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.

Shortcodes In Use


  • Can’t recall where, or if, you’ve used a certain shortcode?
  • Want to remove a plugin and unsure if it provides shortcodes or whether you’re using them?
  • Don’t know what shortcodes come with WordPress?
  • Found one unrecognised shortcode but unsure where there might be others?
  • Need to swap out a theme and don’t know if it has shortcodes that you’ve used?
  • Want to use a shortcode for a specific bit of information but can’t remember exactly what it’s called?
  • Need to a change a parameter for all occurences of a shortcode?

This is a simple administration tool that lists occurences of shortcodes within post content and/or custom fields, and/or widget settings.
You can select, or search for, specific shortcodes, and it can filter down to a provider, location, or post type.
It is intended to help administrators/editors locate where shortcodes have been used, so that they can be updated, renamed, deleted, or whatever.

Features include :

  • Search string(s) to match against shortcode tags – space or comma delimited for multple search strings
  • Filter by the type of provider of shortcode – whether it is provided by a plugin, your theme, internal to WordPress (eg. [gallery]), or unknown (an inactive/deleted plugin, maybe?)
  • Filter by a specific provider – a named plugin, for example
  • Filter by any number of specific, recognised shortcodes
  • Filter by where to look for the shortcode – post content, post meta data (custom fields), or widgets
  • Filter by the type of post that contains the shortcode
  • Results include (where relevant and available) : either the widget name and its sidebar, or a linked post title and the type of post; the shortcode and its parameters; the shortcode provider (WordPress, plugin, theme, or unknown), and where it was found
  • Has its own shortcode, for use when a plugin or theme only declares a shortcode when not in the admin backend

What it does not do :

  • It does not provide any insight as to what any shortcode does, or how to use/configure it.
  • It does not look at custom tables, theme options, transients.

If you like this plugin (or if you don’t?), please consider taking a moment or two to give it a
Review : it helps others, and gives me valuable feedback.


The shortcode for this plugin is…


…and output is restricted to users with edit_posts capability.

The attributes available are in line with the options available in the Tool, and each one is a filter.
Setting an attribute for all possible values is the same as omitting that attribute.

Separate filters are ANDed, ie. specifying provider="wordpress" post_type="page" limits the results
to shortcode tags that are in a page AND provided by WordPress core.

Multiple values within a filter are ORed, ie. specifying post_type="post page" provider="wordpress"
limits the results to WordPress’s own shortcode tags that are in either a post OR a page.

When you run the Tool in admin, the equivalent shortcode for the selected options is provided at the end
of the results. Also, the sanitized shortcode is repeated at the top of the shortcode’s output.

  • search (string) : A space or comma is interpreted as a delimiter, so…

    [shortcodes_in_use search="foo bar"/]

    …looks for any shortcode tag that contains either “foo” or “bar”.

  • provider (string) : Any one or more of unknown, wordpress, plugin, or theme,
    delimited by either a comma or a space. For example…

    [shortcodes_in_use provider="plugin unknown"/]

    …reports any shortcode tag whose provider cannot be determined, or whose provider has be
    determined as being a plugin.

  • location (string) : Any one or more of title, content, excerpt, meta or widget,
    delimited by either a comma or a space. For example…

    [shortcodes_in_use location="content excerpt"/]

    …reports any shortcode tag found in any main content or excerpt area.

  • post_type (string) : Any one or more of WordPress’s standard post types – post, page,
    attachment, etc – and/or any custom post types. Multiple post types are comma- or space-delimited.
    For example…

    [shortcodes_in_use post_type="post,page"/]

    …reports any shortcode tag found in a post of type ‘post’ or ‘page’.

  • tag (string) : Any one or more shortcode tags, delimited by either a comma or a space. For

    [shortcodes_in_use tag="shortcodes_in_use, custom_menu_wizard"/]

    …reports any occurence of either of those two shortcode tags.

  • name (string) : This allows you to specify a specific plugin and/or theme by name. Multiple
    names are comma- or space-delimited, and each name must begin with either “plugin/” or “theme/”.
    For example…

    [shortcodes_in_use name="plugin/Shortcodes In Use, theme/Twenty Fifteen"/]

    …reports any occurence of a shortcode tag belonging to either the Shortcodes In Use plugin or
    the Twenty Fifteen theme. Instead of the name of the plugin/theme, you can supply their
    containing folder, so this would be an alternative for the example above…

    [shortcodes_in_use name="plugin/shortcodes-in-use, theme/twentyfifteen"/]


  • Tools / Shortcodes In Use page
  • Sample results
  • Provider/Tag filter options


  1. EITHER Upload the zip package via ‘Plugins > Add New > Upload’ in your WP Admin, OR Extract the zip package and upload shortcodes-in-use folder to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory
  2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in your WP Admin. The widget will now be available under Admin’s Tools menu.


If you have a question or problem that is not covered here, please use the integrated Support forum.

Does it list all available shortcodes?

Yes, all shortcodes known to WordPress (Admin) are listed, grouped by provider, and possibly sub-grouped by plugin or theme name. You
can select to filter by any number of them, or by either the provider or the specific plugin/theme. Note that you do not get any
information about their use or function.

Can it find shortcodes that are not known to WordPress?

Yes, assuming it is in the standard format. By default, anything that looks like a shortcode is reported, the only exception being
shortcodes that are “escaped” (by doubling up on the containing square brackets). You can filter the
results to just Unknown shortcodes, or you can search for a specific shortcode regardless or whether WordPress knows about it or not.

Does it show nested shortcodes?

Yes, the shortcodes are processed recursively, and nesting is indicated by a level of indentation in the results table.
However, please be aware that indentation only indicates that the shortcode in question is nested somewhere within the shortcode at
the lesser level of indentation; it does not necessarily provide any indication of howy deeply it’s nested, because the search/filter
parameters may exclude any of the containing shortcodes from being reported. For this same reason, a lack of indentation does not
necessarily mean that the shortcode is not nested within another shortcode. In other words, any indentation is only relative to the
reported shortcodes.

How does the Provider/Tag filter work, and why the highlighting?

It’s hierarchical, with (up to) 3 levels : general provider, named provider, and tags. Select nothing amd they’re all included.
Select a named provider and all its tags get included. Select a general provider and all its named providers (ie. all their tags)
get included. As soon as you select anything, whatever remains unchecked and outside the immediate scope of the checked item
(ie. not hierarchically below) gets excluded. As an example, if you check “WordPress” without checking “Plugin” then you won’t get any
results for shortcodes provided by plugins.

You can select multiple tags, multiple providers (general or named). What you can’t do is select, for example, a named provider
and one of its tags. Selecting a named provider gets all its tags. If you only want one or two of its tags then select them
individually and don’t try selecting the provider. Same applies when selecting a general provider.

Checked items are highlighted. Also, because the tree is collapsible (and starts out collapsed), unchecked ancestors of checked items
are also highlighted in order to provide visual feedback that something (possibly hidden from sight) has been selected.

What gets cached, and for how long?

Based on the Location filters, the plugin caches the ids of database records that contain likely-looking shortcodes. It does not cache
the results of any inspection of those records’ content. If you change the Location filters (excluding Widget, which does not require
database access) such that any cached ids do not accurately reflect the new filters, then the cache is discarded and refreshed with
a new set of ids. The cache is only kept for 15 minutes, and can be manually discarded at any time.
Enquiries run via the shortcode do not use or set the cache.

Why would I need to use the shortcode instead of the admin Tool?

You may well not. But…

Some plugins – for example, the WP Photo Album Plus plugin – don’t add their shortcode if you are in
the admin backend (and I hasten to add that there is nothing wrong with that approach). What this means
though, is that this plugin can’t then determine the provider of that shortcode when it finds it in, say,
a page’s content, because WordPress hasn’t been told about it. The Tool can only report it as Unknown

So, if you get too many unknowns turning up you may want to run a quick check to make see if they can
can be resolved when running the shortcode on a front end page : stick
a [shortcodes_in_use provider=unknown/] shortcode onto a page and view it while logged in as Admin?


2 di Setembar dal 2020
I use this plugin fairly often. Considering that it hasn’t been updated since 2015, I hope that doesn’t get removed from the WP repository. Many plugins do age-out or better-fit solutions come along. When that happens, there are often alternate solutions but I haven’t found one to replace ShortcodesInUse. Thank you for your work!
13 di Avrîl dal 2018
I just want to say that this a very usefull plugin and I hope it will continue to exist. Great work! Thank you!
28 di Mai dal 2017
Eminently useful plugin. It is helping me streamline and optimize my site by removing plugins that are not being used, and saving me tons of time trying to figure out which shortcode came from which plugin. It has also exposed some weird content between square brackets, that was apparently copy/pasted by an author. So it’s helping with code clean-up too! Will keep this on hand always!!
4 di Fevrâr dal 2017
Finds shortcodes in your site and lists the containing plugin!
Read all 9 reviews

Contributors & Developers

“Shortcodes In Use” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.


Translate “Shortcodes In Use” into your language.

Interested in development?

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



  • tweak : changed the plugin’s h2 header to h1
  • addition : a collapse/expand all button
  • tweak : remove on-page javascript


  • internationalization


  • bugfix : handle the shortcode’s callable function being specified as “someClass::someMethod”
  • addition : shortcode, for when a plugin or theme doesn’t declare their shortcode when in admin backend
  • tweak : reformatted results to not use table, added a count, and made parts collapsible
  • tweak : small optimisation changes


  • bugfix : ensure that checked by-location and posts-by-type filters also get hilighted when displaying results


  • Initial release