Writing & Editing

Posts »Categories

Categories provide a helpful way to group related posts together, and to quickly tell readers what a post is about. Categories also make it easier for people to find your content. Categories are similar to, but broader than, tags. For more information on the differences between categories and tags please check out this support doc.

Depending on the theme and widgets you have activated, categories can be displayed at the top or bottom of posts, on the individual post view, on your menu, and/or in the sidebar. You can assign multiple categories per post (you must assign at least one), and categories can be organized hierarchically.

Adding Categories via the site settings

To create a new category, head to My Site → Settings → Writing. There, you will see an option to manage categories. Select it, and click on Add New Category.

From this page, you can also create sub-categories. To do so, click on Add New Category and in the window that pops up, select the category that you’d like to have as the parent category.

↑ Table of Contents ↑

Adding Categories via the Categories & Tags module

You can also assign and/or add new categories to posts before you publish them using the Categories module to the right of the post editor under My Site → Blog Posts:

When you click on the Categories & Tags option, it will expand. You can either use a current category or add a new one.

  • If you select Add New Category, a window will appear with a field to type in the new category name. Once you enter the category name, select Top level and click Add.

  • Categories will appear in alphabetical order. If you have more categories than what appears in your post editor, you can begin typing a specific category name into the search field, and corresponding categories will appear.

  • To add a sub-category, click Add New Category and type the sub category into the field. You have the option to select Top level category, or you can select one of the categories already present on your site. Select the category you want to become the parent of the new sub-category, and click Add.

↑ Table of Contents ↑

Setting the Default Category

A default category will be assigned to published posts if you don’t specify one. The default category can be changed under Settings → Writing in your dashboard.

On the Writing settings module, click on Categories. In the next screen you will see the list of categories and the default category. Click on the three dots next to any category and select Set as default.

↑ Table of Contents ↑

Topics Listings

Your posts will appear in the topics listings of any tags or categories you use. Therefore, assigning tags and categories to your post increases the chance that other WordPress.com users will see your content.

However, you don’t want irrelevant content showing up on the topics listings or search, and neither do we. That’s why we limit the number of tags and categories that can be used on a public topic listing. Five to 15 tags (or categories, or a combination of the two) is a good number to add to each of your posts. The more categories you use, the less likely it is that your post will be selected for inclusion in the topics listings. Learn more about Topics here.

Adding Categories in WP Admin

Some instructions in this guide refer to the WP Admin dashboard. You can get to this dashboard by adding /wp-admin to the end of your site’s url (e.g.: example.wordpress.com/wp-admin)

↑ Table of Contents ↑

Adding Categories via WP Admin

You can also add new categories and manage existing ones from Posts -> Categories in your dashboard.

Categories menu

You will be presented with a list of your existing categories and an option to add new categories.

Categories screen

You can add a new category by filling out the fields:

Add New Category

  • Category name – As expected, the name of your category.
  • Category parent – If you want to nest a category within a category, select the parent category. Otherwise leave at None.
  • Description – Describe what the category is for. This description will appear as a tooltip if you use the category widget. (Optional)

↑ Table of Contents ↑

Managing Categories in WP Admin

The Posts -> Categories page in your dashboard displays all your categories and shows the name, description, and number of posts belonging to each category. If you move your mouse over a category a set of options will appear, allowing you to edit, quick-edit, or delete that category:

Managing Categories

If you click on Quick Edit the category will change into an edit box and you can rename the category quickly:

Quick Edit Category

If you click on Edit you will taken to a separate page where you can edit the name, parent, and description. This functions exactly the same as adding a category.

Clicking on Delete will delete that category. When a category is deleted, all posts that were only in that category will be assigned to the default category. If a post was also in other categories it will remain untouched.

Note: You cannot delete the default category.

↑ Table of Contents ↑

Bulk Actions in WP Admin

If you have a lot of categories that you want to delete, then you can use the bulk actions feature. Select each category you want to delete using the checkbox to the left of the category name.

Delete Category

If you want to select all categories, click the checkbox at the top:

Bulk Delete Categories

Once you have selected the categories you want to delete select Delete from the Bulk Actions menu, and then click Apply. The categories will be deleted. When a category is deleted, all posts that were only in that category will be assigned to the default category. If a post was also in other categories it will remain untouched.

Bulk Actions

↑ Table of Contents ↑

↑ Table of Contents ↑

Converting Categories to Tags in WP Admin

If you change your mind about using categories and instead want to convert them to tags, you can do so using the category to tag converter. At the bottom of the manage categories screen is a link to the category to tag converter.

Category to Tag Converter

Clicking this will take you to the import page. Here you can click on Categories and Tags Converter:

Categories and Tags Converter

This will take you to a screen where you can select which categories to convert to tags. Make your selection, click on Convert Categories to Tags.

Note: Your categories will be removed and tags will be assigned to the posts that used to be in those categories. If you want to convert your tags back to categories, please check out converting tags to categories.

Convert Categories to Tags

↑ Table of Contents ↑

Still confused?

Contact support.

Not quite what you're looking for?

Get Help