WordPress Quick Tip – Enable Users to Create Tables in Posts and Pages

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As a web designer using the WordPress platform, it is very important to give your clients full control over managing their own content.


However, this can be problematic if your client needs to create columns for content (thumbnail on one side, text on the other then the opposite in the next row) or needs to create a table for complex data.


Teach Client HTML – Bad Idea


One possible solution is to give your client a quick html lesson on tables. Yikes! First, tables are complicated enough for people who know html, let alone someone who does not. Secondly, the client is relying on you to provide a workable solution, not offload your responsibility onto them. Thirdly, you are adding extra overhead to your workload with the initial training, not to mention the questions and reminders you will have to provide to your client.


Align Images Left or Right – Maybe


In the first case (columns), a possible solution is to align an image left or right and have the content wrap around it. This solution is ok for text wrap but does not keep elements in place very well and can lead to some serious frustration. In the case of a complex table for data, this solution does not work at all.


Code It – I Suppose


This would be a project in itself and it can be done for columns by iterating through post content in a specific category and echoing a div with a float selector with a “right” property every second time you loop through the content. Might work fine but again it is some extra work for your client and for you too.


Find a way to have WordPress create tables that is easy for a client to use? Don’t get me started. There are plugins that allow users to create tables. This is an adequate solution but these still require some training for your client and some overhead for you to find the plugin, install it, learn how to use it and then convey all of this to your client with confidence.


Paste From Word – Winner!


This by far is the easiest and most elegant solution. Simply have your client create a table in Microsoft Word (or equivalent open source word processing program), copy the table, then use TinyMCE to paste the table into any page or post with ease. Click on Paste As Word  and then use Crtl-V to paste everything into the window that appears. Seriously, that last sentence was the full extent of the training required for most clients.


No fear on behalf of the client because they do not need to learn something new, something new and TECHNICAL!!! Most people can use a word processing program and if not then a little extra training is required, but not much mind you. Your client is more likely to remember the lesson because it involves a user interface that is familiar to them. If not there are plenty of online resources to help them along, resources that are accessible (in the sense that it is not filled with technical information that is difficult to understand).


Thank you TinyMCE!

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