Function and usage of get_search_form() in wordpress


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    The get_search_form() function in WordPress is a versatile tool for displaying a search form on a website. Here's a detailed explanation of its functionality and usage:

    Function Signature

    get_search_form( array $args = array() ): void|string


    • Purpose: Displays a search form on the WordPress site.


    • This function attempts to locate the searchform.php file in either the child or parent theme directories. If this file is found, it will be used to display the search form.
    • If searchform.php does not exist, WordPress defaults to displaying a standard HTML search form.
    • The HTML of the default search form can be modified or replaced by applying a filter named 'get_search_form'.
    • get_search_form() is commonly used in themes to hardcode the search form into the sidebar or by the search widget in WordPress.
    • An action hook named 'pre_get_search_form' is called whenever the function is executed. This hook can be used for various purposes, such as outputting JavaScript the search form relies on or applying specific formatting at the start of the search form.


    • $args (array, optional): An array of display arguments.
      • echo (bool): Determines whether to echo the form directly to the browser or return it as a string. The default value is true.
      • aria_label (string): Provides an ARIA label for the search form, which is especially useful for accessibility purposes, particularly when there are multiple search forms on a page.
      • Defaults to array().


    • The function returns void if the 'echo' argument is set to true, meaning it directly outputs the form to the browser.
    • If 'echo' is set to false, it returns the search form's HTML as a string.

    Sample Usage:

    Here's how you might use get_search_form() in a WordPress theme:

    // Example 1: Display the search form with default settings
    // Example 2: Return the search form HTML instead of echoing it
    $search_form_html = get_search_form( array( 'echo' => false ) );
    // Example 3: Custom ARIA label for accessibility
    get_search_form( array( 'aria_label' => 'Site Search' ) );

    In these examples:

    1. The first example displays the search form with default settings.
    2. The second example gets the HTML of the search form without directly displaying it.
    3. The third example includes a custom ARIA label for improved accessibility.

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