I would like to limit the depth of a taxonomy vocabulary to a maximum number parent/child nestings. I would like my users to not be able to add at most 4 levels deep of taxonomy terms per tree. Is there a module for this or what code is needed to enforce this depth on the tree?

2 Answers 2


After a lot of Googling and trial and error I came up with the following means of limiting a vocab's depth. You can make it as specific as you like:

Limit the depth of Parents on the term edit page:

function MY_MODULE_form_taxonomy_form_term_alter(&$form, &$form_state) {
  if ($form['#bundle'] == 'MY_VOCAB') {
    // Limit parents to none or only top level items
    foreach ($form['relations']['parent']['#options'] as $tid => $option) {
      if (substr($option, 0, 1) == '-') {
        unset($form['relations']['parent']['#options'][ $tid ]);

Limit the depth of Tabledrag on the taxonomy terms listing page:

I could not re-implement theme_taxonomy_overview_terms() as another module had already done this and it made no sense to do that.

function MY_MODULE_preprocess_page(&$variables) {
  if (current_path() == 'admin/structure/taxonomy/MY_VOCAB') {
    // Prevent tabledrag from allowing more than two levels in this hierarchy
    $settings['tableDrag']['taxonomy']['term-depth'][0] = array(
      'target' => 'term-depth',
      'source' => 'term-depth',
      'relationship' => 'group',
      'action' => 'depth',
      'hidden' => false,
      'limit' => 1,
    drupal_add_js($settings, 'setting');

No, there is no current way to limit a taxonomy depth using a 3rd party module that I know of. The maximum depth of taxonomies is limited by the database table structure, not just PHP code, to 9 levels in D7. You could add a custom validator on taxonomy term add/edit forms (and with extra logic certain Taxonomy Trees) to enforce a maximum parent depth. See Custom Validation while adding a term under taxonomy

  • Thanks tenken. Does this apply to the taxonomy itself? I'm not looking to limit what nodes can reference to, but the taxonomy itself. I don't want users to be able to create a fourth level, for example.
    – John
    Jul 17, 2015 at 12:13
  • Applies to UI on Nodes. Not taxonomy admin UI.
    – tenken
    Jul 17, 2015 at 12:47
  • Well, per my original question: I'm not talking about which terms a node can reference; instead I'm talking about actually limiting the number of levels a taxonomy vocabulary can contain. Also, what I said about the Taxonomy Manager UI was secondary, a plan B in case I couldn't limit the taxonomy otherwise.
    – John
    Jul 17, 2015 at 16:27
  • please see my edits to simplify your question and my answer.
    – tenken
    Jul 17, 2015 at 16:57

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