Most people think that a WordPress table plugin is f0r displaying structured data such as statistics or financial information. That’s true, but it’s only a small part of what you can do with tables in WordPress.
This article will discuss 5 surprising ways that you can use use a WordPress table plugin to create different features for your website. I’ll tell you how to do all of this using Posts Table Pro, a dynamic WordPress table plugin by Barn2 Media.
Posts Table Pro is different from a traditional table plugin because there’s no manual data entry. Instead, it generates tables automatically, containing content from your WordPress website. You can create tables listing your blog posts, news articles, archives, pages, or any custom post type. This opens up many possibilities that aren’t available with other WordPress table plugins. I’ll tell you about some of them now.
Create a Document Library or Knowledge Base
Posts Table Pro is hugely popular as a WordPress document library plugin, publications database or resource library. This is partly because the table layout is ideal for listing downloadable documents, and partly because all the dedicated document library plugins are quite basic and have poor reviews.
If you use Posts Table Pro to create a document library then your documents will be listed in a sortable table layout. Each document will have its own row in the table. You can add extra columns of information such as the publication or revision date, file type, file size, plus download links.
Your visitors can use the search, sort and filters to quickly find the document they’re looking for. They can then either click on a document to view a separate page containing the full content, or if you prefer then you can add a link, button or icon with a link to the downloadable document. The WordPress document library supports any file format such as PDF’s, images and Word docs.
It’s useful for creating a document library for a staff intranet, or a public database of your documentation, technical documents, links or resources.
How to Create a WordPress Document Library
WordPress Table of Contents – Help People Navigate Your Website
Most WordPress websites have a standard navigation layout, with a menu across the top of the page. Your menu might contain dropdowns as a way of including more pages. But have you ever thought that your visitors might like an easier way to navigate your site?
By using Posts Table Pro as a WordPress table of contents plugin, you can list all your pages in a neat table layout. This is a neat way of helping people to find different sections of your website.
All your WordPress pages are listed in a grid view. You can choose whether to include other content types such as blog posts and portfolio case studies. You also have full control over which columns to include in the table. For example, you might just list the page name, or you might show a brief excerpt of the content from each page.
Of course, you can do something similar by adding a WordPress HTML sitemap plugin, which lists all your pages in a basic list view. This is fine for some sites, but doesn’t make it easier to find a specific page. Posts Table Pro is better for creating a WordPress table of contents because you can activate features such as a keyword search box and filter dropdowns above the table. Users can also click on any column to sort the list of web pages. This can be much quicker than using the standard navigation menu or an HTML sitemap, especially if you have a large website with lots of pages.
How to Create a WordPress Table of Contents
- First, go to the ‘Pages’ list in the WordPress Dashboard.
- Use the ‘Order’ option to put your pages in the order that you want them to appear in the WordPress table of contents.
- Install Posts Table Pro and activate your license key from the Getting Started email.
- Create a new page and call it ‘Table of Contents’ or similar.
- Add the following shortcode to the page:
[posts_table columns="title" post_type="page" sort_by="menu_order"]
This will create a WordPress table of contents with columns for the page name and a brief excerpt. Use the plugin documentation to make further changes to the table of contents, such as changing the columns and excerpt length. There are also options to add filters, sort the table of contents alphabetically, and more.
Create a WordPress Audio Library or Video Gallery
Surprisingly, Posts Table Pro is also popular as a WordPress audio plugin, as well as for displaying video.
The way it works is that each audio track or video is added as a separate post or custom post in WordPress, along with any extra data that you wish to display such as the name and description. Posts Table Pro will then display it in an instant table, with fully functional embedded audio players, music tracks and video.
If your audio library contains lots of tracks, then you can add filters to make it easier for people to find something specific. For example, you can add filters for categories, tags or any custom taxonomy. This is a good way to structure and categorize your WordPress audio or video gallery.
Even better, Posts Table Pro integrates with many different WordPress audio plugins such as Compact WP Audio Player. You can use these plugins to add more eye-catching music players to the audio library table. It also works with any type of embedded video, including videos hosted directly on your site and embedded video players from YouTube, Video etc.
How to Build a WordPress Audio Library or Video Grid
Barn2 Media have produced a detailed tutorial about how to create a WordPress audio library. It includes advice on other WordPress audio plugins that work with Posts Table Pro.
These instructions equally apply to using Posts Table Pro to create a video gallery like the one on this demo page – just add embedded video players instead of audio tracks.
Sell E-Commerce Products
You’ve probably never thought of using a WordPress table plugin to sell e-commerce products. However, this is a very real option with Posts Table Pro!
A table layout is ideal for selling all sorts of products. This is because your products are listed in a neat table layout. Customers can use the search box and filters to find products more easily. You can add extra information about each product that won’t fit into a standard store layout. You can also list more products per page, which means that customers don’t waste time scrolling through lots of pages to find what they need. Together, these benefits combine to reduce your bounce rates and increase your sales.
Posts Table Pro is compatible with any WordPress e-commerce plugin that lists products as a custom post type. This applies to nearly all e-commerce plugins. For example, Easy Digital Downloads creates a ‘Downloads’ post type which you can list in a table view.
Posts Table Pro does support WooCommerce. However, you’re better off using its sister plugin – WooCommerce Product Table. This is a WooCommerce-specific version of Posts Table Pro which makes it easier to display WooCommerce products and has extra features such as add to cart buttons.
How to List E-Commerce Products in a Table
To create a table of products from any WordPress e-commerce plugin, you need to know the name of the custom post type that is used to store your products. You can easily check this by going to the list of products in the WordPress admin, and looking at the URL in the top of your browser’s address bar. For example, if you’re using Easy Digital Downloads, then the URL will end with /wp-admin/edit.php?post_type=download – which means that the post type is called ‘download’.
Once you’ve installed Posts Table Pro, you can use the following shortcode to create an e-commerce product table with columns for image, product name and description. For ‘post_type=”product’, add the actual name of the custom post type for your e-commerce plugin.
[posts_table post_type="product" columns="image,title,content"]
It’s also possible to add columns for fields such as price, categories, tags and buy buttons. To do this, you need to know the names of the fields in your WordPress e-commerce plugin. To help with this, Barn2 Media have published a tutorial on how to create an Easy Digital Downloads product table. The WooCommerce Product Table plugin has its own detailed knowledge base on how to list WooCommerce products. For any other WordPress e-commerce plugin, you can ask the plugin author for the name of its custom fields and taxonomies. You can then display them as columns, filters etc. using Posts Table Pro.
Build a Directory of Members or Consultants
My final example of creative ways to use a WordPress table plugin is a member directory. You can use Posts Table Pro as a WordPress member directory plugin listing your members or consultants in a searchable table.
This is ideal for any type of website that needs a searchable database of members. For example, a membership website might want to list its members so that they can contact one another. A trade organization might want to list its members so that the public can find consultants or tradespeople with particular skills. A company might want to list their employees in a staff directory, either publicly or on the intranet.
Each member or consultant is listed as a separate row in the table. You can add columns for information such as photo, name, role, job title, years of experience, qualifications and contact details. To help people find the member they’re looking for, you can add filters above the member directory for category, tags or any custom taxonomy.
How to Create a WordPress Member Directory
To learn how to list members in a searchable table, please see Barn2 Media’s tutorial about how to create a WordPress member directory. This comes with full setup instructions and a video tutorial.
How Will You Use a WordPress Table Plugin?
As you can see, Posts Table Pro opens up many new possibilities for using tables on your WordPress website. In this article, I’ve talked about 5 examples of how you can use it to add new features to your site. This is only the tip of the iceberg – there are many more ways that you can use tables to list different types of information.
The Posts Table Pro table plugin is available from Barn2 Media. It comes complete with plugin support and a detailed knowledge base. This contains everything you need to know about the plugin’s 50+ options for configuring your tables in different ways.
I’d love to know how you use the dynamic WordPress table plugin on your own website. Please let me know in the comments below!