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Custom Fields and Meta Boxes

Custom fields are an easy way for a developer to add additional information to a post, page, or other content type. They’re easy to use but can be tricky at first for inexperienced WordPress users. It should also be mentioned that not all themes and plugins use these fields so this might not be something that you will need to know.

First, and most important, if you know you need to use custom fields, you’ll need to make sure that they are visible! This is the number one question I get about custom fields, “where is it?!” Let’s make sure you can see them first:

  1. On any Page or Post edit screen, look on the top right for a ScreeWordPress Screen Options tabn Options tab.
  2. Click that button and a set of checkboxes should appear.
  3. Click the box next to “Custom Fields” and the box should appear below the content editor.
  4. Click the tab again to hide the checkboxes.

Second, and of similar importance, the names for these fields are exact, even with respect to capitalization in most cases. You should have instructions on the exact meta name to use and, if not, you will need to ask your developer or consult the documentation for the theme or plugin you’re using.

Now that you can see the fields, working with them is simple.

To add a new custom field:

  1. First, you need to know a field Name to add. If you can use custom fields, this Name should be given to you in the documentation of the theme or plugin you’re using.
  2. If you have already added this field before, you should be able to find the Name on the drop down list. If not, click the Enter new link and the drop down list will change to a text box to enter the custom field Name. Make sure this Name is exactly as it should be or the field will not appear on your page.
  3. Enter the Value for this field in the text area to the right of the name. Possible Values should be spelled out in the plugin or theme documentation.
  4. Click the Add Custom Field button.
  5. No need to update this post as it was saved on the previous step.

To modify an existing field:

  1. Simply change the text area content for the Value and click the Update button near the field.
  2. The main blue Update button for the post or page can be used as well.

To delete an existing field:

  1. Make darn sure you want to delete it.
  2. Click the Delete button.
  3. No need to update this post as it was saved on the previous step.