I'm researching this problem for days without any success... What I want is very simple: to see my custom taxonomy terms sorted by ID on the admin page. I can't believe that something this simple can't be accomplished without plugins.

(I already have a sortable custom column, but it would be important to set the default order as well.)

So far I have found the following two solutions, which doesn't work for some reason:

1) Registering the taxonomy with "sort => true":

register_taxonomy( 'issue', 'post', array( 'hierarchical' => false, 'labels' => $labels, 'public' => true, 'sort' => true, 'args' => array( 'orderby' => 'id' ), 'query_var' => 'issue', 'rewrite' => array( 'slug' => 'issues' ) ) );

Source: http://codex.wordpress.org/Taxonomies#Registering_a_taxonomy

2) Filtering "request" and adding "orderby":

function my_default_orderby( $vars ) {
  $screen = get_current_screen();

  if ( 'edit-issue' == $screen->id ) {
    if ( !isset( $vars['orderby'] ) ) {
      $vars['orderby'] = 'id';

  return $vars;
if ( is_admin() )
add_filter( 'request', 'my_default_orderby' );

Source: http://scribu.net/wordpress/custom-sortable-columns.html#comment-4456

  • 2
    Downvote for the "no Plugins" restriction. Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 21:33

3 Answers 3


You need to take a look at


and then add an extended class and make use of the WP_list_Table Class and documentation. basically you're overriding the order and orderby in some custom plugin.

Btw: "No Plugins" is never a good idea as plugins may show you how it works in code and therefore be a) a valid answer and b) a good reference or starting point.


My decision while I made wp theme is do that by javascript: in general.js which included in backend

add_action('wp_head', 'thememakers_theme_wp_head');
function thememakers_theme_admin_head() {
 wp_enqueue_script('thememakers_theme_admin_js', THEMEMAKERS_THEME_URI . '/admin/js/general.js');

in that general.js write:

jQuery(document).ready(function() {
//for events
    var event_link=jQuery('.wp-submenu-wrap a[href$="?post_type=event"]').eq(0);
    jQuery(event_link).attr('href', jQuery(event_link).attr('href')+"&orderby=ev_mktime&order=desc");

where ev_mktime is custom post meta.

That is all. Simple and power.


How about just using get_terms( 'taxonomy-slug', array( 'orderby' => id,'hierarchical' => 1 ) ); and then iterating through that?

  • Thanks for the tip! Unfortunately, the page where I have to reorder the terms is the "edit-tags.php", where the terms are listed in a table. I have no idea how could I rebuild this table with a "get_terms" query. (In other admin customizations I'm already using "get_terms" to list the terms with the proper order.) Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 16:32

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