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I am new to WordPress and I've seen this term passed around.

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

"Shortcode" is a user friendly way of inserting various WordPress plugins/scripts into a page without having to know a lot of fancy HTML/JavaScript/PHP in order to make it happen.

Take, for example, embedding an mp3 file into a post on a hosted WordPress site. Instead of having to setup the proper code for a flash player or fiddle with some fancy JavaScript, you can use the following shortcode in the editor. You don't even switch to HTML mode...

[audio: http://www.pathtomyaudio.com/song.mp3]

...and WordPress does the rest for you.

You'll find a lot of plugins for WordPress (such as Contact Form 7 and others) use this convention.

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For another example, the simple shortcode [gallery] inserts a nicely formatted grid of all of the images attached to a post. It has several optional parameters but it can be used just as I typed it. – Andy Mar 30 '11 at 18:36

Not long ago i posted a nice explanation: Shotcodes because its shorter! It covers in short:

  • What shortcodes are.
  • How to use shortcodes.
  • How to define your own.
  • How to use them in widgets.

Worth a look.

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These are WordPress.com specific shortcodes, but they give you an idea of the power of using them.

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