which uses the “?p=123” method.

Any ideas on that one? Do I need some custom code somewhere?


Jim June 11, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Hi Ben!
Wondering why your Multimedia Box (and that whole right column) pushed down?? It’s doing the same for my test install. Any wisdom on changing the size of the Multimedia box? Can’t seem to find anything on the forum.

Also, wanted to gain some header space, so I eliminated the “Featured” Category Nav bar. But the “Featured” link still remains. Is it easily removable?


Maureen June 24, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Hi, I had installed your skins on my locally hosted WP on my laptop so I tweak it around and so far I am LOVIN’ it! Thank you very much!
I did ran into a bit of a problem when I put stuffs on the footer widget areas all of them are stacks to the right hand side on top of one another instead of 4 widgets side by side. Hope you understand what I mean. Can you tell me how to fix this? Thanks, Ben!

Ben Cook June 24, 2010 at 2:14 pm

@Maureen, the items you put in the widgetized footer will be stacked as it was really only designed to hold one widget. If you’d like to have the widgets display in several columns, you’ll need to apply some CSS rules to those specific widgets.

Maureen June 24, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Ben, thanks for your quick reply. I’m not CSS expert – still blindingly trying to figure them out, so I have to add more coding to custom.css or the custom_function.php? Can you tell me what code I need?

Jim June 30, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Hi Ben:
Could you help with my ? above?
Test site:

Thank you again for everything…happy to reciprocate when able.

Ben Cook July 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm

@Maureen, I don’t have the code handy but I know there are tutorials to do this out there. If you can’t find them by doing a quick Google search I’d recommend looking in the Thesis forum.

@Jim, it looks like your content gallery is set too wide or your sidebar images are too wide. I’m not sure what you mean when you say it’s impacting my demo site. I’m not seeing it on that site.

If you want to change the side of the multimedia box you can either limit it with css or just make sure to only put images of a certain size in the rotation folder.

gux July 2, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Hi, i love it and it’s amazing. I only have one problem with it :p, i wish to change the color of the general theme. Where can i do that? In thesis design options i can only find how to change the colors of the nav menu. Thanks!

Jim July 2, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Hi Ben:
Made a discovery…it’s a browser rendering issue with FF 3.6.6 (& 3.5.1)…for me, at least.
Here’s what I’m seeing…this is your demo site and mine (with “2”):

But both yours and mine look perfect for me in IE8 and Chrome…and so far I’ve not been able to duplicate the issue on another computer (but only 2 tries). Even more weird… these 2 examples from above render just fine for me in FF: and

There was alot of squawk on Mozilla support about a new process introduced in FF 3.6.4 named “plugin-container.exe” that slowed system resources. A friend sees your demo site rendering perfectly with FF 3.5.1. So I reinstalled FF 3.5.1 on my computer…but still have same issue. [btw, been running Ccleaner after each step to eliminate possible caching issues). I even uninstalled every FF plugin.

Hostgator issue? Do I recall you saying something about images or something being affected by a script (absent?) on Hostgator?
I’m exhausted…but kinda locked in at the moment. Would really appreciate any ideas/help. Thank you.

Ben Cook July 2, 2010 at 7:12 pm

@gux the colors can be changed in the custom.css file (as I mention in the post).

Dimitri August 13, 2010 at 8:02 am

Hey Ben,
Awesome theme, and thanks for all your support!

I do have a question though: Somewhere along the way, I made some a:hover changes to the fonts in my custom.css. I wanted my general links to be red and my top and category navigations to be white. As you can see, my top navi is now red as well and I was wondering whether you could drop me a snipped of code to change the font hover color to #FFFFFF.

Thanks in advance!

Hung September 7, 2010 at 2:11 am

Thanks Ben for updating the skin for 1.8. Perfect timing as I’m just about to ask. However I don’t know where to download the update. When I entered name and email address it said I’d already registered, and would not send me a download link like the first time I registered. Thanks!

Ben Cook September 7, 2010 at 2:35 am

Hung, you can use the same download link as before. I’ve updated the file. I’ll also be emailing all the Network News users to let them know it’s updated and remind you of the download link.

Ronald September 7, 2010 at 2:40 am

Hi Ben,

Whats the easiest way to upgrade this to your latest skin (built for 1.8)

My thesis site still use thesis 1.7 and your previous skin.

Ben Cook September 7, 2010 at 9:43 am

Ronald, if you’re already using this skin, you just need to follow the upgrade instructions on DIYthemes’ site.

Paul September 8, 2010 at 6:21 pm

This looks like a great skin. I’m going to try it out, looks just what I was looking for. Thanks for taking the time to produce it and give it away.

Nate September 13, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Hi Ben,

Really excited about using this skin! I am new to Thesis and have run into a problem. When i go to upload the network-news-thesis-options.dat file i get the following error message:
“Whoops! The file you attempted to upload is not a valid All Options file. Please try uploading the file again, or else download a new, valid All Options file.”
What do I need to do to fix this? Thanks!

Ben Cook September 13, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Nate… hmm I’m not sure what the issue is. I seem to have uploaded a bad .dat file. I’ll update it and drop a comment here as soon as it’s fixed. Sorry about that!

Nate September 13, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Wow!!! Thank you so much for the quick response, I really appreciate it. I have left so many comments on other people’s Thesis-related blogs and haven’t heard back. You have really set yourself apart. Thank you!

Ben Cook September 14, 2010 at 3:29 am

Nate, if you re-download the zip file you should have the correct .dat file to import in the All Options section. I’m not sure what happened with that file, but it’s fixed now. Sorry for the confusion and I’m glad to be able to help 😀

Nate September 14, 2010 at 3:47 am

It worked! Thanks so much. Now to work my way through the rest of the install instructions! Wish me luck….

Hung September 15, 2010 at 3:31 am

Hi Ben – I just downloaded the new file and am attempting to rebuild my site from scratch. But I run into the same problem Nate had, unable to load “netnews-thesis-options” file. In my previous attempt I used Thesis Import/Export plugin and it loaded “netnews-thesis-options” file fine. Should I just by-pass the thesis “manage options” and import it with the plug-in? I noticed that the new skin files all have the same dates and sizes as those I downloaded 2 weeks ago. So not sure if I do have the latest change. Also noticed that my downloaded “thesis-all-options” file is much bigger than your “netnews-thesis-options”, FWIW. THANKS BEN!

Please Don't Keyword Stuff September 16, 2010 at 10:53 am

Hi Ben,

Looks like a great theme – can’t wait to get started with it! I do however have the same problem Hung is having after uploading the custom.css and custom_function.php files; the layout.css file was not present so I did not upload that one. I then uploaded the .dat file and this is what I get:

Fatal error: Call to undefined function dynamic_content_gallery() in /home/myuzzi/public_html/wp-content/themes/thesis_18/custom/custom_functions.php on line 44

I’m running WP 3.0 with Thesis 1.8. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Ben Cook September 16, 2010 at 11:22 am

If you get a call to an undefined function dynamic_content_galler you need to install the Dynamic Content Gallery plugin (as mentioned in the post & several times in the comments).

Hung, I’m going to have to dig into this some more this weekend. I can’t figure out why the file allows me to import it but doesn’t work for you. Are you using Thesis 1.8?

dw September 16, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Thanks for the quick reply Ben. I’m very excited about putting your Thesis skin to work and freely promoting it by singing it’s praises to my circle of friends once I get it to work. That easily becomes traffic juice for you, which I can’t believe for a moment you’d be disappointed with. In that light, I do believe we’re aimed at similar objectives; if that weren’t so you wouldn’t require an email address in exchange for a download. So, I must say that I’m a bit turned off by your attitude about my so-called keyword stuffing.

I do however understand your comment what with all the spammers out there. I am not one of them though – this was a legitimate question about your product that I’m trying to get set up. I do appologize for presuming you to be a good sport – perhaps I should have asked before attempting to use the comment field to it’s fullest potential.

None-the-less, thanks again for your contributions. Wishing you the best in your future endeavors.

Ben Cook September 16, 2010 at 12:39 pm

@dw, I wasn’t saying you were a spammer, it just makes it awkward to reply to someone when they leave their name as Business Voip PBX. However, I probably should put a much clearer comment policy in place.

Also, I feel I should note that a huge majority of blogs nofollow the links from comments so you’re not getting any SEO value out of using a keyword as your name anyway.

dw September 16, 2010 at 1:05 pm

No Harm – No Foul Ben.
Keep up the great work!
Thanks again… 🙂

Mari-Lyn September 21, 2010 at 6:22 pm

I have installed the skin to, I cannot for whatever reason can’t seem to get the photo’s uploaded into the slider.

Can you help me with this? Everything else works


Kevin September 26, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Two quick questions about the video at the end of your demo site.

1. As you continue to post will the video remain on the home page or will it also move as the other posts make their way down the page? If it does remain on the Home page how is it set up.

2 What plug in are you using


Nathan September 29, 2010 at 4:58 pm


Tried uploading the skin to a brand new site. I got the following error message:
“Fatal error: Call to undefined function dynamic_content_gallery() in /home/ndye/public_html/ on line 44”

Is this becuase I have no content on the site yet? Some of the skin formatting loaded like the 100 pxl logo box and so on. If you want to see what it looks like, go to

Thanks. I really appreciate it.

Nathan September 29, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Hi Ben,

One more question. For the DCG plug in, you directions talk about the settings and changes for 3.1, but I am now using 3.2.3 and there is also a 3.3.2 available. What are the current settings I would use for these versions of DCG? Thanks.


Ryan Beale October 5, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Hey Ben,

Thanks very much for this excellent Thesis Skin! I use it on a sports blog that a few friends and I contribute to.

Quick question: With the Widgetized Footer Area, how do I add a widget to be displayed in the footer, but underneath the content area or horizontally across the footer, not vertically (how it is currently displayed)?

If you could point me to a blog post/thesis forum post/anything that will give me a better idea of how to mazimize the width of the widgetized footer area, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again.


Ben Cook October 5, 2010 at 5:22 pm

@Ryan, I think you’re talking about something like a 3 column footer? If so the code for that can be found here:

Or if you’d like a little bit more explination as well as the code, you might check here:

Brian Tucker October 7, 2010 at 5:12 pm

This is a great skin! Question, I want to add in my google analyticvs code into the footer. WHen I go into Apperance—>Editor there is no footer.php template. Can you tell me where I need to paste this info as this is where I typically place it.


Ben Cook October 11, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Brian, Thesis has a spot in the settings section specifically for your Google Analytics code (or any other scripting you want included in the footer etc)

Ryan October 31, 2010 at 11:31 am

I like the theme! great job!:D

Wouter November 29, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Dear Ben,

I really like your theme and have been playing with it for a day now. I have a small problem; i added an about page but i doesnt show. Do you now how i can fix it or what the problem is. My website is


Ben Cook November 30, 2010 at 2:36 am

Wouter, it sounds like you need to edit your navigation settings in the Thesis menu. Pages don’t show up in the nav automatically, you have to select which ones and order them.

Wouter November 30, 2010 at 3:55 am

Dear Ben,

Thanks:) but now the about page show but when i click on it it shows a page not found website.


Dave February 1, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Hey Ben –

Sorry to bug you bro…just curious if you can help troubleshoot this. I put a banner ad in the space next to the header and it has knocked my category nav menu below the header down a bit; half menu is on one line and the rest drop down a line.

Any thoughts on how to fix?

Thank you!

Tom March 10, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Hi Ben,
Wow and thank you. Been working on a test site with Thesis 1.8 and really like your work. I do have 2 questions: 1. “Example of Contact” appears on the nav menu and I can’t find that sucker anywhere and I have looked all over. Where is it? 2. Where’s the Thesis OpenHook link that’s usually under the appearance menu?
Thanks again Ben for your wonderful work. I will be referring you, tom

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