Maybe your old category structure worked fine, but you’ve been publishing routinely for a while now, and you’ve realized your categories need to be restructured.
The good news is that you can move multiple posts to a new category at once. You can even transfer them in and out of categories with the help of a handy plugin.
In this post, you’ll learn how to:
- Add multiple posts to a category
- Remove multiple posts from a category
- Bulk transfer posts out of one category and into another
Most of this can be done without any plugins. You just need to find one hidden feature in the WordPress dashboard.
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How to bulk add posts to a category
If you’ve got a dozen or even a hundred posts to add to a new category, this can be done quickly from the Posts menu.
Start by visiting the Posts menu, and then click on the checkbox at the top to select all of your posts.
Next, click on the Bulk actions select menu above the checkbox, and select Edit.
Then click the Apply button to begin the bulk edit.
Once you click the Apply button, you’ll see a new section appear on the page that includes bulk editing tools.
The categories are listed here:
To add all of the selected posts to a new category, check it off in the Categories section and then click the Update button (not pictured above).
The page will reload and all selected posts will be moved to the new category.
Tip for moving more posts at once
By default, WordPress lists 20 posts per page in the admin menu. This means you can only select 20 posts at a time to bulk edit.
However, if you click on the Screen Options tab way at the top-right of the screen, you can change the number of posts per page.
You’ll see a few options to change the interface including the number of posts per page.
After updating your admin dashboard, you can select way more than 20 posts at once.
One word of caution: there is a limit to how many posts you can edit this way. You can’t do 1,000 posts, for instance, because your host will “time out” before WordPress can finish the updates. In my testing, you will likely max out at around 200 posts.
If you just need to add a handful of posts to a new category, this approach works really well. That said, if you look at the screenshot above, you’ll see that you can only bulk add and there is no way to bulk remove posts from a category.
There’s a quick manual technique you can use, and a fully automated bulk option.
The quick way to manually transfer posts to new categories
If you’ve only got 10 or so posts to move, don’t bother installing a whole new plugin. Try this technique instead.
In the Posts menu, hover your cursor over the post and click the Quick Edit link.
The Quick Edit menu looks almost identical to the Bulk Edit menu, but with one key difference: the categories can be checked and unchecked.
In the example pictured above, the Uncategorized category is already checked because it’s the category the post is in. To move it to the Web Design category, you would simply uncheck Uncategorized and check Web Design.
Overall, it takes less than 10 seconds to move a post from one category to another, so you can move lots of posts in a few minutes.
That said, this will be incredibly tedious if you have hundreds of posts to move, so here’s the method for moving posts in bulk.
How to bulk transfer posts
To bulk edit your post categories, you can install the Bulk Move plugin.
This plugin will allow you to edit hundreds of posts at once. You can add them to a new category, remove from a category, or transfer from one category into another.
Once the plugin is installed, you’ll find a new Bulk Move menu link under the Tools menu.
As you can see from the screenshot, the first option at the top is what you’re looking for.
Use the left dropdown menu to select the category you want to remove posts from, and then click the Bulk Move button. All posts will be removed from that category.
If you want to transfer your posts out of one category and into another, you can use the right dropdown to select a category to transfer them to.
This option lets you combine the removing and adding steps into one bulk transfer which can save time.
The one downside of this plugin is that it is an “all or nothing” deal. If you have 100 posts in a category and you only want to move 90, you can’t do that with the Bulk Move plugin. You’d have to move all 100 and then use the Quick Edit menu to move 10 back to the old category.
Do more with WordPress
Between the bulk editing and quick editing options in WordPress, you can shuffle your posts around categories pretty quickly.
The Bulk Move plugin takes things to another level and allows you to move hundreds or even thousands of posts at once.
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