I have a WordPress site that has a couple of custom post types. None of these custom post types allow me to sort the posts alphabetically or by date in the admin area.

I have looked all over online to try and work this out but I can't seem to find anything that works.

Do I need to apply an action on load of posts in the admin area?

  • Is working If you access the link direclty? something like wp-admin/edit.php?post_type=[your_post_type]&orderby=title&order=asc. If you click the table header is the page not being refreshed? If this is the case did you try with javascript disabled? Did you try 'Right click + open in new tab' ?
    – Pabamato
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 5:12

1 Answer 1


The 'title' and 'date' columns are WordPress default tables (even for CPTs) so they should be automatically sortable, unless those columns have been replaced.

For custom columns there is a hook for registering a column as 'sortable': https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/hooks/manage_this-screen-id_sortable_columns/

//Filter is 'manage_edit-{custom post type}_sortable_columns
//or more generally 'manage_{screen id}_sortable_columns
add_filter( 'manage_edit-cpt_sortable_columns', 'wpse221267_cpt_sortable_columns' );
function wpse221267_cpt_sortable_columns( $columns ) {
    //$columns is an array indexed by column identifier
    //and the value is a sort identifier. This sets the orderby parameter (see below)
    //Each element in $columns corresponds to a sortable column
    $columns['column_id'] = 'sort_identifier';
    return $columns;

However, this only handles the user interface: it doesn't actually implement the sort. To do that you would need to intercept the query at pre_get_posts:

add_action( 'pre_get_posts', 'wpse221267_column_orderby' );  
function wpse221267_column_orderby( $query ) {  

    //Some sanity checking, you may want to check for screen ID too.        
    if( ! is_admin() ) {

    //This value will be determined by the column clicked
    //and its associated sort identifier (see above!)
    $orderby = $query->get( 'orderby');  
    $order   = $query->get( 'order' );

    if( 'sort_identifier' == $orderby ) {  
        //Modify $query to sort by $orderby and $order.
  • Hey @Stephen Harris, Yeah I thought that would be case and I can even click the date and titles sort buttons in the header of the table. But when I click them it won't sort them. Is there anything else that could be causing this issue? Could be a plugin issue? Also I can still order the posts and pages. Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 11:57

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