Welcome to WordPress 3.4!

Grant Green (June 6, 1935 – January 31, 1979). Photo Credit.

The marquee feature of Commons 3.4 or “Green” – in honor of guitarist Grant Green – is the “Theme Customizer” which lets you try out new settings on your current theme or on a new theme without saving them.  The “Preview” option for new themes has been replaced by “Live Preview,” and it lets you visualize the new look of your site, and make adjustments.

Gone are the days of rushing to update your header, background, and the like as soon as you activate a new theme. You can now customize these options before activating a new theme.

The customizable options vary by theme – some have only a few, while others have many.  Check out themes like “Twenty Ten,” “Twenty Eleven,” and soon, the much anticipated “Twenty Twelve” (to be released with WP 3.5) to see examples where there is a lot of ad hoc customization available.  Stay tuned as theme authors double down to add more “Live Preview” customization possibilities to their themes.

When you first go the Appearance>>Themes, you will see the notification pictured on the left announcing this new feature. (You can click “Dismiss” to permanently get rid of the announcement.)

The image on the right shows the options available when customizing the Twenty Twelve theme.   You can play around with the look and feel of your site, and see the results without actually saving them.

Another huge improvement, especially for us at the Commons – you no longer have to “page” through the hundreds of themes we make available!  Simply use the slider bar to scroll through them all, in an instant!

Another nice to have feature of 3.4 is the ability to easily embed a tweet from Twitter.  Simply cut and paste the tweet’s permalink onto its own line and click save.  (Make sure you have checked the “Auto Embed” option in your dashboard under Settings>>Media.)

Notice that you can Follow, Reply, Retweet, and Favorite right from the embedded image.  Here is an example of an embedded tweet:

Another enhancement in 3.4 has to do with image captions.  You can now include some HTML in captions that create credit links, like the one in the Grant Green image, above.

Hope you enjoy all these new features!

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