I would like to write a custom plugin that adds a custom panel below the post compose panel that will have a few fields and a submit button. JS will kick-in to submit content to the database, without saving or interfering with the post save/submit mechanism.

The purpose is to save data to be used and quickly access while writing a post. I could do a plugin settings page, but I don't like the idea of using two screens when it can be done at the same place :)

I saw the Custom Fields plugins, but they add value to a post while I want something more flexible that is created while writing a post but not necessarily linked to this post.

I can't seem to find how to do this...


  • Plugin recommendations of off topic for this site, have a look at the wordpress.stackexchange.com/faq
    – Wyck
    Jan 25, 2013 at 20:09
  • 1
    You're probably looking for "meta boxes". Try rolling your own: codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/… ..mixed with AJAX codex.wordpress.org/…
    – isotrope
    Jan 25, 2013 at 20:25
  • The OP is asking how to write a plugin so it isn't off topic for that reason but it well could fall into "work for me for free".
    – s_ha_dum
    Jan 25, 2013 at 20:31
  • Thanks for the pointers. I never asked for a full working solution, just hints and that meta boxes comment will help!
    – Vallieres
    Jan 25, 2013 at 21:11
  • 1
    @brasofilo I tried but I was missing the proper keyword to search for these meta boxes :)
    – Vallieres
    Jan 26, 2013 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


In the WordPress World it is called "Meta box" and in your case it would be the same as for posts the only thing you would need to do different is the save function that should save the data in the options table , here is a modified example from the codex that should work for you as a starting point:

/* Define the custom box */
add_action( 'add_meta_boxes', 'myplugin_add_custom_box_WPA83147' );

/* Adds a box to the main column on the Post and Page edit screens */
function myplugin_add_custom_box_WPA83147() {
      __( 'My Post Section Title', 'myplugin_textdomain' ),

/* Prints the box content */
function myplugin_inner_custom_box_WPA83147( $post ) {

  // Use nonce for verification
  wp_nonce_field( plugin_basename( __FILE__ ), 'myplugin_noncename_WPA83147' );

  // The actual fields for data entry
  // Use get_option to retrieve an existing value from the database and use the value for the form
  $options = get_option('_WPA83147_options', array());
  echo '<label for="myplugin_new_field">';
       _e("Description for this field", 'myplugin_textdomain' );
  echo '</label> ';
  echo '<input type="text" id="myplugin_new_field" name="myplugin_new_field" value="'.(isset($options['myplugin_new_field']) ? $options['myplugin_new_field'] : "").'" size="25" />';

/* Do something with the data entered */
add_action( 'save_post', 'myplugin_save_postdata_WPA83147' );
/* When the post is saved, saves our custom data */
function myplugin_save_postdata_WPA83147( $post_id ) {
  // verify if this is an auto save routine. 
  // If it is our form has not been submitted, so we dont want to do anything
  if ( defined( 'DOING_AUTOSAVE' ) && DOING_AUTOSAVE ) 

  // verify this came from the our screen and with proper authorization,
  // because save_post can be triggered at other times

  if ( !wp_verify_nonce( $_POST['myplugin_noncename_WPA83147'], plugin_basename( __FILE__ ) ) )

  // Check permissions
  if ( 'page' == $_POST['post_type'] ) 
    if ( !current_user_can( 'edit_page', $post_id ) )
    if ( !current_user_can( 'edit_post', $post_id ) )

  // OK, we're authenticated: we need to find and save the data
  if (isset($_POST['myplugin_new_field'])){
    //sanitize user input
    $mydata = sanitize_text_field( $_POST['myplugin_new_field'] ); 
    //get all saved options
    $data = get_option('_WPA83147_options', array());
    //updated the field you need
    $data['myplugin_new_field'] = $mydata;
    //store in the database
    update_option('_WPA83147_options', $$data);

  • Thanks Bainternet! This is very good! Will kickstart my plugin more than I could ask for!
    – Vallieres
    Jan 25, 2013 at 21:12

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