How to create simple Walker_Category for WordPress website

WordPress Walkers are very useful solution for custom tree-like data structures. Today i will share simple code for Walker_Category class, which allows you to build custom structure when you call wp_list_categories() function. We know that generally when you call this function it gives you standard ul-li structure which is only customizable its arguments. But if we want to change its tree-like structure, then Walker_Category will help us. So lets say that we want to add some icons before category names. Let’s get started.

1. Let’s add our Walker_Category class to theme’s functions.php

class Walker_Category_Custom extends Walker_Category {

function start_lvl(&$output, $depth=0, $args=array()) {
$output .= "\n<ul>\n";

function end_lvl(&$output, $depth=0, $args=array()) {
$output .= "</ul>\n";

function start_el(&$output, $item, $depth=0, $args=array(),$current_object_id = 0) {
$output.= '<li><a href="'.home_url('category/'.$item->slug).'">
<img src="http://some_path_here/images/'.($item->slug).'.jpg">
//in this case you should create images with names of category slugs

function end_el(&$output, $item, $depth=0, $args=array()) {
$output .= "</a></li>\n";

So, our class is ready. Let’s implement it to our categories menu:

$our_walker= new Walker_Category_Custom();


That’s all. We will get ul-li menu with small icons images before each category name. Something like this:

Screenshot from 2015-05-02 14:12:37

Also with using functions of our class we can build any kind of data-structure for categories menu.

2 thoughts on “How to create simple Walker_Category for WordPress website

  1. Marcello

    Thank you very much for this. Helped me alot to create a modal form to post from front end. Now i’m trying to use the same modal to edit posts. The only thing i couldn’t acomplish is how to load the categorie list with some categories checked. There’s a way ?