Salient is one of the most popular premium themes available on Themeforest. This highly customizable multipurpose theme includes many built-in features like page animations, sliders, and a portfolio custom post type. Find out all the details in our Salient review.

Salient review

About Salient

Salient is one of the most popular and highly-rated themes on Themeforest, with over 50,000 sales. It’s developed by ThemeNectar.

Salient requires the plugin Salient Visual Composer to work. After installing and activating the plugin, you’ll get a notice like this:

Salient review - required plugins

You can click Begin installing plugins to decide which ones to install and activate.

Though it recommends the plugins Contact Form 7 and WooCommerce, you don’t have to use them. We found the Contact Form 7 plugin to be limited in features and not very user-friendly, and recommend using WPForms instead. You can read our Contact Form 7 review for more details on that plugin.

WooCommerce is only necessary if you’re going to sell products or services from your site.

Features of Salient

Salient has a lot of options to completely customize the look of your site. Here are a few of the features that set this theme apart from the crowd:

Huge Options Panel

After installing and activating Salient, you’ll see a new menu item in your dashboard. Under Salient » General Settings, you can see all the newly available options.

Salient review - options

You can choose:

  • icon and button styles
  • background and font colors
  • typography
  • header colors, padding, and opacity
  • footer columns and credit text
  • …and more

Page Transitions and Animations

Salient includes a number of page transition and animation effects for your site.

By default, the current page will fade out when a link is clicked. Then an animated loading icon will display until the next page is loaded.

You can change the fade-out effect to a “center mask reveal” effect, revealing the new page expanding from the center.

If you stick with the loading icon, you can change the icon color or choose to upload your own custom icon (such as your logo). You can also customize the icon animation from a default spin to a “smooth spin” effect.

Salient review - page transitions

Global Call to Action Button

In the Salient » Call to Action menu, you can enable a “call to action” section that will appear right above your footer on every page of your site. You can customize the text, button color, link, and exclude it from appearing on specific pages.

Salient review - call to action button settings

Salient Visual Composer

As mentioned above, Salient requires the use of the Salient Visual Composer plugin.

Visual Composer is a drag and drop page building plugin for WordPress. The Salient version allows you to use the visual editor for both posts and pages, and includes some unique options.

Salient review - visual composer

You can read our review of the standard Visual Composer plugin here.

Built-in Slider

After installing the theme, you’ll notice a few new menu options including Home Slider and Nectar Slider.

In order to activate the home slider, you’ll need to create a page using one of the “Home” page templates.

Salient review - page templates

Then you have to go to Settings » Reading and set that page as your static front page.

You can add slides to the homepage slider by navigating to Home Slider » Add new. Here you can select images or videos to add and enter caption text and buttons if you like.

Images should be between 1600-2000px in width and a height of 700px. If they’re higher than 700px, they will be cropped in wider screen sizes. Regardless of width, the image will be stretched to fit the whole screen, so smaller images will look very pixelated in larger screens.

To change the slider style and functions, you have to go to Salient » Home Slider. Here’s where you can adjust the animations, autoplay settings, speed, etc.

Nectar Slider

The Nectar Slider can be used in other locations besides the home page. It includes many more options than the Home Slider.

Your slides are displayed by Location (locations act like categories). So, to create a slider, you have to add all the slides to a specific location.

In order to use your Nectar Slider, you have to place it with a shortcode.

When editing any post or page, you’ll see a blue Nectar Shortcode button.

Salient review - nectar shortcodes

You can click this and then select your options to display the Nectar slider you created. Select “Nectar Slider” under “Elements,” and then under “Location” select the location you added all your slides to.

Salient review - nectar slider

(If you’re looking for an easier way to create sliders that you can use with any theme, we recommend the Soliloquy plugin.)

Portfolio Custom Post Type

Salient comes with a custom post type meant for your portfolio. You can customize the style and appearance of your portfolio items under Salient » Portfolio, and add your portfolio items by navigating to Portfolio » Add new. Portfolio items can be assigned categories and tags, just like posts.

It’s important to keep in mind that because this portfolio custom post type is theme-specific, you’ll lose all your portfolio information if you ever switch themes.

Support and Documentation

Six months of support from the developer are included with your purchase of Salient. Support is available via a ticket system.

Salient comes with a 16-page PDF document that provides a basic overview of the theme’s main features and settings.

But if you want more detailed information and walkthroughs, you have to watch their tutorial videos. Unfortunately for those who can’t use the videos or prefer not to, there are no transcripts or written tutorials available.

Many crucial instructions for using the theme are only available in video form, and many of the videos are over 10 minutes long. So, there’s no way to search for the specific bit of information you need — you need to watch the whole video (and hope it has what you need so you don’t waste more time).

If you prefer written tutorials to video, this is probably not the theme for you.

Our Score

Salient is one of the most popular themes on Themeforest and is very highly rated.

If you don’t want to learn any code, but want a theme that is highly customizable in every aspect, Salient may be a good choice. It has some unique and interesting features, such as the page transition animations, that will make your site stand out.

One possible issue you may have with the Salient theme (besides the lack of written tutorials) is that if you ever decide to switch themes, all the information you entered in the theme-specific features will be lost. That includes your portfolio, sliders, pages built with the visual composer, and every other Salient feature. According to WordPress guidelines, extra functionality should be created with plugins, not themes, because of this issue.

We give Salient 4 out of 5 stars. Here is the breakdown of our review scores:


Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty   4.0 / 5.0
Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty   4.0 / 5.0
Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Full   5.0 / 5.0
Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Full   5.0 / 5.0
Ease of Use
Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star EmptyRating Star Empty   3.0 / 5.0
Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty   4.0 / 5.0
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Comments  Leave a Reply

  1. Really good review, uncommon practicality in the final verdict criterion also
    Thank you, I will follow your posts Shazad. I search long and hard for good design advice and WordPress info, like this

  2. Hello, thanks for the article. I have Salient, but my web seems to be very slow, do you think that it could be related? Also, why do you rate the performance as 0? Thanks a lot for your reply!

    1. Diana,
      It’s just a temporary glitch. We’ll fix it soon

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