How to Use Widgets

This tutorial will walk you through how to add widgets to your site. Important Note: to work with widgets you must have Administrator privileges on your site.

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”How to Use Widgets”]

For tech support from the Futures Initiative web developers, please contact:

6 Easy Steps

Basic Information

  • Widgets are a great way to add content and features to your WordPress site sidebars (header, footer, etc.)
  • WordPress comes with default widgets including Recent Posts, Search, Meta, and much more.
  • The WordPress Theme you have activated on your site will usually have some widgets laid out in a specific way.
  • This tutorial will show you how to add a Recent Posts widget to your site’s sidebar.
  • The Recent Posts widget is a great way to highlight current blog posts as it constantly updates to display the most recent posts, making it especially easy for users to find new blog posts.

Step 1: First, check to see what widgets are displayed on your site. If we look at the sidebar (outlined in red), we can see that some widgets are already displayed (Search, Recent Comments, Archives, Categories, Meta). Since Recent Posts is missing, we will now add it.

Step 2: Go to your dashboard, hover over Appearance and then click on Widgets.

Step 3: On the Widgets page you should see all the Available Widgets (outlined in red) and the possible locations to put them (Sidebar, Footer 1, Footer 2)

Step 4: Scroll down until you find Recent Posts. Click on it and then choose Sidebar and click Add Widget.

Step 5: After clicking Add Widgets, you will automatically be sent to the Sidebar section where you can fill out some information about the widget, including its title, how many posts to show, and whether or not to display post dates. After filling out the information click Save. In this section you can also rearrange the order of the widgets. Let’s move Recent Posts to the top of the Sidebar by dragging it up.

Step 6: Last, let’s make sure we see the widget appear on your site. Go to Visit Site and check the sidebar. We see below that we successfully added Recent Posts to the top of our sidebar.  

All done! 

Additional resources:


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309