10 Awesome Free WordPress Accordion Plugins
Looking for a nice accordion plugin? Below we’ve listed the top 10 free WordPress accordion plugins on the market today, giving a short overview of each and then rating each on ease of use and appearance.
Accordions are great for a number of different specific design challenges on a WordPress site.
Maybe you’d like to compress a lot of content into a small area. Or maybe you want to give the reader the option of seeing or not seeing certain content, such as movie spoilers or answers to quiz questions.
While there are standalone accordion plugins for WordPress, these days you’ll mostly find accordion functions tied into plugins that do a number of other things as well, such as creating columns or buttons or tabbed areas. And so that’s what you’ll mostly find below too — accordion functions bundled into plugins that do other things as well.
The Olevmedia Shortcodes plugins offers a number of different shortcodes from accordions and buttons and columns to info boxes, lists, and tables.
It also comes with a handy button on the visual editor that allows you to choose which type of shortcode you want.
This plugin gives you shortcodes for both accordions and tabbed content. It also lets you choose both horizontal and vertical options, which is something the other plugins don’t.
You can find instructions for use on the author’s site.
This plugin comes with a number of different themes, and this is why we’ve given is such high marks for appearance. You can access the themes by going to Appearance > Tabs and Accordions. Just choose one from the pulldown menu.
The one drawback for this plugin is that it doesn’t add a convenient button to your visual editor as many do. Of course some may not care about that, and in fact some may prefer it that way.
This is a simple but clean accordion. There aren’t a lot of options, but it does add the convenience of placing a button on your visual editor that will automatically insert the shortcodes for you when needed.
This plugin offers accordions plus boxes, tabs, toggles, etc. The design out of the box is clean and simple.
Although the plugin allows you to enter classes for CSS (which is a plus), you really need to know what you’re doing as there isn’t much instruction and there isn’t an easily built-in option for changing the style. You can find more info on using the Arconix accordion shortcodes here.
Shortcodes Ultimate is packed with more than 40 different shortcodes for tabs, boxes, buttons, etc. One of those, of course, is accordions.
It also comes with a very attractive pop up box that is activated from you visual editor. This lets you choose the shortcode you wish to place in your post.
This plugin provides a number of shortcodes, accordions being one of them.
This plugin conveniently places a button on your visual editor. Clicking it brings up options for choosing different shortcodes. (Choose “Sections” to get accordions.)
In addition to offering accordions, the Light Shortcode plugin offers buttons, boxes, highlights, pricing tables, and more.
A convenient button shows up on the visual editor once activated. From there, you can choose which type of shortcode to generate.
You can find demos and documentation here.
The WP UI plugin offers tabs, accordions, dialogue boxes, and spoilers. Here’s a look at some accordions in action.
This plugin adds a button to your visual editor, letting you easily insert your shortcodes into your post. In addition, it also offers a number of different styles to apply.
It should be noted that you won’t find “accordions” in the selection of shortcodes when you click the button on your visual editor. As the documentation says, “Accordions and tabs share the same shortcode structure.” So you will need to add the argument – type=”accordion” to wptabs to initialize the accordion.
You can see demos and more info here.
The Simnor Shortcodes plugin, like many of the plugins above, lets you add a number of different types of shortcodes in addition to accordions, such as buttons, columns, tabs, etc.
This plugin places a button on your visual editor. The popup that appears when the button is clicked if very well organized. And one of the nice aspects of the choices for the accordion function is that you choose whether the accordion panel in question will be closed or open, an option not available in most plugins. The dialogue box also makes it very easy to enter initial content.
If you’re looking for lots of convenience, this plugin offers it.
And finally, there’s a plugin from well-known plugin and theme developer Justin Tadlock. This plugin is a little different in that it creates a new content type called a “whistle.” It also creates a new taxonomy called a “whistle group.” You then create individual “whistles” and organize them into “whistle groups.”
What this allows you to do is to create your content for your accordion (or a tab or a toggle) in a separate custom post. And, of course, it’s easy to put anything you like in it, as you would a post: videos, images, wrapped text, etc. You then embed that (via the shorcode system) into your post.
If all that sounds a little too complicated for you, it may be. But for those who want more flexibility and understand using custom post types, it may be worth checking out. It’s a little more difficult to use on the front end, but if you have relatively complex content inside your accordion, in the long run it may prove to be easier.
Ease of Use
For the most part, ease of use was determined by whether there was an easily accessible button placed on the visual editor or not, and then if so, what happened when that button was clicked. For example, are you provided with a nice interface that lets you enter a title and then content for each initial pane, or did it simply place some starter shortcodes into your editor for you?
Of course some people may not want extra buttons placed on their visual editor. And so if that’s you, you’ll have to take this section with a grain of salt.
It should also be noted that the last plugin on the list, Whistles, is much more complicated to set up. And so while it doesn’t get a high “ease of use” score overall, if you’d like more complex content in your accordion panes, it IS actually easier to do that with the Whistles plugin. So “ease of use” is not always cut and dried.
Appearance is subjective, of course. But we thought we’d go ahead and give you our rankings. In addition to the appearance of the default look of the accordions, plugins that offered additional styles to apply got a bump in their score. Also, some accordions seemed to open and close especially smoothly, and so that factor went into appearance as well.
Below you’ll find the overall score for the plugins. As there were only two main criteria (appearance and ease of use), however, it’s probably best to look through the info on each plugin.
The number of other shortcodes available in the plugins may end up playing a role in your decision, but as this post is about accordions only, having additional shortcodes or not didn’t play into the ratings here.
So, Who Wins?
As mentioned, you really should take a look at the details of each plugin in order to see what suits your needs and your style.
As well, if you have more complex content (videos, images, etc.) to put in your accordion panes, you may want to check out the Whistles plugin.
Photo credit: brett jordan