Twenty Twelve – Footer Widgets Tutorial

Adding footer widgets to Twenty Twelve theme, Part Two of a five part series on Modifying Twenty Twelve theme. If you’ve read the first part of this tutorial, we added a second sidebar, created a custom body class and designed a few three column layouts to choose from.

If you’re just now starting this tutorial, feel free to download the free Twenty Twelve blank child theme to begin creating your own theme. Each section of this tutorial is independent and can be done individually, so you can use what you want of it and in any order.

We’ll be editing three files


The first thing to do is to copy footer.php from the Twenty Twelve directory into your child theme folder.

Adding Footer Widget Areas

In the last tutorial we added a new sidebar (widget area), we’ll be adding three more widget areas but this time they will display within the footer area of our theme. If you’ve done the last tutorial the following code can be placed just before this line

add_action( 'widgets_init', 'mytheme_widgets_init' );

If you’re just starting now, simply add it to your functions.php after the opening php tag.

	// Register footer widgets
	register_sidebar( array(
		'name' => __( 'Footer Widget One', 'mytheme' ),
		'id' => 'sidebar-5',
		'description' => __( 'Found at the bottom of every page (except 404s and optional homepage template) Left Footer Widget.', 'mytheme' ),
		'before_widget' => '<aside id="%1$s" class="widget %2$s">',
		'after_widget' => '</aside>',
		'before_title' => '<h3 class="widget-title">',
		'after_title' => '</h3>',
	) );

	register_sidebar( array(
		'name' => __( 'Footer Widget Two', 'mytheme' ),
		'id' => 'sidebar-6',
		'description' => __( 'Found at the bottom of every page (except 404s and optional homepage template) Center Footer Widget.', 'mytheme' ),
		'before_widget' => '<aside id="%1$s" class="widget %2$s">',
		'after_widget' => "</aside>",
		'before_title' => '<h3 class="widget-title">',
		'after_title' => '</h3>',
	) );

	register_sidebar( array(
		'name' => __( 'Footer Widget Three', 'mytheme' ),
		'id' => 'sidebar-7',
		'description' => __( 'Found at the bottom of every page (except 404s and optional homepage template) Right Footer Widget.', 'mytheme' ),
		'before_widget' => '<aside id="%1$s" class="widget %2$s">',
		'after_widget' => "</aside>",
		'before_title' => '<h3 class="widget-title">',
		'after_title' => '</h3>',
	) );

This will register three widget areas. Just like the sidebar we added last time, each widget area has it’s own ID. Twenty Twelve has three widget areas with IDs sidebar-1, sidebar-2 and sidebar-3, since the extra sidebar we added used the ID sidebar-4, we’ll continue from there with 5,6 and 7.

The order these widget areas show up in Appearance > Widgets can be changed, but it involves de-registering the default widgets then adding them back in our own order. This also causes issues with a particular full-width body class in twenty Twelve. It can be done, I’ve done it in Twenty Plus Pro, but it’s really more work than it’s worth, so I’m not including it.

Save functions.php and close it. If you check Appearance > Widgets you should notice three new widget areas. Go ahead and place widgets in them, I usually put calendar widgets as they are the widest widgets available and work nicely for testing.

Don’t worry if you don’t see them on the front page, we still need to add them to our template files.

Add Widgets to Footer.php

Open footer.php that you copied to your child theme folder and find the line that reads..

<footer id="colophon" role="contentinfo">

Directly under this line add the following code

	/* footer sidebar */
	if ( ! is_404() ) : ?>
		<div id="footer-widgets" class="widget-area three">
			<?php if ( is_active_sidebar( 'sidebar-5' ) ) : ?>
				<?php dynamic_sidebar( 'sidebar-5' ); ?>
			<?php endif; ?>

			<?php if ( is_active_sidebar( 'sidebar-6' ) ) : ?>
				<?php dynamic_sidebar( 'sidebar-6' ); ?>
			<?php endif; ?>

			<?php if ( is_active_sidebar( 'sidebar-7' ) ) : ?>
				<?php dynamic_sidebar( 'sidebar-7' ); ?>
			<?php endif; ?>
		</div><!-- #footer-widgets -->
<?php endif; ?>

Save and close footer.php.

This calls each of the widget areas we registered in functions.php. Notice each one uses the same ID as we used when we registered them. Now your widgets should show up on your website, but we still need to style them.

Style Footer Widgets

Open style.css in your child theme and add the following code to it.

/* ===[ Footer Widget Areas ]=== */

.site-info { clear: both; }
#footer-widgets {
    width: 100%;
    border-top: none;
#footer-widgets .widget li { list-style-type: none; }

.template-front-page #footer-widgets { padding-top: 0; }

@media screen and (min-width: 600px) { 
#footer-widgets.three .widget + .widget + .widget {
    margin-right: 1.71429rem;

#footer-widgets.three .widget {
    clear: none;
    float: left;
    margin-right: 1.71429rem;
    max-width: 30.85%;
    width: 30.85%;

The first bit of code simply tells the entire footer widget area to display 100% wide, each widget area within that is 30.85% wide with a 3.7% right margin. This gives us our basic layout, a lot like Twenty Eleven used.

We also placed the CSS within an @media conditional, so the widgets will display like this only if viewed on a desktop.

Next we need to add CSS for IE8 and IE7, below what we’ve just added copy and paste this.

/* for IE8 and IE7 */
.ie #footer-widgets.three .widget {
    float: left;
    margin-right: 3.1%;
    width: 29.85%;
    clear: none;
.ie #footer-widgets.three .widget + .widget + .widget { margin-right: 3.1%; }

It’s basically the same as above, but we’ve made the widget areas slightly more narrow 29.85% so they look good in IE.

Since Twenty Twelve includes a homepage template with 2 footer widgets already, we won’t display these ones on that particular template, so using a CSS conditional, we’ll hide them for that page.

/* Hide footer widgets Homepage Template */
.template-front-page #footer-widgets { display: none; }

Your new footer widgets should now look just about perfect, here’s a screenshot of how they should look.

Twenty Twelve - Footer Widgets

There’s one last thing I’ll add to this tutorial, it’s a small fix for the default Homepage Template widgets in IE8.

If you view the Twenty Twelve Official Demo in IE8 you should notice the footer widgets stack on top of each other. They don’t in IE7 or IE9 and 10, only in IE8, so here’s a fix for that. It’s entirely up to you if you want to add it or not.

/* ===[ IE Homepage Template Widget fix ]=== */
.ie .template-front-page .first.front-widgets,
.ie .template-front-page.two-sidebars .widget-area .front-widgets {
    float: left;
    margin-bottom: 24px;
    width: 51.875% ;
.ie .template-front-page .second.front-widgets { clear: right; }
.ie .template-front-page .first.front-widgets,
.ie .template-front-page.two-sidebars .widget-area .front-widgets + .front-widgets {
    float: right;
    margin: 0 0 24px;
    width: 39.0625% ;
.ie .template-front-page.two-sidebars .widget,
.ie .template-front-page.two-sidebars .widget:nth-child(even) { float: none; }
.ie .template-front-page .widget-area { clear: both; }

.ie .template-front-page .widget {
    width: 100% !important;
    border: none;
.ie .template-front-page .first.front-widgets { 
	width: 51.875%;
    float: left ;
.ie  .template-front-page .second.front-widgets {
    width: 39.0625%;
    float: right ;

You can view the theme so far on I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and let me know how your theme turned out by leaving a comment!


  1. says

    Thank you for your attention, David. Thank you for your site, Zeaks, very good. I was unable to install _ _ three columns footer. I followed step by step tutorial, but it did not work. I’m using twenty twelve theme. If someone who got the three widget columns and can send to my email [] the code used in the footer.php, functions.php, sidebar.php and css style … thanks.

  2. says

    I am having the toughest time adding “comments” and “leave comment box” below each new post. If there is a code out there that does not ask for email verification (desirable but not necessary) can someone please send it to my email address – Zeak thank you for the Twenty Plus Pro theme it has saved me hours.

  3. Marlies says

    Thanks for the code Zeaks! I got the footer areas working, and thought everything was fine, until I noticed that the lay-out will be messed up when adding more than one widget to a widget area. Looks like that’s a problem in the code. Any idea?

  4. says

    This tut is kinda bunk dont you think? I mean its greatly written and all but this cant be used on a professional website for a client. I mean your code will only allow for one widget in each widget area. When the client wants to add more widgets to their footer…. then what?

    • davidborrink says

      Jimmy, click on “Older Comments” below and read in the additional comments about how to put multiple widgets in the individual widget areas. I expanded on Zeak’s tutorial to get that done.

      • says

        oh kool. Thanks, i was looking though but didnt see it before. Dont get me wrong guys… I love Zeaks blog.. His tuts here are excellent . I use them with 2012 still to create quite few nice websites for clients. Thanks Zeak!

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