Nobody wants their website to look exactly like a thousand others, but that’s what the WordPress theme concept does. If you use a free or commercial theme, your website may have your own content, but the design will be shared by many others and possibly your competitors. To achieve a unique design that enhances your brand, you need control of your design and to a large extent that means control of your CSS code. You need to get customized!

Don’t lose your style!

Adding custom CSS to your WordPress website’s style.css file presents several issues for designers and developers. The biggest concern with adding custom styles to style.css is that, as a theme file, style.css will be replaced whenever the theme is updated and you’ll lose any modifications you’ve made to it. As a general rule, you shouldn’t change a theme file directly if you expect to keep and update a theme. WordPress provides a method for creating a persistent stylesheet using a child theme, but doing so may be beyond the scope of what a designer or website owner feels comfortable doing since it involves digging into code and uploading new files. AIM Style Vault solves this problem by adding custom styles via a plugin; your custom styles will be saved to the database, which makes them persistent no matter if you update your theme, change themes or use a child theme.

What is AIM Style Vault?

ASV is a plugin created by AIM to allow WordPress designers to quickly and efficiently apply custom styles to themes and plugins. Here’s the jargony bit for developer-types: The plugin creates a new custom post type. Users add style declarations within the stylesheets of each custom style post and the plugin generates a query that compresses the code and adds it to the header via the wp_head tag. Since the wp_head tag follows the inclusion of the style.css file, any style added to a custom style post will override the original style unless it is marked with !important. Each custom style post is saved to the WordPress database, so it is persistent, and since the stylesheets are posts, they can be published or saved in draft form. That means you can keep a variety of style versions on hand, ready to be published at any time. You’ll never have to lose a style again.

Who benefits from AIM Style Vault?

  • Anyone who wants to apply CSS rules to customize a WordPress site will benefit by using ASV.
  • For designers who know CSS but don’t know much about how WordPress works, AIM Style Vault is the perfect complement to their WordPress site.
  • For people who are slowed down by searching through a long stylesheet for a particular selector, AIM Style Vault offers the ability to create any number of stylesheets that contain a particular subset of styles, such as styles for the home page or styles for the menu. Keeping styles grouped by stylesheet speeds up the development process and makes it easy for others to find the right selectors to which they can apply custom styles. That’s particularly helpful if you work in a team environment.
  • If you want to customize the style output by a plugin or widget, AIM Style Vault presents the perfect means to do so. Most plugins contain default style settings for the content they display, but chances are that the default style won’t match the style of your website design. But if you modify the plugin files, they’ll get wiped out whenever the plugin is updated. Instead, use AIM Style Vault to apply and preserve your custom styles.
  • For budding designers who are just learning to use CSS, AIM Style Vault offers a safe method for testing new ideas and knowledge. If you muck up the style and your page goes catawampus, just unpublish the custom style post and you’re back where you began. No harm.
  • Marketers who want to test multiple styles for conversion can use AIM Style Vault to apply and keep track of effective styles. Just create two styles to test then apply style one to the page for your initial test period and style two for the second test period and compare the conversion results.
  • Developers who need to apply styles across a variety of browsers will find new body classes added for major browser types including iphone. (Your theme needs to have the body class added for this feature to work.)
  • For designers who want to show clients a variety of design concepts, ASV gives them the ability to switch between styles instantly for a fast and effective presentation.
  • At AIM, we use a dedicated form of ASV within our ThemeBlocks theme editor to extend our flexibility to meet client needs, and we’ve been using it for the last two years.

AIM Style Vault Features:

  • Unlimited Custom CSS Stylesheets
  • Name each stylesheet
  • Copy and paste stylesheets from another site or your text editor
  • Publishing controls for each stylesheet
  • Accepts all valid CSS and CSS3 specifications
  • Links to CSS resources, including a color-picker and CSS3 style generator

Requirements:

  • WordPress 3.0 or higher
  • Theme must have the wp_head() tag in the header.

Tips for using AIM Style Vault

  1. Use a source editor such as Firebug to find selectors and test style ideas quickly then paste the modified style into an ASV stylesheet.
  2. See a style you like on another site? Copy it from a source editor and apply it to the corresponding selector for your theme using AIM Style Vault.
  3. Give an existing style some CSS3 pizzazz with box shadows, transitions or gradients. Each ASV custom style post contains a link to a free online CSS3 generator to quickly create amazing effects.
  4. Use the post publish date feature to apply a style automatically on a particular day and time.

Get the Vault

Get your free download of the AIM Style Vault at the WordPress.org plugin repository: Download AIM Style Vault now!