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How to use WordPress Custom Fields

WordPress gives an author the ability to add extra data to each written post and page. This data is called meta-data and is stored in custom fields.

These fields are really flexible in use and make it possible for developers and theme-authors to create stunning sites, far beyond from normal blog design.

In case you have never noticed it: to access these fields just head over to the write post/page site down to the Advanced Options Tabs. There you will find  the Custom Fields Tab which looks something like this:

Custom fields consist of two parts: A key and a value.

There are different options to display those fields, the one thing they all got in common: you have to call them inside the loop.

<?php the_meta(); ?>

This is the easiest way to display the data. The template tag automatically puts the entire meta-data into a CSS style called post-meta. The key is in a span called post-meta-key.

All of this is showcased in an unordered list:

<ul class='post-meta'>
<li><span class='post-meta-key'>mood:</span> happy</li>
<li><span class='post-meta-key'>Weather:</span> fine</li>
</ul>

You might want to use these custom informations in a more sophisticated way then displaying unordered lists with your mood and the current weather. Especially if you want to display a post in a way that doesn’t remind the visitor of a typical blog post, custom fields come in very handy.

Just take a look at my porfolio page, or if you want to see a whole site based around custom fields, head over to BestWebGallery. Each post is stuffed with a lot of meta data which is used to display the posts in an unique way.

To display the data in a superior way we use the function

 get_post_meta($post_id, $key, $single);

The parameters we need to pass are explained fast:

  • $post_id is the ID of the post which stores the meta data. Most of the time it is the current post and we use: $post->ID
  • $key is a string containing the name of the meta value you want.
  • $single can either be true or false. If set to true then the function will return a single result, as a string. If false, or not set, then the function returns an array of the custom fields.This is needed if you have different $keys with the same name. We will set this to true for our example.

So lets say we have a custom field named “image” which contains the URI to the image:

we could easily display this image the following way:

<?php $image = get_post_meta($post->ID, 'Image', true); ?>

<img src="<?php echo $image; ?>" alt="" />

There are many ways to use custom fields, another one would be to add  a different class to some of your posts:

<?php $additional_class = get_post_meta($post->ID, 'class', true); ?>

<div class="my_post <?php echo $additional_class;?> ">
the_content();
</div>
?>

The possibilitys are nearly endless, so let your creative juices flow and enhance your site with custom fields ;)

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75 replies
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  1. Pedro Gomes says:

    I´me trying to use custom fields in a new website, however i´d like to know a litle thing

    Where is that suppose to put those codes? I tried to put them on the post (cause i have that plugin “Exec-Php” but it retrieves a single 0…

    I can paste the code here if it helps you helping me xD

  2. Daniel says:

    Hi ,
    Could you help me pls. with displaying list of pages with at least 3-5 custom fields ? I ve’been almost for 14 days searching on internet, I have only found this article but there is only one custom field:
    http://www.wprecipes.com/how-to-use-a-custom-blurb-when-listing-pages
    , I asked there for the help to add more fields but no answer , Is it hard to add and display more fields ?
    I have changed my wp-pages into girl’s portfolios so i need list of girls with the girl’s names(page title), country,province,city,age and one thumbnail image(custom field.
    Thanks a lot Daniel

  3. jonathan says:

    as I can put the pictures on the accordion slider, each I publish an entry in the category that I have set the slider appears as image loading, but remains so, add some custom field, or as I make the image appears in the slider, I could help?

  4. Manchester SEO Bolton says:

    Jeff, img alt text can be added really easily, I don’t know if you didn’t notice it above or something but it simply goes in here…

    ID, ‘Image’, true); ?>

    <img src="” alt=”ALT TEXT HERE” />

    Thanks for the article, should come in handy :)

  5. misska says:

    I´me trying to use custom fields in a new website, however i´d like to know a little thing

    Where is that suppose to put those codes?

  6. hasan says:

    ID, ‘Image’, true); ?>
    here ‘Image’, how can i set the image path of uploads folder of wordpress

  7. bon says:

    HI! I need help on how to get the values of the custom fields (all pages) with a search function . Please help..Thanks!

  8. Roch says:

    I just did a custom field to display an image but the only way I was able to code it is… If the cell has something in it then display image… this means it displays the image plus whatever is in the cell. How can you do it to only display the image? (I have the image as a bg for my span)

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