How to create live autofill search?

I am currently trying to create a wordpress search function that shows live results underneath the search bar. There is an example on the World Bank website (screens below). I’m not looking for an autofill like you would find on which completes words you type, rather I want it to find actual posts on the site.

I tried doing a scrub through WordPress and other similar resources but have only run into implementing a Google type search which is not what I am looking for. Any help or points in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.


search after


The following uses jQuery UI Autocomplete, which has been included in WordPress since 3.3. (I’ve borrowed the format from @Rarst :D).

It’s still not precisely what you’re after, but gives you a good starting point. The following uses a the basic jQuery UI styling, but you can use the one that’s currently worked out on trac and call that from your plug-in folder.

class AutoComplete {

    static $action = 'my_autocomplete';//Name of the action - should be unique to your plugin.

    static function load() {
        add_action( 'init', array( __CLASS__, 'init'));

    static function init() {
        //Register style - you can create your own jQuery UI theme and store it in the plug-in folder
        add_action( 'get_search_form', array( __CLASS__, 'get_search_form' ) );
        add_action( 'wp_print_footer_scripts', array( __CLASS__, 'print_footer_scripts' ), 11 );
        add_action( 'wp_ajax_'.self::$action, array( __CLASS__, 'autocomplete_suggestions' ) );
        add_action( 'wp_ajax_nopriv_'.self::$action, array( __CLASS__, 'autocomplete_suggestions' ) );

    static function get_search_form( $form ) {
        wp_enqueue_script( 'jquery-ui-autocomplete' );
        return $form;

    static function print_footer_scripts() {
    <script type="text/javascript">
    jQuery(document).ready(function ($){
        var ajaxurl="<?php echo admin_url( "admin-ajax.php' ); ?>';
        var ajaxaction = '<?php echo self::$action ?>';
        $("#secondary #searchform #s").autocomplete({
            delay: 0,
            minLength: 0,
            source: function(req, response){  
                $.getJSON(ajaxurl+'?callback=?&action='+ajaxaction, req, response);  
            select: function(event, ui) {

    static function autocomplete_suggestions() {
        $posts = get_posts( array(
            's' => trim( esc_attr( strip_tags( $_REQUEST['term'] ) ) ),
        ) );

        global $post;
        foreach ($posts as $post): 
            $suggestion = array();
            $suggestion['label'] = esc_html($post->post_title);
            $suggestion['link'] = get_permalink();

            $suggestions[]= $suggestion;

        $response = $_GET["callback"] . "(" . json_encode($suggestions) . ")";  
        echo $response;  

Leave a Comment