Create a Publications Library or Knowledge Hub in WordPress
As a WordPress agency, we’re often asked how to create a WordPress publications library, documents database or knowledge base. Here’s how to do it.
Why use a WordPress publications library plugin?
There are many reasons why you might want to add a WordPress publications library to your website. Here are a few common examples:
- WordPress publications library of items your company has published, e.g. brochure, magazines and newsletters
- Document library of staff policies and procedures for your employees
- Searchable knowledge base or resource directory consisting of in-depth articles relevant to your industry
- Database of documentation and instructions for your products
What are the options for creating a publications library?
Inexperienced users often set up their WordPress publications library as static content – for example a basic list of links to PDF downloads. This is ok if you don’t have many publications for your library, but can easily get out of control as the list gets longer. Before you know it, visitors are struggling to find the publications they’re looking for.
At the other end of the scale, you could install a sophisticated WordPress publications management system with impressive features such as advanced search and filtering. This is a fantastic option but can be expensive to set up, whether you use a plugin or go bespoke.
The Posts Table Pro WordPress plugin offers a happy medium. It can be used to list your publications in a fully searchable, sortable HTML table with filters. It can be set up in minutes, works brilliantly on mobiles and tablets. It’s very flexible so you can adapt the WordPress publications library to suit your website.
How to create a publications library in WordPress
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to use Posts Table Pro to create a WordPress publications library or knowledge base:
First, add your publications
- First, create a custom post type for your publications. If you’re not a developer, you can easily do this using the Custom Post Type UI plugin. You will add each publication as a separate post within this custom post type. This keeps them separate from the other content in the WordPress admin such as pages and posts.
- Use Advanced Custom Fields (or similar) to create custom fields for any extra data you want to display in the WordPress publications library. For example you might create custom fields for publication date, file type or size. You could even use custom fields to add more visual information such as buttons or icons (see above screenshot). If you want to use custom taxonomies too, add these using the Custom Post Type UI plugin.
- Add each of your documents, publications or articles as a separate post using your WordPress custom post type. If you’re adding a standard publication then type the content directly into your WordPress post. If you’re adding a downloadable publication (e.g. a PDF) then I recommend writing an introduction describing the document into the content box. You can then insert the downloadable file into the post (via the Add Media button). Or alternatively, add the HTML linking to the downloadable publication to a custom field and display it in the WordPress publications library.
Next, create a library listing your publications
- Now buy the Posts Table Pro WordPress table plugin. Install the plugin using the instructions in your order confirmation email.
- Next, create a new page (Pages > Add New). This will be the main page for your WordPress publications library or knowledge base. Add any content to this page, for example introductory text. You can also divide the page into subheadings if you’re planning to display different categories of your publications library as separate tables.
- Insert the following Posts Table Pro shortcode into the page, at the point where you want the WordPress publications library to appear. The following shortcode assumes that the slug for your ‘Publications’ custom post type is ‘publications’. If it’s something else, enter the correct slug instead.
Finally, click the blue ‘Publish’ button and view your page on the WordPress website. You’ll see that the Posts Table Pro plugin has added a publications library, displayed as a sortable table. Visitors can click on each post in the publications library to view it in full.
Can I modify the WordPress publications library to suit my needs?
You might be happy with how the publications library looks by default, in which case you can sit back and relax now. If not, you can make some simple changes to change how the publications are displayed. Here are some examples of the things you can change:
- Which columns to display (e.g. you might want to hide the ‘author’ column as it may not be relevant to your readers). You can display various data about your publications. This might include featured image, title, content, excerpt, publication date, category, tags, custom fields or custom taxonomy. If you think creatively then you can use custom fields to display even more types of content. For example you could use custom fields to display shortcodes from your theme or other plugins, images, buttons or icons.
- How many rows to display on each page before pagination kicks in. The default is 20 rows but you might want to increase this – e.g. to 100 – if you have lots of publications.
- Which categories are displayed in the publications library. This is essential if you’re dividing your publications library into categories with a separate table for each category. If you’re doing this, using the ‘categories’ option to display a different category of publications in each table.
- You can add filter dropdowns above the WordPress publications table in the knowledge hub. Choose between filters for categories, tags or custom taxonomies.
Can I link to publications on Dropbox or external websites?
Yes, you can do this. There are 2 ways to add links to your publications library which go to Dropbox or another external URL:
- If you don’t want to use the single publication pages at all, then you can install the free Page Links To plugin. Set it up so that when someone clicks on a link to a publication in Posts Table Pro, they are taken to the Dropbox or external website link. To see this in action, check out the final table at the bottom of our demo page.
- Alternatively, you can use these instructions to manually add links to any URL. These links can appear as links, buttons or icons in Posts Table Pro.
And there’s more!
You can also control:
- Which column to sort by when the publications library first loads. The default is ‘date’ but it might be more logical to sort alphabetically if your publications aren’t date-dependent.
- Whether to sort in ascending or descending order when the table first loads.
- If you want people to be able to click on a category name in order to filter for all publications in that category.
- Whether you want the text to wrap onto multiple lines on smaller screens (e.g. mobiles), or whether you would prefer for a + icon to appear for people to click on.
- The length of the excerpt from each publication that appears in the table (if you have included the ‘content’ column which displays the first X characters from each post).
- And more…
You can read full details of the options in the plugin knowledge base. Have a play around and experiment to create your own unique publications library or knowledge base.
See a document library in action
The Posts Table Pro table plugin demo shows various ways it can be used. The document library demo is really useful to show how it can be used to create a WordPress publications library.
Can I use the WordPress table plugin for anything else?
Absolutely! Once you’ve invested in Posts Table Pro for your WordPress publications library, there’s plenty more you can do with it. Basically, it can display any type of WordPress content in a sortable table. This includes:
- An index or content table of your WordPress blog posts
- A members directory in WordPress
- Audio library with embedded music tracks
- Multimedia video gallery
- List of upcoming events with The Events Calendar plugin
- And much more!
Where can I get the WordPress publications library plugin?
You can buy Posts Table Pro from our website:
And if you like it, sign up as an affiliate and get 30% for recommending the plugin!
Can you customize my WordPress publications library?
We have developed Posts Table Pro to be as flexible as possible so that it can adapt to many different types of publications library. If you’d like to adapt the plugin to meet your specific needs, we recommend posting a job on Codeable where their pre-approved WordPress experts will send you a quote. We have partnered with them to provide plugin customizations for our customers.