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How To Add Custom Fields To Custom Taxonomies

In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to add an additional custom field to your WordPress custom taxonomies and then make use of those fields within your theme template.

Adding A Custom Field To A Custom Taxonomy

In the code that follows, we'll create a callback function (what is a callback function?) that will add a custom field to the custom taxonomy we created (in this case, "presenters") and then we'll create another callback function to save changes made to that field. Last, we'll associate our new callback functions with the custom taxonomy we created.

To add a custom field to your custom taxonomy, add the following code to your theme's functions.php:

In the code above, we created a "callback function" called "presenters_taxonomy_custom_fields" that we will apply, using a WordPress action hook, to the "edit" screen of our custom taxonomy terms. In our case, we are creating a custom field to store the "User ID". To use this to store different information, replace each instance of:


With your own unique custom field name. For example:


Note: As a best practice, I recommend naming your custom fields using all lowercase letters and underscores to separate multiple words.

To add an additional field to your custom taxonomy term interface, copy everything from <tr> to </tr>, duplicate it above or below, then give the fields their own unique name.

Note: If you want to create custom fields for multiple taxonomies, duplicate the code above and use a unique name for the callback function. For example, "presenters_taxonomy_custom_fields" would then become "yourname_taxonomy_custom_fields". If you intend to use the same custom fields on multiple taxonomies, I suggest a more general name.

Next, we'll create a callback function that we'll use to save our custom fields. Add the following code to your theme's functions.php:

The code above will work "as is" for one or more custom taxonomies, no changes needed. Alright, now let's associate these callback functions to the "edit" screen for our custom taxonomies. To do that, we'll use two of the WordPress action hooks that are available for each custom taxonomy that we create. Add the following code to your theme's functions.php:

With the code above applied, editing a term should give you a screen that looks something like this:


A custom field of "User ID" has been added to the editing screen for each of the terms in my "Presenters" custom taxonomy.

And there you have it. The first action tells WordPress to "add" our custom fields to the "edit" screen of our "presenters" custom taxonomy. The second action tells WordPress to "save" our custom taxonomy fields when you save the changes to your "presenters" custom taxonomy. To use this for your own custom taxonomies, simply replace "presenters" with the name of your custom taxonomy. For example, "edited_presenters" would be "edited_your-taxonomy". To use the code above for more than one custom taxonomy, duplicate both lines as needed, replacing "presenters" with the respective name of your custom taxonomy.

Note: This particular method uses the "options" table in WordPress to store data for each particular term. As of WordPress 3.1, terms don't have their own "meta" table and, accordingly, this lets us get past that. There will probably be a cleaner way to do this in future version of WordPress - until then, this will do the job well. Thanks to Ohad Raz and his post on extra fields for custom taxonomies for pointing me in the right direction.

Associating "Presenters" With WordPress User Accounts

Now, let's put our custom field to use. In our example, let's say that some of our presenters will actually have user accounts in WordPress which they may (or may not) use to publish new content themselves. Along with their user account, they have a profile that contains their name, website, social media accounts, and data associated with any other fields you add.

Note: To add custom fields to your user profile, take a look at this post by Justin Tadlock, Adding and using custom user profile fields, or Mike Schinkel's answer to this question on WordPress Stack Exchange.

In the following example, we're going to use the WordPress User ID field we added to our "presenters" custom taxonomy to check that ID against the list of WordPress users and give us access to the corresponding user's profile data.

To access a custom field added to your custom taxonomy using the method noted earlier, add the following code inside your custom taxonomy template (in our case, taxonomy-presenters.php), within the PHP block at the top:

Alright, let's start with the first variable, $presenter_custom_fields. In our earlier example, we created a new entry in the WordPress options table, named after the term ID of a given term. So, if the ID of a particular term was 27, the name of the field that stores its data would be "taxonomy_term_27". In our example, we created a custom field called "presenter_id".

Note: For this example to work, be sure that you have saved a value in the custom field for the term you are working with. In my example, I've added the "presenter_id" of "1" (the ID for my user account) to the "Jonathan Wold" term in my "presenters" custom taxonomy.

To see what data is stored inside the custom fields you created, add the print_r function to your template, then preview it:

In our example, the only custom field we have is "presenter_id", and the value that is returned is "1". Now, I have the ID I need to access the user profile, which we do with the second variable:

$presenter_data = get_userdata( $presenter_custom_fields[presenter_id] ); // Get their data

So, we define our variable for use later as $presenter_data. Then, we use the get_userdata function, which, as expected, requires the ID of the desired user profile. We could pass in an actual ID, like this:

$presenter_data = get_userdata("1"); // Get their data

To keep it dynamic, we are passing in the "presenter_id" field of our $presenter_custom_fields variable. Now, to see what data you have to work with, use print_r again:

Then, you can access the data based on the "key" name. To get the first name, for instance:

<?php echo $presenter_data->first_name; ?>

To get the description (or "Biography" field), use:

<?php echo $presenter_data->user_description; ?>

Tip: Referencing Images or Filenames By First/Last Name

One particularly useful technique I've found is predicting a file structure for cases like profile images or press kits, etc., where I've wanted to let the client upload assets directly to the server, rather than build an interface to manage uploading.

First, we need to have a lowercase, dash separated version of the display name. To get that, add the following code to the PHP section at the top of your template:

$presenter_formatted_name = strtolower( str_replace( " ", "-", $presenter_data->display_name ) );

This fancy-looking piece of code declares the $presenter_formatted_name variable and, in English, tells PHP to take the "display_name" value from our $presenter_data variable, replace spaces with dashes, and convert the resulting string to lowercase. In the case of a display name of "Jonathan Wold", the variable would return "jonathan-wold". In the case of a single name, like "Admin", the variable would return "admin". Now, in our template, we can use that consistent name as we'd like.

For instance, in a profile image, we might use the following:

<img src="<?php bloginfo("stylesheet_directory"); ?>/images/<?php echo $presenter_formatted_name ?>.jpg" />

That tells WordPress to check the "images" folder in the directory that holds your theme's stylesheet and look for an image, in my case, named "jonathan-wold.jpg". Let's say we stored a folder called "assets" in our root directory, outside of WordPress. We would use the following:

<a href="/assets/press-kits/<?php echo $presenter_formatted_name ?>.zip">Download Press Kit</a>


And that's it! This set of functions allows you to add any types of fields that you can imagine and then make use of them in a limitless number of creative ways. Let me know what you come up with!

  • Evan Mullins 6.6.11

    Nicely written. Thanks for the detail. I have to admit, I've never even thought about adding more to taxonomy data. Now that you bring it up I can see many use cases for it. I'll add this to my arsenal for sure.

  • Jonathan Wold 6.7.11

    Evan, you are most welcome and thank you for stopping by. Please do let me know if you come up with any interesting new uses for the technique. Also, keep an eye on future versions of WordPress - I am expecting relationships between taxonomies and other content types to improve and be more flexible as WordPress grows.

  • Will 6.27.11

    Have you tried the CIMY User Extra Fields plugin? It is a very easy way to manage additional custom fields in the user's profile. Also read your post on the SX ( and enjoyed learning about WPAlchemy and Role Scoper, although I haven't tried them yet.

  • Jonathan Wold 6.29.11

    Hey Will! Thanks for stopping by. No, I haven't tried that yet - I'm always up for checking out a good plugin, though. While I tend to prefer a hard-coded solution (no worrying about dependence on a third party), I am a big fan of plugins and I like to have good references handy. Thank you!

  • Tom 2.17.12

    Simple, easy to follow post and works perfectly.

    Shame you can't add something to the "Add" screen, only the "edit" screen.

    Thanks :)

  • dway 2.17.12


    I've made a similar taxonomy with extra fields and I've noticed that some enhancement could be achieved.

    First, the extra fields should be added to the hook "{$taxonomy}_add_form_fields" so they can be showed in the create term form. And so to save this fields, you can use the hook "created_{$taxonomy}" attaching the same save function.

    And secondly, If you delete a term, the data attached in the option table are not deleted ! So you should use the appropriate hook to delete data in options table when deleting a term.

    Thx for your post anyway !

  • Ted 2.17.12

    Hi I used this code to add some new fields to the "edit" admin screen, and everything works great. Now I just want to add the fields also to the "add new category" admin form.

    I found that if I use the following action I can get the new fields to appear perfectly:
    add_action( '[taxonomy-name]_add_form_fields' , 'extra_tax_fields', 10, 2 );

    but then i'm at a loss for how to get them to save. what is the add_action I need to use to get the fields to save when creating a new category? thanks.

  • Leon 8.29.12

    Hello. How can I use it in php foreach on another pages ?

  • Ben 8.29.12

    Perfect! Thanks for the great tutorial. It took a few minutes and I was up and running with my new field. Also, thank you to "dway" for the additional info about the 2 hooks to make the field show up when adding a new taxonomy term. I just wanted to let you know I appreciate the article.

  • Phill 8.29.12

    Hi, I'm looking for exactly the same thing as Ted above. Could you please advise on how to do that? Great tutorial by the way, Thanks!

  • Thula 8.29.12

    For saving the custom fields when adding a term to the taxonomy (on the "add new [taxonomy-name]" admin form), try:
    add_action ('created_[taxonomy-name]', 'your_saving_function');
    it worked for me ;)

  • Rohit Kumar 11.14.12

    Thanks For sharing
    for multiple custom field ,I think have to go through loop
    Thanks Anyway.

  • Chris Baker 3.19.13

    Thanks for the article! It really helped out on a project that I inherited that already had multiple custom taxonomies in place.

  • Barbio 5.10.13

    Hi, really great post. It works perfectly.
    Could you help me, and say how can you do for the new custom field to appear in the quick edit view?


  • Ryan Bayne 2.1.14

    Nice approach indeed and it suits my needs. I'll be doing something in WP e-Customers, a new plugin. Specifically for the "Subjects" taxonomy should anyone be interested in seeing an example of the above in use.

    Thanks for the post.

  • Lech 3.13.14

    Jonathan, thanks a lot for sharing this. You helped me a lot!

  • Richelly Italo 7.4.14

    Was lost:
    add_action( $tax.'_add_form_fields', 'presenters_taxonomy_custom_fields', 10, 2 );
    in form Add.

  • Shweta 4.18.15

    In which table are the new custom entries stored. I don't find them in wp_term_taxonomy.

  • shal 6.10.15

    Hi i tried this custom taxonomy for wc brands plugin but it didnt worked. Can u pls update a code for

  • shal 6.10.15

    I need to add image to wc brand plugin product. Its not saving in databse although the fields are appearing..

  • gyan 7.28.15

    I have also used Texnomy "userrole" bur not working for me .Please can any one help
    / A callback function to add a custom field to our "presenters" taxonomy
    function userrole_taxonomy_custom_fields($tag) {
    // Check for existing taxonomy meta for the term you're editing

    echo $t_id = $tag->term_id; // Get the ID of the term you're editing
    $term_meta = get_option( "taxonomy_term_$t_id" ); // Do the check



    // A callback function to save our extra taxonomy field(s)
    function save_taxonomy_custom_fields( $term_id ) {
    if ( isset( $_POST['term_meta'] ) ) {
    $t_id = $term_id;
    $term_meta = get_option( "taxonomy_term_$t_id" );
    $cat_keys = array_keys( $_POST['term_meta'] );
    foreach ( $cat_keys as $key ){
    if ( isset( $_POST['term_meta'][$key] ) ){
    $term_meta[$key] = $_POST['term_meta'][$key];
    //save the option array
    update_option( "taxonomy_term_$t_id", $term_meta );

    // Add the fields to the "presenters" taxonomy, using our callback function
    add_action( 'userrole_edit_form_fields', 'userrole_taxonomy_custom_fields', 11, 5 );

    // Save the changes made on the "presenters" taxonomy, using our callback function
    add_action( 'edited_userrole', 'save_taxonomy_custom_fields', 11,5 );

  • david 10.17.15

    Hi I'd like to use WordPress to set up a medicinal plants database site, could I use the above methods to create the necessary taxonomy? Any advice greatly appreciated.

  • Jonathan Wold 10.21.15

    Hi David! With WordPress 4.4 just around the corner there are now better ways to do this. For a short-term solution I'd suggest looking at a plugin like Advanced Custom Fields Pro, which will let you easily save values on terms and will undoubtedly be future compatible with the taxonomy improvements coming to WordPress.

  • viral patel 10.23.15

    I want to add chekbox as extra field in custom taxonomy. How can i add this ?