I am trying to create a widget to display all the top level categories of my custom taxonomy that have items in them. If you click on one of the categories, you will go to that page and the current category is bolded in the side widget. I have managed to do this by using wp_list_categories() and styling the class .current-cat.

What I now want to do is to display the children of that current category indented and below that current, bolded category, like this:

enter image description here

How should I go about to do this? Can I still use wp_list_categories().

The arguments I am currently using for that function is

$args = array(
    "taxonomy" => "kategori",
    "title_li" => "",
    "orderby" => "name",
    "order" => "ASC",
    "parent"  => 0

1 Answer 1


I think you should be able to achive what you need with wp_list_categories() and a little bit of custom CSS.

I tested this, with the default WP category and an custom taxonomy.

First, remove the "parent" => 0 from your wp_list_categories() function. I dont know where you got this from.

And also be sure to wrap some <ul> around your list function. wp_list_categories() seems to generate <li>´s only but no wrapper around it.

I tested this code:

$args = array(
    'taxonomy' => 'kategori',
    'title_li' => '',
    'orderby' => 'name',
    'order' => 'ASC',

echo '<ul class="category-list">';

wp_list_categories( $args ); 

echo '</ul>';

With that you will already see an indented, hierarchical list of all categories. (OK yeah, it also depends of your theme CSS if the children will be indented or not)

Now if a category is active (means, if you are currently on a category page) the single list-item of that category will have a special class, .current-cat.

With that class you could simply hide and show the indented sub-items (ul element with the class .children) like so:

/* hide all sub menus */
.category-list ul.children {display:none;}

/* only show sub menus on the current cat */
.category-list .current-cat ul.children {display:block;}

Update: Just tested this with a custom taxonomy, it is working without a problem. Edited the above answer.

Also be sure there are some posts which actually have some custom taxonomy-terms added. When you just have some empty taxonomy-terms nothing will be displayed.

Update: If you are on a category child page, we can also use some CSS.

The parent menu-item in wp_list_categories() gets also a special class if you are viewing a child, .current-cat-parent.

So you could use

.category-list .current-cat-parent ul.children {display:block;}

Or the full snippet

.category-list .current-cat ul.children,  
.category-list .current-cat-parent ul.children {display:block;}

However another limitation you will run into with this solution, if you are on a single post view, wp_list_categories() will be collapsed, cause no special classes will be generated (because you are not in a category view).

Maybe the post classes can help you here, as they generate some custom classes based on the current taxonomy/terms like this <taxonomyslug>-<termslug> and add these classes to the current .post element.

For example:

  • Amazing solution! The children are displayed correctly below the current category in the list, but when you go to any of the children they disappear from the category list. This is not weird since the current category no longer is a parent, but how would you go about to display in the list which parent category and which child category you are in?
    – soomro
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 17:40
  • @soomro I edited the answer and added a new CSS snippet so you can show the children when you are on a child. However I added some more info to the answer regarding single post views. If you need this I think you must look at another solution.
    – LWS-Mo
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 9:46

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