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Simple User Listing

A shortcode for displaying paginated lists of users.

How Can I Customize the Output?

The whole reason I wrote this was that other similar plugins had too much control over the output. You can style the output anyway you'd like by adding your own template parts to your theme.

Copy the files you wish to modify from the simple-user-listing/templates folder of the plugin and paste them into a simple-user-listing folder in the root of your theme (so my-theme/simple-user-listing). Now you can change the markup any way you please. It will be similar to template parts for post loops, except you will have access to each user's $user object instead of the $post object.

For more details on what is available in the $user object see the Codex reference on WP_User()

How Do I Remove the Search Input?

There are two ways to remove the search input. The search is added to a hook by the plugin, so you can remove it by adding the following to your theme's functions.php file:

function remove_SUL_search(){
    if( function_exists( 'Simple_User_Listing' ) ){
        remove_action( 'simple_user_listing_before_loop', array( 'Simple_User_Listing', 'add_search' ) );
add_action( 'wp_head', 'remove_SUL_search' );

Or you could copy the search-author.php from the plugin's template folder to a simple-user-listing folder in your theme (so simple-user-listing/searcch-author.php) and remove all the code from it so that it is blank.

Shortcode Paramaters: How Can I Customize the User Query?

Simple User Listing supports most of the parameters of the WP_User_Query class as parameters for the shortcode. For example you can pass it a role defining which type of users you'd like to list. You can also adjust the number of users displayed per page. Roles must be in lowercase.

[userlist role="author" number="5"]

As of version 1.2 you can now sort the user list by and of the sort parameters supported by WP_User_Query(). For example, the following would list your users based on number of posts written, with the highest first.

[userlist orderby="post_count" order="DESC"]

As of version 1.4 you can now list users by a meta key. Be careful with this as this is not exactly an efficient query.

[userlist meta_key="foo" meta_value="widgets"]

As of version 1.4.2 you can now include and exclude users with a comma separated list of IDs.

[userlist exclude="1,2,3"]

The full list of supported parameters (shown with default value) is:

'query_id' => 'simple_user_listing',
'role' => '',
'include' => '',
'exclude' => '',
'blog_id' => '',
'number' => get_option( 'posts_per_page', 10 ),
'order' => 'ASC',
'orderby' => 'login',
'meta_key' => '',
'meta_value' => '',
'meta_compare' => '=',
'meta_type' => 'CHAR',
'count_total' => true,

How Can I Sort the Users by Last Name?

As of verison 1.5.2 you could simply use the following as your shortcode:

[userlist meta_key="last_name" orderby="meta_value" order="ASC"]

How can I search by a meta field? ex: Last Name

While you could modify the search-author.php template, if you are only searching by one field it isn't really neccessary. You will, however, need to modify the shortcode's arguments for WP_User_Query. You can do that by filtering sul_user_query_args.

Add the following to your theme's functions.php:

 * Place this in your theme's functions.php file
 * Or a site-specific plugin
// Switch the WP_User_Query args to a meta search
function kia_meta_search( $args ){

  // this $_GET is the name field of the custom input in search-author.php
    $search = ( isset($_GET['as']) ) ? sanitize_text_field($_GET['as']) : false ;

    if ( $search ){
        // if your shortcode has a 'role' parameter defined it will be maintained
        // unless you choose to unset the role parameter by uncommenting the following
        //  unset( $args['role'] );
        $args['meta_key'] = 'last_name';
        $args['meta_value'] = $search;
        $args['meta_compare'] = '=';

        // need to unset the original search args
        if( isset( $args['search'] ) ) unset($args['search']);

    return $args;
add_filter('sul_user_query_args', 'kia_meta_search');

Now the search will return users that match the entered "last_name". You can adjust as needed or use the meta_query array for more complicated meta queries.

How Can I Search By Display Name?

By default the WordPress search relies on username, though wih the search_columns parameter can be made to search the user's email or ID. Frankly, I think this is weird, but that's how WordPress works.

It is much more useful to search by the user's display name, however this requires some trickery via the pre_user_query hook. Similar to pre_get_posts this is your last chance to change the WP_User_Query query before it is executed. I’ve built in a query_id variable so that you don’t go willy-nilly filtering all user queries which could have some unintended side effects.

// Switch user search from user_login to display_name via query_where 
function kia_search_users_by_display_name( $query ) {

  if ( isset( $query->query_vars['query_id'] ) && $query->query_vars['query_id'] == 'simple_user_listing' ) {
     $query->query_where = str_replace( "user_login", "display_name", $query->query_where );

add_action( 'pre_user_query', 'kia_search_users_by_display_name' );

How to create very complex user queries | How to query multiple meta keys

It isn't worth the effort to get the shortcode parameters to handle complex arrays. And in the end it isn't necessary as there are several filters in place to permit you to run a complex query. The key will be using the query_id parameter.

For example you could pass a specific ID via shortcode:

[userlist query_id="my_custom_meta_query"]

And then in your theme's functions.php or a site-specific plugin, you could filter the user query args:

add_filter( 'sul_user_query_args', 'sul_custom_meta_query', 10, 2 );

function sul_custom_meta_query( $args, $query_id ){
    // checking the query ID allows us to only target a specific shortcode
    if( $query_id == 'my_custom_meta_query' ){
            $args['meta_query'] = array(
                                    'relation' => 'OR',
                                        'key'       => 'billing_city',
                                        'value'     => 'oslo',
                                        'compare'   => '=',
                                        'type'      => 'CHAR',
                                        'key'       => 'first_name',
                                        'value'     => 'bobby',
                                        'compare'   => '=',
                                        'type'      => 'CHAR',

    return $args;

For complex queries, you will want to read the WP Codex reference on WP_User_Query.

Does Simple User Listing work with WP_Pagenavi?

Yes! WP Pagenavi supports pagination for WP_User_Query and I configured the navigation-author.php template to automatically use WP Pagenavi if it is installed and activated.

I can't get the search users to work?

The search form will not work with the default permalinks. Try changing your permalinks to some other structure. The reason is form submits via the GET method and so adding those parameters to the URL seem to clash with the parameters already on the URL from the default permalink setup.

S2 Member Conflicts | The search doesn't respect the shortcode parameters

Likely you are experiencing a conflict with another plugin, specifically one that is filtering pre_user_query to modify all user queries. The S2 Member plugin is a known culprit of this. To disable S2 Member's modifications on all Simple User Listing lists, add the following to your theme's functions.php or to a site-specific plugin. Ensure you are using at least SUL 1.5.3.

function kia_protect_sul_from_s2(){
    remove_action('pre_user_query', 'c_ws_plugin__s2member_users_list::users_list_query');
add_action( 'simple_user_listing_before_loop', 'kia_protect_sul_from_s2' );

function kia_restore_s2(){
    add_action('pre_user_query', 'c_ws_plugin__s2member_users_list::users_list_query');
add_action( 'simple_user_listing_after_loop', 'kia_restore_s2' );

Requires: 3.8.0 or higher
Compatible up to: 4.7.0
Last Updated: 2 months ago
Active Installs: 1,000+


5 out of 5 stars


0 of 3 support threads in the last two months have been marked resolved.

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