I'm looking to show recent categories ordered by their associated entries' postDate.

Is this possible?

  • I don't want to list the entries within the category
  • I simply want to list 4 categories that have recently updated related entries.
  • Entries from any section can be associated to my site's global categories.

1 Answer 1


You could technically do this with a lot of custom SQL, but it would be messy. I think your best bet would be to create a custom Date field on your categories called “Last Used”, and then to write a module that keeps its value updated as entries are saved.

The default Craft 3 project comes with a module file out of the box, so you can use that as a starting point.

First, add this to the top of the module file, after the namespace line:

use Craft;
use craft\elements\Category;
use craft\elements\Entry;
use craft\events\ModelEvent;
use yii\base\Event;

Then in its init() method, add this after the parent::init() line:

Event::on(Entry::class, Entry::EVENT_AFTER_SAVE, function(ModelEvent $event) {
    /** @var Entry $entry */
    $entry = $event->sender;

    if ($entry->enabled) {
        // Loop through the related categories
        foreach ($entry->myCategoriesField as $category) {
            /** @var Category $category */
            // Is this entry's post date more recent than the current Last Used value?
            if ($entry->postDate > $category->lastUsed) {
                $category->setFieldValue('lastUsed', $entry->postDate);
                Craft::$app->elements->saveElement($category, false);

You can get Craft to re-save all of your entries by re-saving each of your sections’ settings. (You don’t need to change anything.)

With that in place, you can start sorting by that custom field in your templates.

{% set categories = craft.categories()
    .lastUsed('not :empty:')
    .orderBy('lastUsed desc')
    .all() %}
  • Thanks Brandon. I'm on a client site that is currently using Craft 2. This will likely make me push to find the time to upgrade it. Unfortunately I have some unsupported plugins in the current install so won't be anytime soon. Many thanks for your time. Oct 22, 2018 at 21:28
  • @AdamMenczykowski Ah ok. You could technically pull something similar off in Craft 2 with a plugin, but there are a couple gotchas, like it’s much harder to update field values programmatically without messing other fields up. Oct 22, 2018 at 21:31
  • Thanks, I'll probably work on getting the upgrade to v3 then try your suggestion. Oct 23, 2018 at 13:59

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