This plugin hasn’t been tested with the latest 3 major releases of WordPress. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

Widget Instance


Widgets are normally displayed as part of a sidebar using the dynamic_sidebar()
function. There is the_widget function for static widgets, but there is no
equivalent for specific widgets configured in the Appearance > Widgets area.

The Widget Instance plugin allows WordPress users of all abilities to display
these widgets outside of the sidebars they have been assigned to.


  1. A wysiwyg editor button for selecting available widgets,
  2. A shortcode [widget_instance id=”[widget_id]”],
  3. A theme action do_action(‘widget_instance’, [widget_id]) and finally
  4. Utility functions for developers get_widget_instance and widget_instance


  • [widget_instance id=”[widget_id]”]
  • do_action(‘widget_instance’, ‘[widget_id]’);
  • the_widget_instance(‘[widget_id]’);
  • get_the_widget_instance(‘[widget_id]’);


  • The Widget Instance editor button
  • The editor dialog for inserting a specific widget instance


This section describes how to install the plugin and get it working.

  1. Upload widget-instance to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory
  2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
  3. Within the editor, you can use the Widget Instance editor button to select
    from available widgets or enter a shortcode following the syntax: [widget_instance id=”[widget_id]”]
  4. Optional step: If you would like to retain the sidebar format of the widget, check the Include Sidebar format checkbox
  5. Within template files you can use the following php snippets:
  • Action: do_action(‘widget_instance’, ‘[widget_id]’);
  • Function: the_widget_instance(‘[widget_id]’);
  • Function: get_the_widget_instance(‘[widget_id]’);


How do I get the widget id?

Of course the editor button automagically retrieves all the available widgets
(and their ids) for you, but if you are using one of the PHP functions, you can
get the available widget ids by looping over the array returned by the function


March 13, 2017
use with other plugin “Category Posts Widget” and template Customizr very easy
September 3, 2016
This plugin has saved me a lot of work and has given me all the answers I was looking for a long time ago. Thank you very much Ben.
Read all 9 reviews

Contributors & Developers

“Widget Instance” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.


Translate “Widget Instance” into your language.

Interested in development?

Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.



  • Tested in WordPress 4.9.7


  • Included Immánuel Fodor’s fix for empty dropdown


  • Tested in WordPress 4.2.2, new banner, icons and tinymce button created.


  • Added javascript loader, fix for wordpress installs where wp-includes url is not in the root.


  • Can now select a widget by it’s title as well as its id. The title is in parenthesis after the id.


  • Tested on 3.5.1
  • Fixed php warnign typo


  • Tested on 3.4.1
  • Added option for including sidebar formatting
  • The widget’s title will now include the sidebar title markup (More useful than having a plain text title)


  • Initial release