Is there a way to display the parent categories and subcategories for a particular post (ie. for use on single.php).

I've tried using get_the_category_list(), but it displays a list like this:

  • Subcat1
  • ParentCat1
  • Subcat2
  • Subcat3
  • ParentCat2

Even if you try the 'single' or 'multiple' display argument, it doesn't give me what I want, which is this:

  • ParentCat1
    • Subcat1
    • Subcat2
  • ParentCat2
    • Subcat 3

Is it possible to get the categories to be displayed like this? Even using another method (like get_terms())?

  • though, i haven't tried, the get_the_category_list function has an optional paremeter on how to display the parents -> codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/get_the_category_list
    – gdaniel
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 18:20
  • @gdaniel Yep, but it doesn't appear to do the above as far as I can tell. It takes two options: 'single' or 'multiple'. Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 21:46
  • Please elaborate on the "subcategories for a particular post" part? Do you mean post category siblings?
    – Z. Zlatev
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 17:06

1 Answer 1


Update 1:

Thanks to @birgire for suggesting a better way:

wp_list_categories( [ 'include' => wp_list_pluck( get_the_category(), 'term_id' ) ] );

Try this in your single.php template:

$current_cats = get_the_category();
$current_cats_ids = [];

foreach ($current_cats as $cat) {
    $current_cats_ids[] = $cat->term_id;

    'include' => $current_cats_ids,
  • 7
    This assumes the user has selected the parent(s) category as well? I guess we could wrap this into: wp_list_categories( [ 'include' => wp_list_pluck( get_the_category(), 'term_id' ) ] ); for the compact version ;-)
    – birgire
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 17:41
  • @birgire :]] haven't known that WordPress has that badass function. Let me update the answer :)
    – Minh Tri
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 17:49
  • 2
    ps: just a note that if the include array is empty then wp_list_categories will show all the tree. But afaik there's always the fallback category (usually "uncategorized") so under normal circumstances it's not empty. But it's easy to fix that if necessary.
    – birgire
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 18:01
  • Why isn't include mentioned as an argument in the documentation? (developer.wordpress.org/reference/functions/wp_list_categories) Arg. Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 9:23
  • 2
    There are missing arguments in the function's docblock, like style, pad_counts, class and walker? and then there are all the arguments supported by get_categories() or get_terms(), like include etc. I filed the ticket #36693 yesterday @DjangoReinhardt
    – birgire
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 9:42

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