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Creating Tables in WordPress from Google Spreadsheets

Video versionA video overview of creating wpDataTables from Google Spreadsheets

wpDataTable Google Spreadsheet integration

Google Spreadsheets is a really popular way of creating and editing tables online, because it has very advanced functionality, but it’s free, does not require installing any software on client’s computer, supports importing data from popular office software programs, and stores all the data online. Of course we couldn’t ignore this format, so as of version 1.6 wpDataTables supports Google Spreadsheets as an input data source.

See this example (published Google spreadsheet), and the table rendered from this Google Spreadsheet below.

The step-by-step tutorial on creating wpDataTables from Google Spreadsheets is below the table.

Google Spreadsheet example

When using Google Spreadsheets as the data source please note 2 things: 1) The data is read from the data source every time the page loads, so when your tables are large (more then 2000-3000 cells) this source won’t be the right choice since the page with large tables will load slow, or even crash after a certain size. 2) There is a cache on Google side, so when you update the table it might take up to 5-15 minutes to be reflected in wpDataTable

Instructions to create the table

Open Google Spreadsheets, find the spreadsheet you would like to use in wpDataTables, or create one.

To create a new Google Spreadsheet click the “plus” button in the right bottom corner:

Once you’ve open the Google Spreadsheets editing mode, you can enter all the data that you need. Alternatively, you can copy&paste the table data from your favourite software – such as MS Excel, Numbers, or LibreOffice.

Data is auto-saved on Google Spreadsheets side whenever you change it, but to be able to use it in wpDataTables you need to publish it.

Go to File -> Publish to the web… then choose Entire document and click Publish to get the link:

Google recently changed something about their Sheets service so please use the URL from the address line (see in red frame below), not the URL from the Publish popup.

Use the URL from your browser’s address bar like from here:

Copy this link from your browser since you will use it in wpDataTables.

Prepare a wpDataTable and paste the link

When the data source is prepared, you need to create a wpDataTable which will pull the data from it.

Go to your WordPress admin, and open wpDataTables -> Add from data source.

When the new wpDataTable page is open, provide the initial data for the table:

  1. Define a name for the new wpDataTable which will help you to identify it later.
  2. Choose Google Spreadsheet as Table Type.
  3. Paste the spreadsheet link that you copied in step 1 to the Input file or URL input field.

When you do this you can click “Save”. wpDataTables will read the table content and columns structure, and try to guess the column data types.

(OPTIONAL) - define additional table and columns settings

As for any wpDataTable you can define any settings that you need for the table itself, and for all of the columns. The table might be responsive or not, have or not have table tools, advanced filtering, you can choose the filter types for each column, etc. In our example we just set the filter type for City column as “Select box”:

Insert the wpDataTable in your page or post

When a wpDataTable is created, you can use it in the post or page.

Create a post or page, or open one of the posts/pages that you already have for editing.

Pick a place where you would like to paste your table and place the cursor there, then click the “Insert a wpDataTable” button, and pick the table that you created in step 2:

As an alternative, you can just copy & paste the generated wpDataTable shortcode.

When you save the post or page, and open it in the front-end, you will see the wpDataTable with the data from your Google Spreadsheet

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