How to Make the Most of WordPress’s Bulk Editing Functionality

WordPress is an intuitive enough platform. Once you’ve got the hang of where to find the Add New button and familiarized yourself with the page and post edit screens, you can create and edit content in little to no time.

Now, think about how long it takes you to navigate to one of your posts or pages to make an update. Probably doesn’t take too long, right? That’s the ideal outcome. Into the page, make your change, and bounce right back out.

Okay, now, think about how long it would take to repeat that same update on 20 different posts. That’s a lot of effort and time you have to spend clicking through each page, executing the change, waiting for the page to update, and then navigating back out to the main Posts or Pages screen to do it all over again.

It might not take much time to make a simple change, but multiply that effort across a number of pages, and it can become a burdensome time-suck.

As a web developer, you really can’t afford to spend time on repetitive tasks like that. That’s why it’s great that WordPress has a bulk edit functionality built right into it.

If you haven’t taken notice of it before, then I’m going to review how to use it today. And for those of you who already use WordPress’s bulk action feature, but feel as though it leaves something to be desired, I’ll also share a few plugins to extend that functionality.

How to Bulk Edit Posts in WordPress with the Bulk Actions Tool

First things first. If you want to bulk edit content on your website, you’ll want to see more than just the default 20 items WordPress shows in the Posts and Pages master list display.

To do this, find the Screen Options tab in the top-right corner of your WordPress admin.

The WordPress screen options tab
You can access Screen Options at the top of the page.

Then update the pagination item count accordingly. I believe 200 is the maximum limit.

Pagination settings for WordPress screen options
You can choose how many items you would like to display on each page.

You’ll now have all your pages or posts in one place for easier bulk editing.

In order to execute the bulk editing feature, simply follow these steps:

Step #1

Find the Bulk Actions button in the top-left above your list of posts or pages. Choose the bulk edit action you want to take. You can either Edit or Move to Trash.


Bulk edit settings for posts in WordPress
There are two options for bulking editing posts: Edit and Move to Trash.

Don’t forget to select which posts or pages you want to apply the change to.

Step #2

Hit the Apply button.

A new menu will drop open, giving you options for bulk editing. Make your selections and then click the Update button. It may take a little while for the changes to be applied, especially if you’re making extensive edits to more than just a handful of posts.

The bulk edit settings for WordPress posts when you choose "Edit"
The bulk edit settings when you choose “Edit.”

Once your content is updated, you’ll receive a notification at the top of the page that lets you know the bulk edit (or delete) is complete. You’ll also see that the changes have been applied to the selected posts below.

What Exactly Can You Bulk Edit in WordPress?

Within WordPress—and without the assistance of a plugin—you can manage the bulk editing of quite a few elements within your site’s content. This is true of both your blog posts as well as your pages.

For posts, you can update the following:

  • Add categories
  • Add tags
  • Assign or remove an author
  • Allow or disallow comments
  • Update post status (Published, Private, Pending Review, Draft)
  • Change the format (Standard, Image, Video, etc.)
  • Allow or disallow pingbacks
  • Set sticky status

For pages, you can update the following:

  • Assign or remove an author
  • Assign a parent page
  • Assign a template
  • Allow or disallow comments
  • Update page status (Published, Private, Pending Review, Draft)

And, of course, you can bulk delete your posts and pages in WordPress.

How to Bulk Edit Posts in WordPress with a Plugin

While the WordPress bulk editing solution is handy, there may come a time when you want to bulk edit a characteristic that’s outside of WordPress’s range of capabilities. This is especially helpful when you’re building and managing a large ecommerce or news site, but there are other bulk editing features you might find helpful as well.

  • Bulk Delete Plugin

    Surprisingly, there aren’t that many bulk editing plugins available in WordPress. There is, however, this awesome bulk delete plugin. For those of you who have a large archive of site content that’s outdated, this would easily help keep your site looking fresh and up-to-date. You could also use this plugin to remove content created by specific users, duplicate content, pages started but never completed, and so on.

    You’ll probably need the Pro add-on to really capitalize on the power of this plugin, but it’s worth it if you want to spend less time getting an unwieldy amount of content under control.

    Interested in Bulk Delete Plugin?

  • WooCommerce Advanced Bulk Edit

    This premium plugin for WooCommerce is pretty comprehensive, so you shouldn’t have to look elsewhere if you’re looking to manage your WooCommerce products in bulk. You can edit pretty much every aspect of your products, including category, pricing, catalog visibility, reviews, inventory status, size, and more.

    Interested in WooCommerce Advanced Bulk Edit?

Wrapping Up

It probably won’t be all that often when you find yourself having to apply the same exact edit to a large number of posts or pages. However, if the occasion should arise, would you rather have to tackle each page’s update piecemeal or would you like to apply it as one bulk edit?

The key to working efficiently with any system is to streamline and automate as much as you can. If WordPress gives you the tools to bulk edit your content, then you should definitely use it and save yourself the hassle of repeating the same monotonous task over and over again.

Brenda Barron
Over to you: Is there any repetitive task you do on a regular basis that you wish you could manage in bulk and streamline, but that there currently isn’t a solution for?