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How to Merge and Bulk Edit Categories and Tags in WordPress

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How to Merge and Bulk Edit Categories and Tags in WordPress

There comes a time when a regularly updated blog needs a little spring cleaning. Managing categories and tags is an important part of this cleaning . If you are using custom taxonomies then you will probably have more terms to manage than just categories and tags. In this post we will show you how to merge and bulk edit categories, tags, and terms in WordPress.

The issue that most active bloggers face is that after a while there are too many categories, tags and terms. For example you might be using too many tags for similar topics, and you want to merge them all together. Another issue could be that you created categories which are no longer active. Perhaps they need to be child categories. You can easily change terms for your posts by editing them manually, but if you have a lot of posts, then you could benefit from bulk editing. Note: make sure you read our article on categories vs. tags (best practices).

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Term Management Tools plugin. The plugin works out of the box so there are no settings for you to configure. Now go to the taxonomy you want to bulk edit, e.g. Categories. Terms Management Tools adds extra tools in your term management interface.

Merge and Bulk Edit Terms and Categories

With these options you can do the following:

  • Merge categories, tags, and other terms.
  • Move terms from one taxonomy to another. For example, you can move one or multiple categories to tags.
  • Set a parent for multiple terms.

Managing categories and tags helps your website in many ways. Organizing content in proper categories helps you keep track of your blog’s topics. It also helps your readers find the topics they are more interested in. Lastly, it also help search engines understand the context of your content, which increases your site’s performance in search results.

What is your favorite tool to bulk manage your categories and tags? Let us know in the comments.

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. Richard Sandbrook says:

    I had just completed the task of rationalizing categories categories and tags when I discovered – too late – this post. My question is this: I have made the changes on WordPress, but I have not made the myriad of redirections using the Redirection plug-in (mainly because I don’t understand what information to fill in). If I do not redirect, will that be a major problem for searchers using search engines?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      People coming from search to a category or tag page will see a 404 error. If a lot of your traffic lands on such pages, then you will loose significant traffic.

  2. WPBeginner Staff says:

    Uncategorized is actually also a category and you can move its posts using the plugin just like all other categories.

  3. Tom Dupuis says:

    What about bulk moving uncategorized posts to another category? There’s no checkbox for the uncategroized option.

  4. WPBeginner Staff says:

    Jason that’s because unlike categories, Tags are not hierarchical and can not have parent or child tags. Please take a look at our guide on Categories vs Tags.

    • Jason Crawford says:

      I’m not sure why I didn’t reply to this when I saw it the first time. I felt a bit dunce. You’re right and I was overlooking that. Thanks for the response.

  5. Jason Crawford says:

    I must be missing something here. I thought I’d run over and check it out, but I can’t see an option for parent/child tags.

  6. mac says:

    works well but can not bulk delete cats from multiple posts. Thats a big problem when you want to delete a category from a post but not actually delete the cat itself

  7. Max says:

    This is great, but you might want to touch on 301 redirects for the post that are merging into a new category or your probably going to be losing a lot of search enginge traffic.

  8. Jamie Smith says:

    I’m sorry to be a dolt, but I’m trying to figure out if this is what I’m looking for. I want to change my categories all together and remove some, make some child categories, etc. It’s not really about moving posts for me, it’s about the category structure. Is this plugin still what I need to use?

  9. Gautam Doddamani says:

    thanks now i can clean out my blog from unwanted tags…just one question i wanted to ask…will the deleted tags and categories get removed from posts and will it effect my SEO…as they will ultimately lead to 404 errors in GWT…

  10. Bill Saragosa says:

    Thanks for this post… I was wondering what I was going to do with some of those clumsy categories that no longer look like such a good idea! Now I have a starting point.


  11. Bernie says:

    Wish I had know about this when I started tidying up my blog some time ago. This has made me get rid of all the uncategorised post on my blog. Additionally this organisation is helping me focus the post on my blog. I already use another plugin that creates pages based on Categories.

    Keep the good work coming!

  12. Bjorn says:

    Can this tool also add new tags quickly to posts? Because i imported like 500 messages from my old website where i did not use wordpress and tags.

    • Noumaan says:

      Bjorn you can try the bulk edit mode in Posts > All Posts. If all 500 messages are imported as posts and you have a limited number of categories then you can select multiple posts and assign them tags.

  13. Michael says:

    Man, this couldn’t have come at a better time. I was just staring at my personal website, which is pretty old, in utter dismay. I have 399 tags that have accumulated over the years, as well as categories that are ancient, and was dreading cleaning up such a huge mess. I’m going to put this plugin to the test!

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