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I have a custom post type that includes many custom fields. I would like to add them as a search target to admin search.

Currently the admin search searches only the content and the title, I would like it to search these custom fields as well.

Is there a way to do that ?

share|improve this question
I have been looking for this same thing for ages. I needed to search properties by ref number in the wordpress admin. Finally I found this brilliant plug-in: http://wordpress.org/plugins/search-everything/ Check it out; it can search any field and custom field! – Spanglish Webs Jun 27 '13 at 10:24
up vote 5 down vote accepted

It is possible, but you'll have to play a little bit with the actual query. As always, the furious posts_clauses filter comes to action:

function wpse_alter_posts_search( $pieces )
    global $wpdb;

    // Make the input save
    $search_string = like_escape( $_GET['s'] );

    // Your new WHERE clause
    $where  = $wpdb->prepare(
        "$wpdb->postmeta.%s LIKE %s",
        'YOUR_COLUMN', // Should match your col name 1)

    // Not sure if this exactly the same on your install 2)
    $pieces['where'] = str_replace( 'AND (((', "AND ((({$where} ", $pieces['where'] );

    return $pieces;
add_filter( 'posts_clauses', 'wpse_alter_posts_search' );


  1. Could be that you need to unserialize some parts to be search able.
  2. You better simply dump the $pieces to take a look into them, before altering the query (right after the $search_string was received).
share|improve this answer
Or posts_where :D – Stephen Harris Mar 8 '12 at 18:15
@StephenHarris I personally prefer the »alltogether« posts_clauses filter. No need to remember those (imho unnecessary) other filters... – kaiser Mar 8 '12 at 18:16
I guess like_escape should be a function that escapes the search string to like format. can you please add it ? I'me having problems with this... – hannit cohen Mar 9 '12 at 13:20
Added like_escape()ed to the prepare(). And no: It doesn't reformat the input search string. It makes it just save for queries, like other esc_* functions do for other tasks. – kaiser Mar 9 '12 at 13:32

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