WordPress theme: Paper Trail

Paper Trail WordPress theme screenshot

I love it when business and pleasure coincide. I had to look into styling widgets today for an upcoming project, and decided to use my Paper Trail theme as test material. Turns out the markup of widgets gives you surprisingly (frustratingly) little to work with in terms of CSS. Still I managed to get the widgets to look like I wanted them to, thus completing the theme.

Paper Trail is a two column layout with fancy Flash post and blog titles.

  • It requires Flash and Javascript (although it doesn’t break completely if these are missing). If your blog targets mobile users (for instance), this is not the theme for you.
  • This is my first theme where I’ve paid any real attention to widget styling. Third party widgets may not look as intended. Chances are they will.
  • Thanks to Geoff Stearns, the use of flash will not affect search engine ranking.
  • The Flash titles contain complex algorithms that change things like line breaks and font size in order to best accommodate your post’s titles. Let me know if they act up. Using very long words in titles might render them unreadable.
  • I’ll not be releasing the source code for the Flash movies. Mostly because I’m afraid you’ll laugh at me for my poor coding skills, but also because I fear you’ll ask me to explain how they work.
  • Paper Trail was built for WordPress version 2.3, and will spend most if it’s time looking for missing things like tags on older versions (and not actually work).
  • Because of limitations in the way Flash handles dynamic text the theme supports basic Latin characters only. Sorry about that.

If you want to give it a try, you can download it here.


  1. Hi Roy – Essentially some plugins and widgets work and others don’t. I’ll fumble through. I really love this theme. Thank you again for making it available. I’ve fiddled around with margins and padding and got the layout looking how I want it.

    Comment by Liz Hover — February 28, 2009 @ 11:44 pm

  2. Roy – I love this theme enormously. I’ve worked out my differences with the widgets. I’ve made it mine. I thank you for your design. My only fear is that you won’t upgrade the next time WordPress does their thing. Tell me you will and I won’t have to grovel to my code friends?

    Comment by Liz Hover — April 12, 2009 @ 7:19 am

    • I’m sorry Liz. I consider this theme to be EOL (‘end of life’). It was experimental to begin with, and I don’t have the time to update themes when WordPress does their thing (as they indeed do). When I released my other three themes, things were still relatively simple, and they’d continue to function over many WP versions. Nowadays that’s no longer so, which is the main reason I don;t do themes anymore. They’re even harder to support than plugins are, and most of the good ones are complicated applications instead of simple design templates like they used to. And I’m not sure this is a good thing.

      Comment by Roy — April 14, 2009 @ 8:35 am

  3. Love this theme so far. Thanks.

    Comment by Mike — June 23, 2009 @ 5:13 am

  4. Hello, I like very much your theme and I have a question.

    How to change the flash file transparent?

    Thak you.

    Comment by Sergio — July 28, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

  5. That’s good man, keep it going.

    Comment by amenodimeno — July 31, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

  6. how about wordpress 2.8.4?

    Comment by mancai — August 25, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

    • Paper Trail has been long abandoned, and running it under 2.8.4 is not recommended I think.

      Comment by Roy — August 26, 2009 @ 9:29 am

  7. Hello Roy,

    I love your Paper trail theme. I wanted it for my blob but, unfortunately, when I activated it, it appears uncomplete. Everything stays on the left side of the page and the right column does not appear. Do you know have any idea where the problem is ?

    Many thanks.

    Comment by Roxy — March 16, 2010 @ 11:37 am

    • Roxy, it’s been a long time since I worked on that theme, and I consider it ‘deprecated’. It may well be truly incompatible with newer WordPress versions, so I’d recommend accepting my apologies and looking for a replacement theme.

      Comment by Roy — March 16, 2010 @ 4:38 pm