Take the 2-minute tour ×
WordPress Development Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for WordPress developers and administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Why I'm doing this you might ask? I'm developing a website for a business with a portfolio where the gallery items are posts. These posts are populated through custom fields and category selections, nothing else.

For each item, there could be a title/content or not, it depends on the item in question and that's entirely up to the client. They are the ones populating their portfolio and not me. I'm just building the system for them to easily publish whatever they want.

I realize that WordPress might have some issues with posts without a title, that's why I implemented (in functions.php) a function to auto set a title for the post if none was attributed. This post auto title will never be shown on the website cause I look for it and omit it if it's there, otherwise, show the attributed title to the post.

The function for that is:

add_action('publish_post', 'insert_automatic_post_title', 10, 2);

function insert_automatic_post_title($postID, $post) {
    if($post->post_title === '') {
        $post->post_title = '['.get_the_date('d/m/Y @ H:i:s').']';

        if($post->post_name == $postID) {
            $post->post_name = sanitize_title($post->post_title);

        $result = wp_update_post($post);

The only problem is that if title is empty and the content is also empty (with some custom fields already defined) that function above will never be called and the post won't be published, it will remain in draft status.

The only solution I could think of was to create some shortcode like [empty_post] and ask the client to set that on the post content when he does not wish to attribute a title/content to the post. That shortcode could print something like <!-- EMPTY POST --> or even nothing at all. The fact that there's something in the post content, the function above is called, an automatic title is set and the post is published.

But I'm looking for a way where the client doesn't need to have more trouble (i.e: inserting a shortcode into the post content) than what's needed, I want it to be as simple as possible. Without messing with WordPress source code of course.

Can anyone think of another way with actions/filters?

share|improve this question
You can publish posts with no content as long as you have a title, have you tried inserting the title using wp_insert_post_data –  Wyck Sep 9 '11 at 2:20
Yes, I couldn't make it work... That function doesn't seem to be called when you press the "publish" button. At least it doesn't happen if you have an empty title/content. –  Ricardo Amaral Sep 9 '11 at 12:25

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If the post content, title and excerpt are empty WordPress will prevent the insertion of the post. You can trick WordPress by first filtering the input array so empty values are set to something else, and then later resetting these values back to empty strings. This will bypass the standard check.

add_filter('pre_post_title', 'wpse28021_mask_empty');
add_filter('pre_post_content', 'wpse28021_mask_empty');
function wpse28021_mask_empty($value)
    if ( empty($value) ) {
        return ' ';
    return $value;

add_filter('wp_insert_post_data', 'wpse28021_unmask_empty');
function wpse28021_unmask_empty($data)
    if ( ' ' == $data['post_title'] ) {
        $data['post_title'] = '';
    if ( ' ' == $data['post_content'] ) {
        $data['post_content'] = '';
    return $data;
share|improve this answer
This solves it :) I'm now allowed to award the bounty for the time being, but I'll do it tomorrow. –  Ricardo Amaral Sep 11 '11 at 22:04

A quick and dirty solution would be to use javascript/jQuery ... do some detection to check which post type it will be executing on, then you do the following:

  1. find the post title field

  2. hide the post title field

  3. auto populate the post title field

Most of the wordpress backend operates with javascript anyway, and the likelyhood of a user using the admin without JS is low. And even if that happens, you can detect and add a warning/message of some sort.

share|improve this answer
The Javascript is not a problem but that's not the kind of solution I'm looking for. I appreciate your suggestion nonetheless. –  Ricardo Amaral Sep 11 '11 at 15:25

I'd just wrap these in DIVs and use display:none in my CSS.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.