50 | Page Template Sidebar Overwrite Theme Options in Twenty Eleven

example of left and right sidebars in static pages of Twenty Eleven

Sidebar on the left or on the right within one Twenty Eleven child theme

Twenty Eleven already comes with a page template to add a sidebar to static pages. However, this sidebar will always be on the same side as the sidebar on the front  page, ruled by the ‘theme options’.
On some pages, you might want to show the sidebar on the opposite side.
This freedom of choice is possible with some special page templates and some coding in functions.php of the theme.

The following codes refer to a child theme of Twenty Eleven.

If you don’t want to follow the steps outlined in the Codex, you can download a ready-made child theme from quirm.net.

First step: in your child theme folder, create two new page templates – one for a fixed sidebar on the left, and the other for the sidebar on the right.

To begin with, copy the code of sidebar-page.php, and save it as sidebar-left-page.php and sidebar-right-page.php, resp.

The file names are important as they refer to the same names in the code for functions.php.

Second step: Change the line ‘ * Template Name: Sidebar Template’ to ‘ * Template Name: Left  Sidebar Template’ and ‘ * Template Name: Right Sidebar Template’, resp.; save the files.

Third step: add the following code to functions.php of your child theme:

function twentyeleven_child_pagetemplates_body_classes( $wp_classes, $extra ){

  $classes = array();

  if( is_page_template( 'sidebar-left-page.php' ) ) :
  // correction for the Left Sidebar Template
    $classes[] = 'left-sidebar';
    $blacklist = array('right-sidebar','singular');
    // Filter the body classes
    foreach( $blacklist as $val ) {
      if (!in_array($val, $wp_classes)) : continue;
      foreach($wp_classes as $key => $value) {
        if ($value == $val) unset($wp_classes[$key]);

  if( is_page_template( 'sidebar-right-page.php' ) ) :
  // correction for the Right Sidebar Template
    $classes[] = 'right-sidebar';
    $blacklist = array('left-sidebar','singular');
    // Filter the body classes
    foreach( $blacklist as $val ) {
      if (!in_array($val, $wp_classes)) : continue;
      foreach($wp_classes as $key => $value) {
        if ($value == $val) unset($wp_classes[$key]);

return array_merge($wp_classes, (array) $extra, $classes );

add_filter( 'body_class', 'twentyeleven_child_pagetemplates_body_classes', 20, 2 );

That code will correct the body_classes of the theme, which are central to the layout of your site.


Now you will have two more page templates available in the ‘page attributes’ section when you create or edit a static page.

The sidebar position of these pages will be independant of the theme options (as long as one of the ‘content with sidebar’ options is ticked).

This entry was posted in Tips & Tricks, Twenty Eleven, WordPress and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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  26. skatebarnin comments:

    Thanks Alchymyth, This worked perfectly for me.

  27. Monpelaud comments:

    I created a page template as you described above in my child theme of Twenty Eleven.
    It works fine for the position of the sidebar but styles modified in the style.css of my child theme are not taken into account like for the other pages.
    For example margins are not the same as the others pages.
    How can I resolve the issue ?

    Many thanks for your help.

    • alchymyth replies:

      this will depend on what edits you have made to your page styles. the coding does not do any formatting, i.e. any styles should actually not get effected by the code.
      please join the WordPress.org support forum, and ask the question there. you will likely need to post a link to your site, to a page with the problem, to illustrate what you have so far.

  28. Lisa comments:

    Could you please tell me WHERE in the functions.php file I need to insert this code?

    • alchymyth replies:

      you can add the code basically anywhere in functions.php of the child theme – just don’t break the php syntax; safest is possibly just before the closing php tags ?> at the bottom of functions.php

  29. Lorynne comments:

    Thanks for this tut. could you tell me how you could omit the sidebar altogether?So just as you’ve made the templates above with sidebars on the left or right. How could you include a template that had no sidebar at all?

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