There’s no table button?
As you scour the WordPress editor, you’ll quickly realize there’s no option for adding a table. And it’s not just your site – no WordPress site has a table button.
So how can you insert a table in a post or page?
There are two excellent plugins that can help.
The first plugin lets you create a table with a special editor. That means you won’t even need to look at any code. The second plugin is a lighter solution that helps speeds up the process of HTML table creation.
There is a third method that doesn’t involve any plugins as well, and I’ll cover that last in the tutorial. For now, let’s get started with plugin number one.
1. Create a table with TablePress
TablePress is the plugin for creating and displaying tables with WordPress.
As you can see, it’s a favorite among WordPress users.
Why use TablePress?
The main draw of TablePress is that it gives you a nice interface for creating and modifying tables without touching any code.
Also, it has more functionality than I can cover here. Check out the extensions page for all the cool features you can add to the base plugin.
One last benefit to using TablePress is that your tables aren’t tied down to a single post or page. Since you create tables independent of any post/page, you can reuse them anywhere on your site.
How to use TablePress
After activating TablePress, you’ll find a new top-level menu added to your admin dashboard.
Clicking the Add New button will take you to this page where you can setup your table’s name and size (don’t worry, you can always update rows/columns later).
Creating the table gives you access to the full table editor where you’ll enter your data.
You can rearrange rows and columns, add links, combine cells – there’s a ton of practical functionality built into the editor.
When you’re ready to display the table, copy the shortcode from the table page and paste it into the editor. Or, you can use the new table button added by TablePress.
Either way, you’ll end up with a simple shortcode in the post, like this:
While you’ll see a shortcode in the editor, a full table is displayed when you view the post.
Here’s how the table looks displayed on the front-end.
Never used shortcodes? Get familiar with them in this tutorial.
There are a few common issues and questions with TablePress.
Will the shortcode affect my site’s SEO?
No. Using a shortcode won’t have any effect on Google’s ability to read the table on the page.
While you see a shortcode in the editor, regular crawlable HTML is output on the site. It’s no different than writing out the HTML yourself.
Is it responsive / mobile-friendly?
The tables that TablePress creates are not responsive by default. However, there is an extension that will make them more mobile friendly.
Will I lose my tables if I stop using this plugin?
Yes, and no.
The table data is stored in your database, so you won’t technically lose it by uninstalling the plugin. However, you won’t have access to that data in your admin dashboard anymore, so creating tables with it might be challenging.
Backup up your site!
Okay, this is not a question, but a reminder to backup up your site! Some WP users around the web have lamented spending hours on their tables just to end up losing them.
Always make sure to backup your site regularly, so you don’t lose your hard work. You can follow our tutorial on how to backup your site if you need help.
2. Create a table with MCE Table Buttons
If you’re not interested in all the extras included in TablePress, an excellent solution is MCE Table Buttons.
MCE Table Buttons adds a button to the regular editor that makes it easy to add tables to any post or page.
Why use MCE Table Buttons?
It’s a very light and elegant solution for creating tables. Instead of typing the table HTML yourself, this plugin lets you quickly choose the dimensions of the table and auto-generates the HTML for you.
You also get access to a handful of styling options including the background and border colors.
How to use MCE Table Buttons
MCE Table Buttons doesn’t add any new menus to your site. It adds just one button to the WordPress editor for inserting tables.
Clicking it reveals a mini-menu with a simple interface for creating a table of any dimensions (up to 10×10).
Once the table is added, you can start entering data in the cells. It looks a little strange at first, but once you fill out a row, it opens up and becomes easier to see.
Filling out table data is easy because you can tab between cells and use the arrow keys to navigate in any direction.
You probably want to see what kind of customization options are available, so I’ve put together a gallery of screenshots from the mini-menu you can browse now.
If you want an easy way to add small tables to some posts and pages, MCE Table Buttons is likely the best choice. However, there are a few considerations you should make first.
Can I reuse tables between posts?
Since you’re creating tables within posts and pages, rather than making tables as their own post type, you can’t easily reuse them across your site. You can copy and paste any table pretty quickly, but updates to one table won’t sync to other copies of it.
Can I import or export tables?
Since MCE Table Buttons simply creates HTML in the editor, it does not have import/export functionality.
Is it responsive / mobile-friendly?
MCE Table Buttons leaves table styling up to your theme. Most themes don’t have styling that specifically makes tables responsive, so your tables most likely won’t be mobile-friendly.
Can you create a table without a plugin?
While you can manually type out the table markup in the editor, I wouldn’t recommend this as a solution for building tables.
MCE Table Buttons creates the HTML for you which makes it much easier and faster to insert tables. It also doesn’t load any new files on your posts/pages, so it won’t slow down your site, and it doesn’t clutter up your admin with any new menus.
TablePress, of course, is an excellent choice for anyone looking to make larger, reusable tables that they can import or export from their site.
If you’re looking for more selection between plugins, take a look at our list of the best table plugins for WordPress.
Is there anything else you need to add tables to your site? Is something missing in this tutorial? Leave a comment below.