Most WordPress table plugins involve manually entering data into a static table or perhaps copying it from a spreadsheet. There’s a new generation of table plugins which dynamically create tables using information already stored on a WordPress website. This lets you use WordPress tables in many new and interesting ways that weren’t possible before.
A dynamic table plugin lists information that is already stored in your WordPress database – e.g. from posts, pages, custom post types or even the media library. The most obvious use for this table of WordPress table is to create an index or table of contents of your blog posts, articles or pages. Alternatively, you might want to create a directory of information – maybe a music database, internal staff list or local business directory. Perhaps you need a WordPress document library or publications library, with sorting features and filters. Maybe you’re using a WordPress e-commerce or events plugin and want to list your products or events in a structured table view.
As you can see, there are lots of reasons why you might want a plugin to list WordPress content in a table. Table-based layouts aren’t usually built into WordPress themes or other types of plugin, yet it’s an ideal way to present information from your website. Fortunately, you can easily achieve this with a WordPress table plugin.
Introducing Posts Table Pro
In this article, I’m going to talk about Posts Table Pro. This WordPress table plugin was released last year and is rapidly growing in popularity.
Posts Table Pro automatically generates tables in WordPress. The tables display content from your WordPress posts, pages, media library or custom post types. This lets you create WordPress tables listing various types of content that are stored on your website.
To give you a quick introduction before we delve into the features, here’s the official promo video for this WordPress table plugin:
Here’s a summary of Posts Table Pro’s best features. These are just some of the ways you can use the WordPress table plugin to create HTML tables for your website.
1. Create WordPress tables listing posts, pages, custom post types & more
The amazing thing about Posts Table Pro is the sheer range of content types it can display. This is unusual for a WordPress table plugin and really makes it stand out.
Firstly, you can create WordPress tables in which each row is a separate post, page, custom post or from the media library.
But it doesn’t stop there. You can also choose which columns of data are displayed by the WordPress table plugin.
The plugin supports all universally used fields such as post/page name, date, content, categories, featured image, tags, and author. It also supports custom fields and taxonomies. This is really handy because it lets you create much more flexible WordPress tables. You can use custom fields to store extra data, links, buttons, icons, images, multimedia content or even shortcodes provided by your theme or other plugins. All of these can display as columns in the table.
Custom taxonomies can be used to provide extra ways for users to sort and filter the tables, in addition to WordPress post categories and tags.
This means that the WordPress table plugin lets you make tables listing all sorts of content. You may have entered it directly into WordPress (i.e. pages or posts), or it could be media files you’ve uploaded, custom post types you’ve added yourself or custom post types created by a plugin. So long as it’s stored as a post, page or custom post, you can display it on the table.
2. Create audio, video and image galleries
Unlike other WordPress table plugins, Posts Table Pro supports all of the WordPress media embeds.
For the past couple of years, you’ve been able to embed audio files and watchable video into WordPress using its built-in embeds. Once you’ve added your audio or video, you can display them as an audio/video player or as an interactive playlist.
WordPress also has a gallery shortcode for creating embedded image galleries or grids.
Posts Table Pro supports all this. You can make WordPress tables with embedded audio players, video players, and playlists. You can also create tables that function as image galleries. Your WordPress galleries can 1 image per row, multiple columns of images (each added as a custom field) or using the gallery shortcode within a single column of the table.
The table plugin author has provided a demo showing how Posts Table Pro can be used as a WordPress video plugin with embedded audio, images and video:
3. Customers can interact with the WordPress tables
A lot of WordPress table plugins list information in a fairly static way. Posts Table Pro’s tables are more interactive.
The plugin recognizes the fact that different people use websites in different ways. Some users will click a column header to sort the table, then read down the list to find what they want. Others will change the number of rows per page to change the amount of information they want to see. Some will use the filter dropdowns above the able. Other people will type a keyword into the search box. There’s also an option to click on a category or tag to filter the WordPress table.
These things make it really easy for users to use tables to find the information they’re looking for. If you’re using it as a telephone directory plugin, then your staff can type a colleagues’ name into the search box to instantly find that person. Used as a local business listings plugin, users can filter by category or area to find relevant businesses. If you’re using it as a document library, then you can categorize your documents and add tags to make them easy to find.
When you create your WordPress tables, you can choose how the table appears by default. Even though customers can sort the table and choose the number of rows per page, you can control how it looks before they start interacting with it. There are options to choose how the table is sorted, the sort order and the number of rows per page.
4. Create multiple tables on a single WordPress website
The WordPress table plugin works by inserting a shortcode – [posts_table] – into any text area on your website. This will create a table listing all the posts from the ‘Posts’ section of your WordPress admin.
If this is how you’re using the plugin then you probably only need one table for your whole WordPress website. However, you can configure the shortcode to display different tables in different locations on your site. For example:
You could have a WordPress table listing your publications in a Document Library section of your website, and a table listing all your blog posts in the Blog section.
You might have multiple tables on a single page. Perhaps each table will list posts from a different category, with subheadings and other text dividing them up.
If you’re a bit more technical, the documentation also provides the tips on inserting the tables into your archive template. This will automatically create a table for each of your post or custom post categories.
Posts Table Pro has lots of options such as listing posts from a specific category, tag, status, date, custom field, author or post type. This is useful if you need multiple tables.
The way this works is that you add the options to configure your WordPress tables directly into the shortcode. By putting different shortcodes in different areas of your site, all the tables created by the plugin will be different.
5. Performance-saving lazy load plugin option for bigger WordPress tables
There’s an option called ‘lazy load’ which uses AJAX for tables with particularly high numbers of posts. This tells the table plugin to load the posts for the current page only. It’s handy for WordPress tables with so many posts that loading them all at once would cause performance issues.
This makes the Posts Table Pro plugin suitable for small or large WordPress websites.
6. WordPress tables that work with any theme
The WordPress table plugin has been tested with many WordPress themes. It’s coded in a way that automatically uses your fonts and other design elements so the tables will integrate nicely into your design and branding.
The company behind the plugin
As you will know, it’s important to use well-coded plugins from reliable companies. The Posts Table Pro WordPress table plugin comes from WordPress studio Barn2 Media. Established in 2009, they’re a well-known UK WordPress company. When you contact them to get support for the plugin, you quickly receive an email response directly from one of their WordPress team members.
The plugin comes with 12 months support which you can renew after a year as needed, so this is really useful to get your WordPress tables set up.
The WordPress table plugin provides an easy way of displaying various types of WordPress content in a structured HTML table. You can get it up and running in just a few minutes, or spend longer using the documentation to configure the tables to your exact needs.
It’s really quite impressive how many different needs can be met using Posts Table Pro. Anything from a website table of contents, blog post index, article directory, staff database or document library can easily be created using the options in this table plugin.
If you want to display any sort of structured data on a WordPress website then Posts Table Pro is definitely worth looking at. It’s great value for money as it provides a simpler solution to what can normally be achieved with a much more complex – and expensive – plugin.
Go ahead and check out the plugin here: https://barn2.co.uk/wordpress-products/posts-table-pro/
Have you used Posts Table Pro to create your own WordPress tables? How did it compare to entering table data manually? Please tell me what you think of the table plugin and leave your comments below.