Blogging is a visual medium, so your words aren’t the only thing that matters. Style, formatting, typography, and multimedia are all important for grabbing and holding onto your readers’ attention.
But implementing these things into your blog can be tricky — especially if you’re using a simple free theme.
WordPress’s built-in shortcode feature makes it much easier.
A shortcode is, as the name suggests, a shortcut for code. Instead of copying and pasting a bunch of unwieldy code into the middle of your posts and pages, you can use a short, legible shortcode.
WordPress has just a few built-in shortcodes, like
But the Shortcodes Ultimate plugin expands that list so that you can easily use all kinds of fancy formatting, styles, and content in your posts and pages.
(See this tutorial to find out how to use shortcodes in your sidebars.)
What Shortcodes Are Included?
Using the Shortcodes Ultimate plugin, you can easily add the following to your posts and pages:
- spoilers (hidden/expandable content)
- vertical or horizontal tabbed content
- column layouts
- video and audio
- buttons in different colors, styles, and sizes
- QR codes
- galleries, carousels, and sliders
- quotes, pullquotes, and dropcaps
- …and more
How to Get Started
After installing and activating the plugin, you’ll see a new Shortcodes menu option in your WordPress dashboard.
If you navigate to Shortcodes » Examples, you’ll see several code examples you can copy and paste, and modify if you choose, in your posts and pages.
Each example has a Get the Code button you can click to see how the example is generated using shortcodes.
But those are just a few examples of the possible shortcodes. For a full list, along with possible attributes, you can go to Shortcodes » Cheatsheet.
There are a few premium add-on plugins available that will add even more shortcodes to the plugin.
- Extra Shortcodes: adds 15+ more shortcodes, including pricing tables, icons, and testimonials
- Additional Skins: 60+ style skins for shortcodes such as spoilers, tabs, quotes and headings
- Shortcode Creator: allows you to create your own custom shortcodes
Instead of buying each individually, you can save money by purchasing the Add-ons Bundle that includes all three.
Documentation and Support
The plugin includes a complete list of shortcodes and a few examples right within your WordPress dashboard. There’s also a small knowledgebase available on the developer’s site that has more in-depth tutorials and troubleshooting help.
For support, you can post in the WordPress.org support forums. Unfortunately most threads go unanswered, though a few get help from the community.
Shortcodes Ultimate is an easy way to add some advanced functions to any WordPress theme. It’s easy to use and can help make your site more eye-catching and professional-looking.
Some shortcode features, such as the gallery or slider options, are very bare-bones and not very easy to customize. We recommend using more specialized plugins for those advanced features, such as Envira Gallery and Soliloquy. They’re much easier to use, have lots more options, and will give you a more professional result.