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How to conditionally load stylesheets and JavaScript in WordPress only if a shortcode is used

One thing that annoys me about WordPress is when a shortcode requires some scripts and styles, and a plugin loads those files on every page, whether they’re needed or not.

Ideally, you would conditionally load your styles and scripts only if the shortcode that requires them is used.

There are a few ways to do this, but when styles are required, you’re usually out of luck (because the code will get executed after all of the header stuff, where you CSS is loaded, has already happened).

To get around it, I add loadCSS and loadJS in the footer, and use them to load my scripts and styles.

 * Load scripts and styles conditionally and async
function load_styles_and_scripts_conditionally() {

    // Get the $post object
    global $post;

    // Only load your scripts and styles if the post contains your shortcode (change 'your_shortcode')
    if ( !is_a( $post, 'WP_Post' ) || !has_shortcode( $post->post_content, 'your_shortcode') ) return;

            ;(function (window, document, undefined) {
                'use strict';
                    // Inline the content from loadCSS.js:
                    echo file_get_contents( plugin_dir_url( __FILE__ ) . 'dist/js/loadCSS.js' ); 

                    // Inline the content from loadJS.js:
                    echo file_get_contents( plugin_dir_url( __FILE__ ) . 'dist/js/loadJS.js' ); 

                // Load my stylesheet async
                loadCSS( '<?php echo plugin_dir_url( __FILE__ ); ?>dist/css/my-styles.css' );

                // Load my scripts async
                loadJS( '<?php echo plugin_dir_url( __FILE__ ); ?>dist/js/my-sripts.js' );

            })(window, document);
// add_action( 'wp_head', 'photoboard_photoswipe_styles_and_scripts' );
add_action( 'wp_footer', 'photoboard_photoswipe_styles_and_scripts' );

Depending on how your JavaScript is written, you could load this in the header instead. Just comment out the add_action for wp_footer and uncomment the one for wp_head.

In this example, all of my files are in a dist subdirectory in my plugin folder, with my scripts in a js subdirectory under that, and my styles in css.

🚀 I just relaunched my Vanilla JS Pocket Guides with new code examples and real projects to help tie everything you’ll learn together. Check it out.

Have any questions or comments about this post? Email me at or contact me on Twitter at @ChrisFerdinandi.

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