I know that pre_get_posts can be used to target a query on the main site, custom post types and pages. But is there a way to target a query in a sidebar? Right now, I'm using 'is_page_template()` but it's only using the main query.

Code on my functions.php template:

function opby_query( $query ) {
if ( $query->is_home() && $query->is_main_query() ) {
    $query->set('tax_query', array(
    array('taxonomy' => 'category',
    'field' => 'slug',
    'terms' => array( 'podcast-control-daily' ),
    'operator'=> 'NOT IN'
    array('taxonomy' => 'post_format',
    'field' => 'slug',
    'terms' => array( 'post-format-status' ),
    'operator'=> 'NOT IN')
    $query->set( 'posts_per_page', 15 );
if ($query->is_page_template('sidebar.php')) {
    $query->set( 'tax_query', array(
    array('taxonomy' => 'category',
    'field' => 'slug',
    'terms' => array( 'podcast-control-daily' ),
    'operator'=> 'IN'
    $query->set( 'posts_per_page', 5 );
return $query;
add_action( 'pre_get_posts', 'opby_query' );

The sidebar is using the default loop:

<?php if ( have_posts() ) : while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>

<?php the_title();?><br>

<?php endwhile; else : ?>
<?php endif; ?>
  • The default loop is the main query. If you want a second query that does something different why not just create a new query. You seem to be repeating the main query everywhere then filtering with pre_get_posts rather than just creating new queries. – Jacob Peattie Feb 27 '18 at 8:53
  • I'm trying to keep everything under one query and that's the purpose of pre_get_posts is that you can target the main_query and a query on pages.php and another query on a custom_post_type all without having to set a new query. – Gregory Schultz Feb 27 '18 at 9:29

I think you can achieve this by adding a query var. And then you can use something in pre_get_posts like this:

if ( get_query_var( 'your_var' ) ) {
    // do something
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