I need opposite of this:

<?php if ( get_post_meta($post->ID, 'price_list_category1', true) )  : ?>style="display:none;"<?php endif; ?>

In other words I want style="display:none;" only when meta data doesn't exist.

I thought it would be straightforward like if ( get_post_meta($post->ID, 'price_list_category1', true but this true/false turns out to be a completely different stuff.

any ideas?

Thank you.

4 Answers 4


You could use the empty function inside your if as such :

<?php if( empty( get_post_meta( $post->ID, 'price_list_category1', true ) ) ) : ?>style="display:none;"<?php endif; ?>

The above returns an error, you should assign the return value to a variable. See my edit below.


empty might not be the best option depending on the values you store in the meta. Values like false, 0 etc... will be considered empty.

Check the PHP manual for the full list of values that are considered empty.


You can try assigning the meta to a variable, and using that in the if statement.

      $price_list = get_post_meta( $post->ID, 'price_list_category1', true );

And then...

 if( empty( $price_list) ) : ?>style="display:none"<?php endif; ?>

  • 1
    I tried this, it gives Fatal error: Can't use function return value in write context
    – user8842
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 19:46
  • You could assign the meta return value to a variable and use that variable inside the if. See my edit.
    – Shane
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 19:53
  • it appears empty has limitations, and need plain variable to do its magic. one of those php limitations that make no sense.
    – user8842
    Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 9:04
  • Some functions like empty() aren't functions in the normal sense. They're implemented as language features/keywords that evaluate a variable directly instead of passing a value to a function.
    – Dave Ross
    Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 6:18

You can use metadata_exists(); (worked for me)for checking for any post meta and the do whatever you want.

    // Check and get a post meta

if ( metadata_exists( 'post', $post_id, '_meta_key' ) ) {
    $meta_value = get_post_meta( $post_id, '_meta_key', true );

I found this via searching for a solution myself, but it dawned on me the answer is very simple. You simply need to check if the value is empty, if it is then echo nothing - if it has content, then display the content - the code i used is below and can be tailored accordingly to anyone who needs to use it.

<?php $meta = get_post_meta( get_the_ID(), 'page-sub-title', true );
    if ($meta == '') {
        echo '&nbsp;';
    } else {
        echo '<h2>' . $meta . '</h2>';
  • 1
    works but why get_the_ID() instead of good ol $post->ID
    – gurung
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 16:01
if( ! in_array( 'given_key', get_post_custom_keys($post_id) ) ) {}

Here it is written: https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/functions/get_post_meta/#user-contributed-notes

get_post_custom_keys Returns an array containing the keys of all custom fields of a particular post or page. For me, this is the best solution :)

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