How to Bulk Add, Edit, and Transfer Posts to Categories

Need to edit the categories for a large number of posts?¬†This can be done quickly with WordPress’ built-in bulk editing tools, or with a plugin.

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to:

  • Add a large number of posts to a category
  • Transfer posts from one category to another
  • Bulk remove posts from a category
  • Transfer posts across categories based on their tags

How to Bulk Add Posts to a Category

First, visit the Posts menu. Then click, the checkbox at the top of the table to select all your posts.

Once your posts are selected, click on the¬†Bulk Actions dropdown menu just above the checkbox you clicked. Select the¬†Edit option, and click the¬†Apply¬†button. You’ll see a new bulk editing interface appear.

With the new interface, you can select from the list of available categories you want to add your posts to. Then, just click update to add the posts to the selected category.

screenshot of WordPress bulk post editing tools

WordPress displays twenty posts on each page allowing you to bulk add twenty posts to a category at a time.

How to Move Posts from One Category to Another

For this step, and the next two, you’ll need the Bulk Move plugin.

First, install and activate the plugin. Then, navigate to the new “Bulk Move” menu added under your Tools menu.

Let’s say you have the following three categories on your site:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Hot cocoa

You decide you want to combine them all into a single “hot beverages” category.

To do this, you would first create a¬†hot beverages category. Then, in the Bulk Move menu found under Tools, you would locate the first section titled, “Bulk Move by Category”.

screenshot of the Bulk Move plugin menu

You would then select the coffee category on the left-side and the hot beverage category on the right-side. Then click the Bulk move button, and all coffee posts would be transferred into the hot beverage category.

This process could then be repeated for the tea and hot cocoa categories.

How to Remove Posts from a Category

Removing Posts from a category with Bulk Move is just like moving them to a new one.

In the first section, select the category you want to remove the posts from on the left-side. Then, leave the right-side as the default option, “Remove Category”. Lastly,¬†click the Bulk Move button, and all Posts will be removed from that category.

This won’t delete the posts, it will just remove them from the category and delete¬†the category.

How to Transfer Posts to Categories Based on Their Tags

This method is a bit more advanced, so I’ll provide a scenario to illustrate how and why you would use it.

Let’s say you’ve been publishing posts about cooking, and you’ve added them all to a¬†“Cooking” category. You’ve been tagging them by meal, such as Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

You find that visitors aren’t using the tags to navigate your site. This is a problem because you¬†now have 100 Posts in the Cooking category which is making it hard for visitors to navigate. You decide¬†to¬†separate the Posts into new Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner sub-categories instead. Here’s how you would do that:

First, you would create the Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner categories.

Next, using the third¬†section on the Bulk Move page called “Bulk Move Category by Tag”,¬†you would select the “Breakfast” tag¬†on the left, and the Breakfast category on the right.

screenshot of Bulk Move plugin menu being used

When you press the Bulk Move button, all of the Posts tagged as Breakfast will be re-categorized into the new Breakfast category.

In this example, you’d also want the option to read “If the post contains other categories, then¬†don’t remove them.” This way, your posts¬†end up in both the Cooking and new meal¬†sub-categories.

Conclusion

With the right tools and know-how, you have a lot of versatility in re-categorizing posts.

An intimidating and time-consuming job can be reduced to a few minutes work with the tools above. If you have any other scenarios you need help with, or have another useful plugin to share, please add a comment below.

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4 Comments

  1. The bulk edit is great for adding in new categories / tags, but I’ve found it difficult to REMOVE a category / tag with bulk edit. Any ideas on that front?

    • If you’re looking to remove many categories at once, you can do this via the Categories menu (Posts > Categories). The top checkbox will select all categories on the page, and then the “Bulk actions” dropdown can be used to remove them.

  2. Gabriel Gabriel

    Seems awesome but doesn’t work for products. Hope it’s in the works.

  3. Great Insightful Post.

    I am WordPress user for over 4 Yrs, and to be frank I never used the first method to bulk edit category and tags.

    Will try Bulk Move plugin.

    Thanks

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