Adding a custom field filter in the search

Adding a custom field filter in a Relevanssi search takes a little bit of programming, because the filter needs to create a meta_query that Relevanssi understands.

Let’s assume we have some colour information in a custom field that’s called colour_field, and we want to use that to filter the search results. First, let’s add a dropdown in our search form:

<select name="colour">
    <option value="any">Any colour</option>
    <option value="red">Red</option>
    <option value="green">Green</option>

Then, we need to tell WordPress that we want to use a query variable called colour (the name here needs to match the name attribute of the select in the form):

add_filter('query_vars', 'rlv_add_qv');
function rlv_add_qv($qv) {
	$qv[] = 'colour';
	return $qv;

Then we need a function that reads in the query variable, formulates a meta_query and passes that to Relevanssi:

add_filter('relevanssi_modify_wp_query', 'rlv_add_meta_query');
function rlv_add_meta_query($query) {
	if (isset($query->query_vars['colour'])) {
		if (!empty($query->query_vars['colour'])) {
			$meta_query = array(
					'key' 		=> 'colour_field',
					'value'		=> $query->query_vars['colour'],
					'compare' 	=> '=',
			$query->set('meta_query', $meta_query);
	return $query;

If you need to have multiple meta fields in the same search, you must add them to the same meta_query – you can only have one. WP_Query documentation has a good example of what that looks like, so take a look at that if you need multiple custom fields.

  • Maurilio Santana

    The changes is on Relevanssi or on other plugin? For example, on my plugin.

    • These sample codes go to your theme. No need to edit any plugins.

  • isidrocalabuig

    Is necessary buy the premium version to do that? I try to use that code with no success with the free version. Thank you.

    • No, this will work with the free version as well.

      • isidrocalabuig

        Sorry, i think the example explains how to search by a dropdown box without using the input field. A missunderstanding.