How to: Display your WordPress Tags in a Drop-Down Menu

Tags are useful to any blog: As you know it, they allow the user to display a list of posts related to a subject.
Most of the time, tags are displayed with in a tag cloud. If you have 20 different tags, that’s ok, but if you have 100 or more tags your tag cloud will be very hard to read, and no-one will click on it.

This is probably why many blogs recently stopped displaying their tag cloud, or put it on a separate page. But I got another solution.

My wife owns a blog where she reviews books. She use tags to display author names, which is a great use of tags, in my opinion. The tags were first displayed as a list, and it was perfect. But after she reviewed 60+ books, the list started to be too long.

She asked me about a solution, and after some reflection, I came up with the idea of using a drop-down menu (select html element + a bit of javascript). Happily, I was able to found this code on WordPress forums.

First, we have to create a php function. Copy and paste the following code in the functions.php file of your theme (Be careful with the php opening/closing tags!)

<?php
function dropdown_tag_cloud( $args = '' ) {
	$defaults = array(
		'smallest' => 8, 'largest' => 22, 'unit' => 'pt', 'number' => 45,
		'format' => 'flat', 'orderby' => 'name', 'order' => 'ASC',
		'exclude' => '', 'include' => ''
	);
	$args = wp_parse_args( $args, $defaults );

	$tags = get_tags( array_merge($args, array('orderby' => 'count', 'order' => 'DESC')) ); // Always query top tags

	if ( empty($tags) )
		return;

	$return = dropdown_generate_tag_cloud( $tags, $args ); // Here's where those top tags get sorted according to $args
	if ( is_wp_error( $return ) )
		return false;
	else
		echo apply_filters( 'dropdown_tag_cloud', $return, $args );
}

function dropdown_generate_tag_cloud( $tags, $args = '' ) {
	global $wp_rewrite;
	$defaults = array(
		'smallest' => 8, 'largest' => 22, 'unit' => 'pt', 'number' => 45,
		'format' => 'flat', 'orderby' => 'name', 'order' => 'ASC'
	);
	$args = wp_parse_args( $args, $defaults );
	extract($args);

	if ( !$tags )
		return;
	$counts = $tag_links = array();
	foreach ( (array) $tags as $tag ) {
		$counts[$tag->name] = $tag->count;
		$tag_links[$tag->name] = get_tag_link( $tag->term_id );
		if ( is_wp_error( $tag_links[$tag->name] ) )
			return $tag_links[$tag->name];
		$tag_ids[$tag->name] = $tag->term_id;
	}

	$min_count = min($counts);
	$spread = max($counts) - $min_count;
	if ( $spread <= 0 )
		$spread = 1;
	$font_spread = $largest - $smallest;
	if ( $font_spread <= 0 )
		$font_spread = 1;
	$font_step = $font_spread / $spread;

	// SQL cannot save you; this is a second (potentially different) sort on a subset of data.
	if ( 'name' == $orderby )
		uksort($counts, 'strnatcasecmp');
	else
		asort($counts);

	if ( 'DESC' == $order )
		$counts = array_reverse( $counts, true );

	$a = array();

	$rel = ( is_object($wp_rewrite) && $wp_rewrite->using_permalinks() ) ? ' rel="tag"' : '';

	foreach ( $counts as $tag => $count ) {
		$tag_id = $tag_ids[$tag];
		$tag_link = clean_url($tag_links[$tag]);
		$tag = str_replace(' ', '&nbsp;', wp_specialchars( $tag ));
		$a[] = "t<option value='$tag_link'>$tag ($count)</option>";
	}

	switch ( $format ) :
	case 'array' :
		$return =& $a;
		break;
	case 'list' :
		$return = "<ul class='wp-tag-cloud'>nt<li>";
		$return .= join("</li>nt<li>", $a);
		$return .= "</li>n</ul>n";
		break;
	default :
		$return = join("n", $a);
		break;
	endswitch;

	return apply_filters( 'dropdown_generate_tag_cloud', $return, $tags, $args );
}
?>

Once you have your function, you must call it somewhere on your theme. Just open the file where you want the list to be displayed (Most of the time it is sidebar.php) and paste the following code:

<select name="tag-dropdown" onchange="document.location.href=this.options[this.selectedIndex].value;">
	<option value="#">Liste d'auteurs</option>
	<?php dropdown_tag_cloud('number=0&order=asc'); ?>
</select>

Now, you have a very cool drop-down list to display you tags. No more unreadables tag clouds!

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