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How to Improve WordPress Widget Management with Sane Widget Sidebars

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How to Improve WordPress Widget Management with Sane Widget Sidebars

Widgets make it so easy for everyone to drag and drop elements into different sidebars and widget ready areas of their websites. While working on our best WordPress responsive themes article, we noticed that most WordPress themes come with a lot of widget ready areas and sidebars. For example, there could be a top sidebar, right sidebar, left sidebar, footer widget areas, and so on. Now if you look at the widgets area in your WordPress admin screen, it would have a long list of widget areas where users can drag and drop widgets. That not only makes it super annoying but also it makes it very hard for beginners. In this article, we will show you how to improve WordPress widget management with Sane Widget Sidebars.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Sane Widget Sidebars plugin. After activating the plugin, go to Appearance » Widgets and you would notice a drop down menu above the Widget area. Now instead of showing all of your widget areas in one long column, you can choose which widget area or sidebar you want to edit from the drop down menu.

Sane Widgets Sidebars simplifies the Widgets and Sidebar management in WordPress

This is particularly useful for themes with many widget ready areas and sidebars. It allows users to easily drag and drop widgets into specific sidebars. The plugin does not change any thing on the front-end of your website. It just allows you to sort sidebars and widget ready areas on the Widgets administration screen for your theme.

This is also a great solution for developers who’re building a custom theme for a client and want it to be easy to use.

In WordPress 3.6, we saw the new and improved user interface for Menus administration screen. The author of Sane Widget Sidebars plugin (WebDevStudios team) has decided to contribute to the WordPress 3.8 release. The hope is that WordPress Widgets UI screen will see a refresh, so it is easy to use. See their article for some early round screenshots.

What do you think about the current widgets UI screen? What would you like to change? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. Greg says:

    This sounds great, do you have any articles on customizing the widget sidebars in a customized theme (i.e. getting into the PHP and such)?

  2. joanne lawes says:

    Hi thank you for this article
    joanne lawes

  3. Nick Jubrey says:

    This is a great function to have, I know that widget screen can be very overwhelming to my clients and a pain for developing. That’s for the tip.

  4. Charles Chalfant says:

    I always appreciate your articles; full of great content and tips.

    I got thinking the other day about plugins.
    You suggest quite a few in your tutorials and I wanted to know YOUR thoughts in regard to how many is TOO many?


    • WPBeginner Support says:

      It actually depends on the quality of plugins. Properly coded plugins that follow WordPress guidelines and coding best practices play along nicely without causing excessive load. However, it also depends on your web server. If you are on a shared hosting plan then one bad plugin is enough to slow down your entire website.

  5. Linda says:

    Hi, thanks for another very useful article. I would like to know if this will work if the theme I am using only has a widget area in the footer (mine is becoming overcrowded), or is there another plugin to use to increase widget areas?
    thank you

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      yes it will work even if you have one widget area. There are plugins that may allow you to add more widget areas but such plugins usually don’t work well with most themes and may break your theme’s layout.

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