MB Admin Columns

Improve this page


The MB Admin Columns extension helps you display the custom fields’ values in the table of the post list in All Posts screen in the back end. It works with any custom post types and supports for terms and users as well (requires MB Term Meta and MB User Meta correspondingly).

Showing fields’ values in the post table give users a better overview of the posts without going to edit each post. It saves you time to verify / view the data.

meta box admin columns

For more details, please see the extension page.


Before installing the extension, you need to install Meta Box plugin first.

  1. Go to Plugins → Add New and search for Meta Box
  2. Click Install Now button to install the plugin
  3. After installing, click Activate Plugin to activate the plugin

The extension is just a WordPress plugin, you can install it like a normal WordPress plugin.

  1. Go to Plugins, click Add new, then click Upload plugin.
  2. Choose the .zip file you downloaded and click Install now
  3. After finishing upload, click Activate to finish.


Assuming we have a custom post type ‘Book’ registered with the following code:

add_action( 'init', 'prefix_register_book_post_type' );
function prefix_register_book_post_type() {
    $labels = array(
        'name'          => 'Books',
        'singular_name' => 'Book',
        'menu_name'     => 'Book',
    $args   = array(
        'labels'     => $labels,
        'supports'   => array( 'title', 'editor', ),
        'public'     => true,
        'taxonomies' => array( 'category' ),
        'menu_icon'  => 'dashicons-book-alt',
    register_post_type( 'book', $args );

Here is the code to register a meta box, custom fields with additional parameters for admin columns:

add_filter( 'rwmb_meta_boxes', 'prefix_book_meta_boxes' );
function prefix_book_meta_boxes( $meta_boxes ) {
    $meta_boxes[] = array(
        'title'      => 'Book Info',
        'post_types' => 'book',
        'fields'     => array(
                'name'          => 'Cover',
                'id'            => 'cover',
                'type'          => 'image_advanced',
                'admin_columns' => 'before title', // Show this column before 'Title' column
                'name'          => 'Author',
                'id'            => 'book_author',
                'type'          => 'text',
                'admin_columns' => 'after title', // Show this column after 'Title' column
                'name'          => 'Category',
                'id'            => 'category',
                'type'          => 'taxonomy',
                'taxonomy'      => 'category',
                'admin_columns' => array(
                    'position' => 'replace categories', // Replace default 'Categories' column
                    'title'    => 'Genre',              // Custom title
                'name'          => 'Publisher',
                'id'            => 'publisher',
                'type'          => 'text',
                'admin_columns' => 'replace date', // Replace 'Date' column
                'name'          => 'Pages',
                'id'            => 'pages',
                'type'          => 'number',
                'admin_columns' => true, // Just show this column
                'name'          => 'Price',
                'id'            => 'price',
                'type'          => 'number',
                'admin_columns' => array(
                    'before' => '$',    // Show custom HTML before and after column value
                    'after'  => ' USD',
                    'sort'   => true,   // Sort this column
    return $meta_boxes;

Here is the result:

meta box admin columns


Make sure you know how to create meta boxes and fields before continuing!

To show the admin column for a field, simply add admin_columns setting for that field. The setting can be in one of 3 following formats:

1. Simply display the admin column

'admin_columns' => true,

This line tells the MB Admin Columns extension to display the meta value of the custom field in a custom column. This method uses the default configuration below:

  • The column title is field name
  • The column is added to the end of the table

2. Specify the column position

You can set the column in a specific position by one of the following rules:

'admin_columns' => 'before title',
'admin_columns' => 'after title',
'admin_columns' => 'replace title',

The format is 'admin_columns' => 'type column' where:

Param Description
type Must be before, after or replace. Specify the position of the custom column.
  before: Insert the column before an existing column
  after: Insert the column after an existing column
  replace: Replace an existing column by the new one
column The target existing column

Using this configuration, you are able to insert the custom column in any position you want. Note that the column title is the field name by default.

3. Advanced configuration

To add more rules for the custom column, you can declare admin_columns parameter as an array which accepts the following keys:

'admin_columns' => array(
    'position'   => 'after title',
    'title'      => 'Price',
    'before'     => '$',
    'after'      => ' USD',
    'sort'       => true,
    'searchable' => true,
    'filterable' => false,

The meaning of keys are described below:

Key Description
position Specify where to insert the new column. Accept rule in the format 'type column'. It’s exactly the same as described in the #2 method above.
title Column title. Optional. Default is the field name.
before Custom HTML outputted before the column content. Optional.
after Custom HTML outputted after the column content. Optional.
sort Whether to sort the column by meta value? Optional. Default is false.
searchable Allow to search posts by meta value. Optional. Default is false.
filterable Allow to filter posts by custom taxonomy. Applied only if the field is taxonomy field. Default is false.

Note that the sort parameter is used to sort displayed posts by altering the WordPress query. It works only with non-clonable and non-multiple fields.

Custom admin columns

By default, the extension is made to work with fields created by the Meta Box plugin. However, there are situations where you want to make it work with non-custom fields by Meta Box. And that’s totally possible. Follow the steps below (note that it requires some coding):

Creating custom class

Create a new file custom.php (you can name it anything you want) in your plugin / theme folder with the following content:

class Prefix_Custom_Admin_Columns extends MB_Admin_Columns_Post {
    public function columns( $columns ) {
        $columns  = parent::columns( $columns );
        $position = '';
        $target   = '';
        $this->add( $columns, 'column_id', 'Column Title', $position, $target );
        // Add more if you want
        return $columns;
    public function show( $column, $post_id ) {
        switch ( $column ) {
            case 'column_id':
                echo 'Column content';
            // More columns

Note that the custom column(s) is added via the call $this->add( $columns, 'column_id', 'Column Title', $position, $target );. You can repeat that code to add as many column as you want.

In the show function, you must add code to display content of these columns.


In your plugin main file or functions.php of your theme, add the following code to create an instance of the class above:

add_action( 'admin_init', 'prefix_add_custom_columns', 20 );
function prefix_add_custom_columns() {
    require_once 'custom.php';
    new Prefix_Custom_Admin_Columns( 'post', array() );

Note that the call new Prefix_Custom_Admin_Columns( 'post', array() ); tells WordPress to add custom column(s) to post. You can change this to another post type if you want.

Improve this page