Add Copyright © Current Year in the WordPress Footer with Automatic Updates

2021-09-20 | Tutorials, WordPress | 15 comments

Do you want to display the current year (or any other current date) with automatic updates in WordPress? Look no further!
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. This post was updated 2021-09-20.

1. The old way: Add current year with custom code (for all themes and page builders)

All code snippets you’ll need are available for copy & paste in the article. This works with all themes for WordPress, so you don’t have to use Divi from Elegant Themes.

Before we start – install a child theme

Before editing your php files, you should install a child theme on top of your parent theme. Otherwise, your changes will be overwritten next time that you update WordPress or your theme.

How to create a WordPress child theme »

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 are 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.

Update 2021: The current version of WordPress now allows shortcodes in widgets (and in the body content) by default. Thus, you can skip directly to step 2 below. But if you run an old version of WordPress, you need to add the code from this step first.

But luckily you can change that with a few lines of code in functions.php. Start in your WordPress dashboard and go to Appearance > Theme Editor (or even better, use an FTP client or the file editor in your web hosting account). Then select functions.php in your child theme and add 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.

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

The 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 child theme functions.php. You can place the code below the code you added in the previous stepSave.

Code in functions.php Shortcode 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]
October

//Display current date as YYYY-MM-DD

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

 

[yyyymmdd]
2021-10-26
//Display current month and year

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

 

[monthyear]
October 2021
//Display current day

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

 

[day]
Tuesday

 

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). Also make sure to choose the correct timezone for your website.

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

 

Step 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.

Update 2021: After recent WordPress updates, the widget area is now based on the Gutenberg block builder. However, it works perfectly fine to add shortcodes above to the Paragraph block. You can also use the Shortcode block and add plain text before and after the actual shortcode.

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!

2. 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 Title, Author or current date and year. Dynamic content can be added to footers, headers, pages, posts and headings.

Divi tutorial: Display current year in the footer without shortcodes

Divi Dynamic Content

Related posts

15 Comments
  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’);

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

      Reply
  2. thanks, it benefited me, in doing that

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

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

      Reply
  4. THX 🙂

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

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

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

    Reply
  7. Question from a beginner. Will the shortcode need to be updated again after every theme update?

    Reply
  8. My brother suggested I might like this website. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi there! I’m glad you liked it. FYI, I just made an update to the code and added a video tutorial. Check it out if you want to trim your code a bit.

      Reply

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