The Ultimate Guide to Using Dashicons in WordPress

Meet Dashicons: Your New Secret Weapon

Chances are you‘ve crossed paths with Dashicons if you’ve built a WordPress site. Those helpful little icons throughout your dashboard? That‘s Dashicons at work.

This growing icon font contains over 282 individual icons spanning everything from formatting tools to ecommerce to post types.

Dashicon icon showcase

When leveraged effectively, Dashicons unlock immense potential for adding visual interest to your site without performance overhead.

But before we dive into the juicy details, let‘s get better acquainted with Dashicons.

A Brief Dashicon Origin Story

Dashicons debuted in WordPress 3.8 back in 2013.

The main rationale? Utilize the power of icon fonts to enhance the admin UI and allow users to do the same for the front-end.

Since icon fonts load faster than image sprites, Dashicons improved WordPress’ speed and extensibility.

Over the years, Dashicons have expanded to 282 icons and become an integral part of WordPress theming. The latest WordPress 5.9 release alone added nearly 20 new Dashicons!

Dashicon growth data

As of January 2023, Dashicons are activated on 92.4% of WordPress sites. And that number keeps rising!

Now that you know what Dashicons are and why they’re valuable, let’s explore how you can supercharge your own site with them.

Enqueue Dashicons on Your WordPress Site

First things first, you need to load Dashicons properly so the icon font works across your whole site.

Here‘s how:

1. Enqueue the Dashicons Stylesheet

Open your theme‘s functions.php file and add:

add_action( ‘wp_enqueue_scripts‘, ‘enqueue_dashicons‘ );

function enqueue_dashicons() { wp_enqueue_style( ‘dashicons‘ );

This hooks Dashicons into the default front-end stylesheet loading process.

2. double check it‘s working:

View your site‘s front-end and check for icons on dashboard links. If they show, you‘re dashicon-ready!

Now for the fun stuff—picking icons and embellishing your theme!

Choosing Your Dashicons Arsenal

With 282 options, the Dashicons repository can feel overwhelming at first.

Here are handy ways to start building your arsenal:

  • 🗺 Browse by category like design, products, forms
  • ⚡️ Identify icons that convey key themes/features of your site
  • 🔍 Search names of common icons like “calendar” or “email”

Once you‘ve picked your favorites, there are two methods for integrating Dashicons:

1. Copy Icon CSS

Easy drop-in implementation but less customization.

2. Reference Icon by Name

More flexible for styling with CSS but requires memorizing names.

We‘ll cover both below!

Creative Ways to Use Dashicons

The simplicity of Dashicons is part of what makes them so versatile. You can integrate icons all over your theme!

Let‘s explore some creative applications.

Navigation Menus

Enhance your primary site navigation with intuitive icons so menu items can be identified at a glance:

Post Metadata

Help common post meta elements like author, comments, date stand out with stylized icons:

Custom Taxonomies

For custom categories, tags, post types, etc. use unique icons to differentiate each:

Page Areas & Widgets

Section headers, testimonial areas, hero sections, and more are prime real estate for spicing up with Dashicons!

The options are endless since icons work across element types from headings to buttons to lists.

Let your creativity run wild!

Pro Tips for Dashicon Mastery

To wield your newfound Dashicon skills like a pro, heed this battle-tested advice:

🌟 Practice Grasshopper-Style

Start small implementing 1-2 icons at a time as you get comfortable.

🌟 Use Developer-Approved Methods

Code your icons directly into CSS using :before rather than HTML for best rendering.

🌟 Style Beyond Defaults

Customize with color, font-size, etc. to match your design.

🌟 Check Accessibility

Ensure icons supplement text rather than replace it for screen readers.

🌟 Future-Proof Your Efforts

Use a safe CSS editor plugin so icon customizations persist after theme updates.

Got all that, grasshopper? Now you’re ready for Dashicon mastery!

Why Dashicons are Perfect for Modern WordPress

Before we close out, it‘s worth understanding why Dashicons deserve a spot in your developer toolkit.

Blazing Fast Performance

Icons load way quicker than JavaScript-based icon libraries or image sprites. And every millisecond counts when aiming for high site speeds.

Icon performance metrics

Built Specifically for WordPress

While fantastic generalized icon fonts exist, Dashicons zeroes in on the specifics needs of WordPress sites.

Easy Central Management & Updates

New Dashicons get added with each WordPress release. So you benefit from having icons that evolve along with WordPress.

Incredible CSS Flexibility

Dashicons unlock immense control for custom styling compared with rigid image icons sets.

Clearly, Dashicons check all the boxes for a modern WordPress site!


As you’ve discovered, Dashicons offer immense opportunities for enhancing your site’s aesthetics while avoiding performance penalties.

Start small implementing a few at time, leveraging the snippets in this guide. Before you know it, Dashicons will be elevating your site like a visual pro!

Over to you now. Which Dashicons will make the cut for your stunning new design?

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