Contributors on our wordpress site can't preview posts. I'd like them to be able to preview any post (not just theirs) and this should include custom post types.

I can't find a specific capability to add to the contributor role like I've done with other capabilities.

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, WordPress doesn't use a separate capability for previewing posts. A user needs the ability to edit a post in order to preview it. As seen in the WP_Query::get_posts() method:

// User must have edit permissions on the draft to preview.
if ( ! current_user_can($edit_cap, $this->posts[0]->ID) ) {
    $this->posts = array();

What you could do is use a combination of the posts_results filter (which is applied before unpublished posts are handled) and the the_posts filter (which is applied after), to re-populate the posts array if the user is a Contributor.

Please double-check this for any security implications of allowing lower level users access to preview unpublished content.

Untested example:

class wpse_196050 {

    protected $posts = array();

    public function __construct() {
        add_filter( 'posts_results', array( $this, 'filter_posts_results' ), 10, 2 );
        add_filter( 'the_posts',     array( $this, 'filter_the_posts' ), 10, 2 );

    public function filter_posts_results( array $posts, WP_Query $query ) {
        $this->posts = []; // Reset posts array for each WP_Query instance
        if ( $query->is_preview ) {
            $this->posts = $posts;
        return $posts;

    public function filter_the_posts( array $posts, WP_Query $query ) {
        if ( ! empty( $this->posts ) && current_user_can( 'edit_posts' ) ) {
            $posts = $this->posts;
        return $posts;


new wpse_196050;

Using a custom plugin, and based off this answer:

//allow post preview if you are the post owner, whatever role you might have (e.g. contributor)
function jv_change_post( $posts ) {
    if(is_preview() && !empty($posts)){
            $posts[0]->post_status = 'publish';

    return $posts;
add_filter( 'posts_results', 'jv_change_post', 10, 2 );

This basically makes 'future' posts pretend like they're already published (but only in the context of the current query), which makes it possible for the contributor to view them.

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