How to format and display text in WordPress using wp_sprintf

The WordPress function wp_sprintf is a PHP-based function used within the WordPress CMS. Its primary function is to format and return a string. This function works similarly to the PHP sprintf function, but it has been tailored to work specifically within the WordPress environment.

The wp_sprintf function can be utilized in a variety of scenarios. For instance, it can be used to format a string that contains placeholders, which are then replaced by the arguments supplied in the function call. This makes it possible to create dynamic strings that can change based on the input parameters.

Additionally, the wp_sprintf function supports a variety of placeholders, allowing for the formatting of different types of data, such as integers, floating-point numbers, and strings. This provides flexibility in terms of the types of data that can be incorporated into the formatted string.

Another feature of the wp_sprintf function is that it handles unknown placeholders by leaving them unchanged in the returned string. This means that if a placeholder is used in the string that does not match any of the supplied arguments, the placeholder will simply be left as is in the returned string.

Parameters Accepted by the wp_sprintf Function

The WordPress wp_sprintf function accepts two parameters:

  • $pattern (string) – This is a mandatory parameter. It is the string into which the formatted arguments are inserted.
  • $args (mixed) – This is also a mandatory parameter. It refers to the arguments that need to be formatted into the $pattern string.

Return Value of the wp_sprintf Function

The wp_sprintf function gives a return value which is the string that has been formatted. If the function does not receive any parameters, it will not return any value.


How to use wp_sprintf to format a simple string

$string = wp_sprintf('%s is %d years old.', 'John', 25);
echo $string;

This code uses the wp_sprintf function to format a string. The function replaces the placeholders %s and %d with the corresponding arguments ‘John’ and 25. The result is ‘John is 25 years old.’.

How to use wp_sprintf to format a string with an array

$fruits = array('apple', 'banana', 'cherry');
$string = wp_sprintf('I like %l.', $fruits);
echo $string;

In this example, the wp_sprintf function is used to format a string using an array. The %l placeholder is replaced with a list of items from the array. The result is ‘I like apple, banana, cherry.’.


The wp_sprintf function is a WordPress-specific implementation of the PHP sprintf function. It offers a way to format a string with placeholders, which can be replaced by specified values. This function enables developers to construct strings in a more dynamic and flexible way, thereby facilitating the creation of complex output strings. It is particularly useful in situations where the string to be outputted needs to be constructed based on variables or conditions that are not known until runtime.

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