Tables are the perfect way to display information on a website in a structured, user-friendly way. With so many different types of WordPress table plugins to choose from, it’s hard to know which one to use.
This is the ultimate guide to WordPress table plugins. You’ll discover the different ways in which tables can benefit your website, and the types of plugins available to meet those needs. This guide will also provide advice on choosing a suitable plugin, with an interactive quiz to recommend one that fits your needs. Finally, you will be introduced to ten of the best WordPress table plugins, with easy setup instructions to get you started.
Once you’ve finished reading, you’ll know which table plugin you should use for your website, and how to get started and set it up.
Why use Tables in WordPress?
A table is a good way to display structured data on a WordPress website. If you think creatively, you’ll be surprised at how many requirements can be met using tables. For example:
- Tables offer a useful layout for data that is too complex to display as a list.
- You can use tables to create a staff directory or member directory.
- A table can be used to make any type of WordPress directory, such as a product directory, a staff directory, or a business listings database.
- Pricing tables are an eye-catching way to visually present packages and prices.
- Some WordPress table plugins also create grid-style layouts for popular plugins such as WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, and The Events Calendar. This can be easier for developers than being forced to create custom templates.
Many WordPress developers code their own tables using HTML. However, this is not usually recommended because you can save time and create more sophisticated tables using a WordPress table plugin. HTML tables are also a nightmare for clients to edit themselves! The best table plugins are mobile-friendly and pre-styled, so you can easily create fantastic tables for any purpose.
Types of WordPress Table Plugin
There are, in general, 3 types of WordPress table plugins: static table plugins, dynamic table plugins and pricing table plugins.
Static Table Plugins
This is the most common type of table plugin. They display static data in a structured tabular format with multiple rows and columns.
Depending on the plugin, the table may be interactive, with responsive design, search, sort, and filters. These would still be described as ‘static’ because the data is added directly to the table and not used (or drawn from) elsewhere on your website.
Dynamic Table Plugins
This is a new generation of table plugins which started emerging, for the most part, in the last year. Instead of displaying static data, these plugins automatically generate instant tables containing content that already exists elsewhere on your site.
For example, a dynamic WordPress table plugin might create a table listing all the posts from a blog. It might create a product table listing all of your pre-existing WooCommerce products (or other e-commerce plugin). Dynamic tables are also a great tool for creating a WordPress document library. You might wish to create an instant table listing all of your pages, which you could use as a table of contents for your website. Or perhaps you might wish to automatically generate a list of upcoming events, or a directory of staff or local businesses.
The difference between static and dynamic tables is that with the former, the data is only stored in one place. With dynamic tables, the data already exists elsewhere. This means that you can use the table to summarise information, and visitors can click on an item in the table to learn more. For example, they might want to click through to read the full text of a blog article or buy a product on another page. This wouldn’t be as easily possible with a static table plugin.
Pricing Table Plugins
Pricing tables are the third category of WordPress table plugin. While these also display static data, they’re different to the first category because they have a specific purpose. They’re solely designed to showcase the pricing for a product or service.
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