What is the edit_theme_options permission in WordPress?

There are several permissions in WordPress that are really powerful:

Equally powerful is the edit_theme_options permission which controls access to almost all WordPress layout features. The edit_theme_options permissions controls who can see these links:

  • Appearance > Widgets
  • Appearance > Menus
  • Appearance > Customize
  • Appearance > Background
  • Appearance > Header

So if a user has access the edit_theme_option permission, they will be able to do the following:

  • Add and edit widgets.
  • Add and edit menus.
  • Change theme settings.

However, it’s worth noting that they will not be able install new themes. That is controlled by a separate install_themes permission. Users who only have the edit_theme_option permissions will not see the “Install” button on the Themes screen:

How to control who has the edit_theme_options permission

If you use the Capability Manager Enhanced plugin, you can enable or disable this permission for each user role.

The Capability Manager Enhanced plugin for WordPress
  • Go to Permissions > Role Capabilties in your WordPress admin area.
  • In the top-right corner of the screen, load the user role that you want to customize. In this image below, I’ve chosen the “Editor” role:
Choose the Editor role in WordPress

In the center of the screen, you can now set the permissions. If you want to allow people in the Editor role to create posts, check the “edit theme option” box.

Video Introduction to the Capability Manager Enhanced Plugin

More guides to key WordPress permissions

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