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Beginning Basics: Getting Started with Sprout & Spoon

Please note: This FAQ Article is specifically for the Sprout & Spoon theme.




Whether you're brand new to WordPress or would just like a quick lesson on basic Sprout & Spoon theme features, you're in the right place! Below, we'll go through a number of how-tos regarding standard theme functions, from installing the theme to setting up your sidebar, recipe card, and more.


To skip directly to a specific section in the article, please use this index:



INSTALLING THE THEME


So you've purchased Sprout & Spoon and you're ready to get started-- great!

When you purchase a Sprout & Spoon license from ThemeForest & download the theme package, you will receive a zipped folder titled "themeforest-15659257-sprout-spoon-a-wordpress-theme-for-food-bloggers".
Unzip this first folder.

Within the unzipped theme package, you will find a number of folders such as demo content, documentation, logo image files, etc. There is also 1 additional zipped folder within, titled "sprout-spoon.zip".

Important: DO NOT unzip this "sprout-spoon.zip" folder! This particular .zip folder should remain zipped.




"sprout-spoon.zip" is the main theme.

Within your WordPress Dashboard, navigate to Appearance > Themes.
Click the "Add New" button at the top-left of the page > Click the "Upload Theme" button at the top.
Click "Choose File" > find your zipped "sprout-spoon.zip" file > Click the "Install Now" button.




Once the theme is successfully installed on your WordPress, you can "Activate" it via the installation page or via Appearance > Themes to switch over and begin using your Sprout & Spoon theme!


Please note: If you try installing the entire zipped theme package or another incorrect file, you'll likely receive this error message:


"The package could not be installed. The theme is missing the style.css stylesheet. Theme install failed."


If you receive this error message, please be sure that you're installing the ZIPPED file titled "sprout-spoon.zip".





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CREATING A POST


Sprout & Spoon has the possibility to create 4 different types of posts: standard, gallery, video, and audio.

In order to activate these post options, you'll first want to ensure you've installed & activated the required Vafpress Post Formats UI plugin. This plugin comes included with the theme.
When you first activate Sprout & Spoon, you should notice a banner notification across the top of your dashboard advising you to install specific required & recommended plugins.



Install & activate the Vafpress Post Formats UI plugin by clicking the "Begin installing plugins" link. Check the boxes next to the plugins > select "Install" from the drop-down menu > and click "Apply".

After, follow the same steps yet select "Activate" from the drop-down menu (plugins need to be both installed AND activated to function).



To create a new post, go to WordPress Dashboard > Posts > Add New.

Above your content box & toolbar, you'll see a series of tabs titled Standard, Gallery, Video, and Audio. Select whichever tab you'd like your post format to be in. Each tab will give you different input boxes depending on the content you'd like to add.


Standard Post

A standard post is the default post type.
You can add text and images to your post using the tools and content box.
Example of a standard post: http://solopine.com/sproutspoon/devilishly-decadent-chocolate-fudge-cookies/




Gallery Post

A gallery post allows you to create a slideshow-type gallery at the top of your post. After clicking the "Gallery" tab to choose this post format option, click the "Pick Images" button within the "Gallery Images" box that has appeared. Select whatever images you'd like from your WordPress Media Library.
Example of a gallery post: http://solopine.com/sproutspoon/my-favorite-cinnamon-crumble-apple-pie/





Video Post

A video post displays a video at the top of your post. You can share videos from nearly all video hosting sites, such as Vimeo or Youtube. Simply copy & paste the video's URL, oembed code, or embed code into the special input box. When you preview or publish your post, the video will appear.
Example of a video post: http://solopine.com/sproutspoon/caramel-pecan-gelato-with-honey-drizzle/





Music Post

An audio post allows you to share a music or audio track and displays it at the top of the post. Like the video post, simply copy & paste the track's URL, oembed code, or embed code into the special audio input box. When you preview or publish the post, the track will appear.
Example of an audio post: http://solopine.com/sproutspoon/triple-berry-smoothie/





Once you've determined your desired post format, entered your title, and added your content, remember to assign at least 1 category to your post. Additionally, also ensure you assign a featured image to the post.




Once you're finished preparing your post, you can click "Preview" to preview how your post will look once published onto your site, click "Publish" to have it appear on your site, or click "Save Draft" to save your post as it is, though not publish it yet.

To learn about how to add the "Continue Reading" link seen on the demo site to your posts, check out this article: How do I add the "Continue Reading" button to posts in Sprout & Spoon?



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CREATING A PAGE



A standard, static page is similar to creating a post in many ways, and is ideal for creating an About Me or Contact Me section to your website.

To create a new page, navigate to WP Dashboard > Pages > Add New.
Like a post, you can enter a page title, add content, and assign a featured image.

Additionally, you have the option of choosing between a number of page templates/layouts via the drop-down menu on the right titled "Template":

  • Default Template (sidebar is enabled)
  • Full Width Page 
  • Full Width Page w/ Featured Area
  • Page w/ Featured Area (sidebar is enabled)



Once you've published your new page, it will not automatically appear in your main menu. For a tutorial on adding items to your main menu, please check out this FAQ article: How do I set up my navigation menu?



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RECIPE CARD



Sprout & Spoon comes with its own custom recipe card plugin to let you outline and share your recipes easily and beautifully. To use this feature, please ensure you have installed & activated the included plugin titled Solo Pine Recipes.




To create a new recipe card, navigate to a post's create/edit screen. Scroll down to the section titled "Recipe Card". Here, you can fill out recipe characteristics such as:

  • Recipe title
  • Servings
  • Cooking time
  • Ingredients
  • Instructions
  • Notes

When you type the ingredients and/or instructions within their respective text boxes, add each ingredient or step on its own separate line as if you were creating a list.

Afterward, you can determine where the recipe card will display within your post or page by using a shortcode. A shortcode is a little bit of code that tells WordPress where to display an element.

The shortcode, [sp_recipe], is noted within the post's create/edit screen for easy reference. You can copy this shortcode and paste it within your post's text body wherever you'd like the recipe card to be displayed.

To adjust your recipe card's appearance and other settings, you can navigate to Appearance > Customize > Recipe Card Settings

Here, you can change all of the recipe card element's various colors and disable the print button if you prefer.


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CREATING A CATEGORY PAGE


A category page is a dynamic page that pulls in all of your posts assigned with a particular category.
You do not create a category page like you would a standard page (described above). 
A category page is generated by WordPress after you add a category to your main menu.

First, ensure you've assigned the category to at least 1 published post.
Then, navigate to WP Dashboard > Appearance > Menus and click the drop-down box heading titled "Categories" on the left of the page. Below, your categories will be listed. Check the box next to your desired category and click "Add to Menu". Be sure to save.
When you click on the newly-created menu item, it will take you to that category's page.





For more information on creating a category page, please check out: How do I set up my navigation menu?


ADJUSTING THE LAYOUT OF YOUR CATEGORY PAGES:

Category Pages which display all posts related to a particular category, Tag Pages which display all posts related to a particular tag, Author Pages which display all posts related to a particular author, etc., are called "Archive Pages". 

To change the page layout of your archive pages, head to Appearance > Customize > General Settings > and choose from the layout options within the "Archive Layout" section.

Here, you can also enable or disable the sidebar from displaying on Archive pages.






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CATEGORY INDEX SHORTCODE





Sprout & Spoon offers a unique shortcode called the Category Index Shortcode. This little bit of code allows you to display a grid of posts from a particular category within a page or post simply be pasting in the little shortcode and adding parameters to customize it. 

This category index element can be a wonderful feature if you'd like to create a page that pulls in posts from multiple categories-- for example a page that displays a selection of posts from your Breakfast Recipe category, followed by your Lunch Recipes category, your Dinner Recipes category, etc. 

For steps on how to implement and customize your Category Index feature, please refer to this article: Sprout & Spoon's Category Index Shortcode.


 

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HOMEPAGE SETTINGS


Your homepage is the first page visitors will see when they arrive at your website. By default, the homepage will be the page that also displays all of your posts, beginning with the most recent. We call this feature the "post feed".

To customize how your homepage looks, including its layout, colors, enabling/disabling the sidebar, etc., navigate to WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Customize

Under the various drop-down tabs on the left of this screen, you'll find loads of ways to customize your homepage & website in general. 

For example, within the "General Settings" tab, you can choose your homepage's post layout and enable/disable the sidebar.




Be sure to explore the various options within this Customizer section. The live preview on the right will show you a preview of how each adjustment will visually affect your site.

If you'd like your homepage to instead be a static page and have your post feed display on another page entirely, please check out our tutorial here: How to create a static homepage & separate blog page.



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CREATING A MAIN MENU


Setting up Sprout & Spoon's main menu is quite simple! For a walk-through on how to go about it as well as more specific how-to tutorials, please check out: How do I set up my navigation menu?



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ADDING A FEATURED IMAGE


Assigning a featured image to your posts is very important, as the featured image is what the theme & other web functions use to visually represent the post in various situations.

For a walk-through on where and how to assign a featured image, please take a
look at: How do I add a Featured Image?

Additionally, even if you don't want the featured image to display at the top of your post, you should still assign a featured image. Once that's done, you can hide the featured image from the top of your posts by navigating to WP Dashboard > Appearance > Customize > Post Settings > And checking the box next to "Hide featured image" or the box for "Hide featured image only on single post pages". 





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ADDING SOCIAL ICONS


SOCIAL ICONS IN TOP BAR & FOOTER:

Navigate to Appearance > Customize > Social Media Settings.

Here, you will see a list of social networks followed by a text input box. If you'd like to have a social icon for a particular social network, you can type in your username for that particular network.

Please note that you do not need to insert your profile's full URL into this box unless prompted to do so. Only your related username is required. The username you enter will be added into a pre-set URL for the network.

For example, if you enter the Instagram username "solopine" within Social Media Settings, your Instagram icon will automatically link to the URL: https://www.instagram.com/solopine

Once you enter your username into a particular social network's text box, its icon will appear in your top-bar & footer social icon areas. If you leave a social network's box blank, the social icon will not appear in the top-bar or footer areas.




SOCIAL ICON WIDGET:

To add the social icon widget to your sidebar, navigate to WP Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets.

Drag the widget titled "Sprout & Spoon: Social Icons" into your Sidebar's widget area. Check the box for the social networks you'd like to display in the widget. 

Please be sure you've also entered your related social networks' usernames within Appearance > Customize > Social Media Settings, otherwise the social widget's icons won't know where to link. 


Don't see your desired social network? There are tons of social media sites out there and we're unfortunately not able to include built-in options for all of them in the theme. However, don't fret! We have a tutorial written up on how to add custom icons to your theme here: How do I add social media icons to Sprout & Spoon?



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ENABLING THE FEATURED AREA 





Sprout & Spoon's featured area highlights 3 posts or pages of your choosing toward the top of the homepage. 


ENABLING YOUR FEATURED AREA:

To enable your featured area, you can navigate to WP Dashboard > Appearance > Customize > Featured Area Settings > and enable the element here.


Please ensure your posts have a featured image assigned to it. 

Sprout & Spoon gives you two options for assigning an image to represent a post in the featured area: 

  1. One option is to simply assign a Featured Image to your post. By default, this is the image that the featured area (and many other sections around the theme) will pull in to represent your post. For more information, check out: How do I add a Featured Image?
  2. Sprout & Spoon also allows you to assign a specific image to represent the post in the featured area separate from your post's Featured Image. To assign an alternate featured area image, navigate to your post's create/edit screen and look in the meta box titled "Post Options". Here, you can choose your "Custom Featured Area Image" which will only appear in the featured area to represent your post. 


CHOOSING YOUR FEATURED AREA'S POSTS:

Within Appearance > Customize > Featured Area Settings, you have 3 options for choosing which posts appear in your featured area:


  1. All latest posts: By default, the area will display your latest published posts.
  2. Posts from specific category: From the drop-down menu titled "Select Featured Category", you can also choose a particular post category to display in your featured area.
  3. Specific posts/pages: In the box beneath the title "Select featured post/page IDs", you can determine exact posts and/or pages to display in the featured area. To learn how to identify a post or page's ID, check out: How to determine a post, page, or category ID





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SETTING UP YOUR PROMO BOX WIDGETS




Sprout & Spoon offers a special widget called "Sprout & Spoon: Promo Box". This widget can be given an image, title, and hyperlink of your choosing as an eye-catching, beautiful way to link to posts, pages, or external URLs. Insert the promo box widget into your sidebar area as a stand-alone widget, or, stack them high!

To set up your promo box widget, navigate to WP Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets > and drag & drop the "Sprout & Spoon: Promo Box" widget into the sidebar area.

Give the widget a height, link in an image, insert a hyperlink, and add a title if you'd like. The widget also allows you to set how much spacing will be applied beneath the widget itself in case you'd like to stack several widgets close together or space them further apart. 






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SETTING UP YOUR NEWSLETTER WIDGET





Sprout & Spoon includes custom stylings for the "MailChimp for WordPress" plugin which allows you to display a beautiful newsletter sign-up form. You can insert this form within the Sidebar area, in a special widget area beneath the Featured Area element, or in a special widget area beneath a Post on its singular post page. 

For steps on setting your newsletter form up, please check out this article: How to setup Sprout & Spoon's newsletter widget


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SETTING UP YOUR SIDEBAR



A sidebar is a vertical content area that displays to the right of your main content/post area. You customize your sidebar by stacking up different widgets that display a variety of things.





ENABLING/DISABLING THE SIDEBAR:

To enable/disable the sidebar on your homepage and/or your archive pages (category pages, tag pages, etc.) navigate to WP Dashboard > Appearance > Customize > General Settings
Here, you can check or un-check the boxes next to "Disable Sidebar on Homepage" and "Disable Sidebar on Archives".


To enable or disable the sidebar on your Posts, you can do so from within the post's create/edit screen. This allows you to enable the sidebar on your singular post page on a post-by-post basis. Within the post's create/edit screen, scroll down to the "Post Options" box. There will be a drop-down menu titled "Post Layout" which lets you choose a layout with or without sidebar. 


To enable or disable the sidebar on your static Pages (pages created within WP Dashboard > Pages) you can do so within the page's create/edit screen using the "Templates" drop-down menu on the right side.


ADDING WIDGETS TO YOUR SIDEBAR:

To add, remove, or edit your sidebar widgets, navigate to WP Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets.
On the left, you will see a list of the available widgets to choose from.
On the right, you will see a few different widget areas in the theme.

To add a widget to your sidebar, simply drag & drop a widget on the left into the widget area titled "Sidebar".





EDIT WIDGETS IN YOUR SIDEBAR:

Once you've dropped a widget into the Sidebar widget area, click on its heading. A drop-down will appear and you can make any necessary adjustments to the widget's settings. From this widget setting drop-down, you can also delete the widget.

To position widgets within the sidebar, drag and drop them above or below each other.






SETTING UP THE FOOTER AREA


The footer area is the lower portion of the theme that will appear on all pages of your site. It can include:

  • Social icon area
  • Instagram footer area
  • Copyright text area




SOCIAL ICON AREA:
The footer's social icon area is directly connected with Sprout & Spoon's top-bar social icon area. To choose which social icons you'd like to appear, enter your username for each social network platform within Appearance > Customize > Social Media Settings.

For more information, please reference the section above titled "Adding Social Icons".

INSTAGRAM FOOTER AREA:
Similar to the section above regarding "Setting up your Sidebar", the footer has a widget area titled "Instagram Footer" where you can add in a widget to display your Instagram images in a full-width section.
The widget is simply called "Instagram" and is made available after installing & activating the plugin called WP Instagram Widget.

To add the Instagram widget, navigate to WP Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets.
On the right, you'll see the theme's different widget areas. One of which is the widget area titled "Instagram Footer".

Drag the "Instagram" widget from the left of this screen into the "Instagram Footer" widget area. To edit the widget's settings, click on the widget's heading once it's been placed in a widget area. A drop-down area will appear.

To have your Instagram footer display like the Sprout & Spoon demo site's, set the "Number of photos" option to be "12". Set the "Photo Size" to "Large" and give the widget a "Title" if you'd like the white text box overlay to appear on top of the images. 


COPYRIGHT TEXT AREA:
At the very bottom of the theme is a bar which features a text area to include copyright or disclaimer text. You are not required to include a copyright or disclaimer statement. In fact, you can type whatever you'd like in this area!

To edit the two footer text areas, look within
WP Dashboard > Appearance > Customize > Footer Settings.



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For help troubleshooting issues in Sprout & Spoon or to see some fun customization tutorials, check out all of Sprout's FAQ Articles here! Sprout & Spoon Articles

And, as always, if you have any theme-related questions you can't find the solution to in our FAQ article database, you're always welcome to open up a new support ticket. 



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