Shortcodes do not work

The most common reasons of inoperativeness of shortcodes are listed in this articles. Follow all recommendations to solve the problem.

Missing wp_head and wp_footer template tags #

Ensure your active theme contains wp_head and wp_footer template tags. With the help of these tags (php-functions) WordPress knows where to connect style and script files. If the theme does not contain one of these tags, then Shortcodes Ultimate plugin (as well as many other plugins) will work incorrectly.


Open header.php file of your active theme and find call of wp_head() function there to ensure your theme contains wp_head tag. If you don't find it, then add the function call manually, before </head> closing tag. The code should look like:

<?php wp_head(); ?>


Open footer.php file of your active theme and find call of wp_footer() function there to ensure your theme contains wp_footer tag.If you don't find it there, then add the function call manually, before </body> closing tag. The code should look like:

<?php wp_footer(); ?>

Broken theme or plugin #

Numerous themes and plugins were created for WordPress. Unfortunately, not all of them were written according to standards and code of WordPress. Incorrectly written themes and plugins often prevent correct operation of other plugins and themes.

Searching for faulty plugin

Open the page with broken shortcode. Navigate to Dashboard - Plugins page in a separate browser window (or in a new tab). Disable all active plugins except of Shortcodes Ultimate. Then enable plugins one by one. Refresh the page after every activated plugin. In such a way, you can easily find faulty plugin.

Check the compatibility of the active theme

Try to change your active theme for one of standard WordPress themes, e.g. Twenty Fifteen or Twenty Sixteen. If "Insert shortcode" starts to operate correctly, then your theme is most likely incompatible with Shortcodes Ultimate plugin.

JavaScript errors #

Errors of JavaScript are one of the most common problems. These errors often lead to incorrect operation of plugins or theme.If shortcodes like spoiler, tabs, expand, carousel or slider (this is not the full list) do not work, then most likely there are JavaScript errors.

To find out if there are any JavaScript errors on your site, open JavaScript console and search for any errors there. Use the following hot keys on the page with inactive shortcode to openJavaScript console:

  • Google Chrome: Ctrl+Shift+J (on PC), Cmd+Option+J (on Mac);
  • Firefox: Ctrl+Shift+K (on PC), Cmd+Option+K (on Mac);
  • Internet Explorer: F12 (then click console tab).
  • Instructions for other browsers.

Errors may be highlighted in red. If you see any errors in console you should eliminate them for correct operation of plugin. Please read this article of the codex carefully.

Wrong prefix of shortcodes #

Please note that all shortcodes of Shortcodes Ultimate plugin have a special prefix in name. By default this prefix is su_. If, for some reason, you've added shortcodes to the editor without this prefix, they may not work. Ensure that all shortcodes are written with the necessary prefix, for example:

[su_spoiler] Content [/su_spoiler]

You can see the right prefix on plugin settings page at: Dashboard - Shortcodes - Settings - Settings tab. On this page, you will see "Shortcodes prefix" text field. The meaning of this field should match with the prefix used in editor.

Custom formatting #

This tip may help you if you face any problems with operation of row and column shortcodes. Go to plugin settings page: Dashboard - Shortcodes - Settings - Settings tab. Find "Custom formatting" setting. Try to enable or disable "Custom formatting". Press "Save changes" button after enabling/disabling.

More information on this setting can be found in "Plugin settings" article.