Simon Mettler

Adding icons to wp_list_categories

Recently I was looking for a way to display a category list in WordPress with icons in front of each category name, to get a result like this:

The standard wp_list_categories function does not offer this possibility, but there is an easy way to get this result using a custom walker. The walker class helps to parse and modify a hierarchical structure generated by WordPress functions like wp_list_categories. Using a walker we can create the list ourselves and add an icon in front of the link (I’m using file_get_contents to create an inline svg element, but any html content can be added):

class Icon_Category_Walker extends Walker_Category {

  // Override the start_el method to add the SVG icon.
  function start_el(&$output, $category, $depth = 0, $args = array(), $id = 0) {
      $output .= '<li class="categories-list-item">';
      $icon = file_get_contents( get_template_directory_uri() . '/img/icons/folder.svg' ); // add the icon on this line
      $output .= '<a href="' . esc_url(get_category_link($category->term_id)) . '">' . $icon . $category->name . '</a>';

  // Override the end_el method to close the list item.
  function end_el(&$output, $page, $depth = 0, $args = array()) {
      $output .= '</li>';

After adding Icon_Category_Walker to functions.php, the custom walker can be used when displaying the categories. This is done by adding 'walker' => new Icon_Category_Walker as an argument of wp_list_categories:

$args = array(
  'echo'         => true,
  'walker'       => new Icon_Category_Walker(),
  'hierarchical' => true,
  // more...
wp_list_categories( $args );

Now (with some styling of the list) the category list should look like in the example above.