In WordPress shortcodes, how can I pass boolean attributes?
Both of [shortcode boolean_attribute="true"] or [shortcode boolean_attribute=true] are giving string values.


There would be no problem for users who know what they're doing if I use the trick which was commented by @brasofilo. But some users will get lost if they give an attribute false value and receive true value. So is there any other solution?

  • 2
    Simply don't pass the attribute and you'll have false, otherwise true.
    – brasofilo
    Oct 18, 2013 at 10:33
  • Thanks @brasofilo. But is there any other solution? I think some users will get lost if they give an attribute "false" value, but they will get "true" value. Oct 18, 2013 at 10:35

3 Answers 3


Is easy to use 0 and 1 values and then typecasting inside the function:

[shortcode boolean_attribute='1'] or [shortcode boolean_attribute='0']

but if you want you can also strictly check for 'false' and assign it to boolean, in this way you can also use:

[shortcode boolean_attribute='false'] or [shortcode boolean_attribute='true']


add_shortcode( 'shortcode', 'shortcode_cb' );

function shortcode_cb( $atts ) {
  extract( shortcode_atts( array(
    'boolean_attribute' => 1
  ), $atts ) );
  if ( $boolean_attribute === 'false' ) $boolean_attribute = false; // just to be sure...
  $boolean_attribute = (bool) $boolean_attribute;
  • 8
    Do not use extract(). :)
    – fuxia
    Oct 18, 2013 at 10:53
  • That's great answer. But I thought it would be great if users had true or false choice. Sorry I cannot accept your answer as accepted. Oct 18, 2013 at 10:53
  • @SodbilegGansukh this code works also with 'true' and 'false'
    – gmazzap
    Oct 18, 2013 at 10:56
  • @toscho I just copied and pasted from codex ;)
    – gmazzap
    Oct 18, 2013 at 10:57
  • 3
    @SodbilegGansukh All arguments are passed as strings, because they can be entered (typed) as strings only. There is no other way than this answer. Try to type a stringless boolean value …
    – fuxia
    Oct 18, 2013 at 10:59

As an extension to @G.M. answer (which is the only possible way to do this), here's a slightly shortened/beautified and and an extended version (which I personally prefer):

Shortened/Beautified variant

It's enough to do a boolean check for the contained value. If it's true, the result will be (bool) true, else it will be false. This produces a one case true, everything else false result.

add_shortcode( 'shortcodeWPSE', 'wpse119294ShortcodeCbA' );
function wpse119294ShortcodeCbA( $atts ) {
    $args = shortcode_atts( array(
        'boolAttr' => 'true'
    ), $atts, 'shortcodeWPSE' );

    $args['boolAttr'] = 'true' === $args['boolAttr'];

Extended/User-safe variant

The reason why I prefer this version is that it allows the user to type in on/yes/1 as an alias for true. This reduces the chance for user errors when the user doesn't remember what the actual value for true was.

add_shortcode( 'shortcodeWPSE', 'wpse119294ShortcodeCbA' );
function wpse119294ShortcodeCbA( $atts ) {
    $args = shortcode_atts( array(
        'boolAttr' => 'true'
    ), $atts, 'shortcodeWPSE' );

    $args['boolAttr'] = filter_var( $args['boolAttr'], FILTER_VALIDATE_BOOLEAN );

Additional notes:

1) Always pass the 3rd argument for shortcode_atts(). Else the shortcode attributes filter is impossible to target.

// The var in the filter name refers to the 3rd argument.
apply_filters( "shortcode_atts_{$shortcode}", $out, $pairs, $atts );

2) Never use extract(). Even core wants to reduce those calls. It's equally worse to global variables, as IDEs don't stand a chance to resolve the extracted contents and will throw failure messages.

  • 1
    Wow, that's a great answer. Thank you so much. I wish I had enough reputation to vote up for your answer. And thank you so much for your advice. Oct 18, 2013 at 11:16
  • 1
    I voted on your behalf, Sodbileg. :)
    – Dero
    Oct 18, 2013 at 11:50
  • wp_validate_boolean() function in WordPress 4.0.0 or above is helpful in validating boolean values. Function Reference developer.wordpress.org/reference/functions/wp_validate_boolean Sep 8, 2018 at 6:34
  • @AamerShahzad This is a (imho unnecessarily added) alternative to filter_var( $var, FILTER_VALIDATE_BOOLEAN )., what even the docblock of this function itself states.
    – kaiser
    Sep 8, 2018 at 19:53
  • @kaiser this is just for the information. Sep 10, 2018 at 13:41

Here a shorter simple version, building on gmazzap's answer:

Use '1' or '0', then cast using a double bang "!!" which changes a "truthy/falsey" value to it's boolean equivalent

note this will NOT work with "true" and "false" strings, only "1" and "0"

[myshortcode myvar="0"]

myshortcodefunction( $args )
   $myvar = !! $args['myvar'];
   var_dump($myvar); // prints bool(false)

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