Converting from the old Excerpts & Thumbnails add-on to the new Templates add-on

NOTE: This article is for customers of the Excerpts & Thumbnails add-on who have a valid and active license key on their WordPress site, and who are looking to switch over to the Templates add-on. For more information on how to obtain a copy of the Templates add-on, please read our announcement post.

First, please ensure you have taken a full backup of your site and have a very recent restore point ready. This is necessary just in case there is a problem in the process and you need to roll back your site to the last working version.

Before starting the conversion process, the following updates and installations need to be made:

  1. Update the core WP RSS Aggregator plugin to version 4.15 or above
  2. Update the WP RSS Aggregator Excerpts & Thumbnails add-on to version 1.11.1
  3. Install the WP RSS Aggregator Templates add-on as a new plugin

The conversion tool will only be available if the above conditions are met.

Once all 3 plugins mentioned above are activated on your WordPress site, you may proceed to the steps below.

Visit the "Templates Conversion Tool" page

You can either visit this page directly by going to RSS Aggregator > Settings > Templates Conversion Tool, or follow the link in the notice that will appear at the top of all WP RSS Aggregator pages on your WordPress site's admin dashboard. If the notice looks different to the one below and does not have a link to the conversion tool, one of the above conditions is not met.

Step 1: Create a new template with the old settings

In Step 1, the conversion tool will copy your existing Excerpts & Thumbnail settings into a new template that will be appropriately called "Excerpts & Thumbnails". This is what the newly created template will look like in your Templates list:

Once you click on the blue "Create template" button, you will see a completion message and a link to view the newly created template (it will open in a new tab so you can continue the conversion process on the existing one).

IMPORTANT: The templates include new options that were previously set in the plugin's general display options. In the new version, these settings are set in the "Default" template. For this reason, these options are copied over from the "Default" template: Pagination, Author prefix, Show bullets, Bullet style, Set links to open embeds

Step 2: Update feed sources with the image options

With the introduction of the Templates add-on, certain image options can now be applied per source, rather than as a general setting. This gives you more control over which images are used for every individual feed source.

It also means that part two of this conversion process needs to update your existing feed sources' new image options with the current settings you have set up for the "Thumbnails" part of the Excerpts & Thumbnails add-on. Here's what those new image options in the feed source settings look like:

NOTE: If you are using the default thumbnail image provided by WP RSS Aggregator in the "Thumbnails" settings tab, you will see a notice appear in Step 2 that explains how to continue using this image.

The message explains that you are using the " Thumbnail Not Available" image provided by the plugin as the "Default thumbnail image". This image cannot be copied over to your feed sources since it's not found in your media library. If you wish to keep using it, you may do the following:

1. Click on the "Thumbnail not available" link in the notice. It will open the image in a new tab.
2. Right click on the image and save it to your computer.
3. Go to the Media Library on your WordPress site and upload that image.
4. Select the uploaded version as your "Default thumbnail image" in the WP RSS Aggregator » Settings » Thumbnails settings page. This will ensure it's copied over to the applicable feed sources automatically when updating the feed sources' image options.

Once you click on the blue "Update feed sources" button in the conversion tool, you will see a completion message that tells you how many sources were updated (it should equal the total number of feed sources on your site). 

Below Step 2 you will also see a new section titled "Done!" which explains the next steps, as seen below.

Lastly, how to use the new template

This is your final step to completely switch over to the new template system and stop using the Excerpts & Thumbnails add-on. As explained in the screenshot above, wherever you had the WP RSS Aggregator shortcode displaying excerpts and/or thumbnails for the feed items, a manual update will be necessary.

The shortcode must now be updated to include the template that you will be using. Since the newly created template will always be called "Excerpts & Thumbnails", your shortcode should now have the template parameter applied to it as shown below:

  • Before:  [wp-rss-aggregator]  OR  [wp-rss-aggregator excerpts="yes" thumbnails="yes"]
  • After:  [wp-rss-aggregator template="excerpts-thumbnails"]

Alternatively, start using the block

If you are using the block editor for WordPress rather than the classic editor, you may now start using our WP RSS Aggregator block to display the templates. The block gives you more flexibility while also showing you a live preview of the feed sources and display options you have selected. Here's a preview of what the block looks like:

Introducing the new Grid template type

If you're tired of the Excerpts & Thumbnails style or wish to create different variations across your site, check out the brand new Grid template type It’s incredibly flexible and lets you create some beautiful feed displays that will really spruce up your site!

Should you have any questions or need help with templates in general or the conversion tool, please contact our support team. We will be happy to help.

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