How to Transfer Widgets Between Themes

You switched themes and now your widgets are gone. Don’t panic, your widgets aren’t lost. There’s an easy way to recover them, and add them to your new theme.

The first step is to understand how widgets are saved.

Widgets are Saved with Themes

If you switch themes, you’ll notice your widgets are gone. However, if you switch back to your old theme, your widgets will reappear. They’ll have the same content and settings as before.

You don’t actually lose your widgets when you switch themes. You simply change to a new set of widgets when you switch themes. Each theme has its own set of widgets saved in its widget areas.

Now that you know how widgets are connected to themes, it’s to time to figure out how to transfer them between themes.

How to Transfer Widgets Between Themes

You may not have noticed it, but there’s an Inactive Widgets section at the bottom of the Widgets menu.

inactive widgets section in Widgets menu

If you’ve never switched themes, it will be empty. However, once you switch themes, it will display all the widgets you had active in other themes.

widgets in the inactive widgets section

To transfer your widgets between themes, all you need to do is switch themes, and then drag the “inactive” widgets out of the Inactive Widgets section, and into a widget area.

Once you’ve dragged a widget from the Inactive Widget section into one of your new theme’s widget areas, it will save automatically.

Following this method, in just a few minutes, you can transfer all your old widgets to your new theme without losing any settings or data.

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  1. Evan Evan

    What if not all of your widgets are showing up in the inactive area???

    • Ben Sibley Ben Sibley

      Hi Evan,

      While the widgets should all be available, some widgets may be added by the theme itself. Are the widgets that don’t appear in the inactive section still accessible from the active widgets section?

  2. drew drew

    That is the worst possible post I could have read. Yes, but how to prevent that and I have 20 innactive widgets and it doesn’t say which specific widget it goes to or the name of that widget.

    • Ben Sibley Ben Sibley

      I’m sorry but there is no way to prevent that from happening because different themes have different widget areas.

      Most WordPress users think they need to recreate all of their widgets but it’s not that bad. This post shows you that you can simply drag-and-drop them from the Inactive Widgets section into the new widget areas.

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