May 25, 2024
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The average user that wish to purchase a WordPress theme in order to create a blog or a website, has no coding skills and is rather ignorant, when it comes to professional technical terminology. One of the terms you come up against pretty often, when browsing WordPress themes descriptions and features lists, is shortcodes, but for many users the actual meaning is an enigma.

What is a shortcode?

This remarkably useful term is, in fact, self explanatory; it describes a shortcut that helps unskilled users to include useful macros in their site’s code. Macro is a set of computing instructions that facilitates a complicated input to a computer program and serves a certain function or creates a specific element. In other words, shortcodes are the simplest and easiest way to add various objects to a WordPress page. The shortcode is a predefined macro in its short version that enables users with no programming skills to customize and improve their webpage’s content and layout.

When WordPress finds a shortcode it replaces it with the appropriate code, produced by a PHP function. The shortcodes are written in square brackets, reminding the HTML syntax; for example:

[ gallery ]

This is a simple shortcode, which calls for WordPress to embed a gallery in a specific location on the page. However, shortcodes are flexible and allow you to include accurate parameters such as size or other attributes and even add text that will be displayed as a part of the shortcode output; for example:

[ gallery id = “nature” size = “small” ]


[ gallery id = “nature” size = “small” ] My Nature Art [/gallery]

How to Add Shortcodes

Creating a shortcode may be rather simple for web designers and developers, yet the average user will either have to make do with the existing shortcodes, provided by the theme, or use one the following options:

  1. Some WordPress themes include shortcodes generator that guides the user in the creation process of new shortcodes within a few minutes via a very simple procedure.
  2. Installing a shortcode plugin – there are many free and premium shortcodes plugins that provide the user with a large collection of ready-to-use shortcodes (view the list of shortcodes plugins below).
  3. WordPress offers a shortcode generator; a simple tool that helps you to create custom code, which you have to copy to your theme. Anybody can use the shortcode generator with no need of prior knowledge.
  4. as well as other personal blogs and websites provide users with detailed instructions for creating and adding diverse shortcodes. Some are pre-designed shortcodes, which are easy and fast to embed while other are a little more complicated; yet, if you follow the instructions carefully, you will be able to embed new personally customized shortcodes that you will be able to reuse for future needs.

Shortcodes Plugins:

Following is a brief review of free and premium shortcodes plugins that offer a wide range of shortcodes; however some of the available plugins add a shortcode for a specific function or element such as forms, Google Maps, shortcodes management and so forth.

WordPress shortcodes

A free WordPress plugin that provides a great collection of useful elements such as SEO-ready tabs, sections, buttons, links, lists, layouts and more. The plugin comes with a shortcode editor for quick and easy management and many customization options.

Free WP shortcode plugin


Demo & download

Shortcodes Ultimate

A free plugin that can turn a free WordPress theme into a premium one thanks to more than 30 high quality shortcodes. The plugin includes a shortcode generator, special widgets, sliders, tooltips, tabs, boxes and more.

Free shortcode plugin for WordPress


Demo & download

J Shortcodes

J Shortcodes free plugin enables users to add custom tabs and buttons, content boxes, and define many different attributes such as colors, shapes and any number of columns.

Free shortcode plugin for WP


Demo & download

Content Builder

A premium shortcode plugin that allows you to create and define different content parts, galleries, images, video, various layouts and even apply Google Map on your blog or website. The plugin price is $16.

Premium WordPress shortcode plugin


Demo & download

FX Elements

A premium plugin that allows you to customize your content by adding animated elements such as boxes, alert messages, social icons, dividers, scroll-to-top button, colored links and more. The plugin also adds 4 new widgets zones to your admin panel and provides you with transitions and special effects. The plugin price is $15.

Premium WP shortcodes plugin


Demo & download

Shortcode Domination

A premium WordPress plugin, which adds a wide collection of highly customizable pre-designed graphics. The plugin is SEO friendly and includes an easy-to-use visual editor more than 100 shortcodes, Google Fonts, pricing tables, jQuery effects, animated button and more. The plugin price is $18.

Premium WordPress shortcode plugin


Demo & download


This premium plugin adds your shortcodes directly to your WordPress editor and is fully responsive. It includes over 100 shortcodes beautifully designed, 28 color variations, pricing boxes, 87 icons retina ready and many customization options.

Premium WordPress plugin to add shortcodes


Demo & download


Yael is a WordPress savvy; she loves to explore themes, plugins and even develops some of her own. She lives, breathes and eats code for breakfast. Yael tends to test every piece of WP code that she can put her hands on and then, write about it :-)


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