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Function Reference/wp tag cloud


The wp_tag_cloud() function displays a list of tags in what is called a 'tag cloud', where the size of each tag is determined by how many times that particular tag has been assigned to posts.

Beginning with Version 2.8, the taxonomy parameter was added so that any taxonomy could be used as the basis of generating the cloud. That means that a cloud for Categories or any other Custom Taxonomies can be presented to visitors.


<?php wp_tag_cloud$args ); ?>

Default Usage

<?php $args = array(
	'smallest'                  => 8, 
	'largest'                   => 22,
	'unit'                      => 'pt', 
	'number'                    => 45,  
	'format'                    => 'flat',
	'separator'                 => "\n",
	'orderby'                   => 'name', 
	'order'                     => 'ASC',
	'exclude'                   => null, 
	'include'                   => null, 
	'topic_count_text_callback' => default_topic_count_text,
	'link'                      => 'view', 
	'taxonomy'                  => 'post_tag', 
	'echo'                      => true,
	'child_of'                  => null, // see Note!
); ?>

The child_of Key is not a direct part of the Array in wp_tag_cloud, but because this function uses wp_parse_args() and get_terms(), you can use all Array Keys used by get_terms()!

By default, the usage shows:

  • smallest - The smallest tag (lowest count) is shown at size 8
  • largest - The largest tag (highest count) is shown at size 22
  • unit - Describes 'pt' (point) as the font-size unit for the smallest and largest values
  • number - Displays at most 45 tags
  • format - Displays the tags in flat (separated by whitespace) style
  • separator - Displays whitespace between tags
  • orderby - Order the tags by name
  • order - Sort the tags in ASCENDING fashion
  • exclude - Exclude no tags
  • include - Include all tags
  • topic_count_text_callback - Uses function default_topic_count_text (deprecated)
  • link - view
  • taxonomy - Use post tags for basis of cloud
  • echo - echo the results


(integer) (optional) The text size of the tag with the smallest count value (units given by unit parameter).
Default: 8
(integer) (optional) The text size of the tag with the highest count value (units given by the unit parameter).
Default: 22
(string) (optional) Unit of measure as pertains to the smallest and largest values. This can be any CSS length value, e.g. pt, px, em, %.
Default: 'pt'
(integer) (optional) The number of actual tags to display in the cloud. (Use '0' to display all tags.)
Default: 45
(string) (optional) Format of the cloud display.
  • 'flat' separated by whitespace defined by 'separator' parameter.
  • 'list' UL with a class of 'wp-tag-cloud'
  • 'array' returns the tag cloud as an array for use in PHP
Default: flat
(string) (optional) The text/space between tags.
Default: '\n' (whitespace)
(string) (optional) Order of the tags.
  • 'name'
  • 'count'
Default: name
(string) (optional) Sort order.
  • 'ASC'
  • 'DESC'
  • 'RAND' tags are in a random order.
Default: ASC
(string) (optional) Comma separated list of tags (term_id) to exclude. For example, exclude=5,27 means tags that have the term_id 5 or 27 will NOT be displayed. Defaults to exclude nothing.
Default: null
(string) (optional) Comma separated list of tags (term_id) to include. For example, include=5,27 means tags that have the term_id 5 or 27 will be the only tags displayed. Defaults to include everything.
Default: null
(string) (optional) The function, which, given the count of the posts with that tag, returns a text for the tooltip of the tag link.
Default: default_topic_count_text
(string) (optional) Set link to allow edit of a particular tag.
  • 'view'
  • 'edit'
Default: view
(string or array) (optional) Taxonomy or array of taxonomies to use in generating the cloud.
  • 'post_tag'
  • 'category'
  • 'link_category'
  • 'any other registered taxonomy'
  • or array of taxonomies Note: this parameter was introduced with Version 3.1
Default: post_tag
(boolean) (optional) Display the result or return it in a variable. The default is true (display the tag cloud).
  • 1 (true)
  • 0 (false)
Default: true


Cloud displayed under Popular Tags title

<?php if ( function_exists( 'wp_tag_cloud' ) ) : ?>

<h2>Popular Tags</h2>
<li><?php wp_tag_cloud( 'smallest=8&largest=22' ); ?></li>

<?php endif; ?>

Cloud limited in size and ordered by count rather than name

<?php wp_tag_cloud( 'smallest=15&largest=40&number=50&orderby=count' ); ?>

Cloud returned as array but not displayed

The variable $tag will contain the tag cloud for use in other PHP code

 <?php $tag = wp_tag_cloud( 'format=array' ); ?>

Display a Category Cloud

Use the taxonomy argument to cause a cloud of categories to display.

<?php wp_tag_cloud( array( 'taxonomy' => 'category' ) ); ?>

Display a Cloud of Categories and Tags

Use the array feature of the taxonomy argument to cause a cloud of categories and tags to display.

	$args = array(
		'taxonomy' => array( 'post_tag', 'category' ), 

	wp_tag_cloud( $args );

Change Title Text of Cloud Links

Use the topic_count_text_callback argument to pass in a new callback function. The original function default_topic_count_text() is located in /wp-includes/category-template.php This example changes the title text from the default "topics" to "pictures".

	wp_tag_cloud( array( 'topic_count_text_callback' => 'my_tag_text_callback' ) ); 

	function my_tag_text_callback( $count ) {
		return sprintf( _n( '%s picture', '%s pictures', $count ), number_format_i18n( $count ) );

Creating a Tag Archive

While the new tagging feature in 2.3 is a great addition, the wp_tag_cloud tag can be used to display a Tag Archive. What this means is that when a visitor clicks on any particular tag a page displaying the tag cloud and all posts tagged the same will be displayed. According to the Template_Hierarchy if a tag.php template does not exist then the archive.php template will be used. By making this tag.php template you can customize the way your Tag Archive will look, this template includes the tag cloud at the top for very easy navigation.

To do this a new template will need to be added to your theme files. These are good resources for everything pertaining to templates, Template_Hierarchy. Basic steps needed are

  • 1. Create file with the contents below named tag.php.
  • 2. Upload file to your themes directory.
  • 3. This is optional only if you would like to have a link in your page navigation to the Tag archive, otherwise when clicking on a tag this template will be used.
    • Create a new blank page using this template, give this page the title Tag Archive.

To elaborate more on step three:

WordPress can be configured to use different Page Templates for different Pages. Toward the bottom of the Write->Write Page administration panel (or on the sidebar, depending on which version of WordPress you are using) is a drop-down labeled "Page Template". From there you can select which Template will be used when displaying this particular Page.

<?php /*
Template Name: Tag Archive
*/ ?>
<?php get_header(); ?>
<h2>Tag Archive</h2>
<?php wp_tag_cloud( '' ); ?>
<div class="navigation">
	<div class="alignleft"><?php next_posts_link( '« Older Entries' ); ?></div>
	<div class="alignright"><?php previous_posts_link( 'Newer Entries »' ); ?></div>
<?php if ( have_posts() ) : ?>
	<?php while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>
		<h2><a href="<?php the_permalink(); ?>" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to <?php the_title_attribute(); ?>"><?php the_title(); ?></a></h2>
		<div class="entry">
			<?php the_content( 'Read the rest of this entry »' ); ?>
	<?php endwhile; ?>
<?php endif; ?>
<?php get_footer(); ?>

Please Note that styling has not been added to this template. A good way to determine the structure that your theme uses is to view the single.php theme file.


  • 3.1 :
    • Added the ability to pass an array for the taxonomy parameter.
  • 2.9 :
    • Added the separator parameter.
  • 2.8 :
    • Added the taxonomy parameter.
    • Added the echo parameter.
  • 2.7 :
    • Added the link parameter.
  • 2.5 :
    • Added 'RAND' order for the order parameter to return tags in a random order.
    • Added 'array' format for the format parameter to return an array.

Source File

wp_tag_cloud() is located in wp-includes/category-template.php.


Tags: get_tag(), get_tag_link(), get_tags(), get_the_tag_list(), get_the_tags(), is_tag(), the_tags(), single_tag_title(), tag_description(), wp_generate_tag_cloud(), wp_tag_cloud()

See also index of Function Reference and index of Template Tags.