How to Insert Shortcodes into a WordPress Theme

What are Shortcodes?

Shortcodes, which many plugins take advantage of, are an easy and quick way to insert special kinds of content into your posts or pages.

A shortcode typically looks something like this one from a plugin that is supposed to display the number of categories on a site:


You just pop your shortcode into your post, and then behind the scenes everything gets called into the post in the way it should.

So in the case above, I might write a post that says the following:

The total number of categories is [catcount].

If I have 21 categories, then when the post is published it will read:

The total number of categories is 21.

If I add a category, then that number will automatically get bumped up to 22.

Featured Plugin - WordPress Appointments Plugin

Take, set and manage appointments and client bookings without having to leave WordPress. Appointments+ makes it easy.
Find out more

Inserting a Shortcode into a Theme

But what if you wanted your shortcodes to work outside of your posts or pages? What if you wanted to have a shortcode work in your header, for example?

Putting a regular shortcode in your theme’s files will not work as it would if you put it in a post or a page. But there’s a way around that.

Simply insert your shortcode into the following line of code, and place it where you like.

<?php echo do_shortcode('[my-shortcode]'); ?>

Of course you will need to substitute [my-shortcode] for your actual shortcode. For example, I placed my category counting plugin shortcut above in my header like this:

<?php echo do_shortcode('[catcount]'); ?>

Actually, I made it part of a complete sentence like this:

The total number of categories is <?php echo do_shortcode('[catcount]'); ?>.

The result looks like this:

And that’s all there is to it. Voila! A shortcode inserted wherever you like.


Featured Plugin - WordPress Google Maps Plugin

Simply insert google maps into posts, sidebars and pages - show directions, streetview, provide image overlays and do it all from a simple button and comprehensive widget.
Find out more


Photo: Short pencil from BigStock


Comments (2)

  1. Hey i just wanted to say thanks (didn’t appreciate that i had to sign up to do that, ‘login with facebook’ usually doesn’t mean that) consider adding some social commenting options.