You’re probably familiar with the Category widget in WordPress. Recently, one of our readers asked us if it was possible to display recent posts in a drop down as well. In this article, we will show you how to show recent posts as a drop down in WordPress.

Add recent posts as drop down menu

Why and Who Needs Recent Posts in Drop Down?

WordPress comes with a built-in recent posts widget that you can add to any sidebar or widget ready area.

This widget simply displays a list of recent posts, and you can choose the number of posts you want to show. But if you want to show more than 5-10 posts, then the list will take a lot of space in your sidebar.

Some WordPress users may need a compact way to display recent posts. In that case, using drop downs or collapsible lists can help you save space.

Let’s take a look at couple of different ways to show recent posts as a drop down menu in WordPress.

Showing WordPress Recent Posts in a Plain Drop Down Menu (Manual Code)

This method uses the built-in wp_get_recent_posts function. All you need to do is copy and paste the following code in your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.

function wpb_recentposts_dropdown() { 
$string .= '<select id="rpdropdown">
			<option  value="" selected>Select a Post<option>';

$args = array( 'numberposts' => '5', 'post_status' => 'publish' );

$recent_posts = wp_get_recent_posts($args);
	foreach( $recent_posts as $recent ){
		$string .= '<option value="' . get_permalink($recent["ID"]) . '">' .   $recent["post_title"].'</option> ';

$string .= '</select>
			<script type="text/javascript"> var urlmenu = document.getElementById( "rpdropdown" ); urlmenu.onchange = function() { this.options[ this.selectedIndex ].value, "_self" );

return $string;
add_shortcode('rp_dropdown', 'wpb_recentposts_dropdown');

Now you can use the shortcode [rp_dropdown] in your WordPress post, pages, and text widgets. It will look like this:

Recent posts in a drop down menu on a WordPress site

Adding Collapsible Recent Posts Using Plugin

The above method simply lists your recent posts in a drop down form. Another way to save space is by adding a collapsible list of recent posts which expands when users click on it.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Collapse-O-Matic plugin. It works out of the box, and there are no settings for you to configure.

The plugin simply allows you to show anything in a collapsible menu using a shortcode.

Before we use this plugin, we need a way to easily show recent posts anywhere we want. Simply add this code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.

function wpb_recentposts() { 

$string .= '<ul>';
$args = array( 'numberposts' => '5', 'post_status' => 'publish' );
$recent_posts = wp_get_recent_posts($args);
	foreach( $recent_posts as $recent ){
		$string .= '<li><a href="' . get_permalink($recent["ID"]) . '">' .   $recent["post_title"].'</a></li> ';
$string .= '</ul>';
return $string;
add_shortcode('recentposts', 'wpb_recentposts');

This code simply allows you to display a list of recent posts using the shortcode [recentposts].

Now we will add our shortcode in the Collapse-O-Matic shortcode to create a collapsible list of recent posts.

Simply add the shortcode like this:

[expand title="Recent Posts"][recentposts][/expand]

You can add this shortcode in a text widget, posts, or pages on your WordPress site. This is how it looked on our test site.

Collapsable list of recent posts