Free WordPress Shortcode Plugins for Improving the Design of Your Posts
There’s been a veritable explosion of really good design-related shortcode plugins of late.
These plugins make it easy to spice up your Posts or Pages and give them very professional-looking elements such as columns, tabbed boxes, pricing tables, special headers, and much more.
Because of the improvement in these plugins of late, other plugins that haven’t evolved with the times have been left in the dust. Or even if they’ve added such things as the Bootstrap icon library (as some below have), they haven’t improved in other areas.
And so rather than include a number of plugins that didn’t really stack up so well, we’re just going to include those that did stack up well.
The Easy Bootstrap Shortcodes plugin is very very good for basic shortcode elements like columns, toggles, buttons, colored boxes, progress bars, giving images different effects, etc.
One of the nicest aspects of this plugin is that there are tons of icons that you can put all over the place – on buttons, on boxes, in headers, etc. And not only that, you can easily change the size and the color of the icons to get the exact look you want.
This plugin puts the shortcode buttons conveniently on the visual editor as a third row.
When one of those buttons is clicked, you get a popup with numerous options (depending on the button, of course).
When appropriate, there’s often a large selection of attractive icons to choose from. And you can even change the color of the icons.
Here’s a partial look at the popup when inserting a button.
There are all sorts of shortcodes you can insert. And of course you can combine them.
Here’s a quick example with a few different shortcodes combined: a box (blue background), an icon by the title (colored and sized as I wanted), then a button with another icon (also colored as I wanted).
Here’s a list of the different shortcodes:
- Progress Bars with labels
- Icon Heading
- Responsive Image
- Image Effects
- Button Dropdown
- Button Group
- Button Group Toolbar
- Description List
- Service Box
- Responsive slider
Here’s a video produced by the plugin author.
The Shortcode Ulimate plugin has a deeply impressive range of shortcodes for you to use, as well as an impressive number of icons to add to different elements. On top of that, the ability to control the shortcodes or the icons (i.e. change size, color, position, etc.) is also impressive.
In short, this was the most impressive shortcode plugin I saw.
You begin by clicking the button placed on the visual editor.
You then get a list of possible shortcodes in popup.
As you might notice, not only are there a lot (51 to be exact), you can also filter them by type at the top or even search for what you want.
In addition to the amount of shortcodes and the control you get, it also lets you preview your shortcodes before inserting them.
Another nice thing this plugin does is give some examples of the shortcodes along with their code for those with less experience.
Here’s a video of the shortcodes in action provided by the plugin author.
And here is a list of the shortcodes available.
- Dummy Image
- Sub pages
- YouTube Advanced
- RSS Feed
- Dummy text
While this plugin is really very basic compared to other two above for many elements, it really shines with a few elements that the other plugins didn’t have.
For example, this plugin lets you make some very nicely styled boxes. Notice the icon professionally placed in the middle. No other plugin I saw lets you do something like that.
It has an animated counter that will start at zero and then run through the numbers until it’s gotten to the one you inserted.
This plugin also lets you do quite a lot of styling with buttons. You can also easily add recent posts to your content, and nice pricing tables.
One drawback with this plugin is that when it offers icons to use, it gives you a list of names instead of graphic representations of the icons. Some of them are easy enough to figure out by their names. Others aren’t.
But even if you can figure out the icon by its name, it doesn’t mean you’re going to like the look of it. But you won’t know that till you insert and then save the draft and preview the post.
Because some of the other plugins are so strong, you might not go with this one as your main shortcode plugin; however, there’s nothing stopping you from using this one in addition to another.
Here’s a list of the main shortcodes it offers.
- Recent Posts
- Pricing tables
This plugin has a number of basic shortcodes that you might expect to find, such as columns and boxes.
That said, it’s a little frustrating to work with. It often inserts shortcodes into your post without allow you to make any choices first, such as choosing a color or a size.
The shortcodes themselves sometimes come with spaces for these types of things, but there’s no explanation for any of it.
It would be very easy to leave this plugin off the list (as we’ve left other off the list); however, it did come with a few elements that make it different. And so for those elements, you may want to consider it.
One of those elements is a “section background,” which will put a colored background of your choice all the way across your page. It should be noted that if you have a sidebar present, it will also cover that (which is something you don’t want, of course), and so you would only want to use it on full-width pages.
Here’s a look at that element with a blue background.
It also has a shortcode for a team members section. Essentially it lets you put in an image, a name, a title, some text, and then links to social sites.
It also includes nice pricing tables.
To my mind, the Shortcode Ultimate plugin was the hands down winner here. Although some of the other plugins were very good, this plugin really goes both deep and wide with what it offers.
However, if I were looking for shortcodes, in addition to the Shortcode Ultimate plugin, I would probably also choose to install the Olevmedia plugin to act as a complementary plugin.
The only thing you need to watch out for when installing two plugins is to make sure they both aren’t using the same shortcode names.