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WP meta_query with ACF multi selects

  • I came across a need where I was searching for a possible array of options within a multi select. I will post my solution but curious if there was an easier/ cleaner way to do it — so looking for either a better solution, or feedback on my solution

    First, an example of the setup and need

    user has a list of favorite colors (red / orange / yellow / green / blue / violet)
    user can choose 3, so he selects (yellow / green / blue)

    I need to find users who like primary colors (red / yellow / blue)

    at first I thought a simple IN search with array for value would fill my need, but I later realized that the array of user selections was stored as a serialized string in the database, so it wasn’t finding my people

    What I came up with is this

      $cpt_query = array('relation' => 'OR'); // doing an or query, because we want people who like one of the colors, not all of the colors
      foreach($_POST['cpt_query'] as $selection) {
        $cpt_query[] = array(
          'key'     => 'people_color', // this is where they have their color stored
          'value'   => '"' .$selection . '"', // stored as serialized, so surrounded by quotes, stops a false true for bluegreen if searching "blue" by surrounding it by quotes
          'compare' => 'LIKE'
      $args = array(
        'numberposts' => -1,
        'orderby'     => 'title',
        'order'       => 'ASC',
        'post_type'   => 'people', // custom post type of people
        'meta_query'  => array(
          'relation'  => 'AND',
            'key' => 'people_type', // other value we are searching for, but this is a 1 to 1
            'value' => $_POST['type'],
            'compare' => 'LIKE'
      $posts = get_posts( $args );
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