As the world’s most popular CMS, organizations and agencies of all shapes and sizes use WordPress to create a clients or their won website. A large percentage of these organizations and agencies need an easy and professional-looking way of adding and displaying documents and other resources.
A WordPress document library is perfect for listing documents, resources, and downloadables in a neat and organized way on your website. This makes it easy for visitors to find the exact document they’re looking for.
In this post, we will look at how to use Barn2’s Document Library Pro plugin to create a WordPress document library.
What does a WordPress document library need?
A WordPress document library is a digital library that can contain documents, media files, resources, and downloadables.
Here are some of the essential features you should look for in a document library for your website:
Easy to add and manage documents
It should be easy for website admins to add and manage documents and files. This includes adding them manually in the WordPress admin, bulk importing documents, and dragging and dropping them from the WordPress Media Library.
Easy for users to search for, filter, and download documents
Users looking for a document should be able to search and filter the WordPress document library to quickly find what they’re looking for. The document library should also have built-in options that let users download the documents from the website directly to their device.
Display any file type
A good WordPress document library should let you display any file type on your website. This includes .docx, .xlsx, .pptx, .pdf, .png, .numbers, and more.
In addition to this, it should also offer support for displaying externally hosted documents. This is essential for organizations that use tools like Dropbox, Microsoft Office 365, or SharePoint instead of uploading the original document directly to the WordPress Media Library.
The WordPress document library should also support multimedia documents such as audio players, presentations, and videos. Users should have the option to view the multimedia files directly from the main document library page or download them to their device.
Professional display with a choice of layout options
Different organizations have different requirements for showcasing documents on the front end. For this reason, the WordPress document library solution you go with should let you create one or multiple document library pages.
This way, you can list all documents together on one page or structure them into folders based on which category each document is in. Organizations that need to display dozens of documents in their document library might find it easier to sort them into multiple categories. Plus, it enhances the user experience for visitors looking for a specific document.
How to add a document library to WordPress
Here, we’ll show you how you can add a document library to WordPress using the Document Library Pro plugin.
For this tutorial, we’ll assume you have a WordPress site set up with the Document Library Pro installed and activated. We’ll also assume you have some documents that you’d like to add to a document library.
Step #1: Configure the WordPress document library settings
Go to the Document libraries tab from the plugin’s settings page to configure its settings. These settings will determine what the document library looks like and how it behaves on the front end.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the different options:
- Folders. Automatically structure the WordPress document library into folders. The folders are based on the categories the documents are sorted into.
- Columns. Choose which columns to include in the document library such as document name, description, file size, file type, download link and more.
- Link style. Display either a download button, text link, or file type icon in the link column.
- Link text. Rename Download to anything you like such as Preview or Download Now.
- Lazy load. Enable lazy loading for large document libraries to ensure fast load times.
- Search filters. Add filter dropdowns to your WordPress document library to help users find them faster. The plugin lets you have filters for document categories, tags, or any custom taxonomy.
- Search box. Including a search box makes it easy for users to find the exact document they’re looking for.
- Design. This option ensures that the WordPress document library will adapt to suit your theme. This means that you don’t have to mess around with HTML or CSS code.
Step #2: Add documents to the document library
There are four different ways to add documents to your WordPress document library:
- Add documents manually
- Choose files from the WordPress Media Library
- Drag and drop files
- Bulk import files (from a CSV)
For each document you add, you can enter a summary, file type, and file size. In addition to this, you can also set document categories and tags to keep things organized in the back end. The Document Library Pro plugin lets you including categories and tags in the library’s columns. Users can filter by them to narrow down their search.
Here’s what you need to do to add documents manually:
Head over to Documents → Add New from the WordPress admin panel. Enter the document data such as its name and a description. Finally, use the Document Link section to upload your document using either the File Upload, Custom URL, or None option.
Once you’re done, click the Publish button to add the document to the library.
As mentioned earlier, you can also add documents to your WordPress document library by choosing them from the Media Library, dragging and dropping files, or bulk importing files using a CSV.
Step #3: View the WordPress document library
The final step is to see what the WordPress document library looks like on the front end.
The Document Library Pro plugin automatically creates a document library page for you when you install and activate it on your site.
Find the Document Library page from the Pages section in WordPress. You can rename it to whatever you’d like. When you preview it on the front end, it will look something like this:
However, if you selected the folders option then it’ll look like this:
A WordPress document library plugin makes it easy to create a professional-looking document library on any WordPress or WooCommerce website. It’s perfect for displaying all types of documents in a neat and organized way.
You can learn more about the Document Library plugin here.