WordPress Widgets add content and features to your Sidebars. Examples are the default widgets that come with WordPress; for post categories, tag clouds, navigation, search, etc. Plugins will often add their own widgets.
Widgets were originally designed to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress Theme to the user, which is now available on properly “widgetized” WordPress Themes to include the header, footer, and elsewhere in the WordPress design and structure. Widgets require no code experience or expertise. They can be added, removed, and rearranged on the WordPress Administration Appearance > Widgets panel. The order and placement is set by the WordPress Theme in the functions.php file.
Some WordPress Widgets offer customization and options such as forms to fill out, includes or excludes of data and information, optional images, and other customization features.
Before you can add a Widget you must verify that the Theme you’re using supports Widgets (more specifically: Widget Areas). You can do so by simply navigating to the Appearance menu and looking for a sub menu titled “Widgets”. If it does, you can add widgets by following these steps:
- Go to Appearance > Widgets.
- Choose a Widget and either drag it to the sidebar where you wish it to appear, or click the widget, (select a destination sidebar if your theme has more than one) and click the Add Widget button. There might be more than one sidebar option, so begin with the first one. Once in place, WordPress automatically updates the Theme.
- Preview the site. You should find that the “default” sidebar elements are now gone and only the new addition is visible.
- Return to the Widgets Panel to continue adding Widgets.
- To arrange the Widgets within the sidebar or Widget area, click and drag it into place.
- To customize the Widget features, click the down arrow in the upper right corner to expand the Widget’s interface.
- To save the Widget’s customization, click Save.
- To remove the Widget, click Remove or Delete.
If you change WordPress Themes, the Widgets will return to the left side of the page in the Widget Archives or Available Widgets list. You may need to add them again and rearrangement depending upon the Theme’s ability to preserve other Theme’s Widgets.
While widget areas typically occur in webpage sidebars, a theme can place widget areas anywhere on a page. For example, besides the usual sidebar locations, the twentyfourteen theme has a widget area in the footer of every page.
If you would like to place a Widget somewhere on your Theme that does not have a pre-defined Widget Area, you will need some programming knowledge and should follow the instructions on the Widgets API section found here.
Using Text Widgets
The Text Widget is one of the most commonly used WordPress Widgets that comes with every WordPress installation. It allows users to add text, video, images, custom lists, and more to their WordPress sites.
To use the WordPress Text Widget:
- Go to Themes > Widgets in the WordPress Administration Panels.
- Open the sidebar, footer, or Theme section to which you wish to add the Text Widget.
- Find the Text Widget in the list of Widgets.
- Click and drag the Widget to the spot you wish it to appear.
To open and edit the Text Widget:
- Click the down arrow to the right of the Text Widget title.
- Set the Text Widget Title (optional).
- Add the text or HTML code to the box or edit what is currently there.
- Choose the option to Automatically add paragraphs to wrap each block of text in an HTML paragraph tag (recommended for text).
- Click Save to save the Text Widget.
- Click Close to close the Text Widget.
- Switch tabs in your browser and preview the results and make changes if necessary.
The Text Widget can hold a variety of HTML, XHTML, and multimedia links and players such as video and object embeds.
Adding Code to the Text Widget
From the WordPress Codex.