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 option when they were writing posts. This is how the Author dropdown normally appears:

Author Box
Author Box

They could not even enable the “Authors” box if they went to the “Options” panel in Gutenberg:

WordPress Gutenberg options panel

And the “Authors” feature 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

So what is happening here? Where did the “Authors” feature go?

It turns out there are two likely 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 an “Administrator”. 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 automatically hides the “Authors” feature.

There is one caveat: it is possible for the “Authors” feature to appear if someone else is chosen as an Author, but has now been moved to the “Subscriber” role.

For more details on the default user roles on how this can happen, check out these links.


Explanation #2. You are a Subscriber or Contributor

The Subscriber and Contributor roles are the lowest two roles in WordPress. They have the fewest permissions.

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 give do this by giving them the “Edit Others” permission. You can do this with the PublishPress Capabilities plugin.


Explanation #3. You're using PublishPress Authors

The PublishPress Authors plugin makes two small changes to the WordPress admin interface. This is done to make the plugin easier to use.

First, PublishPress Authors removes the default “Author” box from the “Quick Edit” area. This image shows the default “Author” dropdown, but but you won’t see it with PublishPress Authors installed.

The author dropdown in WordPress Quick Edit

Second, PublishPress Authors also removes the “Author” dropdown from inside the editor. Again, the dropdown is shown below, but you won’t see it with PublishPress Authors installed.

The author dropdown in WordPress post sidebar

These two changes mean that PublishPress Authors is easier to use, because the only place to add and remove authors is this metabox:

The author dropdown in WordPress Publishpress Authors plugin

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Steve Burge

Steve is the founder of PublishPress. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. (P.S. This profile is generated by the PublishPress Authors plugin)

Comments (2)

  • 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.

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