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Manage Blog Plugins & Widgets

Widgets and plugins are optional features that can be added to your blog. Plugins add functionality to a blog, while widgets provide design elements or supplemental content (e.g., add navigation for linking to archived blog posts and pages, add a list of links to other Web sites).

Plugins and some widgets are developed by third-party developers and are not part of the core WordPress software.  If a developer does not maintain a plugin it may become a security vulnerability and will be removed from Blogs at UMass Amherst.

Note: Once activated, some plugins (such as the CalPress Calendar plugin) initialize widgets which can then be added to a sidebar in your blog. Other plugins (such as the Google Analytics plugin, which monitors traffic on your blog) are not visible to visitors, and run as part of your administrative tools.

Activate & Deactivate Plugins

  1. Log in to your blog, and on the Dashboard toolbar, click Plugins (at left). The Plugins screen will open, listing all available plugins.
    • Active plugins are highlighted
    • Inactive plugins have a link to Activate below the plugin name.
  2. To activate a plugin, click Activate (below the plugin name). The screen will refresh with a "Plugin activated" message (at top). The link below the plugin name (at left) change to read Deactivate.
  3. To remove a plugin from your blog, click Deactivate (below the plugin name). The screen will reload with a Plugin deactivated message at the top of the screen. The deactivated plugin will no longer be highlighted and the link below its name will read Activate.

Configure Plugin Settings

Some plugins (e.g., Google Analytics) must be configured in order to work.

  1. Log in to your blog, and on the Dashboard toolbar, click Plugins (at left). The Plugins screen will display a list of available plugins.
  2. If available, click Settings  for a plugin (below the plugin name at left). The Settings screen will open.
    Note: Settings links are not available for all plugins and will only appear when a plugin is active.
  3. Settings vary for each plugin. Configure the settings and click Update Options. An "Options Saved" message will appear at the top of the screen. (You may need to click Plugins in the Dashboard toolbar to return to the Plugins screen.)

Add & Remove Widgets

In order to appear on the Widgets screen, some widgets require activation on the Plugins screen (see the Plugins section above).

Note that some widgets rely on plugins which must be activated, and some widgets are only available when using a particular theme.

Important! Widget arrangement is NOT shared between themes; if you change themes, you need to reconfigure your blog's widgets. If you previously configured a widget while using a different theme, it will be saved with Inactive Widgets (more below).

  1. Log in to your blog, and on the Dashboard toolbar, click Appearance (at left), then Widgets. The Widgets screen will open:
    • Available Widgets  are listed at left, with a Widget box for each widget you can add to a Widget Area or Sidebar.
    • Inactive Widgets are listed below the Available Widgets. These are widgets you have already configured but removed from use. You can return them to a Widget Area or Sidebar without losing the settings.
    • Widget areas and Sidebar panels are shown at right; one for each area provided by your current theme.
      Note: To collapse or expand a panel or widget box, click the arrow (at top right).
  2. To add a widget to your blog:
    Method 1: Drag and drop a widget box onto a Widget Area or Sidebar. A copy of the widget box will appear in the sidebar panel. (Some widgets allow you to place instances in more than one area. For example, you may want to show a widget both in the standard Sidebar area, and also in a special Front Page Widget area.)
    Method 2: Click the widget name (at left). A list of locations will appear below the widget name. Click the Widget Area or Sidebar in which to place the widget.
  3. To configure a widget, click the arrow (top right) in a placed widget. The widget box will expand to show available settings. Configure the settings as needed, then click Save (if available) at the bottom of the widget box for each widget you add.
    Note:  Not all widget boxes have a Save option. No confirmation message will be displayed after saving.

    Remove Widgets from Sidebars

    There are two ways to remove a widget from a sidebar:

    • To remove a widget from a widget area or sidebar, and preserve its settings for future use, on the Widgets screen, drag the widget box to the Inactive Widgets (at bottom, left).
    • To remove a widget from a sidebar without preserving its settings, expand the widget box and click Delete.

    Re-arrange Widgets within a Widget Area or Sidebar

    To re-arrange widget placement, on the Dashboard toolbar, go to Appearance > Widgets, then drag and drop widget boxes within the Sidebar or Widget Area panel.

    Themes with More Than One Widget Area

    Many themes have more than one widget area, in which case more than one panel appears on the right side of the Widgets screen. Keep the following in mind:

    • Widget Area locations on the Widgets Screen do not always correspond to their location on you site pages.
      The location of a Widget Area on the Dashboard Widgets screen, will not necessarily correspond to its location on blog pages. Depending on the theme used, widget areas may be displayed to the left or right side of the main page content, below the main content across the bottom of the page, or even in the Title area (banner) at the top of the page.

    • Widget Area names depend on themes.
      Depending on your blog's current theme, widget areas that show in the same location on a blog page may be named differently (e.g., Main Sidebar, Right Sidebar, and Right Widget Area might all display in the same area).

    • Some Widget Areas appear only on pages that use a particular Page Template.
      For example, some themes provide Front Page widget area that only show on a blog page that uses a Front Page page template. For more on Page templates, see Blog Pages: Create, Edit, & Manage the Pages on Your Blog.

    • You can move Widgets from Widget Area to Another.
      To move a widget from one widget area to another, on the Widgets screen, drag and drop the widget box into another panel.