How can I get ALL the capabilities of an existing user role (eg. Author) ? I'll be using it to quickly duplicate an existing user role, then create a new role then assign or remove capabilities to a new custom role.

  • 1
    Something like get_role( $role )->capabilities e.g get_role( 'author' )->capabilities ? ..
    – Ismail
    May 21, 2016 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


I suggest not to mess with the existing roles and capabilities in its default, it might help you some trouble when you will have a bunch of custom roles and capabilities in the future.

To answer your question, I will have an example: I need new role/user group that has almost an Administrator but don't have the the capability to edit plugins and the theme, to do that:

  1. Let's say you would like to copy the existing capabilities of Administrator, do it by:

    $admin_role_set = get_role( 'administrator' )->capabilities;
  2. You can create a new user role by using add_role, see the handbook for more details. We can then use the list of capabilities that we have from #1 by using:

    $role = 'content_admin';
    $display_name = 'Content Admin';
    add_role( $role, $display_name, $admin_role_set );
  3. By checking the Roles and Capabilities list from the handbook, we will be needing to remove edit_plugins & edit_themes capabilities, we can achieve that by using remove_cap():

    remove_cap( 'content_admin', 'edit_plugins' );
    remove_cap( 'content_admin', 'edit_themes' );
  • 1
    In the 3rd step that you outline, shouldn't the role supplied to the remove_cap method be 'content_admin' instead of 'editor' if you're continuing the example of removing the the capability to edit plugins and the theme for the newly created custom role?
    – Kory
    May 7, 2020 at 18:21
  • Edited as per @Kory comment Aug 19, 2021 at 11:16

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