We are happy to introduce you to latest and greatest feature in Power Widgets: Theme Replacements Importer. The new version is ready for download, starting tonight (GMT+3).

The Big Deal

For the first time, you now have an easy way to import all your custom sidebars (that is – replacements you made to the default sidebars) from your old theme to your new one. As widget areas are a central part of any site customization, it is very important to have an easy way to have custom sidebars remain intact once you switch to a newer theme.

How to Use Theme Replacements Importer: The Simple Use Case

We’ll start with an easy one: suppose you have your site built on a child theme, for example, a Twenty Thirteen child theme. If you use Power Widgets, you can use it to customize the look and feel, as well as the functionality of pages, posts and other sections on your site. So far, so good; but what if you want to move on to a different child theme, also based on Twenty Thirteen? You will lose all your replacements and will have to go through your site and reassign your custom sidebars to your pages, posts, categories and so on. This could take a while. The good news is that with the new version of Power Widgets, you don’t have to do it. Simply apply the importer and any custom sidebar assigned to any page, any pattern you created – will be available for you to use on your site with the new theme. Tons of time saved; no frustration, no coding, and no need to compromise on your theme or sidebars customization.

What About Cross Themes Compatibility? The Interesting Use Case

Switching between two child themes which are based on the same parent is fun, easy to use and makes a lot of sense. But it’s not the only use case Importer supports. Suppose you want to change from an Artisteer based theme to a Twenty Thirteen based? No problem. The Importer allows you to choose how your new theme’s sidebars will inherit the old theme’s settings. Themes vary greatly one from another when it comes to the default widget areas, or sidebars, they offer. So the very first action you should do, is tell Power Widgets how you want the new sidebars to inherit the old sidebars. If you have matching sidebars, simply set them to inherit the old ones. If you don’t you can set it any way you see appropriate, including the ability to select “None”.

theme importer advanced

What Are The Other Options?

When you work with Power Widgets’ Importer, you will have three options to select from. The default one would be “Fresh Start” (explained below). If you want this option, you should do anything other than pairing old default sidebars to new ones, click save, approve the dialog box and that’s it. There are additional options which will be explained below:

Fresh Start

This is the default option. When you choose this, any new replacements done using Power Widgets will be deleted. Addionally, it will import any sidebars replacements done on your old theme.

Conflict => Old Theme Wins

In case of a conflict between old theme replacements and current theme replacements – old theme replacement overtakes and current theme replacement is discarded. When there’s no conflict – current replacements remain. The final output will be, therefore, a combination of both old and new sidebars replacements.

Conflict => Current Theme Wins

In case of a conflict between old theme replacements and current theme replacements – current theme replacements overtake and old theme replacements are discarded. When there’s no conflict – old replacements are imported. The final output, therefore, will be a combination of both old and new sidebars replacements.

Which Themes Are Currently Supported?

We aim to set Power Widgets to work with a broad scope of themes. Power Widgets is well built and robust enough to handle numerous themes. However, we cannot guaranty for 100% compatibility with all themes out there. We’ve decided to handle this issue thoroughly and take it step by step. The following themes are fully compatible, and we are constantly expanding the compatibility of the product:
  1. Artisteer generated themes
  2. Twenty Ten, Twenty Eleven, Twenty Twelve, Twenty Thirteen
  3. Cyberchimp themes
  4. Genesis Framework based themes.
  5. Woothemes is next, we will let you know when Power Widgets is compatible with it.

This Feature is In Beta – What to Expect

We conducted numerous and rigorous tests with the new version and found it stable and robust. However, we need your broad feedback in order to perfect it and make it even better and broadly compatible. You can safely use it on your live sites, we’ll be happy to have your valuable feedback. One last note regarding page templates: as you know, themes vary greatly not only on their default widget areas, but also on page templates. Page templates influence the visibility of your widget areas. So when you change from one theme to another you should pay attention to the different page templates and make your adjustments as required. Update: this article elaborates all the issues arousing while you switch to a new theme. Using Power Widgets, packed with Theme Importer, relieves you from the headache that comes along with the sidebars.