How to Check If Shortcode Already Exists in WordPress (PHP Snippet)

Want to check if a shortcode already exists in WordPress? Ever since WordPress 3.6.0 in 2013 you can easily check to see if a shortcode has been registered in WordPress with the shortcode_exists function.

This can be useful if you’re adding functionality to your theme’s functions.php file or creating a specific plugin for your site. Since you don’t want to overwrite existing shortcodes it’s best to check if it already exists before running.

if ( shortcode_exists( 'gallery' ) ) {
echo 'The shortcode already exists';
if ( !shortcode_exists( 'gallery' ) ) {
echo 'The shortcode does not exist';

Additionally this may be useful to check if a shortcode exists before executing a do_shortcode function in your code.

This is also ideal if you’re removing a plugin and you want to catch instances of an existing shortcode on your site without resulting in an error.

For example say you had a plugin using a [modula] shortcode but have removed it to use Envira’s shortcode [envira-gallery]. If you’re a developer you can use this snippet to have [envira-gallery] used everytime [modula] is referenced and correctly change the variables as well.

I hope this quick tip was useful! If you have any WordPress development questions let me know in the comments below.

Andy Feliciotti

Andy Feliciotti

Andy has been a full time WordPress developer for over 10 years. Through his years of experience has built 100s of sites and learned plenty of tricks along the way.

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