I'm using Advanced Custom Fields / ACF to create custom fields. One of them is a list of checkboxes that display some options (option1, option2, option3...).

Now I want to display all options of this field on a separate page on the frontend like so:

- option 1
- option 2
- option 3
- ...

How can I retrieve all options with keys from ACF?

  • Please be a bit more clear about what exactly you're trying to achieve. ACF is built to show the output of the custom fields on the frontend, not to allow frontend input.
    – SickHippie
    Mar 28, 2012 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


The get_field_object ACF function can be used to get info and options for a specific field.

First you need the field key of the specific field you wish to output. When editing a field group, click on the screen options tab at the top of the page. You should see an option to toggle the display of the field key (it is hidden by default to save space):

Field Key

Once you have the key, you can load the field object and output its values:

$field_key = "field_5039a99716d1d";
$field = get_field_object($field_key);

if( $field )
    echo '<select name="' . $field['key'] . '">';
        foreach( $field['choices'] as $k => $v )
            echo '<option value="' . $k . '">' . $v . '</option>';
    echo '</select>';
  • It would be nice if we could reference the name, as easily as it is to use the key. this way if have this in a plugin and ever needed to test it on another instance of WordPress with acf enabled, you don't have to hunt down the key and change it again just because your in environment B.
    – klewis
    Aug 9, 2018 at 15:41

If you're trying to output something if a checkbox was checked, use:

<?php if(in_array('news', get_field('checkbox') )): ?>
    <h1>News was ticked!</h1>
<?php endif; ?>

If you're trying to just display a list of the checked options, use this:

<p>Categories: <?php get_field('checkbox'); ?></p>

This will give you an array of values that you can manage with a foreach declaration. Using the_field('checkbox') will give you a comma separated string of the options that you can split up as well.

I would also suggest you go to ACF's site and go through the documentation. Most questions of this type will be answered there in decent detail, and the developer is active in his support forums as well.

EDIT: If you're wanting the list of available options output into a page for generating a dynamic query, I have just the thing. This is a piece I just built out yesterday for pulling a list of meta values from a given custom field key (using ACF). I've made it fairly generic for you. There's another chunk of JS for handling the ajax request, and a rather convoluted piece of php that outputs the resulting posts. I can't really rewrite those - the JS is standard WP forward-facing ajax call/response, and the PHP is a mess of conditional checks for the 12 different ACF fields we're displaying (2 of which are repeaters). The basics are this code here, the button onClick calls the ajax function in a separate JS file, and the php for the ajax function itself essentially sets up an array of arguments for the query, one of which is $selectedOption or $_POST['option'] as meta_value. That gets fed to a new WP_Query( $args );, which is then used in a loop, the output of which gets fed back to the js via add_action('wp_ajax_the_ajax_hook', 'fetch_option_list'); and add_action( 'wp_ajax_nopriv_the_ajax_hook', 'fetch_option_list' ); //for non logged-in users.

 // Get list of meta_values for given meta_key and post_type (page, post, custom post type)
 function meta_list($key = '', $type = '', $status = 'publish'){
 global $wpdb;
    $r = $wpdb->get_col($wpdb->prepare( "
    SELECT DISTINCT pm.meta_value FROM {$wpdb->postmeta} pm
    LEFT JOIN {$wpdb->posts} p ON p.ID = pm.post_id
    WHERE pm.meta_key = '%s'
    AND p.post_status = '%s'
    AND p.post_type = '%s'
    ORDER BY pm.meta_value ASC", $key, $status, $type));
    return $r;

 function meta_ajax_frontend(){
    $formlist = meta_list('metakey', 'posttype');
    echo '<form id="optionSelect">';
    echo '<select id="optionList" name="optionList">';
    foreach($formlist as $fl => $val) {
        echo '<option>' . $val . '</option>';
    echo '</select>';
    echo '<input name="action" type="hidden" value="the_ajax_hook" />
    <input id="submit_button" value = "Search" type="button" onClick="fetch_meta();" />
    <div id="meta_list">
    Please select an option from the list
  • Mm, if i do this, i will output the options assigned to the "post", what i need is to show all options in a "page" as a complete list of options.
    – Bob
    Mar 28, 2012 at 14:03
  • I'm curious as to why you need the backend's option list showing on the frontend. Are you wanting to just display the options list with the items selected in the admin selected? If you're trying to use this as part of a form (allowing user alteration of the checked data), this isn't the right plugin or method to do so. However, if you're wanting the option list to use as pre-filter for rewriting the query, I may have just the thing for you. I'll edit my above post with that code here shortly.
    – SickHippie
    Mar 28, 2012 at 16:04
  • Hi im Bob with another acc, I need the backend's options to create a kind of "menu" with them. I think that your code retrieves posts and the options assigned to them. I only need the list of options like the one that appears on the backend when you create a post. I will keep working with your code to see if i can figure out something. Thanks @SickHippie
    – IOrlandoni
    Mar 28, 2012 at 19:51
  • No, it pulls the list of options that have been selected from that checkbox - that is to say, it says "here's the checkbox, there are posts that have been assigned values 'option 1', 'option 2','option 4' and so on. It literally just pulls the meta_value list based on that meta_key. I needed it for a dynamic list, but if you created a draft post will all checkboxes selected it will pull all options out in an array for you. That's the array I'm using the foreach to loop through. The later functions bring the list of posts via ajax, but I left that bit out.
    – SickHippie
    Mar 28, 2012 at 20:11

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