I'm trying to display a variable that is stored inside my functions.php file - for the sake of the question this variable is stored as $test = 'test';. When i use echo $test inside page.php, header.php or any other file the value is returned however when i try to do the same inside a widget (i'm using a plugin that allows execution of PHP inside a widget) nothing happens.

Any ideas as to how i could get around this?

1 Answer 1


The widget operates in a different scope than the functions.php.

You could use two different approaches to get around that.

  1. Make the variable global (put it into the top scope):

    // functions.php
    $GLOBALS['var_name'] = 'hello';
    // widget
    echo $GLOBALS['var_name'];

    But that is risky: any other script can change the variable now accidentally, and it is very hard to debug this.

  2. Create a special class or function for the variable. You could even use one class or function to store many values. Example:

    class Theme_Data
        private $data = array();
        public function __construct( $filter = 'get_theme_data_object' )
            add_filter( $filter, array ( $this, 'get_instance' ) );
        public function set( $name, $value )
            $this->data[ $name ] = $value;
        public function get( $name )
            if ( isset ( $this->data[ $name ] ) )
                return $this->data[ $name ];
            return NULL;
        public function get_instance()
            return $this;

    In your functions.php, you can create an object now and add a value:

    $theme_data = new Theme_Data();
    $theme_data->set( 'default_posts_in_news_widget', 10 );

    In your widget, you can get that object and the stored value:

    // widget
    $theme_data = apply_filters( 'get_theme_data_object', NULL );
    if ( is_a( $theme_data, 'Theme_Data' ) )
        $num = $theme_data->get( 'default_posts_in_news_widget' );
        $num = 5;

    You can even create multiple independent Theme_Data objects for different purposes, just create them with different $filter strings:

    $widget_data     = new Theme_Data( get_template() . '_widgets' );
    $customizer_data = new Theme_Data( get_template() . '_customizer' );

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