This plugin hasn’t been tested with the latest 3 major releases of WordPress. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

Machine Language


Toggles human and machine language (aka ID-s) on admin pages.

Only for development!

This plugin shows you the ID-s of almost all form fields including selects, checkboxes and radio buttons like in wp-admin/options.php.

It works only on WordPress Settings API-like formatted — not necessarily API generated — admin pages. E.g. <input> elements cannot be wrapped in <span>.


You can find the plugin’s checkbox in standard Screen Options (upper right corner). This checkbox could be overwritten — thus hidden — by poorly written plugins. To restrict Machine Language to a certain admin page, copy this to your wp-config.php:

define( 'MACHINE_LANGUAGE_HOOK', 'load-options-reading.php' ); 

For example this line causes to run only on Settings / Reading.


  • Basically all input ID-s are displayed in place of labels, actually for attributes of labels
  • select-s get a title showing all option values comma separated (hover over select-s with your mouse)
  • option-s get values appended in the form of “original option text|value”
  • Radio button labels will show: “name|value”
  • Descriptions (p-s and span-s with “description” class) will be hidden, this way Machine Language will clean up all admin pages, descriptions are hidden by CSS, so there’s no FOUC

Other notes

  • Radio buttons or checkboxes with empty value are displayed with the “Empty Set” Unicode character: “ ” (U+2205) ( e.g. Settings / Permalinks / Default )
  • select-s with empty values are not
  • The plugin’s checkbox in Screen Options is effective immediately
  • The code is designed as a must use plugin, so there is no separated Javascript or CSS file
  • State of Machine Language is saved as a user option so it is a per user setting


Development goes on on GitHub.


  • Setting / Reading with Machine Language turned on.


This section describes how to install the plugin and get it working.

  1. Upload machine-language.php to the wp-content/mu-plugins/ or wp-content/plugins/ directory
  2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress (if you’ve chosen the plugins dir)


How can I inspect form fields not altered?

Even if your admin page is not generated by the Setting API
you should output HTML like in WordPress Settings pages.

Should I use Machine Language in production?

No, you shouldn’t.

Contributors & Developers

“Machine Language” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.

Translate “Machine Language” into your language.

Interested in development?

Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.



  • Fixed checkbox handling
  • WP 4.4 compatibility


  • Code styling
  • WP 4.3 compatibility
  • Semver


  • Initial release
  • The original plugin was “Hide Descriptions”