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How to Add Categories to a Custom Post Type in WordPress

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Are you looking for a way to add categories to a custom post type easily?

Categories are one of the built-in taxonomies in WordPress, but they only appear in posts by default.

In this article, we’ll show you how to add categories to a custom post type in WordPress.

Adding categories to custom post types in WordPress

When You May Need to Add Categories to a Custom Post Type?

WordPress allows plugin developers and website owners to create their own content types. Similar to posts and pages, these custom post types can also have their own taxonomies like categories and tags.

For instance, if you publish movie reviews, then you may want to create a custom post type for ‘Movies’.

You may also need to organize your movies in proper topics, for that you’ll need a custom taxonomy. You can create a taxonomy called genre.

However, what if you wanted to use the same categories you use for your blog posts with the Movies post type?

This is when you need to enable categories for your custom post type. This would allow you to use the same categories for both your blog posts as well as your custom post type.

That being said, now let’s take a look at how to easily add categories to a custom post type in WordPress.

Add Categories to a Custom Post Type with a Plugin

If you’re a beginner, we recommend using the Custom Post Type UI plugin to create custom post types.

With the Custom Post Type UI plugin, you have the option to associate your custom post type with any built-in or custom taxonomy, including categories.

First, you need to install and activate the Custom Post Type UI plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon installation, you need to visit CPT UI » Add/Edit Post Types to create a new custom post type or edit an existing custom post type you created with the plugin.

Editing post types with CPT UI plugin

Scroll down to the bottom where the Settings Options are. From there, you will see the Taxnomies area.

You need to check the box next to categories and save your custom post type.

Turn on categories for a Custom Post Type in WordPress

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save Post Type’ button to store your settings.

Now, you can edit any content under that particular post type, and you’ll see the option to select categories in the right column in the WordPress block editor.

Category added to a custom post type

Manually Adding Categories to a Custom Post Type with Code

If you created your custom post type by adding the code in your theme’s functions.php file, a site-specific plugin, or in a code snippets plugin, then you will have to modify the code to add category as supported taxonomy.

All you need to do is add this line in the arguments for your custom post type.

'taxonomies'  => array( 'category' ),

It is likely that you may already have this line in the existing code for your custom post type with some other custom taxonomy in it. If you do, then you just need to add a comma after that and add a category, like this:

'taxonomies'          => array('topics', 'category' ),

Here is a full example of code where we have created a custom post type called ‘Movies’ with support for built-in categories.

function custom_post_type() {
// Set UI labels for Custom Post Type
    $labels = array(
        'name'                => _x( 'Movies', 'Post Type General Name', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'singular_name'       => _x( 'Movie', 'Post Type Singular Name', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'menu_name'           => __( 'Movies', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'parent_item_colon'   => __( 'Parent Movie', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'all_items'           => __( 'All Movies', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'view_item'           => __( 'View Movie', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'add_new_item'        => __( 'Add New Movie', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'add_new'             => __( 'Add New', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'edit_item'           => __( 'Edit Movie', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'update_item'         => __( 'Update Movie', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'search_items'        => __( 'Search Movie', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'not_found'           => __( 'Not Found', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'not_found_in_trash'  => __( 'Not found in Trash', 'twentythirteen' ),
// Set other options for Custom Post Type
    $args = array(
        'label'               => __( 'movies', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'description'         => __( 'Movie news and reviews', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'labels'              => $labels,
        'supports'            => array( 'title', 'editor', 'excerpt', 'author', 'thumbnail', 'comments', 'revisions', 'custom-fields', ),
        'hierarchical'        => false,
        'public'              => true,
        'show_ui'             => true,
        'show_in_menu'        => true,
        'show_in_nav_menus'   => true,
        'show_in_admin_bar'   => true,
        'menu_position'       => 5,
        'can_export'          => true,
        'has_archive'         => true,
        'exclude_from_search' => false,
        'publicly_queryable'  => true,
        'capability_type'     => 'page',
        'show_in_rest'        => true,
        // This is where we add taxonomies to our CPT
        'taxonomies'          => array( 'category' ),
    // Registering your Custom Post Type
    register_post_type( 'movies', $args );
/* Hook into the 'init' action so that the function
* Containing our post type registration is not 
* unnecessarily executed. 
add_action( 'init', 'custom_post_type', 0 );

Displaying Multiple Post Types on Category Page

By default, the category pages on your WordPress site will only display the default ‘Posts’ post type.

Missing post type

To display your custom post types on the same category page as your default posts, you need to add this code into your theme’s functions.php file or in a code snippets plugin:

add_filter('pre_get_posts', 'query_post_type');
function query_post_type($query) {
  if( is_category() ) {
    $post_type = get_query_var('post_type');
        $post_type = $post_type;
        $post_type = array('nav_menu_item', 'post', 'movies'); // don't forget nav_menu_item to allow menus to work!
    return $query;

Note: Don’t forget to replace ‘movies’ with the name of your own custom post type.

We recommend adding this code using WPCode, the best code snippets plugin on the market. WPCode makes it safe and easy to add custom code in WordPress without editing your theme’s functions.php file.

To get started, you need to install and activate the free WPCode plugin. If you need help, see our tutorial on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once the plugin is activated, go to Code Snippets » Add Snippet from the WordPress dashboard.

From the Add Snippet page, hover your mouse over the ‘Add Your Custom Code (New Snippet)’ option and click the ‘Use snippet’ button.

Add a new custom code snippet in WPCode

Next, add a title for your snippet at the top of the page, which is just for your reference and can be anything to help you remember what the code is for.

Then, paste the code from above into the ‘Code Preview’ box and select ‘PHP Snippet’ as the code type from the dropdown menu on the right.

Paste code into the Code Preview box and choose the code type

After that, simply toggle the switch at the top of the page from ‘Inactive’ to ‘Active’ and click the ‘Save Snippet’ button.

Activate and save your custom code snippet

You can now visit a category archive page and it will display your entries from your custom post type.

Post type displayed on categories archive page

We hope this article helped you learn how to add categories to your custom post type in WordPress. You can use the same methods to add tags to your custom post types as well. See our guide on categories vs. tags to learn more.

You may also want to see our expert pick of the must have WordPress plugins to grow your website or these tips on how to increase your blog traffic.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

40 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
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  2. Chandu Mullangi says

    Hi tanks for this article

    To Displaying Multiple Post Types on Category Page code is working well.

    I want to display multiple post types on Tags page, Can you please share that code.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      To have tags added to your custom post types you would add ‘post_tag’ to your taxonomy array so it would look like:

      ‘taxonomies’ => array( ‘category’, ‘post_tag’ ),


  3. Muhamad Shahzad says

    How can we separate the category lists custom post type from the blog post categories. i added above code and it works. But the issue is categories of this custom post type and blog posts are mixed. they should be separated.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      The goal of this tutorial is to have them mix, for what you are looking for it may be best to use a different category for the custom post types for them to not appear in your category archive pages.


  4. Poulomi Basu says

    I used this code and it worked perfectly! The CPT shows in the post category that I chose for it.
    But it doesn’t show in my blog archive. Like the default archive, which shows all posts.
    How can I show it there as well?

    Thanks a lot!

  5. Connie says

    Please tell me how to add a CPT-category to a menu?

    I have the CPT “article” with category “car” and “truck”

    I want to have a custom menu with these entries:

    All – cars – trucks

    I search and search and don’t find it. I see the categories in the menu-administration and I can add them to the menue, but the result of these links = blank pages
    I suppose that the listed categories are meant as post-categpories and not as cpt-categpories…

    Do you have a hint for me?


    • WPBeginner Support says

      You may want to check your screen options in the menu area to see if the custom post type is an option there for you to add that is unchecked currently


  6. Vico says

    I’ve created a post type called products and use core wp categories,
    My product url structure is bearing 12
    My category pages show
    Why product url doesn’t display the Category inside the Url? Like this bearing 12
    My custom post permalink is %category%%post%
    I saved the permalink but still showing the same structure

  7. dharamjeet says

    hey! my default posts category list shows in custom post type category list

    please help me to correct it

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Hi Moises,

      This string is used for translation. If your theme supports translation, then you need to replace it with your theme’s text domain. If you are unsure about what to use here, then ask your theme support. You can also paste it as is and those strings will be ignored.


  8. Brian says

    FYI, this will break your bulk edit in the admin. I added this to a bunch of post types and when I go to bulk edit, the post_type part of the query becomes “Array” instead of the post type its trying to edit in the admin.

    To get around this you just need to add this before if( is_category() ):

    `if ( is_admin() ) return;`

  9. rose says

    Hi, I need some help.
    I have 2 CPT and I don’t want them to have a shared taxonomy.
    CPT 1
    – Taxonomy (Types)
    – Type A
    – Type B
    CPT 2
    – Taxonomy (Types)
    – Type c
    – Type D
    Note: I dont want to show here the types A&B from CPT 1
    Thank you

  10. Arun Sathiya says

    The displaying CPT in category pages code works like a charm, thank you! But, there is something that you should note though. The latest post / CPT post tagged with a category name does not show up on that category page immediately. It shows up only on the second similar action – only when another post / CPT post is added to the same category, the first post appears on that category page. is there a fix to this?

  11. Sonjoe says

    I am using CPT UI. I created custom post type “jobs” and allowed categories. But this same categories is also on Posts. They using the same categories. It is possible, that my custom post type “jobs” will have own categories and classic posts will have own categories? Thanks

    • Rizky says

      Same question. Do we need to run a custom query if we want to create a category archive of that custom post type?

  12. fathur says

    how do you deal with Recent Posts sidebar widget that also list the menu item?

    $post_type = array(‘nav_menu_item’, ‘post’, ‘movies’);

  13. vivek says

    Thanks for the great tutorial here. :)

    Can you please tell me how can i show custom posts by category on separate page.

    Default category page is working properly, it displays the posts. but when I tried to display posts under the same category in a different page, it returns empty array. Pleas help

  14. Matthew Wright says

    Thank you! This is awesome. It solved simply a problem that I’ve been working on with much more convoluted solutions (that didn’t work).

    One question though, I’ve never added the taxonomy declaration when creating custom taxonomies for my CPTs and the taxonomies have always worked. I added just the ‘category’ to see what would happen and it worked beautifully, added post categories to my CPT with no ill effect on the existing custom taxonomies.

    Is it best practice though to put custom tax in the CPT arguments?

    Thanks again for sharing :)

  15. Daisy says

    Custom code for adding category and sub categorues in custom post type.If i choose $post_type = array(‘nav_menu_item’, ‘post’, ‘myPostType’); code for displaying my categories it only display that category only but if i reuse the same function for another category it won’t work.please give any idea

  16. Chris Najman says

    Hello. I successfully created a custom post type (Artwork) in functions.php. Then I created a custom taxonomy (‘hierarchical’ => true) which means I can add custom categories when I create a new Artwork post.

    I was wondering if, within the same custom taxonomy function, I could pre-define the categories for the Artwork post.

    What I want are only two categories to be selectable by the user : 1) Painting, 2) Sculpture. I don’t want the user to be able to add any more categories. Ideally, the user would be ‘forced’ to choose one or the other category, i.e. the post wouldn’t be publishable unless a category had been chosen.

    Is this possible?

  17. Mau Ferrusca says

    I am adding more then one categories to several custom post types.

    How can you add more than one in the line:

    $post_type = array(‘nav_menu_item’, ‘post’, ‘myPostType’);



    • Mau Ferrusca says

      Already solved my problem.

      Perhaps instinctively, I started listing my custom post types as an array, but turns out that all I needed to do was to list them inside the $post_type object, separated with commas.


  18. Eren says

    Hi, i have a question. I’m using a plugin as a post type and it has its own category area. I want to use my wordpress’s core categories in this plugin but couldnt able to do it so far. I used the plugin above and after that it creates 2 categories area under the plugin and when i want to show the posts under that post type with categories, it shows nothing as the plugin’s own category list is empty. I tried lots of things including manipulating the code of the plugin yet none solved my issue. Is there a way you can suggest?

  19. David says

    Has this article been updated recently to work with the current version of WP? I noticed the plugin used hasn’t been updated in over 2 years, which makes me a little hesitant to use it.

  20. Piyush says

    Thanks for the great tutorial. can you please tell me how can i show custom posts by category on separate page. Lets say i have CPT “talent” and a category “art”. I have two different posts one is created under CPT “talents” and other is general post created under “posts”. Both posts are assigned to “art” category(this is common for both CPT and general posts). Now i know that for the general posts you can view the category page as For CPT category page i guess the url should be but it is giving me 404 error.

  21. Robert says

    Well done thanks!
    I have a couple of troubles:
    – in “Categories” widget appear the Categories of Custom Post Types but on clic it returns a “nothing found” message.
    – in “Recent Posts” widget don’t appear Custom Post Type Posts.
    There is a way to fix it?

  22. Hemang Rindani says

    Interesting article. WordPress is a powerful enterprise web content management service that allows a company to have efficient websites that suits their business requirements. It’s easy to use and effortless tools makes the development look easier. From responsive design to security and expand-ability, WordPress CMS has it all in it however, searching the right tools for a website is important.
    Adding category to custom post type sometimes becomes a necessity for differentiating one post from other where the methods mentioned in the article will be useful. Using plugin will be an easy method where even a non-technical person will be able to implement this, however with this article, I don’t feel that using code to add this feature by a non-technical person will be difficult.
    Thanks for sharing.

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