Adding extra user meta fields

Last night there was a discussion as to what could be achieved today as part of a “WordHack” session at WordCamp UK and SimonD tweeted that he would like to be able to add extra user meta fields to the back end user profile page easily.

I tweeted back that it was already easy and so here is the proof of concept code which shows you:

  • How to add a user meta field to the page
  • How to process the new value when it is updated.

These can the been displayed on the front-end using the standard template tags get_the_author_meta() and the_author_meta()

Plugin Name: PJW User Meta
Plugin URI:
Description: Allows users to configure some random extra meta value.
Author: Peter Westwood
Version: 0.02
Author URI:

Use of the frontend as get_the_author_meta('something') or the_author_meta('something')

class pjw_user_meta {

 function pjw_user_meta() {
 if ( is_admin() )
 add_action('show_user_profile', array(&$this,'action_show_user_profile'));
 add_action('edit_user_profile', array(&$this,'action_show_user_profile'));
 add_action('personal_options_update', array(&$this,'action_process_option_update'));
 add_action('edit_user_profile_update', array(&$this,'action_process_option_update'));


 function action_show_user_profile($user)
 <h3><?php _e('Other Contact Info') ?></h3>

 <th><label for="something"><?php _e('Something else'); ?></label></th>
 <td><input type="text" name="something" id="something" value="<?php echo esc_attr(get_the_author_meta('something', $user->ID) ); ?>" /></td>

 function action_process_option_update($user_id)
 update_usermeta($user_id, 'something', ( isset($_POST['something']) ? $_POST['something'] : '' ) );
/* Initialise outselves */
add_action('plugins_loaded', create_function('','global $pjw_user_meta_instance; $pjw_user_meta_instance = new pjw_user_meta();'));


Updated to correctly use the $user/$user_id passed to the actions rather than the global $user_id

22 thoughts on “Adding extra user meta fields

  1. Pingback: WordPress Plugin Releases for 07/19 | Weblog Tools Collection

  2. You see, there’s easy, and there’s ‘easy when you know how’. 🙂

    Seriously, a fantastic piece of work. And fantastic to watch you doing it ‘live’ too. Just as I began to think I was getting pretty good at WordPress…

    1. Hehehe me too. This is actually a powerful tool for those who understand how wordpress works. I am intending to use it with buddypress to achieve so much.. watch me out!

      Thanks for sharing

  3. Hi,

    This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks you very much. This piece of code saved me a lot of time on my project and gave me a better comprehension of how to write a plugin. Thx !

  4. Westi, this is brilliant. I’m using this for a plugin I’m creating and I’m also trying to add extra user meta on the ‘Create New User’ page using the user_register action. However, I’m struggling.

    add_action(‘user_register’, array(&$this, ‘action_show_user_profile’));
    add_action(‘user_register’, array(&$this, ‘action_process_options_update’));

    I’ve tried that, but it’s not really doing what I had hoped. Any hints as to what I can do would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again for this.

  5. Hmm, since my previous post I’ve discovered a couple of things. 1) The user_register appears to be the wrong action to use for my cause. register_form and register_post appear to be the ones I want. 2) After looking at user-new.php in the source code, it seems to explicitly list all of the possible fields for the form without allowing any additions.

    So I’m now not 100% sure that I can do what I want. From another one of your posts it seems that this might be coming in 2.9. Would love to know if you can think of a way to do this already, though?

      1. Ah bums! I figured as much. Thanks for the reply westi. To be honest my plugin isn’t going to be ready for a while yet (it’s quite a large one, said the actress to the bishop) so waiting until 2.9 seems to be the way to go!

        Thanks again!

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