WordPress 4.9 is out and adds additional widget features. If you aren’t familiar with widgets, they are small parts of content on your pages that are placed in the header, footer or sidebars of your site. WordPress 4.9 adds a new Gallery Widget and some additional improvements to the Text Widget which was updated in WordPress 4.8
The new Gallery Widget lets you display an image gallery in any widget area. These are the same galleries you are used to using in pages or posts. You choose images from the Media Library, how many pictures to display, the picture size and the number of columns.
Updated Text Widget
WordPress improved the Text Widget so that you can add media directly into the widget. WordPress 4.8 introduced the rich text editor to the Text Widget so you could easily add formatting like bold or bullets, but there was no way to add media like photos, video or audio. Now you can add media from your library, and the Text Widget also supports all the oEmbed providers that posts do. This means, for example, you can paste a YouTube video link into the Text Widget and it will automatically embed in the widget.
Another enhancement is the ability to use shortcodes in the Text Widget by default. Previously, a filter would need to be added to your theme files in order to use shortcodes in any widget areas.
Updated Video Widget
While you can now embed video in the Text Widget, there is also a Video Widget. This has also been updated to support all the same embed providers as the Text Widget giving you more video options.