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 permission 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_options 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_options 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 PublishPress Capabilities plugin, you can enable or disable this permission for each user role.

  • Go to “Capabilities” in your WordPress admin area.
  • In the top-left corner of the screen, load the user role that you want to customize.
  • 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 options” box.

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