I Can’t See the Author Dropdown Box in WordPress

This week, one PublishPress user asked us about an interesting WordPress problem.

They could not see the “Author” dropdown option when they were writing posts. This screenshot below shows how the Author dropdown normally appears:

Author Box dropdown
Author Box

This particular user could not even enable the “Authors” box. They tried all the options they could think of including the “Options” panel in Gutenberg. Sometimes we've seen that the “Authors” feature can be re-enabled via this panel.

WordPress Gutenberg options panel

For this user, the “Authors” dropdown was also missing from the “Quick Edit” area of WordPress. Normally, you will see an “Authors” dropdown when you click “Quick Edit” for a post.

WordPress quick edit area has no Authors

So what is happening here? Where did the “Authors” feature go? There are several possible explanations:


Explanation #1. You only have one Author

This is what happened to our PublishPress user. They only had one user who was in a user role with the ability to write posts.

They were in the “Administrator” role. However, all of the other users on the site were “Subscribers” and did not have any permission to write posts.

Because there is only one possible author for each post, WordPress was automatically hiding the “Authors” feature. The only exception to this is if a post author is in a higher level role but has now been moved to the “Subscriber” role.


Explanation #2. You have too many users

If you have over 10,000 users on your site, WordPress will disable the “Authors” dropdown in the “Quick Edit” area. This is because the “Quick Edit” area will load multiple times on the “Posts” screen, and your site will be very slow if it has to load over 10,000 multiple times. Click here for more details on the “Authors” feature in large sites.


Explanation #3. You are a Subscriber or Contributor

The Subscriber and Contributor roles are the lowest two roles in WordPress. They have the fewest permissions. This post has details on the technical side of user role levels.

Subscribers can not write or edit any content. So they can not even access the “Posts” screen, let alone see the Authors box. Contributors can write content, but they only have access to their own Posts. They are now allowed to interact with content written by other users. So they are also denied access to the Authors box.

If you want to allow a role like Contributors to see the Authors box, you can do this by giving them the “Edit Others” permission. You can do this with the PublishPress Capabilities plugin.

PublishPress Capabilities roles

Explanation #4. Custom post types

Many custom post types don't have support for authors. Here's how to add authors to any custom post type.


Join PublishPress today

Join PublishPress today and you'll get powerful publishing and permissions plugins to improve your WordPress site.

  • Steve Burge

    Steve is the founder of PublishPress. He's been working with open source software for over 20 years. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. This profile is generated by the PublishPress Authors plugin.

11 Comments

  1. Multiple Authors metabox is superior to WordPress’s not just because of it’s ability to select many users and showing an avatar, but also because of ease/concise display. When you have thousands of users it would be much harder to find on WP’s default dropdown due to scrolling a huge list versus Multiple Author’s AJAX search results.

  2. Thank you so much for this. I had only one user on my site during development, and couldn’t figure out why the author dropdown wasn’t appearing on the admin panel. I switched themes, deactivated all plugins, etc. It would never have occurred to me that it was happening because I only had one author!

  3. As of the last WP update to 5.9, Author list only shows Admins and Editors but no longer Contributors. Not sure what to do now.

  4. I have been struggling for a few days to find a solution to this problem. There are 3 authors on the site, we all have the role of administrator. The problem is, we can’t select the author.

  5. If you have a Role manager plugin, the Page permissions may need to be changed. This was my case that the default permissions for Pages was not allowing the Author to be changed.

  6. Hi.

    From what I can see, there is no solution given here.

    My site has this problem, However, I can only get the option to show in quick edit.

    1. Site has less than 20 authors.
    2. No permissions plugin.
    3. Can still do quick edit

    1. Hi Megan. This list contains the most common causes, but there are definitely more. For example, this could be caused by custom code by whoever built your site, or it could be caused by another plugin we haven’t suggested here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *