Here is what I have

I am not having any lucking finding how to simply include a file in the content editor using a shortcode.

For Example if I wanted to include form.php inside my Contact Page how would I make this happen using a shortcode?

Below is was attempting to work with to no avail.

Any help would be appreciated!

// Shortcode implementation
function magic_stuff($atts) {

// turn on output buffering to capture script output


// include file (contents will get saved in output buffer)


// save and return the content that has been output

$content = ob_get_clean();
return $content;
//register the Shortcode handler
add_shortcode('magic', 'magic_stuff');
  • Is there any particular reason that you're using output buffering? – Chip Bennett Apr 20 '12 at 15:43
  • Chip- No reason it was in the snippet I found so I assumed it was required. – Eric Downs Apr 20 '12 at 17:14

I modified some code from an old blog post to do this, and allow for query-strings to be attached to the file as well.

Original credit goes to amberpanther.com, and it turns out they made a plug-in out of this, too.

//create the shortcode [include] that accepts a filepath and query string
//this function was modified from a post on www.amberpanther.com you can find it at the link below:
//BEGIN amberpanther.com code
function include_file($atts) {
     //if filepath was specified
                    'filepath' => 'NULL'
               ), $atts

     //BEGIN modified portion of code to accept query strings
     //check for query string of variables after file path
     if(strpos($filepath,"?")) {
          $query_string_pos = strpos($filepath,"?");
          //create global variable for query string so we can access it in our included files if we need it
          //also parse it out from the clean file name which we will store in a new variable for including
          global $query_string;
          $query_string = substr($filepath,$query_string_pos + 1);
          $clean_file_path = substr($filepath,0,$query_string_pos);     
          //if there isn't a query string
     } else {
          $clean_file_path = $filepath;
     //END modified portion of code

     //check if the filepath was specified and if the file exists
     if ($filepath != 'NULL' && file_exists(get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . "/" . $clean_file_path)){
          //turn on output buffering to capture script output
          //include the specified file
          //assign the file output to $content variable and clean buffer
          $content = ob_get_clean();
          //return the $content
          //return is important for the output to appear at the correct position
          //in the content
          return $content;
//register the Shortcode handler
add_shortcode('include', 'include_file');
//END amberpanther.com code
//shortcode with sample query string:
//[include filepath="/get-posts.php?format=grid&taxonomy=testing&term=stuff&posttype=work"]

I set mine to pull from the stylesheet uri (so it will work with child themes and such), but you could adjust that code easily to pull from anywhere (including plug-in directories), or remove it altogether and just use the full path when including the file. You could even add a conditional with a trigger character at the beginning that tells it to use a specific path based on what the first character of the file name is, like using a "#" for the template directory, etc.

I use it to pull in a file called get-posts.php that lives in my template directory and formats the output of various posts based on a series of parameters provided in the query string. It saves me from needing special templates because I can include the file, send it a format and it will output the posts with the markup I've specified in the get-posts.php file.

It also allows clients to pull custom post types into actual blog-posts in specific formats and is quite handy.

Let me know if you need clarification on anything.

  • 3
    You shouldn't use TEMPLATEPATH or STYLESHEETPATH. Use get_template/stylesheet_dir() instead or the *_url() equivalent for pathes/URis – kaiser Apr 21 '12 at 10:04
  • ericissocial Thanks so much! I'm going to plug it all in and give it a try, I'll let you know how it goes. – Eric Downs Apr 21 '12 at 20:27
  • No problem, you should follow kaiser's recommendation and use the GET_template functionality instead of the TEMPLATEPATH that I had in the code, as well. Kaiser, thanks for the heads up, I'll edit the code in my answer when I'm not viewing this on my phone. – Eric Allen Apr 21 '12 at 20:33
  • I updated the TEMPLATEPATH to get_stylesheet_directory_uri() – Eric Allen Apr 22 '12 at 3:29

Here's another way to do it, utilizing get_template_part of wordpress

function include_file($atts) {
     $a = shortcode_atts( array(
        'slug' => 'NULL',
       ), $atts );

      if($slug != 'NULL'){
        return ob_get_clean();
 add_shortcode('include', 'include_file');


[include slug="form"]

[include slug="sub-folder/filename_without_extension"]

  • 1
    Never ever use extract(), it is a really bad function to use. It was totally removed from Wordpress core. – Pieter Goosen Jan 21 '16 at 6:01

There is an error in the solution provided by @adedoy, since $slug is never defined. This worked for me:

function include_file($atts) {

$atts = shortcode_atts(
    'path' => 'NULL',
    ), $atts, 'include' );

    return ob_get_clean();


add_shortcode('include', 'include_file');

Usage: [include path="path/from/root"]


I found that the include code originally written by the AmberPanther folks didn't work so well for me, so I found another wordpress plugin that does pretty much the same thing. It's called Include Me, by Stefano Lissa. The usage is pretty much that you write your path to the file, starting from the root directory of your site.

So for example, within your WordPress page you'd write:

[includeme file="wp-content/themes/your-theme/code/example-code.php"]

and within your functions.php file you'd include:


if (is_admin()) {
include dirname(__FILE__) . '/admin.php';

} else {

function includeme_call($attrs, $content = null) {

    if (isset($attrs['file'])) {
        $file = strip_tags($attrs['file']);
        if ($file[0] != '/')
            $file = ABSPATH . $file;

        $buffer = ob_get_clean();
        $options = get_option('includeme', array());
        if (isset($options['shortcode'])) {
            $buffer = do_shortcode($buffer);
    } else {
        $tmp = '';
        foreach ($attrs as $key => $value) {
            if ($key == 'src') {
                $value = strip_tags($value);
            $value = str_replace('&amp;', '&', $value);
            if ($key == 'src') {
                $value = strip_tags($value);
            $tmp .= ' ' . $key . '="' . $value . '"';
        $buffer = '<iframe' . $tmp . '></iframe>';
    return $buffer;

// Here because the funciton MUST be define before the "add_shortcode" since 
// "add_shortcode" check the function name with "is_callable".
add_shortcode('includeme', 'includeme_call');

of course, I'd also recommend just installing the plugin so you can take advantage of updates. https://wordpress.org/plugins/include-me/


Ok, first I'd ditch the output buffering.

Second change:



include( get_stylesheet_directory() . '/inc_static/test.php');


Reading the documentation here: https://codex.wordpress.org/Shortcode_API

You need to return something, if your test.php doesn't output something in a returnable fashion, you're going to have a bad time.

So make sure that test.php does something along the lines of:

$output = "STUFF"; // a variable you could return after include.
// or
function test() {
    // do stuff
    return $stuff; // a function that returns a value that you can call after include.

Then after you include your test.php file -- you just return $output or do something like return test();.

  • Just curious about your reasoning - why not use output buffering for shortcodes? – mattLummus Jan 8 '19 at 19:58
  • 1
    Hey @mattLummus -- it's a perspective thing at the end of the day. I think that you don't NEED it to accomplish the goal and you don't gain much by doing it -- additionally, I'll echo what was said here: stackoverflow.com/questions/5454345/… -- "Output buffering is considered ugly if it is used to circumvent ye' olde Cannot send headers, output already started at... warning. Output buffering is then used to make up for poor design..." – Sterling Hamilton Jan 21 '19 at 21:47
  • Yeah that does seem like a hacky solution in that particular case. Generally when we use Output Buffers its not for working around another issue but simply because we are in a case where we are writing more markup than PHP and prefer the OB syntax (being able to escape PHP and write plain HTML vs a bunch of echo statements and HTML written in strings). Thanks for the response in any case! – mattLummus Jan 23 '19 at 21:39

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