Improve your site's user experience with a WordPress archive plugin

WordPress archive plugin

When your website or blog has been going for a while, you’ll probably need to list posts on an archive page. Maybe you want to list WordPress posts from a specific day, month, year, author, category, tag, or something else. That’s when you need a WordPress archive plugin.

The best WordPress archive plugins provide a quick and easy way for your users to find previous posts or articles on your site.

Keep reading to learn how to use the Posts Table Pro plugin to create various types of archive listing posts on any WordPress website:

  • Build a WordPress date archive - either listing daily posts, monthly posts, or yearly.
  • Make an author archive page automatically listing blog posts by a specific user.
  • Create a category archive.
  • List posts in an archive along with extra post metadata such as featured image, date, excerpt, content, and author.
  • Create a responsive jQuery WordPress table-based archive with extras such as a search box and filters.
  • Structure your archive page by adding collapsible accordions or toggles, or list posts under multiple tabs (e.g. with a separate tab for each month).
  • Create a WordPress archive for normal blog posts or any custom post type.
  • Turn any page on your site into a WordPress archive page, or create a custom archive template.

Related Tutorial: How to Create a WordPress A-Z Index Listing.

The problem with WordPress archives

WordPress itself comes with an archive widget listing all the months. Users can click on a month to view the posts from that month. Your theme will also come with a category, tag, and author archive template.

The problem with these is that each of these archive pages uses the same layout as your main blog page. That’s not really what archives are for.

I believe that archives are a way for people to easily find older content on your site. For example, they might use an archive page to find posts from a specific date, category or tag. The default blog layout isn’t really suitable for archived posts. This is because there are so many of them and it’s hard to find what you want.

Instead, you need a WordPress archive plugin that lists posts in an easy-to-find format, with extra data about each one. That’s where Posts Table Pro comes in!

Posts Table Pro - the best WordPress archive plugin

WordPress archive plugin

Posts Table Pro is a WordPress table plugin ideal for creating any type of website archive. It groups and lists WordPress posts based on day, month, year, category, tag, author, and more.

By using Posts Table Pro as your WordPress archive plugin, you can create user-friendly archive pages that quickly direct users to the content they’re looking for. You can add extra post metadata in the table such as the featured image, categories, tags, date, author, and even custom fields and taxonomies.

Posts Table Pro

As well as structuring the archive in an easy-to-navigate way, you can add extra navigation elements to help users to find posts more quickly. For example, they can click on any column to sort the archived posts. They can click on dropdown lists above the table to filter the archive based on data such as category, tag, or author. There’s even a handy keyword search above the list of posts.

All of this helps people to navigate the WordPress archive and find what they want more quickly. Once they find posts they’re interested in, the extra data makes them more likely to click through compared to a basic archive that only lists post titles. It’s a great way to improve user engagement and reduce bounce rates.

Ok, so now you know why Posts Table Pro is the best WordPress archive plugin. Below, I’ll tell you how to set it up to create different types of post-archive pages. Alternatively, you can watch us setting up a WordPress archive in this video:

Build a date archive listing daily posts, monthly posts, or yearly

WordPress date archive pluginThe most obvious type of WordPress archive page is probably a WordPress date archive. There are several ways to do this:

  • It could be a daily archive listing all posts that were published on a specific date. Single-day archives are ideal for news websites that publish many posts or articles per day.
  • A WordPress monthly archive lists all posts from a specific month. This is useful for blogs that publish posts regularly but not necessarily every day.
  • Alternatively, a WordPress yearly archive is an annual archive listing all posts published in a specific year. Personally, I think that annual archives are over-used on WordPress websites. Unless you publish very rarely, there’s no point listing all posts from a specific year because there will be too many. However, this is an option if it suits your blog.

To create a WordPress date archive listing posts by day, month, or year, first get Posts Table Pro and install it on your website. Follow the steps below to create your table:

  1. Use the instructions in the confirmation email to install and activate the plugin.
  2. After activation, the Posts Table Pro setup wizard will automatically open and guide you through entering your license key.
  3. Upon installing the Post Table Pro plugin, an automatic setup wizard will guide you through the process of creating your first table. Alternatively, you can navigate to Post Tables → Add New to create a new table at any time.
  4. Give your table a name and then choose the post type you wish to display. If you don't have a content type, it will guide you to create one using the free Easy Post Types and Fields plugin.
  5. Select the posts or pages you would like to include in the table.
  6. Customize your table to suit your preferences. You can determine which columns to display and in what order. In this case, add the date as a column. To add a new column, choose the column type from the dropdown menu and click "Add". You can also reorder columns by dragging and dropping the sort icon or column heading.
  7. Filters appear as dropdowns above the table, and you can add as many as you like. Available filter options will vary depending on the post type selected on the first page.
  8. Enable lazy loading to improve the table's performance, even when containing hundreds or thousands of items.
  9. Choose how to sort the table. You can set the default sorting option and the sort direction
  10. After you have finished creating your table using the Post Table Pro plugin, the setup wizard will confirm that you're done and offer instructions on how to add the table to your WordPress site. You can either use the "Post Table" block in the Gutenberg editor or copy the shortcode from the table builder and paste it anywhere on your site.

How to create a weekly post archive

Posts Table Pro doesn’t have the option to list posts by week. However, you can create a WordPress weekly archive by combining the day, month, and year options to list all 7 days from a specific week.

For example, the example shortcode above will list all posts published in the first week of January 2018.

How to create WordPress archive posts by month

To create WordPress archive posts by month using Posts Table Pro, follow these steps:

  1. Install and activate the Posts Table Pro plugin on your WordPress site.
  2. Create a new page or edit an existing one where you want to display the archive.
  3. Add the following shortcode to the page where you want to display the archive: [posts_table columns="title,date" date_format="F, Y" sort_by="date" sort_order="desc"][no_shortcodes]
  4. Save or update the page.
  5. View the page to see the archive of posts listed by month.

The above shortcode will display a table with the columns for the post title and date, sorted by the date in descending order. The 'date_format=”F, Y”' parameter tells the plugin to group the posts by month. Finally, 'posts_per_page="-1"' displays all posts on a single page. You can customize the shortcode parameters as needed to suit your requirements.

How to create an annual archive

To create an annual archive using the Posts Table Pro plugin in WordPress, follow these steps:

  1. Install and activate the Posts Table Pro plugin.
  2. Create a new page or edit an existing page where you want to display the annual archive.
  3. Insert the following shortcode into the page: [no_shortcodes][posts_table columns="title,date" date_format="Y" sort_by="date" sort_order="desc" ][no_shortcodes]
  4. Save or update the page.
  5. Visit the page to see the annual archive of posts displayed in a table format, with columns for the post date, title, and content.

This shortcode will display a table with all posts from the current year, grouped by month. Each row will display the post date, title, and content. You can customize the columns and date format to fit your needs.

Make an author archive page

Posts Table Pro also comes with an ‘author’ option. This makes it easy to create a WordPress author archive page. It will automatically list blog posts published by a specific user.

To create an author archive, install Posts Table Pro and add the following shortcode to the page:

[no_shortcodes][posts_table author="katie"]

This author archive shortcode will list all posts by the user ‘katie’. Replace my username with the username of the author for whom you’re creating an archive page.

Do this for each of the authors on your site. You can either list multiple authors’ posts in a single archive template by adding a comma between each one (e.g. author="katie,andy"). Or you can add the shortcode multiple times, each listing posted by a different author.

Create a category archive

By now, you should be getting the hang of this. You can use the ‘category’ option in this WordPress archive plugin to create a category archive listing posts from a specific category.

To list category posts in this way, add the following shortcode anywhere on your website:

[posts_table category="articles"]

Replace ‘articles’ with either the slug or ID for your category (but don’t use the category name). Use multiple shortcodes to create as many WordPress category archives as you like, each listing posts from a different category.

Build a WordPress tag archive

Categories are one way of structuring your blog posts - tags are another. Posts Table Pro makes it equally easy to create tag archives, listing posts with a specific tag in the table layout.

This shortcode will list posts all with the tag ‘food’:

[posts_table tag="food"]

Replace ‘food’ with the slug of the tag that you want to list in the archive.

List posts in an archive along with extra post metadata such as featured image, date, excerpt, content, and author

So far, we’ve just listed WordPress posts in an archive using the default column options. These are post ID, title, content, excerpt, image, date, author, categories, tags, status, or any custom field or taxonomy.

However, the great thing about Posts Table Pro is that you can list whatever data you like on your WordPress post archives. The archive plugin supports various different columns, including standard post metadata such as categories, tags, publish date, and author.

There are also lots of extra column options such as post-featured images, which add a nice visual element to the archive. If you’ve used custom fields or taxonomies to store extra data about your posts, you can also include these as archive columns. And if you’ve added multimedia content to your posts such as embedded audio, video players, or playlists, you can show these directly on the WordPress archive page too.

Think about which data will best encourage your users to click on a post to read it in full. Use this to decide which columns to add to the archive.

The following shortcode will create an annual archive of all blog posts from the year 2018. It has columns for image, post title, categories, author, and date:

[posts_table year="2018" columns="image,title,categories,author,date”]

Use the archive plugin knowledge base to learn which columns are available and how to add them to your WordPress archive page.

Create a responsive jQuery WordPress table-based archive with extras such as a search box and filters

Sortable posts table with filterPosts Table Pro is built on the popular jQuery DataTables plugin, which creates mobile-responsive HTML tables. It has many of the fantastic features that come with DataTables, such as a keyword search above the table, sortable columns, and filters.

The column sorting and search box will appear in your WordPress archives by default. You can choose whether to add filters for categories, tags, authors, or even a custom taxonomy. For example, this Posts Table Pro shortcode will create an archive of all posts. There are filters for categories, tags, and author, so users can quickly narrow down the list to find the posts they want:

[posts_table filters="categories,tags,author"]

You can add one or more filters above the post list archive, so add the ones that will be useful for your visitors.

Structure your archive page

example of wordpress a-z listing tabs

To keep things simple, you can list WordPress posts on an archive page containing a single table. To jazz things up a bit, you can add multiple tables to the page - each containing an archive of different posts. (E.g. a separate table of posts by each author, or a table for each month.)

Alternatively, you can create a more advanced archive layout by dividing up the archive page using tabs, accordions, or toggles.

A tabbed layout adds tabs across the top of the WordPress archive page. For example, you might add a tab for each month or year. Users can click on a tab to view a separate archive listing posts for that specific month/year.

In contrast, a toggle or accordion adds an expandable and collapsible content box. If you add multiple toggles or accordions, then they are listed vertically on top of each other. Again, users can click on one to view the list of posts within.

Tabs and accordions are neat ways to break up long archive pages. If you want to use them, the first step is to look at your theme to see if it comes pre-build with a tab or accordion feature. If not, then I recommend using the free Shortcodes Ultimate plugin to add your tabs and accordions. (That’s what I used to create the above screenshot.)

Related: Create an A-Z alphabetical index page in WordPress.

Create a WordPress archive for blog posts or any custom post type

WordPress document library plugin

So far, I’ve assumed that you’re creating an archive listing normal WordPress blog posts. By this, I mean the posts which are listed in the ‘Posts’ section of the WordPress Dashboard.

If you want to create a WordPress archive to list other types of content, that’s fine too! Posts Table Pro supports any custom post type. This means that you can create an archive of portfolio posts, events, case studies, products, articles, and much more. Just select the relevant post type on the plugin settings page.

Turn any page on your site into a WordPress archive page, or create a custom archive template

You can use the instructions I’ve provided so far to add table-based WordPress archives to any page or post on your site. It works on normal WordPress pages and posts, and also in the text element of any page builders plugin such as Visual Composer, Divi Builder, Beaver Builder, or Elementor. If you like, you can also add the Posts Table Pro shortcode to a Text widget (although I’m not sure why you’d want to do this!).

But what if you want to automatically use the table layout for your default archive templates, such as the built-in WordPress author archive, category archive, or tag archive pages?

This is possible, but it’s slightly more technical because you have to modify the archive templates build into your theme. The archive plugin WordPress knowledge base includes instructions on how to do this.

Note: These instructions will replace all your category and archive page layouts with the tabular Posts Table Pro layout. If you just want to use the post table layout on certain parts of your site then you’ll need to do some extra customization. This is a developer-level task and if you don’t know how to do it, then we recommend posting a job on Codeable. This is a good place to find a tried and tested WordPress expert with the right skills.

Does it work with the WordPress archive widget?

WordPress itself comes with a built-in archive widget which you can add to a sidebar anywhere on your site. This lists all the months when you have published posts. Users can click on this to view a monthly archive listing all posts from that month.

When someone clicks on a month in the WordPress archive widget, this will load the category archive template built into your theme. To show the tabular archive layout on this page, you need to add the Posts Table Pro shortcode directly to a custom archive template. Use the instructions above to do this.

Adding the table archive layout directly to a custom archive template is a good way to save time. For example, if you create monthly date archives by adding shortcodes directly to a page then you need to edit the page each month to add a shortcode for the latest month. By adding this directly to your template files, it will happen automatically.

How to remove archives in WordPress

To remove the archive in WordPress, you can either disable or remove the archive page. Here are the steps on how to remove archives in WordPress:

Disable Archive:

  1. Go to Appearance → Customize → Theme Options → Archives.
  2. Turn off the option for "Display Archives".

Remove Archive Page:

  1. Go to Pages → All Pages.
  2. Find the archive and click on "Trash" to delete it.
  3. You can also permanently delete the page by going to Trash and selecting "Delete Permanently".

It's important to note that removing the archive page may impact your site's SEO and user experience. If you're not sure if you want to remove the archive, it's best to consult with a developer or SEO expert first.

Other archive plugin options

In this tutorial, I’ve explained the most important features of using Posts Table Pro as an archive plugin WordPress. It also has dozens of other features that I haven’t mentioned. For example:

  • By default, your archive templates are sorted by date in reverse chronological order. You can change the sort order to anything you like. (E.g. order by title, author, custom field, reverse the sort order, etc.)
  • You can embed audio and video directly in the archive page table, for example, to create a WordPress audio archive library or video post archive.
  • 4 styles of pagination buttons to break up long post archives into multiple tables. Users can click the page numbers or previous/next buttons to navigate through the archive.
  • Lazy load option to speed up larger post archives

Case studies - 2 churches who used Posts Table Pro to create date-based newsletter archives

Rim of the World Church and Christendom Media both used Posts Table Pro to create a date-based archive of their past publications.  previous newsletter bulletins.

Rim of the World keeps it simple, with a newsletter archive page listing the title and date of each bulletin. Christendom Media list articles from an academic journal, with columns for the author as well title and date.

Both archives list WordPress posts in chronological order, with the most recent first. Users can sort by any column and use the keyword search box to find specific posts.

Using the WordPress archive plugin on your own site

As you can see, Posts Table Pro is easily the most flexible WordPress archive plugin out there. I hope this tutorial has given you everything you need to create archive pages for your own blog. If you think I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments below.

Get the plugin today and start creating archives of your blog posts or other content types. Whether you need to create a WordPress date archive, author archive, category archive, tag archive, or something else, it only takes a few minutes to set up. The end result will be professional WordPress archive pages that make it much easier for your users to find and engage with your posts.


  1. thank you very helpful! just wish you could have shown how to do this using code and not a plugin!

    • Hi, Abby. Thanks for your comment. I'm glad this was useful to you. Sorry to not show how to do this via custom coding, as the exact snippet to do so can vary from site to site. As you might be comfortable with and have experience with using custom coding, most users do not and so we offer them an easier way to do this via our plugin, Posts Table Pro.

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