WordPress Theme Demo Bar Plugin • All-in-one Solution for Theme Demo, Preview and Showcase

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Posted in Featured , Wordpress Plugins on 20 April 2009 199 comments

Latest Version is 1.6.3


WordPress Theme Demo Bar is a plugin for wordpress (compatible up to WP 3.0.5) that allows any wordpress theme to be previewed without activating it. A demo bar would be shown on top of page, allow users to preview another theme. The demo bar is customisable at admin panel. More than 1 extra CSS files can be loaded too.

This plugin is suitable for theme designers to show all demos of their themes in a single wordpress installation.


- Compatible with WordPress 3.0.5
- Tested on WP 2.7.1, WP 2.8, up to 3.0.5
- If you are using older versions of WordPress, if possible, please reply here with your version (and error, if any).

List of features, FAQs, Changelog and Usage

Please refer to the WordPress Theme Demo Bar Plugin Page at WordPress Extend

Using Shortcodes and Template Tag Functions


WordPress Theme Demo Bar 1.6.3 - 22,147 downloads


Preview MonoShade Theme

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I spent a lot of time making themes and plugins. If you like this plugin and would like to support my works, you can donate via PayPal using the button below.

Thank you.


Posted by Zen on 20 April 2009 • 223,073 visits 199 comments
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Soprano says:

Great plugin, i’ll try it!

.-= Soprano´s last blog ..Como criar e inserir um Favicon no seu website =-.

Lynne says:

I think this was addressed in here, but not sure I got the right answer…I think I am missing a setting somewhere.

When I click on a preview, the theme comes in perfect. But if I click on a link within the preview theme it reverts back to the parent theme. It only does this with child themes…

zen says:

@Lynne, that is a bug. Just fixed in version 1.5.2. You can auto upgrade now.

Cheers :)

Lynne says:

Thanks a bunch for your quick response…just waiting for the auto upgrade to catch up…still showing 1.5.1 at the wp depository…

zen says:

@Lynne, for some reason it is not updating. I re-uploaded the files again. Check again in 15 minutes. Thanks.

Lynne says:

@Lynne, Perfect…now I can sell my themes and not have to worry about separate installs.

Just a quick note…I read in here your concerns about selling your themes. I just want to say…thanks for the free plugin…without the free development WordPress would never be teh CMS/Blogger it is today. But when it comes to themes…we all need to make a buck in this world…if you have the skill…and you obviously do…then don’t feel bad about it.

Just my 2 cents…

samato says:


I would like to use child menu.

if ($children) { ?>

My question is how to apply 1 theme for all child or internal links?
Sorry for my bad english.

zen says:

@samato, sorry I don’t understand and can’t see your codes.

Anyway, I created a plugin just now, you can now write source codes using [code][/code] tag.

samato says:

Sorry for my comment.
I want create a submenu that call a theme. All link load same theme. But I don’t know to where I must to paste this code:
I would like to use this code for create childmenu:
if ($children) { ?>

Thanks again.

samato says:

List subpages even if on a subpage
I couldn’t paste the code. Sorry

zen says:

@samato, hi samato, I read your comments for 10 times but I still can’t understand.

Also, I don’t understand why did you give me the link to wp_list_pages?

Very sorry.

esmi says:

Nice plugin! Just 2 minor points – both in wp_theme_demo_bar.php.

If you place the wp-head js inside a CDATA block, it won’t invalidate pages:

// <![CDATA[
// enable the demo bar only if javascript is activated
document.write(\'body { padding-'.$zv_wptdb_demobar_pos.':'.$zv_wptdb_demobar_height.'px; }\n\');
document.write(\'#wpthemedemobar { position:absolute; '.$zv_wptdb_demobar_pos.':0px !important; }\n\');
// ]]>

A little further down, your IE conditional syntax is incorrect. Non-IE browsers won’t read !IE, so a better approach is to use:

if ($zv_wptdb_ontop) { echo '
#wpthemedemobar { position:fixed !important;}

#wpthemedemobar { position:absolute !important;}

'; }

Hope that helps.

zen says:

@esmi, thanks I will add CDATA to next version.

Regarding your second point, the line is meant to be read by all browsers except IE.

Patrick Daly says:

This plugin is just amazing! One suggestion though:

It adds (by default) 31px of padding to the BODY. A lot of themes have background images associated with the BODY tag and there’s potential for mis-aligning the design. Instead, it’d be safer to add the padding to the HTML element.

zen says:

@Patrick Daly, changed that. thanks.

esmi says:

Version 1.5.5
Your conditional IE comment syntax is invalid:

- edited by zen -

esmi says:

I give up! See http://quirm.net/2009/06/29/wordpress-conditional-comment-css/ for the correct syntax. As it stands, some versions of IE may not implement the conditional CSS correctly. Plus the malformed comment invalidates pages – which means I’m having to hack each new version to fix this.

zen says:

@esmi, I know what you are trying to say. But the conditional tag you give me is not what I want. I want all browser to read it except IE. I got the conditional tags from google search =x

Ok now since it doesn’t validate, I removed it and changed the style of coding.

Wait for 1.5.6

esmi says:

Not checked out the new version yet but what about adding this style to the main CSS block and then resetting it for IE via a conditional comment?

zen says:

@esmi, Yeps. That’s what I am doing.

Arne says:

Hi Zen,

thank you very much for your plugin.
I noticed that you use get_options(‘siteurl’); to determine the URL of the Blog. (which one can get using get_options(‘home’);)
When the blog is installed using the instructions on this site:
siteurl and home are not the same. Therefore, your plugin does not generate the “persistent links” all over the blog.
In my example, home returns http://www.techotronic.de while siteurl returns http://www.techotronic.de/wordpress.

Could you please introduce a variable “$zv_wptdb_sitehome = get_options(‘home’);” and use that in your internal link detection in lines 294 & 408 for the next version?
(Line numbers refer to version 1.5.6).

Best regards,

zen says:

@Arne, Sure I will change that. Wait for 1.5.7

Anyway, are you okay with loading css and images in plugin option page? I mean do links like below work?


Arne says:

@zen, cool, thanks!
The wp-content directory is accessible using the siteurl, meaning
only “addressable content” like pages, posts, tag and category pages is accessible using home.

zen says:

@Arne, okay. I’ve uploaded the files. Now just wait for the auto upgrade :)

Adesh says:

Hi There,
First of all Thanks a ton for this Kool Theme.

Secondly, I am a far below that a Noob with PHP.
All I want to say id that as I Understand the term “Child Theme”, It means multiple css files under one theme folder.

If this is the case, Then I’d like to inform that those Options are not showing up.
I am using WP 2.8.4
If I am Right, Please advise a Fix.

zen says:

@Adesh, hi, thanks for informing but can you explain more? what options?


Sandesh says:

Hello zen,

I have a problem please help.I checked your plugin in localhost and the problem i am getting is- when i preview a theme using themedemo it works like a charm but as i click any category or post title to see single page it reverts back to parent theme.

Any suggestions please.

Thanks & regards

zen says:

You have to wait until the page loads completely?

Anyway, did you see a bar at the top of page?

Aris says:

“Individual Theme Settings” not working for me in 2.8.6

zen says:

Tested in 2.8.6, it works for me.

Jen says:

When editing theme options, I get this message: You do not have sufficient permissions to access this page.

zen says:

It works for me and other users. WordPress deny you for some reason, the error message is not from my plugin.

Kevin says:

I also have this problem with wordpress, I had installed a new one!

Ali says:

I’m getting the same problem, also listed in http://zenverse.net/wordpress-theme-demo-bar-plugin/comment-page-2/#comment-5566

The first theme I tried to preview and then edit theme options worked totally fine. Now, I can preview themes, but when I try to “edit theme options” with any theme, it gives me the insufficient permissions message.

I am the site admin, so I have no idea what’s going on. I’m using version 1.6.1 , WP 3.1.3, and PHP version 5.2.17

Darcy says:

I am getting the same problem in both viewing and editing theme options.

Marco says:

First off, this is a great plugin! Thank you!

I was wondering how to view different themes with different content? For example on theme 1 I have an “About” page but on theme 2 I have an “About Me” page each with different content. How do I get it so it can preview each theme with it’s own pages, posts, etc…


zen says:

Just add ?themedemo=(theme-folder-name) to the URL

julien says:

This is only for change theme not for the content ?

Sepehr Lajevardi says:

Really useful & the best switcher around. thank you!

Sepehr Lajevardi says:

Is there an almost easy way to change the ‘themedemo’ parameter to something shorter like ‘demo’? I tried refactoring but it failed.

Sepehr Lajevardi says:

done! I’ve refactored the code again and here is the result if anyone is interested. I’ve just changed the ‘themedemo’ parameter to ‘demo’, nothing else. http://sepehr.ws/code/fork/wp-theme-demo-bar.tar.gz
thank you again ;)

Isaac says:

I downloaded the plugin posted by sepehr Lajevardi and it works well however, one change he did there where instead of:
?themedemo=(theme-folder-name) it’s:
But, I am having several issues:
1. the demo bar is showing only at certain themes and not showing at others
2.when I switch the theme from the demo bar it switches back to ?themedemo=(theme-folder-name) therefor receiving an error as it’s invalid url (it goes to default theme)
So I had to revert back to the original plugin from author because I am afraid that once any update will come out it will be using the ?themedemo string

Digideal says:

very good plugin, i was looking for something like this for quite some time now, i did find showcase plugins but this is something that will really help me.

Kiran Kumar says:

Very useful plugin. but must be flexible where it can show all the tmemes

Detoam says:

Great plugin. For some reason I can’t edit the properties of my themes anymore. every time I try it tells me that I don’t have sufficient priviliges. I can’t set the theme downloads or edit any links for the themes.
Any ideas?

zen says:

Sorry I do not have any idea because no one had this problem.

weeeeeeeeeeeeeee says:

Very good plugin
I didn’t even thought it existed
A lot!

chucks says:

The best of all plugins for theme demos I’ve seen. I just upgraded from wpmu 2.8 to and the theme screenshots no longer display. Anyone having problems in regular wp?
Any ideas?

Trace says:

Awesome plugin. Quick question, I’m trying to add a simple drop down / select box to the left of the theme preview theme button / drop down button. When I add a simple select such as test or similar, it causes the entire menu to disappear. Any tips or sample code on how we can add a simple dropdown menu? Any feedback appreciated!

Trace says:

Figured it out, was spacing issue…. too much space between lines causes menu to disappear… my bad.

Trace says:

Is it possible to not use the ?themedemo= variable and just apply the demo bar on all pages of an install?

Steve Shead says:

Hi there! I tested the plugin on my demo pages and the bar won’t show. I tested on one of my live sites and it does show, using the same themes to test.

The only difference I see between the tests is that the “demo” site is inside the main site. To make that clearer, the main site is http://www.freedom2design.com (I’ve turned the plugin off for now on that site since I know it works. The demo site is http://www.freedom2design.com/blog/ – I have left the plugin on so you can see the result – here’s a link to test: http://www.freedom2design.com/demo/?themedemo=BasicWP …you can see the space where the bar should be, but no bar. Maybe I’m doing something wrong? :)



Steve Shead says:

…sorry …the demo site is http://www.freedom2design.com/demo …fat fingers today!


Steve Shead says:

Nevermind – saw the error of my ways …missing …sorry ’bout that! :)

julien says:

Hi Zen,

Thank for this great plugin !

Please, how i can change the content of the previewed themes with a basic structure of posts, page, links…?


Annabel says:

Hi there,

Thanks for the excellent work. Great plugin… which i can’t get to be displayed. i checked, my theme, modularity is complete… bu no show.
Any idea as to what the problem might be? And how to fix it?
Again : thanks

Steven Wong says:

Thanks mate!

I found you from google search and I have downloaded and installed this demo bar plugin on my demo blog. Right now in the middle of settings the whole thing.

Vee says:

Hi Zen,

Let me start by thanking you for this wonderful plugin. It’s the smartest and the most elegant plugin of its kind I used so far.

There is just a small question I have : I would like to display the demo bar on my demo blog by default, so when a user lands on the demo blog even without following a demo link he will still be able to see the demo bar and select a theme to preview and download from there.

Is this possible?

Thank you so much for your time and this plugin!



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