I am writing a plugin in which I am adding a custom post type(called 'events') using register_post_type. Additionally I want it to use single-event.php instead of the regular single.php. The current structure of the plugin folder is :

  • plugin-main-file.php
  • single-event.php

I know its possible if I place it inside my theme directory, but I want it to be placed inside the plugin and utilize it. How do I do it? Any custom function for that?


2 Answers 2

function get_custom_post_type_template($single_template) {
     global $post;

     if ($post->post_type == 'events') {
          $single_template = dirname( __FILE__ ) . '/single-event.php';
     return $single_template;
add_filter( 'single_template', 'get_custom_post_type_template' );


Or you could use:

add_filter( 'template_include', 'single_event_template', 99 );

function single_event_template( $template ) {

    if ( is_singular('event') ) {
        $new_template = locate_template( array( 'single-event.php' ) );
        if ( '' != $new_template ) {
            return $new_template ;

    return $template;


Or you could use locate_template

  • Using locate_template the file will be searched in theme folder, where OP says it should be in plugin folder. My +1 is for first approach.
    – gmazzap
    Commented Aug 16, 2014 at 11:50
  • locate_template is used in many quality plugins to display templates. Commented Aug 16, 2014 at 12:10
  • It is used in many quality plugins to display templates from theme. See source: that function can't be used to load files from something external to theme, e.g. in plugin folder.
    – gmazzap
    Commented Aug 16, 2014 at 12:18
  • Can if the template is included in the plugin. Look at Genesis WooCommerce Connect. Commented Aug 16, 2014 at 12:28
  • That plugins support theming. It means that firts files are searched in theme (using locate_template) if the file is not found in theme, then the files are loaded from plugin folder using load_template
    – gmazzap
    Commented Aug 16, 2014 at 12:32

This is what I've always done. Not sure if you need both $wp_query and $post but it's always worked for me.

Just put this in plugin-main-file.php

 * Add single template for events post type plugin
function custom_template_events_post_type_plugin($single) {
      global $wp_query, $post;
      if ($post->post_type == "events"){
        $template = dirname( __FILE__ ) . '/single-event.php';
        if(file_exists( $template ))
            return $template;
        return $single;
    add_filter('single_template', 'custom_template_events_post_type_plugin');

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