Manage the WordPress Sidebar

WordPress themes use sidebars in a number of different ways.  The most straight forward themes have a sidebar in which you place your “widgets” to display different content vertically down the side of a page.  More complicated themes, like the StudioPress themes, use sidebars to create a “magazine-style” layout on the front page of your site by placing sidebars horizontally in the center of the page.  Regardless of what theme you are using, sidebars are easy to manage and with a little experimentation, you can create a functional addition to your site.

Adding Widgets to Sidebars

  • After logging into your site, click on Appearance >>Widgets


  • Under “Available Widgets” you will see all the widgets you can use on your site.  This list will very depending on your theme and activated plugins.

What you see under "Available Widgets" depends on your theme and plugins.

  • To add a widget to a sidebar, click and drag the widget you want to add from the “Available Widgets” area to the correct sidebar area.  Once you drop the widget into the sidebar box, it will be added to your site.  Sometime you will have to expand the sidebar area before you can drag widgets to it.  Click on the down arrow on the right side of the sidebar area to expand it.

Drag your widgets to the sidebar area to activate them. If needed, expand the sidebar areas by clicking on the down arrow.

  • When you have multiple widgets in your sidebar, you can drag them up and down to change their order.
  • Some widgets have settings.  After you drag the widget into the sidebar, click on the down arrow on the right side of the widget to see if your widget has customizable settings.  After changing the widget’s settings, click “Save.”

Click on the down arrow to see if your widget has customizable settings

  • There are several ways to delete a widget from the sidebar.  If you drag the widget from the sidebar back the “Available Widget” area, you will delete the widget.  You can also click “delete” when you are viewing the widget’s settings.  If you want to delete the widget, but save any customized settings in case you want to reactivate the plugin later, drag the widget to the “Inactive Widgets” area at the bottom of the page.

Drag widgets to the "Inactive Widgets to remove them from your site, but save your custom settings. This is helpful if you think you might want to reactivate the plugin at a later date.

About Evan Cordulack

Evan Cordulack is a Web Applications Specialist for Academic Technology. He helps faculty members with Web-based projects related to their research and teaching. He earned his PhD in American Studies at William & Mary in 2013. Find him at