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How to Add Taxonomy Images (Category Icons) in WordPress

Do you want to display taxonomy images or category icons in WordPress?

By default, WordPress does not come with an option to upload a taxonomy image or category icon. It simply just displays a category or taxonomy name on the archive pages.

In this article, we’ll show you how to easily add taxonomy images or category icons in WordPress. We’ll also show you how to display taxonomy images on your archive pages.

Adding category icons or taxonomy images in WordPress

Why Add Taxonomy Images in WordPress?

By default, your WordPress website does not come with an option to add images for your taxonomies like categories and tags (or any other custom taxonomy).

It simply uses taxonomy names everywhere including the category archives or taxonomy archive pages.

Plain taxonomy archive page

This looks kind of plain and uninteresting.

If you get a lot of search traffic to your taxonomy pages, then you may want to make them look more engaging.

The easiest way to make a page more interesting is by adding images. You can add taxonomy images or category icons to make these pages more user-friendly and engaging.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to easily add taxonomy images in WordPress.

Easily Add Taxonomy Images in WordPress

First, you need to install and activate the Categories Images plugin. For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you can simply go to the Posts » Categories page. You’ll notice the plugin will be showing a placeholder image for your existing categories.

Default placeholder image

To choose your own category icon, you need to click on the Edit link below a category.

On the Edit category page, scroll down to the bottom and you’ll find a form to upload your own taxonomy image.

Upload new taxonomy image

Simply click on the ‘Upload/Add New Image’ button to upload the image you want to use for that particular category.

Don’t forget to click on the Add Category or Update button to save your changes.

Repeat the process to upload images for other category images. You can upload images for your tags and any other taxonomies as well.

Categories with thumbnail images

Now the problem is that after adding the images, if you visit a category page, then you won’t see your category image there.

To display it, you will need to edit your WordPress theme or child theme. If this is your first time editing WordPress files, then you may want to see our guide on how to copy and paste code in WordPress.

First, you will need to connect to your WordPress site using an FTP client.

Once connected, you will need to find the template responsible for displaying your taxonomy archives. This could be archives.php, category.php, tag.php, or taxonomy.php files.

For more details, see our guide on how to find which files to edit in a WordPress theme.

Once you have found the file, you’ll need to download it to your computer and open in a text editor like Notepad or TextEdit.

Now paste the following code where you want to display your taxonomy image. Usually, you would want to add it before the taxonomy title or the_archive_title() tag.

<?php if( is_category() ) { ?> 
<div class="taxonomy-image">
<img class="taxonomy-img" src="<?php if (function_exists('z_taxonomy_image_url')) echo z_taxonomy_image_url(); ?>"  alt="" / >
</div>
<?php 
} else {  
//do nothing
} 
?>

After adding the code, you need to save this file and upload it back to your website using FTP.

You can now visit the taxonomy archive page to see it display your taxonomy image. Here is how it looked on our demo archive page.

Category with image

Now, it may still look a bit awkward, but don’t worry. You can style that using a little bit of custom CSS.

Here is the custom CSS we used for the taxonomy image.

img.taxonomy-img {
    float: left;
    max-height: 100px;
    max-width: 100px;
    display: inline-block;
}

Depending on your theme, you may also need to style surrounding elements like taxonomy title and description.

We simply wrapped our taxonomy archive title and description in a <div> element and added a custom CSS class. We then used the following CSS code to adjust title and description.

.taxonomy-title-description {
    display: inline-block;
    padding: 18px;
}

Here is how it looked afterward on our test website.

After adding custom CSS

Exclude Taxonomies from Displaying Taxonomy Images

Now some users may only want to use taxonomy images for specific taxonomies.

For instance, if you run an online store using WooCommerce, then you may want to exclude product categories.

Simply go back to the Categories Images page in WordPress admin area and check the taxonomies you want to exclude.

Exclude categories

Don’t forget to click on the Save Changes button to store your settings.

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily add taxonomy images in WordPress. You may also want to see these useful category hacks and plugins for WordPress or see our tips on getting more traffic from search engines.

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Reader Interactions

26 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Any suggestions for any other up to date plugin. Looks like the one suggested here hasn’t been updated recently.

  2. how to add category images in WordPress side bar like the one in wpbeginner site ” i need help with “

  3. Hi,i’m currently using this plugin on localhost.
    I find a strange/interesting usage for this plugin:
    Extending default WP menu, for categories links,
    to show links with background images.
    Anyone knows how to integrate this plugin filter,
    into wp menu to return
    for each menu?
    The case is complicated, do i need to use Walker class?

  4. How do I display the images used in the front end? I have a listing page and want to display the taxonomy image when ever that page has that taxonomy outputted on the page. I can’t find anything that actually shows me how to display the image on the front end. All I see is the Taxonomy label outputted by not the image.

    Thanks for your help,

    Jess

  5. Hi,
    The reason I ended in this post is I googled – featured content in wordpress

    I am actually looking at way, i can improve the related content in the wordpress.

    Because of selecting multiple categories and mutiple tags to posts, I see WordPress gets confused and does not show related content as I presume.

    So, Is taxonomies a way to improve how we show related posts, to the readers.

    And this plugin Taxonomy Images is not updated for 2 years

  6. Great tutorial! Thank!

    Unfortunately it looks like this plugin isn’t supported anymore, do you know if there is an alternative?

    Or is the code still valid?

  7. How to display pictures of taxonomies in the theme?

    I used the code but does not work
    print apply_filters( ‘taxonomy-images-queried-term-image’, ” );

    Please Help?

  8. Would make more sense if title was, “Best Plugin for Adding Images to Taxonomy in WordPress”, cause this isn’t really a tutorial about how to add images to taxonomy. Don’t mean to be a downer but I hate coming to articles that claim information but in reality they are saying this other guy knows you were hoping to here.

      • I’m guessing what Nicholas thought was the same thing I thought when I found this article: that it would be a tutorial on how to add a custom image field to taxonomies manually via coding rather than with a plugin. Still the plugin looks cool…I might check it out.

        • The same thing i thought, i was searching for an article that shows how to code this instead using a plugin
          But this is a good article anyway.

  9. I am delighted that i have found this great plugin, it works like a charm, i ran across some minor issues on my custom posts/taxonmy but all is well now.
    Thank you guys!

  10. Hi, have a related question about custom taxonomies: how do you create a custom taxonomy that exists only inside a particular custom post type (like your “work” custom post type), without a plugin?
    My problem is that when I create a custom taxonomy, it appears to be also under the normal articles or the other custom post types…

  11. Hi,
    We are using this,
    But we cant get it work with cate ID.
    We have a Cat id we want display its thumbnail please help me to do this.

    how get thumbnail image using tax id

    Please let me know.

    Thank You
    Banna Daxxip

  12. Sorry but i can get this plugin to work…no output. Maybe i do somehing wrong?!

    i use the plugin + this code and hooked it in:

    print apply_filters( ‘taxonomy-images-list-the-terms’, ”, array( ‘image_size’ => ‘detail’, ‘taxonomy’ => ‘company’, ‘after’ => ”, ‘after_image’ => ”, ‘before’ => ”, ‘before_image’ => ”, ) );

    iam getting absolutly no output … could you help me to figure it out?

  13. Sounds interesting! What if I have a few blog posts that don’t have a thumbnail image (or image in post), and there is always the same default image loaded as thumbnail in archive pages: Would the plugin load one associated to the category/tag?

    • @DanielPeiser You can certainly set it so it does that. Basically the steps would be like: First check if post thumbnail exist… If it doesn’t exist, then check for taxonomy image… if that doesn’t exist either, then return default thumbnail.

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