WooCommerce: Exclude Category from ‘products’ Shortcode

The WooCommerce [products] shortcode displays all products in your shop. There is even an attribute called “category” where you can specify comma-separated list of category slugs in order to further filter the output.

What you can’t do is define a list of unwanted categories (think of “uncategorized” for example) i.e. a list of categories you want to exclude from the products shortcode output.

So, here’s the fix, enjoy!

WooCommerce: exclude category from shortcodes
WooCommerce: exclude category from shortcodes

PHP Snippet: Exclude Category from “products” Shortcode

Let’s say we want to remove the category “black” (see above example) from the “products” shortcode. The snippet to place in your functions.php is very simple:

 * @snippet       Exclude Category from products Shortcode
 * @how-to        Get CustomizeWoo.com FREE
 * @author        Rodolfo Melogli
 * @compatible    WooCommerce 6
 * @community     https://businessbloomer.com/club/

add_filter( 'woocommerce_shortcode_products_query', 'bbloomer_exclude_cat_shortcodes' );
function bbloomer_exclude_cat_shortcodes( $query_args ){ 
	$query_args['tax_query'][] = array( array( 
		'taxonomy' => 'product_cat', 
		'field' => 'slug', 
		'terms' => array( 'black' ), // Don't display products from this category
		'operator' => 'NOT IN'
	return $query_args;

Where to add custom code?

You should place custom PHP in functions.php and custom CSS in style.css of your child theme: where to place WooCommerce customization?

This code still works, unless you report otherwise. To exclude conflicts, temporarily switch to the Storefront theme, disable all plugins except WooCommerce, and test the snippet again: WooCommerce troubleshooting 101

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Rodolfo Melogli

Business Bloomer Founder

Author, WooCommerce expert and WordCamp speaker, Rodolfo has worked as an independent WooCommerce freelancer since 2011. His goal is to help entrepreneurs and developers overcome their WooCommerce nightmares. Rodolfo loves travelling, chasing tennis & soccer balls and, of course, wood fired oven pizza. Follow @rmelogli

17 thoughts on “WooCommerce: Exclude Category from ‘products’ Shortcode

  1. It removes the specific categories form the products shortcode, but it does not bring the products specified in the “category” parameter of the shortcode. It brings any product from the shop that is not in the categories specified in this snippet, so it makes all shortcodes return the same products in the end.

    How can this be used to filter out products form a specific category, but still bring just the products from the category specified on “category” parameter of the shortcode?

    Thank you

    1. You’re 100% right! Check the new version please

  2. Or just use shortcode like this:

    [products category="my-category-slug" cat_operator="NOT IN"]

  3. Snippet dont work width brocket filter plugin. πŸ™
    but tnx πŸ™‚ for the snippet, it was almost perfect πŸ™‚

    1. Ok

  4. Thanks a lot !
    This snippet helped me to make mine work when I know almost nothing about PHP. I give it to you bellow here if it helps anyone. My snippet retrieves the current category to display the shortcode [products] with the products of the category being viewed (usefull if I want to display the on_sale products of each category visited for example).
    Ideally, this should be added:
    – a condition not to apply if the category is already specified in the shortcode parameters
    – and in this case, if the shortcode parameter entered is category=”’, then all products of all categories are displayed.
    But I don’t know how to do that yet.

    add_filter( 'woocommerce_shortcode_products_query' , 'current_category_products_shortcode');
    function current_category_products_shortcode($query_args){
     	$cat_archive = get_queried_object();
    	$cat_archive_slug = $cat_archive->slug;
        $query_args['tax_query'] =  array(array( 
                'taxonomy' => 'product_cat', 
                'field' => 'slug', 
                'terms' => $cat_archive_slug,
                'operator' => 'IN'
        return $query_args;
    1. It needs also a conditional logic to apply only on category and tag pages. Don’t use as is.

      1. Didier, thanks so much for your comment! Yes, this is definitely possible, but I’m afraid it’s custom work. If you’d like to get a quote, feel free to contact me here. Thanks a lot for your understanding!

  5. Great! Worked.

    Now one thing left, how to exclude specific categories in the Top rated products widget?

    1. Hello Christiaan, thanks so much for your comment! Yes, this is possible – but unfortunately this is custom work and I cannot provide a complementary solution here via the blog comments. If you’d like to get a quote, feel free to contact me here. Thanks a lot for your understanding! ~R

  6. Hello,

    It works with WooCommerce 3.3.1, Thank you so much, your solution saved me loads of time. πŸ™‚

  7. Great function! How would I exclude 2 or multiple categories? Thanks!

    1. Hey Bobby, thanks so much for your comment! You’d add categories here:

  8. Thank you Rodolfo for sharing your knowldege
    I have a question, Can we make pages for each category by excluding the others categories or what would be the best approach to achive that?

    1. Hey Vale, thanks for your comment! You already have those pages by default, go to Products > Categories and you can access them.

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