Typically, when you place content in WordPress posts, what you see is what you get—or WYSIWYG. If you type, “The quick brown fox jumped over the white fence,” that’s what you’ll see. But WordPress also provides the capability for there to be shorthand references that expand. In programming lingo, these are called macros; essentially short computer programs. In WordPress, these are called shortcodes.
For example, if you were to type [quickfox], a WordPress shortcode could expand this to “The quick brown fox jumped over the white fence.” Similarly, if you were to type [quickphrase animal=”rabbit” animal_color=”yellow” object=”fence” object_color=”red”], that could expand to “The quick yellow rabbit jumped over the red fence.” While this may not seem very useful at the moment, the capability actually is very useful.
Here are four different ways you may have encountered WordPress shortcodes previously: