Including ACF Within a Plugin or Theme

Last updated Nov 23, 2023


The Advanced Custom Fields plugin is a powerful tool for developing bespoke websites and web-apps. Although designed primarily for individual use, it may also be used as a framework by both plugin and theme authors to power their free and premium products.

This guide outlines the rules and terms for including ACF within your plugin or theme.


We do not allow bundling ACF or ACF PRO inside your own product as is, so ACF can be used by your users. It is should only be used to allow you to create fields and other ACF features required for your product.

When talking about a WordPress product, we can consider it as either a plugin, theme, premium plugin, or premium theme.

Our rules differ based on if your product is considered free or premium, and not whether it is a plugin or theme.

Please see the following table of rules that govern the inclusion of our plugins.

Include in a free plugin
Include in a free theme
Include in a premium plugin ✉️
Include in a premium theme ✉️
Include in an “ACF” plugin
Share license key information
Use as a selling point

If you would like to include ACF PRO in your premium theme or plugin, please contact us to discuss the right subscription for you.


Although we love the idea of you empowering your customers with intuitive publishing controls, we don’t love the idea of you advertising this to boost sales.

When including ACF PRO within your premium theme or premium plugin, please do not advertise this in your marketing material. For example, stay away from messages like “This theme also includes ACF PRO – normally $$$ – for free!”


You should provide field definitions (PHP or JSON) inside your plugin and disable the ACF menu. Your users should not be able to create new field groups or fields.


Your customers shouldn’t contact us directly for support. They should contact you, and then you can contact us for help if you find there’s a problem with ACF.

Notes about “ACF” plugins

We do not allow ACF or ACF PRO to be included in any type of “ACF” extension or plugin. For example, a plugin named “ACF PRO Kit” that extends the plugin with extra features may not include ACF PRO. In this case, the “ACF PRO Kit” plugin should require ACF PRO to be installed.

Learn how to include ACF or ACF PRO in a theme or plugin.