I have this query...


    $press = new WP_Query(array(
        'posts_per_page' => -1,
        'post_type'     => 'individual',
        'post_status'   => 'private' 

    if ($press->have_posts()) : while ($press->have_posts()) : $press->the_post();


But my custom post-types are using custom taxonomy with a numeric term value.

My question is there anyway in ordering this query by the term value?

The taxonomy is called 'individual-group'

Any help would be hugely appreciated thanks.


3 Answers 3


No, there is no way to do this with default WP Core. @heathenJesus talks about meta data not taxonomies. See http://scribu.net/wordpress/sortable-taxonomy-columns.html for a proper solution.

And a more thorough explanation of why this is not something built into Core: Using wp_query is it possible to orderby taxonomy?

  • Thanks Evan, I will make sure to create meta keys for this in future if I ever need to order a taxonomy term.
    – Joshc
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 9:54

Here is the complex query I used to numerically sort and filter the posts query by taxonomy slugs.

$my_post_type = 'some_post_type';
$my_term_slug_to_be_used_for_Ordering = 'some_slug';
$my_term_slug_to_be_used_for_Filtering = 'some_other_slug';

$querystr = "
   $wpdb->posts.*, $wpdb->term_relationships.object_id, 
   (SELECT wpt.slug
        FROM $wpdb->term_taxonomy wptt 
        INNER JOIN $wpdb->term_relationships wptr ON wptt.term_taxonomy_id = wptr.term_taxonomy_id
        INNER JOIN $wpdb->terms wpt ON wpt.term_id = wptt.term_id
        wptr.object_id = $wpdb->term_relationships.object_id AND 
        wptt.taxonomy = 'my_term_slug_to_be_used_for_Ordering') AS numeric_column_value

    FROM $wpdb->term_taxonomy INNER JOIN $wpdb->term_relationships ON $wpdb->term_taxonomy.term_taxonomy_id = $wpdb->term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id
         INNER JOIN $wpdb->posts ON $wpdb->posts.ID = $wpdb->term_relationships.object_id
         INNER JOIN $wpdb->terms ON $wpdb->terms.term_id = $wpdb->term_taxonomy.term_id
         $wpdb->terms.slug = '{$my_term_slug_to_be_used_for_Filtering}' AND
         $wpdb->posts.post_type = '$my_post_type' AND $wpdb->posts.post_status = 'publish'

    ORDER BY numeric_column_value * 1 DESC"; // Actually it is a string so, * 1 for numeric

$r = $wpdb->get_results($querystr, OBJECT);

Sure, in the orderby parameter, there is an option called meta_value_num which should do exactly what you are looking for.


$press = new WP_Query(array(
    'posts_per_page' => -1,
    'post_type'      => 'individual',
    'post_status'    => 'private',
    'orderby'        => 'meta_value_num',
    'meta_key'       => 'individual-group'
  • ... so long as the meta_value actually is a number. There are more than a couple of posts here where people are trying to numerically sort things that aren't numbers :) @heathenJesus, can you provide sample code. Link only answers are discouraged.
    – s_ha_dum
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 15:44
  • The question specifically stated "custom taxonomy with a numeric term value." Added a demonstration of using 'meta_value_num'. Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 21:03
  • 1
    Oh, I know. That was not in any way critical of your answer. I just don't, in general, trust people when they say "numeric". Sometimes it means something like "$100" or "123-04". Those are colloquially numbers but are not numeric to the software. And I work with an office full of people like that so I've learned to specify very carefully.
    – s_ha_dum
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 21:18
  • Fair enough, @s_ha_dum Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 21:22
  • @heathenJesus so you saying I can actually query taxonomy terms the same as querying custom fields? I thought mete keys and registered taxonomy terms were two separate things... For example could I query using your method a category term via 'meta_key' ? I didn't think you could do that...?
    – Joshc
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 0:32

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