Function and usage of get_hidden_meta_boxes() in wordpress


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    The get_hidden_meta_boxes() function in WordPress is used to retrieve an array of IDs of meta boxes that are hidden on a given screen in the WordPress admin area. Meta boxes are modular UI elements used in the WordPress admin dashboard for displaying or capturing information. They are commonly seen on post edit screens, where they can include fields for setting categories, tags, featured images, and custom fields.

    Function Signature:

    get_hidden_meta_boxes( string|WP_Screen $screen ): string[]


    • $screen (string | WP_Screen): This parameter is required. It specifies the screen for which you want to get the hidden meta boxes. The screen can be specified either as a string representing the screen ID or as an instance of the WP_Screen object.

    Return Value:

    • string[]: The function returns an array of strings. Each string in the array is an ID of a hidden meta box for the specified screen.

    Sample Usage:

    Let's say you want to find out which meta boxes are hidden on the post edit screen. Here's how you might use get_hidden_meta_boxes():

    // Get the current screen object
    $current_screen = get_current_screen();
    // Check if we're on the 'post' edit screen
    if ( $current_screen->id == 'post' ) {
        // Get the IDs of hidden meta boxes on this screen
        $hidden_meta_boxes = get_hidden_meta_boxes( $current_screen );
        // Print the IDs
        print_r( $hidden_meta_boxes );

    In this example, get_current_screen() is used to retrieve the current screen object. Then, it's checked whether the current screen is the post edit screen (with an ID of 'post'). If it is, get_hidden_meta_boxes() is called with the current screen object as the argument, and the IDs of the hidden meta boxes on the post edit screen are printed.

    Practical Use-Cases:

    • Customizing Admin UI: This function is particularly useful for developers who are customizing the WordPress admin interface. For instance, if you're building a custom plugin or theme and you want to streamline the admin UI by hiding unnecessary meta boxes, you can use this function to check which meta boxes are already hidden.

    • Conditional Logic in Plugins/Themes: You might want to perform certain actions in your plugin or theme only if specific meta boxes are hidden. By using get_hidden_meta_boxes(), you can write conditional logic based on the visibility of these meta boxes.

    Remember that this function is part of WordPress's internal API and is primarily intended for use within the WordPress admin. It's not typically used on the front-end or in template files.

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