Add Copyright © Year in the WordPress Footer with Automatic Updates

✏️ 2018-11-11 | Wordpress | 11 comments

Do you use the default WordPress footer and don't want to start every new year with manual WordPress updates?
Skribent: Victor Duse
By Victor Duse

Do you want the text Copyright © 2021 to be updated to the current year automatically in your WordPress footer? It can be done with a shortcode –  without plugins. We’ll also bring you a few bonus date formats like current date, current month and current day.

Watch the video (coming soon) or follow the instructions below if you prefer to read. All code snippets you’ll need are available for copy & paste in the article. This works with most themes for WordPress, so you don’t have to use Divi from Elegant Themes.

Related content: Display the current year automatically in the Divi Bottom Bar

Step 1. Allow shortcodes in WordPress widgets

A shortcode is a small code snippet that displays dynamic information, such as today’s date. A shortcode consists of a word within hooks, eg. [year] which, if correctly implemented, automatically displays 2021 – and gets updated automatically at the same time as the New Year Eve’s fireworks is taking off.

WordPress standard is that your footer (and sidebar) consists of widgets . Unfortunately, WordPress default settings does not support shortcodes in widgets; instead, it will only display shortcodes as plain text – (eg [year] – when you publish.

But luckily you can change that with a few lines of code in functions.php . If you do not have a child theme , you should get one first . Otherwise, your code will be overwritten next time you update your theme.

Start in your WordPress dashboard and go to Appearance Editor. Then select functions.php in your child theme and enter the following code at the end.

 //Allow shortcodes in widgets
add_filter ('widget_text', 'do_shortcode');

Bonus! All the shortcodes described in this article can also be used in the body copy in your WordPress pages and posts.

2. Create your shortcode for the current year (and current month, current date or current day)

Next step is to create one or more shortcodes that display today’s date. Copy the code below for the date formats you want to use and paste it in your  functions.php. You can place the code below the code you added in the previous stepSave.

Code in functions.php Short Code Result
//Display current year

function year_shortcode () {
$year = date_i18n ('Y');
return $year;
add_shortcode ('year', 'year_shortcode');


[year] 2021
//Display current month

function month_shortcode () {
$monthyear = date_i18n ('F');
return $month;
add_shortcode ('month', 'month_shortcode');


[month] April

//Display current date as YYYY-MM-DD

function yyyymmdd_shortcode () {
$yyyymmdd = date_i18n ('y-m-d'); return $yyyymmdd;
add_shortcode ('yyyymmdd', 'yyyymmdd_shortcode');


[yyyymmdd] 2021-04-12
//Display current month and year

function monthyear_shortcode () {
$monthyear = date_i18n ('F Y');
return $monthyear;
add_shortcode ('monthyear', 'monthyear_shortcode');


[monthyear] April 2021
//Display current day

function day_shortcode () {
$day = date_i18n ('l');
return $day;
add_shortcode ('day', 'day_shortcode');


[day] Monday


It should look something like this if you’ve entered all the code above:

Todays date in functions.php

Bonus! Do you want even more date formats to choose from? Here’s the complete date formats list.

Change language for current date

Do you want another language format for the current date? To change the language, just go to your WordPress dashboard and choose  Settings and change Site Language to desired language. This  will automatically refresh the date displayed from your shortcodes (for all code ninjas out there: this works since we are using date_i18n instead of just date in functions.php).

Change language in WordPress settings Change language settings and date default format in WordPress.


3. Add “Copyright © 2021 Company Name. All rights reserved.” in your footer

Now we are done with the coding. Time to insert the current year shortcode into your footer. Go to Appearance> Widgets. Grab a Text Block and drop it on, for example, Footer Area # 1. In the text field, paste:

Copyright © [year] Company Name. All rights reserved.

Replace Company Name to your desired company name and save.

Add current year shortcode to the WordPress footer

You can also try to add the other shortcodes [month], [yyyymmdd], [monthyear] and [day] in the footer widgets. The result should look something like this (yes, I did this on a Sunday):

Wordpress footer with automatic current date

That’s all for now. Good luck!

Use Divi and skip the custom coding

Since the Divi 4 release you can use the Divi Theme Builder to create footers with dynamic content (for example displaying the current year or date) without adding any code. Read more about the Theme builder

If you are using the  Divi theme, you may know that Elegant Themes, recently launched the awesome feature  Dynamic Content. This means that you do not need to use shortcodes to embed dynamic content such as a Featured Image, Page Ritle, Author or – current date or year. 

Divi Dynamic Content

Dynamic content for Divi makes it easier then ever to display dynamic content on pages and posts. Coming soon to the WordPress footer?

Read more about Divi Dynamic Content

Related posts

  1. Was getting a wordpress error until making some format changes:

    //Display current year
    add_filter (‘widget_text’, ‘do_shortcode’);
    function year_shortcode () {
    $year = date_i18n (‘Y’);
    return $year;
    add_shortcode (‘year’, ‘year_shortcode’);

    • Thanks for letting me know Charles! I’ve removed a couple of extra spaces (generated by the editor, doh!) and updated the post now. 👍

  2. thanks, it benefited me, in doing that

  3. Thanks for the article very helpful and informative information available here.

    • Thanks, I’m glad you liked it! 👋

  4. THX 🙂

  5. Easy and fast, required only Year copyright, thanks!

    • Nice to hear Kevin, I’m glad that it helped! 🙂

  6. oh wow, the code works but the year shows last years numbers? help


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