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I need this on 3 pages, all 3 from different categories, and then to show several post excerpts from all 3 categories in sidebar of home page.

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The Easiest way to do that would be to use List category posts plugin which allows you to list posts from a category into a post/page using the [catlist] shortcode.

you can also use this shortcode in a simple text widget and add just add :

add_filter('widget_text', 'do_shortcode');

to your theme's functions.php file, which will tell WordPress to render shortcodes in widgets.

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