Specifically, I am bringing back the 7 most recent posts in Category A, but then I want to put the first posts thumbnail in <div id=A> and the second post's thumbnail in <div id=B> and so on for the seven posts.

If this was an array, I would simply use the array position inside of the <div>, but I'm not sure how to access the individual posts once I have brought them back with query_posts.

Any ideas?


Why not just use a counter and then conditional logic?

$i = 0;
while($loop->have_posts()) : $loop->the_post();
    if($i === 0){
        echo '<div class="a">'.other_stuff().'</div>';
    } elseif($i === 1){
        echo '<div class="b">'.other_stuff().'</div>';
    } else {
        echo '<div class="default">'.other_stuff().'</div>';
  • $loop->current_post prevent the use of $i and a switch statement normally is faster than seven if / elseif – gmazzap Aug 20 '13 at 19:58
  • Thanks, G.M. That might work as I could also inject other HTML around each of the if/then or switchs. I will try it and get back. – ericgr Aug 20 '13 at 20:15
  • seven? i was told 2! and i've never had an issue using $i – GhostToast Aug 20 '13 at 20:20
  • I actually meant, thanks to GhostToast and G.M. GT, "7" is in the first sentence. I'm actually working on combining both of ideas. – ericgr Aug 20 '13 at 20:25
  • @GhostToast $i is so innocent... I don't think it can ever bring an issue, the mine was just a tip, because current_post is so comfortable – gmazzap Aug 20 '13 at 21:47

First, in general it's better to use WP_Query vs query_posts as query_posts modifies the main loop while WP_Query generates a secondary loop and causes less messiness later on.

PHP will also advance alpha variables for you with a simple ++. For example:

$div_id = 'a';
$div_id++; // $div_id now equals 'b'

For your example:

$args = array("your args here");
$my_query = new WP_Query($args);
$div_id = 'a';
if($my_query->have_posts()) {
    while($my_query->have_posts()) {
        echo '<div id="'.$div_id.'">'.the_content().'</div>';
  • Thanks, Andrew. I know that I can loop through with the 'while' and output seven identical html code blocks. However, div A is somewhere on the page and div B is somewhere else on the page surrounded by a different html block and div C is surrounded by yet a different html block. So I thought it would be easiest to access it like an array DivA=arr[1].the_title, (that is shorthand html!). Also thanks for the heads up on WP_Query. – ericgr Aug 20 '13 at 20:14

just to add to the answers already here, there's no reason why you have to output results within a control structure. the_post() is what advances the internal current_post counter and sets up the global $post variable with the current post's data. with this in mind, you can access any post within a query's results in any order-

$query = new WP_Query( $args );


the_content(); // outputs content from first post


the_content(); // outputs content from second post

$query->current_post = -1;


the_content(); // outputs content from first post again

$query->current_post = 8;


the_content(); // outputs content from 10th post
  • Thank you, Milo. I will have to take a look at this and reformat my code as needed. It seems like what I needed (but was already well underway with the other solution) – ericgr Aug 21 '13 at 20:04

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