Working with WordPress Widgets

Update: This is the November 19, 2009 edited version of WordPress Widget Wizardry originally published September 17, 2006 by the same author.

Contents

What is a Widget?
In the everyday world the terms like gadget or gizmo are used to indicate helpful small devices, things or tools. In the computer world widget is used generically for a plugin that can be placed in your blog’s sidebar to conveniently customize, and quickly increase blog functionality, without requiring you to acquire any knowledge of html and how to edit a web page. See: What is a widget?

Where to find WordPress widgets
Regardless of the theme you choose to use to locate the available widgets you click on -> Dashboard -> Appearance -> Widgets.

Adding  Widgets
At the top of the page you will locate the Available Widgets. Once you have located a widget that you would like to use you simply click  and drag and drop it into  the  Sidebar box on the right hand side. Place it in a position of your own choosing and, click Close and Save to activate the widget.

Widget Configuration Required
Some widgets do require configuration.  Clicking the arrow icon on the top right hand corner will reveal that particular widget’s options. After you provide the required information to configure these options you click  Save and Close on the bottom left hand corner  hand corner of the widget to activate it.

No Widget Configuration Required
Many widgets DO NOT require configuration to become activated and new widgets are being added frequently.

Note 1: The whole Blogroll Links created will be displayed in alphabetical order in accord with the Categories you assigned to the links when you added them to your Blogroll in the admin area and have placed the Links widget in your sidebar box. It will not display until you have entered at least one link.

Note 2: The forgoing can likewise be said about the Categories widget. Your categories will not display until you have placed the widget in your sidebar box and have assigned at least one category to one post.

You simply click and drag and drop these widgets from the  Available widgets and position them where you choose in the  Sidebar box, click  Close and Save and the widgets will be activated.

Text Widgets – can contain text, html code and small images of the your choice. See: Text Widgets

Text widgets can be used for an infinite variety of purposes, limited only by your imagination and the restriction of not using javascript, iframes, flash or media embeds.

Happy blogging.

15 thoughts on “Working with WordPress Widgets

  1. Is there a way to make widgets appear only on the blogroll page, but not on other pages within your blog site? I sometimes feel limited to what I can do because the widgets take up space that I could be using for something else.
    Thanks!

    1. You don’t say what kind of blog you have ie. free hosted WordPress.com blog or self hosted WordPress.org blog, nor do you provide a link to the blog in question, and that means I don’t know which theme you are using. If you are referring to a free hosted WordPress.com blog please post here > http://forums.wordpress.com If you are referring to a self hosted WordPress.cog install please post here > http://wordpress.org/support/

  2. ah, slowly realizing that “easily customized” actually means dealing with code. i’ve been installing plug-ins but my opt-in form does not show up, tho it shows up on the Appearance>Widgits page. i do have both .com and .org blogs, but .com is just personal notes and logs; .org i want to control how it looks, and i thought .org would be more flexible, but maybe not unless i want to deal with lots of code. thanks for your help.

    1. Easily customizable does mean coding and you cannot work with CSS effectively unless you are competent in HTML. Volunteers answering forum questions do not recommend wordpress.ORG installs to those who lack at least a moderate understanding of both HTML and CSS.

      I do not wish to provide support for wordpress.ORG software users. You must seek support for your wordpress.ORG install here > http://wordpress.ORG/support/

  3. I do want widgits, I just want to be able to customize by renaming things, moving, getting rid of things I don’t want like the calendar and adding more. Nothing I do on the Appearance>Widgits page seems to have an effect, that is what is driving me crazy today.

    1. Nothing you do here > Appearance > Widgets can result in a coding change.

      If you are referring to a wordpress.ORG install then you are aware that the only way you can change the coding for widgets is hacking the CSS, right? And you are likewise aware that in a wordpress.ORG install you can add plugins, right?

      I’m getting the feeling that you may not be referring to a wordpress.ORG install but to a wordpress.COM blog instead. Is that the case? If so then read the entries at this link > http://en.support.wordpress.com/topic/widgets-sidebars and if you still need help then post to this forum http://en.forums.wordpress.com

      If not and you truly are referring to a wordpress.ORG install then post to this forum http://wordpress.ORG/support/

    1. The widgets you get with your wordpress.ORG install do not include the special ones made only for wordpress.COM. Any widgets you don’t want to use you can just leave in the Available Widgets box on this page > Appearance > Widgets. I don’t understand why you are wasting time trying to “get rid of them”. This makes no sense to me. Leave them be and get on with your blogging.

  4. i’m trying to set up wordpress.org, and can’t modify widgits. many themes come with widgits already, and for instance i don’t want calender (prime press theme), but i can’t figure out how to get rid of it. all of the preinstalled widgits are not showing up under the right column where you’re supposed to be able to delete them in the widgit screen. i hope this makes sense. i have used blogger in the past and i seem to be getting nowhere with wordpress.

  5. It would help if you would tell us where the hell the text widgets are at because WordPress is not smart enough to put them in plain site like the rest of the tools!!

    1. If you are referring to a wordpress.com blog then on the bottom left corner of our Admin section we have links to the support documentation and to the forum. In the post above I included the link to the wordpress.com support documentation on widgets. The entries are all illustrated and clearly state where to find the widgets.

      “You can access the widgets from the Appearance menu in your Dashboard.”

      If you have some feedback that you would like to share with wordpress.org then please post to the forum and share it there > http://wordpress/org/support/

  6. Can you remove the empty boxes where you can add widgets to?
    I don’t want the widgets and now I am stuck with boxes on my blag that say:

    Homepage Middle Widget
    This is an example of a text widget that you can place to describe a particular product or service. Use it as a way to get your visitors interested, so they can click through and read more about it.

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