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2. Creating tables with Posts Table Pro

Once you’ve installed the Posts Table Pro plugin, it’s time to start creating tables. There are 2 ways to do this:

Method 1: Table generator

Creating tables

When you first install the plugin, a setup wizard will open automatically. This guides you through a step-by-step process to create your first table.

You can also create new tables at any time by going to Post Tables → Add New.

Either way, the following instructions explain each stage of the process for creating a table.

Step 1 - Name your table

Create a table

Choose a name for the table you're creating. This is just for internal use and only appears on the list of tables in the WordPress admin.

You'll also need to select the post type you want to display. If you don't have a content type yet, you can easily create one using our free Easy Post Types and Fields plugin. Just click on the 'Create a new post type' link to get started.

Step 2 - Choose your posts

Select posts table builder

Select which posts or pages to add to your table. The options on this page will depend on which post type you selected on the previous page. For example, if the post type has any custom taxonomies then these will be listed.

Step 3 - Customize your table columns

Choose table columns generator

Select and modify the columns you want displayed in your table:

  • To add a column, select the type of column from the dropdown and click 'Add'. It then appears in the list of columns above.
  • Re-order the table columns by dragging and dropping the sort icon on the left or the column title. The columns listed first appear towards the left of the table.
  • Click the pencil icon to change the name of the table, and then click 'Done'. Alternatively, use the toggle hide the column name completely.
  • Use the X icon to remove a column.

Step 4 - Add filters

Table generator filters

Add filters to your table to help users narrow down their selections. The filters appear as dropdowns above the table and you can add as many as you like.

The options on this page will change depending on which post type you selected on the first page. For example, normal blog posts can have filters for categories, tags, plus any custom taxonomies you have added. Other post types don't have built-in categories and tags, so they will just list any custom taxonomies that you have added to them (e.g. using the Easy Post Types plugin).

Step 5 - Speed up the table

Table generator lazy load

Enable lazy loading to ensure performance remains optimal even with hundreds or thousands of items in the table. However, there are some other implications of using lazy load, so make sure you read about how it works first.

Step 6 - Choose how to sort the table

Table generator sort options

Customize the sorting options for your table. The available sort options will change depending on whether or not you enabled lazy load on the previous page.

Step 7 - Finished!

Table generator final page

The final page confirms that you have finished creating the table and provides instructions on how to insert it onto your site.

Inserting tables

There are two easy ways to add the finished table to your site:

  • Either use the Gutenberg editor to insert a 'Post Table' block...
Insert table builder Gutenberg block Posts Table Pro
  • Alternatively, if you're not using the block editor, then copy the shortcode from the final page of the WordPress table builder. You can then paste it anywhere on your site. Use this option if you're using Classic Editor or a page builder plugin like Elementor. The shortcode for each table also appears on the main list of tables in Post Tables → Tables, so you can easily access it at any time.
Posts Table Pro Elementor
Inserting a table into a page designed using Elementor

Method 2: Build tables using a shortcode

Posts Table Pro also comes with a [posts_table] shortcode which you can use to create tables manually. This is more technical than using the table builder, but it can be a useful option if you are comfortable working with shortcodes.

Unlike the table builder method, this method generates tables directly on the page where you add the [posts_table] shortcode. The tables are not stored in a central location - you simply add the shortcode directly to the page where you want to create the table and add the options there.

The following video explains how to use the shortcode method in Posts Table Pro:

Using the basic shortcode

The basic [posts_table] shortcode will create a table listing all your posts, using whichever post type is selected on the plugin settings page. All the other options in the table - such as the columns and sort order - will be inherited from the defaults on the plugin settings page.

To add the [posts_table] shortcode to a page, simply insert it to any page, post, widget or other location on your site. For example, you can add it to a text block, code block or shortcode block in page builders such as Gutenberg or Elementor, or to the WordPress Classic Editor.

[posts_table] shortcode added to a 'Shortcode' Gutenberg block
Add the shortcode to a block in your page builder
Insert Posts Table Pro shortcode toolbar button
Use the Insert Posts Table toolbar button to easily insert the basic shortcode in Classic Editor

Creating more complex tables

There are dozens of shortcode options which you can use to create more advanced tables. For example, you might want to add shortcode options in order to control which items to include in the table; or to override some of the default options from the plugin settings page. This allows you to create as many tables as you like, each one different.

Can I create multiple tables?

Yes, you can create as many tables as you like using either method. You can either add each table to a different page, or you can add multiple tables to the same page.

How to add posts tables to your main blog page, category pages, search results & more

If you want the posts table layout to be used automatically on other parts of your site, then you can do this by editing the archive template in your theme. This is more technical and we've provided basic guidance on how to use the Posts Table Pro layout on category archives and search results pages.

How to add data into the table

Posts Table Pro is a dynamic WordPress table plugin. This means that it creates tables automatically, containing information already stored in your WordPress database. This might be pages, posts, or any custom post type such as documents, events or members. No manual data entry is needed.

If you haven't loaded the information that you plan to display with Posts Table Pro yet, then you need to do this first. You can either add the information as WordPress posts or pages in the normal way, or create a custom post type for storing the data using a free plugin such as Easy Post Types and Fields. With this plugin, you can also create custom fields and taxonomies for storing any extra data that you wish to display.

If you have too much information to add manually, please see our article Can I import data to display in Posts Table Pro?.

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