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How to Remove Inactive Widgets in WordPress (Step by Step)

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Do you want to remove inactive widgets from your WordPress site?

Your inactive widgets section can become cluttered over time. By removing inactive widgets, you can make this area easier to manage.

In this article, we will show you how you can easily remove your inactive widgets in WordPress.

How to remove the inactive widgets in WordPress (step by step)

Why Remove Inactive WordPress Widgets?

Instead of deleting a widget and losing all the settings, you can simply move it to the inactive widgets section and remove it from your live site but still save the settings.

Also, sometimes, when you are changing WordPress themes, your active widgets can be moved to the inactive widget section if there is no matching widget area in your new theme. 

That’s why, over time, as you build your WordPress website and try different WordPress plugins and themes, all of those widgets can start to build up in the inactive widgets area.

Instead of letting your inactive widgets area get too cluttered, you can easily remove inactive widgets to make this section more manageable. 

With that said, let’s show you how to remove inactive widgets in WordPress, step by step.

Note: If you are looking to disable widgets completely, then please see our step-by-step guide on how to disable widgets in WordPress.

Removing Inactive Widgets in WordPress Easily

WordPress has built-in settings that let you remove any inactive widgets on your site.

Simply navigate to Appearance » Widgets in the admin sidebar and then click the ‘List View’ icon. Then, in the list that appears in the left-hand menu, click on ‘Inactive widgets’.

Click on inactive widgets list

This brings up a list of your inactive widgets that you aren’t currently using.

After that, click on the three dots button next to the inactive sidebar widget you want to delete, and click on ‘Remove Shortcode’ at the bottom.

Remove single inactive widget

Then, repeat the same steps for any inactive widget you want to remove permanently, and make sure to hit the ‘Save Changes’ button at the bottom. You may also wish to view your website on the front end to confirm that everything looks as it should.

Although this method takes a little bit of time, it can be helpful to make sure you don’t accidentally delete an important widget.

Note that you can also remove these dashboard widgets with drag and drop. Simply drag the unwanted widget from the widget list onto the empty part of the dashboard, and it will deactivate it.

Removing Multiple Inactive WordPress Widgets at Once

If you have a lot of inactive WordPress widgets you want to remove, then you can remove multiple widgets at the same time.

To do this, click on the ‘Inactive widgets’ dropdown to make sure the widget section is expanded.

Expand inactive widgets section

Then, hold the ‘Shift’ key as you select multiple widgets.

Next, click the three dots button and select ‘Remove blocks’ from the dropdown.

Remove multiple inactive widgets

This will automatically delete multiple inactive widgets and their settings.

Removing Inactive Widgets in WordPress Classic Widget Editor

If you are using the WordPress classic widget editor, then removing inactive widgets will be similar to the method above.

Simply navigate to Appearance » Widgets in the WordPress dashboard and then go to the ‘Inactive Widgets’ section at the bottom of the page.

Next, you need to click the ‘Clear Inactive Widgets’ button to remove your inactive widgets permanently.

Click clear inactive widgets button in classic editor

To learn more, see our step-by-step guide on how to add and use widgets in WordPress.

We hope this WordPress tutorial helped you learn how to remove inactive widgets in WordPress. You may also want to see our beginner’s guide on how to choose the best WordPress hosting provider and our ultimate WordPress SEO guide.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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2 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Luke says

    Also, you can click and drag the inactive widgets out of the inactive widget area, and drop them in an empty area of the dashboard, they will just disappear. Handy little trick. Still have to do each one, but it’s a little faster.

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