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How to Add Taxonomy Images “Category Icons” in WordPress

Do you want to add taxonomy images in WordPress? Taxonomies are a way to group things in WordPress. Categories and tags are two default taxonomies that comes built-in with every WordPress blog. In this article, we will show you how to add taxonomy images in WordPress. In other words, you will be able to add image icons for your categories, tags, and other custom taxonomies.

How to Add Taxonomy Images in WordPress

Why Add Taxonomy Images in WordPress?

Custom post types and taxonomies allow WordPress to become a full-fledged CMS. By default, WordPress comes with category and tags as two default taxonomies that you can use to sort your posts.

You can also create your own custom taxonomies and associate them with any post types on your WordPress site. This allows your users to see all other content filed under those taxonomies.

With taxonomy images, you can add featured images or icons to the terms in each taxonomy.

For example, each category on your site can have its own icon, which can be displayed on category archive pages, category lists, and so on.

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

Adding Taxonomy Images in WordPress

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

Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Taxonomy Images page to configure plugin settings.

Taxonomy images settings

You will see a list of taxonomies available on your WordPress site. Select the taxonomies where you want to enable the taxonomy images feature and then click on the save changes button.

In the screenshot above, we enabled taxonomy images for categories.

To add images to each category, you will need to head over to Posts » Categories page.

If you enabled taxonomy images feature for some other taxonomy, then you will need to visit that particular taxonomy page in your WordPress admin area.

On the categories page, you will notice a new column labeled ‘Image’ in your category list. Since you haven’t added any images to categories yet, it will show a default blank image with an add button for each category.

Adding thumbnail images to your categories

Go ahead and click on the add button below the blank image. This will bring up the default WordPress media uploader popup.

You can select an image from your WordPress media library or upload a new image. After that, go ahead and repeat the process to add images for all terms in your taxonomy.

You can remove an image at any time you want by simply clicking on the remove button below the image.

Displaying Taxonomy Images on Your WordPress Site

To display taxonomy images on your WordPress site, 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 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.

You need to download the file to your computer and open it 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.

print apply_filters( 'taxonomy-images-queried-term-image', '' );

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.

Taxonomy image on taxonomy archive page

You can use custom CSS to style this image.

Advanced users can look for more code examples on the plugin’s homepage.

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily add taxonomy images in WordPress. You may also want to see our list of 10 most wanted category hacks and plugins for WordPress.

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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,


  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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