It is true that WordPress comes with an inbuilt visual post editor, but even after that, there are certain things it cannot perform. So, Tables are basically an essential tool to present data in a comprehensible format. Moreover, tables offer the most practical method of displaying large sets of data on a page. However, the negative part of the story states that WordPress doesn’t offer any table creation features by default. While it might be built manually, using HTML and CSS inside the posts, but it is really a time-consuming process and extremely difficult for the ones lacking the knowledge of HTML and CSS.
So, there are quite a few ways of adding tables to the WordPress posts. Majority of these methods are actually plugins used to create the appropriate tables for the data. Also, here the best part remains that through know-how of HTML is not required to build tables using Plugins.
The following section states about the top 5 plugins for creating tables in the WordPress pages or posts. But, before that, table plugins are grouped into three main categories. Namely:
- Visual Builders: One of the less error-prone method, they provide a visual interface in the admin area where the tables can be created and customized.
- Shortcode- based Table Builders: Quite a fast method for creating tables and maintaining content creation in one place. It allows to add tables and data directly into the post editor using the shortcodes.
- TinyMCE Editors: A great way to create tables visually with the built-in table support, similar to that of Microsoft Word.
Now, The List of Top Five Table Plugins For WordPress:
One of the most popular WordPress table plugin, TablePress easily lets to create feature-rich tables in the WordPress posts and pages. It comes with a great set of features and is extremely easy to use. Simple or complex tables can be easily build using TablePress with sorted and filterable columns, header and footer rows, row coloring and highlighting, row pagination, the ability to add cell content, and more.
Once installed, tables can be created in the plugin’s main menu. Besides table creation, data can also be imported into the tables from a range of files. Further, the tables can be also exported to use in other programs, and lastly, the plugin options can be configured depending on how the user wants his/her data to be accessed.
2. Easy Table:
The extremely easy to use Plugin, which enables to insert tables into the posts using editor shortcodes. EasyTable also has an impressive feature set that can be localized to a single table or set globally for all the tables. Other prominent features include the table sorting function (utilizes the JQuery tablesorter plugin) and the HTML/View tab for making WYSIWYG changes while keeping the table’s data intact.
A table data might be pulled from a CSV file or the user can also enter comma delimited data in CSV format. Pulling from a CSV file, however, is the better method if the data is to be displayed on more than one page. Also, selection can be done from the three default themes or the user might also create his/her own custom styling to match in accordance to the site’s existing theme.
3. wpData Tables:
wpData Tables is a premium plugin, which not only publishes tables within posts, but also allows to build other graphical representations such as graphs and charts. In addition, tables created by the wpDataTables plugin are dynamic, i.e. the data is updated whenever the source is.
Managing the tables is done independent of the pages and posts, plus this plugin also enables to populate the tables from various sources including CSV files, xls files, MySQL queries, and many others. wpDataTables offers more flexibility and power to insert tables into the pages and posts, but it might not be suitable for those who just need the basics.
4. Ultimate Tables:
The Ultimate Tables plugin fall in the visual builders category and comes with many features for sorting, searching, paging, and filtering using the data table script.
UltimateTables also provides a visual dashboard for building tables but only creates them for single pages or posts, making it feel slightly faster. But its biggest limitation is in its styling. But, other than setting a class for the table, there’s no other styling capability so the users might be compelled to create their own styling if the default isn’t much appealing to them.
Shortcodes can be used to embed tables into posts and pages. There’s also a widget for adding tables to sidebar. Overall, Ultimate Tables is a capable plugin for creating tables on the fly, especially if you features are given more priority over styling.
4. OSD Simple Table Generator:
Mainly designed for simplicity, OSD Simple Table Generator enables to insert tables into posts with the help of using simple tags. This plugin entirely depends on its simple markup-via-short code approach to provide a simple implementation of tables for the website.
OSD basically uses extended markup for table creation and the default column separator is. That clears out that the delimiter might be changed accordingly. Interestingly, a delimiter is also needed for use for each row instead of using a line-break. For this plugin, there’s no table sorter or data table script integration. There’s also no custom styling besides specifying a class on the markup. Of course, the OSD Simple plugin is as basic as they come but if searching for lean and simple table integration, it is more than capable.
To conclude, at a glance, if expectations are much for over styling and features, then the best bets are definitely TablePress and EasyTable plugins. If the need is for displaying of static data without much caring about styling and features, then OSD Simple Table Generator is the best choice. Or, if needed full flexibility, wpDataTables might be right up the alley. So, now the users would have to evaluate their needs first, then pick the most appropriate plugin for the situation.