I want a list like in the pictue; witch is here - Posts->New->Select Categories

WordPress Add New Post, Categories

At the moment i have this

echo '<select name="pn-cats[]" size="8" style="width: 100%" multiple>';
$args = array(
    'type'                     => 'post',
'child_of'                 => 0,
'parent'                   => '',
'orderby'                  => 'name',
'order'                    => 'ASC',
'hide_empty'               => 0,
'hierarchical'             => 1,
'exclude'                  => '',
'include'                  => '',
'number'                   => '',
'taxonomy'                 => 'category',
'pad_counts'               => false 
$categories = get_categories( $args ); 
foreach ($categories as $category) {
    $option = '<option value="'.$category->cat_name.'">';
    $option .= $category->cat_name;
    $option .= ' ('.$category->count.')';
    $option .= '</option>';
    echo $option;
echo '</select>';

But i dont like my solution because the categories are not sorted like parent->child in the picture. I need a multi-selectable list.

Do you know any solution? wp_category_checklist don´t work because i need this list in a public page and not in the admin area.

  • Have you tried using wp_dropdown_categories? codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/wp_dropdown_categories
    – shanebp
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 0:01
  • @shanebp: Why would he use wp_dropdown_categories when he wants a checklist? And for wassereimer: Who told you admin functions are not available in frontend? all you need to do is wrap it in a nice shortcode and snatch the css from the dashboard.
    – tao
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 2:02
  • @AndreiGheorghiu I read about this problem on a few sides.... Thats what a few people said.... How does this work? I´ve tried a few things but it won´t work..... Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 3:16

1 Answer 1


You can make wp_category_checklist() available in any of your templates using:

require_once( ABSPATH . '/wp-admin/includes/template.php' );

If you would like to have a shortcode for it, that parses the available arguments, here's an example:

    add_shortcode('frontend-category-checklist', 'frontend_category_checklist');
function frontend_category_checklist($atts) {

    // process passed arguments or assign WP defaults
    $atts = shortcode_atts( array(
        'post_id' => 0,
        'descendants_and_self' => 0,
        'selected_cats' => false,
        'popular_cats' => false,
        'checked_ontop' => true
    ), $atts, 'frontend-category-checklist'

    // string to bool conversion, so the bool params work as expected
    $atts['selected_cats'] = to_bool( $atts['selected_cats'] );
    $atts['popular_cats'] = to_bool( $atts['popular_cats'] );
    $atts['checked_ontop'] = to_bool( $atts['checked_ontop'] );

    // load template.php from admin, where wp_category_checklist() is defined
    require_once( ABSPATH . '/wp-admin/includes/template.php' );

    // generate the checklist
    ob_start(); ?>
    <div class="categorydiv">
        <ul class="category-tabs">
            <div id="taxonomy-category" class="categorydiv">
                <div id="category-all" class="tabs-panel">
                    <ul id="categorychecklist" data-wp-lists="list:category" class="categorychecklist form-no-clear">
                        <?php wp_category_checklist(
                        );  ?>

    return ob_get_clean();
function to_bool($bool) {
    return ( is_bool($bool) ? $bool :
        ( is_numeric($bool) ? ((bool)intval($bool)) : $bool !== 'false' ) );

Now you can use [frontend-category-checklist] in any page or post. All arguments work, except for $walker.

Updated answer: I've made a fiddle with the bulk CSS that you need in order to make it look like the list in dashboard. The checkboxes don't work right in fiddle, but they work on a WordPress frontend (4.1). You are free to clean up the CSS of rules you don't actually need, I didn't have time for that.

NOTE that I have also updated the function in the answer to also generate some more html around the list. You should probably replace the old code with the new one.

  • Thank you for your solution! :) This works - but not in a custom page template. Must search why - but i will find it. Couldn´t i rum arguments directly through wp_category_checklist($args)? Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 16:33
  • Of course you could.
    – tao
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 16:36
  • I edited the _var2bool helper a few times and had 2 typos. Updated it. Should work now.
    – tao
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 16:39
  • This works fine, thank you again. But do you have an idea about the css? I´ve searched for the needed code in the tons of css files and code buti couldn´t find it -.- Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 16:06
  • I've made a fiddle with the bulk CSS. Perhaps you should rearrange it and clean up all rules that are not needed. Updated answer.
    – tao
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 16:54

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