WooCommerce: Show Empty Product Categories

By default, empty WooCommerce product categories (i.e. categories which have no published products) will not display on your Shop page.

This makes a lot of sense and avoids that customers land on empty pages… BUT sometimes you might have different needs and require that users still see these categories when the shop display is set to “Show Categories”.

Thankfully there is a quick one-line fix that you can copy / paste in your functions.php to show empty categories… enjoy!

Display empty categories @ WooCommerce Shop page

PHP Snippet: Show Empty WooCommerce Product Categories

 * @snippet       Show Empty Categories @ Shop Page
 * @how-to        Get CustomizeWoo.com FREE
 * @author        Rodolfo Melogli
 * @compatible    WooCommerce 5
 * @donate $9     https://businessbloomer.com/bloomer-armada/

add_filter( 'woocommerce_product_subcategories_hide_empty', '__return_false' );

PHP Snippet (Storefront Theme): Show Empty WooCommerce Product Categories @ Homepage

 * @snippet       Show Empty Categories @ Homepage
 * @how-to        Get CustomizeWoo.com FREE
 * @author        Rodolfo Melogli
 * @compatible    WooCommerce 5
 * @donate $9     https://businessbloomer.com/bloomer-armada/

add_filter( 'storefront_product_categories_shortcode_args', 'bblomer_storefront_homepage_show_empty_cats' );

function bblomer_storefront_homepage_show_empty_cats( $args ) {
  $args['hide_empty'] = 0;
  return $args;

Where to add custom code?

You should place PHP snippets at the bottom of your child theme functions.php file and CSS at the bottom of its style.css file. Make sure you know what you are doing when editing such files - if you need more guidance, please take a look at my guide "Should I Add Custom Code Via WP Editor, FTP or Code Snippets?" and my video tutorial "Where to Place WooCommerce Customization?"

Does this snippet (still) work?

Please let me know in the comments if everything went as expected. I would be happy to revise the snippet if you report otherwise (please provide screenshots). I have tested this code with Storefront theme, the WooCommerce version listed above and a WordPress-friendly hosting.

If you think this code saved you time & money, feel free to join 17,000+ WooCommerce Weekly subscribers for blog post updates and 250+ Business Bloomer supporters for 365 days of WooCommerce benefits. Thank you in advance!

Need Help with WooCommerce?

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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.

5 thoughts on “WooCommerce: Show Empty Product Categories

  1. Hi,
    This doesnt work for me when using a shortcode. It works on the woocommerce default storefront page but I want to show all the product categories using a shortcode on a custom page using:

    echo do_shortcode("[product_categories number='0' parent='0']"); 

    Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Leanne, you should use the “hide_empty” shortcode parameter, and set that to 0

      1. Perfect, thanks so much.

  2. add_filter( 'woocommerce_product_subcategories_hide_empty', '__return_false' );

    This doesn’t work in Woocommerce 5

    1. Tried on a different theme already?

Questions? Feedback? Support? Leave your Comment Now!

If you are writing code, please wrap it between shortcodes: [php]code_here[/php]. Failure to complying with this (as well as going off topic, not writing in English, etc.) will result in comment deletion. You should expect a reply in about 2 weeks - this is a popular blog but I need to get paid work done first. Please consider joining BloomerArmada to get blog comment reply priority, ask me 1-to-1 WooCommerce questions and enjoy many more perks. Thank you :)

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