Podcast Episode

242 – Create Custom Columns in List View


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Is there a plugin for that?

With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.

For more great plugins, download my 50 Most Useful Plugins eBook.

Cookie Notice by dFactory is a plugin that allows you to elegantly inform users that your site uses cookies and to comply with the EU cookie law regulations.

Create Custom Columns in List View

Out of the box, WordPress provides list tables, giving you an overview of your content in the admin panel. This list view appears on summary pages for posts, pages, media, users, and custom post types. The default list view is quite limited and only displays Title, Author, Category, Tags, and Date Published. Plus, there is no way to easily customize the order of these columns.

I like to have a more custom experience inside my list view, so I went on a hunt to try to find a way to do this with some custom code. After three days and a scouring the web for tutorials, I finally figured it out.

I wish I would have found the plugin Admin Columns as it does exactly what I need it to.

Once Admin Columns is activated, a settings panel will be turned on that is similar to the Menu settings panel. You can drag and drop the current columns to fit your needs and add custom columns to your list view.

Some of the fields that you can display are custom fields, featured images, custom taxonomies, EXIF data for media and much, much more (Admin Columns features over 90 columns), you can create overviews that are perfectly suited for your content.

There is also a pro version that will allow you to make each column sortable? The license starts at $79 per year for one site.

If you are more interested in the manual approach that I took, take a look at this guide:
Add Custom Columns to WordPress Admin Panel Tables

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Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

Hello everybody, welcome back to another episode of Your Website Engineer podcast. I am the host, Dustin Hartzler, and I’m excited to be here with you today because I just got back from Word Camp Columbus this past weekend and as always when I go to a Word Camp I get to meet fun, interesting WordPress people, I get to meet listeners of the show, and I get to be inspired to do some fun things on my own in my own websites and my own projects, and that was the case this past weekend, and that’s what started the drive for, “Okay, what are we going to talk about on this week’s show?” And we’re going to talk about creative custom columns in the WordPress dashboard. And what I mean by that is when you go to your post or your pages section, when you go to list the all posts and all pages, and it’s got a few different columns. It normally has the page title and the date it was published and how many comments and stuff like that. We are going to talk about how we can add custom columns to this page and how we can rearrange those columns, and it’s going to be really really fun and it’s going to be much easier than what I actually did that spent the last couple of days just trying to figure out how I did it.

So I want to let you know right at the top of the show that this episode is sponsored by the all new Dream Press 2. It’s a WordPress managed hosting provider that’s much more powerful just than the typical shared hosting environment. I’ll share more details about Dream Press 2 at the end of the show. All right, I’ve got a lot of announcements for you today. The first one being that there is going to be a WordPress webinar happening on the first Friday of August. That’s August 7th, and I’m actually going to change up the time just a little bit. We normally go at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. This week, or this month in August, we’ll be going at 12:00 p.m. Eastern, at high noon on that Friday. This gives me just a little bit more time to get things ready right before it, and also it gives me a perfectly quiet environment within the house because my daughter goes to sleep right around the 12:00 p.m. hour, and so I just wanted to make sure that I’m providing high quality value without kids running in the background and making all kinds of noise. So we’re going to switch that up. We’ll see if 12:00 p.m. Eastern works better, and we will be talking about the must have plugins for your WordPress site. I’m actually going to The Podcast Movement next week, at the end of next week, and I’ll be kind of giving the same presentation over again with a few extra twists right for you guys, the listeners of Your Website Engineer podcast.

So if you’re interested in registering the link now works. If you go over to yourwebsiteengineer.com/webinar, you can register and sign up and if you can’t make it live and you still want a copy of the replay, be sure to sign up anyway and then I will send an email later that Friday with all of the information about how to watch and those types of things. The next item of business is all about a Mastermind group, a live Mastermind session, that I’d like you to be a part of if you live in or near the Indianapolis, Indiana area. It’s going to happen on August 15th and it’s basically like a live, all day Mastermind session where you are the focus and you will get a deep dive analysis of how you can improve your website or your business or your hobby or your passion or whatever that you’re doing online to create all the things that you do online, whether it be your goal is to have more audience or make more money, whatever the case may be, you have some specific times set up and you’ll have experts looking at your business, analyzing your website, taking a look at all the strategies that you’re currently implementing and give you improvements and suggestions on how you can make this better. You can find out more over at midwestmastermind.com and there’ll be three other experts on the panel besides myself. We have Ryan Rotten who is all about personal branding, we’ve got Steve Stewart who is an expert when it comes to podcasting and video production, and we’ve got Eric J. Fisher who is a social media consultant or he knows all about social media.

So, if you’re interested, head on over to midwestmastermind.com and check that out for more information. Also on the WordPress news front, we’ve got WordPress 4.3 beta three is now out and available, and they of course are smashing bugs and making things just work a little bit better. The biggest thing is the performance where the menus and the customizer is and working a little bit better and they’ve made some visual enhancements and fixed some bugs. And of course there’s a whole list of things that you can read about. I’m not going to bore you with all the details, but I just wanted to make sure that you know if you’re interested in checking that out, check out WordPress 4.3 beta three. I think they’re saying that it’s going to be very close to the beginning of August when we should be able to launch WordPress 4.3. I know that it’s only been a few months but it just seems like it’s been a very long time since 4.2 came out, and I’m excited to get this new version under our belts and start moving forward and then start working on the beta for WordPress 4.4. And lastly in the WordPress space this week in the news there is, I wanted to let you know about Chris Lema is a blogger in the WordPress community and he is doing a 31 days of July membership plugin reviews. And so he’s going through and he’s reviewing all of the WordPress membership plugins that are out there, the big name ones, the small name ones, and he’s laying them out exactly which ones work well and which ones may or may not work for you.

So something like the most recent one that he did was reviewing Simple Membership plugin, and he’s done Member Wing X, and he’s done Evontos Woo Commerce Membership plugin, and then there’s Easy Quick Member. I mean, every day this month he’s going in and so if you’ve ever been interested in figuring out which one is perfect for you, Chris goes in, he goes and purchases them, he sets them up, he configures them, and he writes all about it. If you have any information or you want to learn more about that head on over to chrislema.com and he’s got tons of blog posts out there and he actually, for a while he was actually blogging every single day all about WordPress and just with WordPress ideas and strategies and business tips and stuff like that, so that is definitely something to check out. Okay, now time for the Is There a Plugin for That section, and this section is always devoted to finding a unique plugin that could help somebody further their business or just make their website better. And right now we are on the verge of getting to 39,000 plugins. Right now, as I’m recording this, and this is on Tuesday July 21st, there is 38,988 plugins, so just 12 plugins away from hitting the 39,000 mark, which is absolutely incredible. And how are you supposed to find a perfect plugin for what you’re looking for with that many plugins?

Well, that is really tough, but I go through and I try to highlight one each and every week so at least by the end of the year you’ll have 52 suggestions for plugins that I think are good plugins that serve a unique niche, and have the ability to do something really cool on your website. This one this week is called Cookie Notice by D Factory, and D Factory has quite a handful of plugins that are out there and this one does something that you may or may not be familiar with. If you live over in Europe, they have this new law, this mandate, that makes you, with every website, you have to display whether you’re using cookies or not and then the person actually has to go in and say, “Yes I understand that the website may be using cookies,” and then they click the X or the okay or whatever, and then it closes the notification. Well this is a great way, this plugin, the Cookie Notice allows you to elegantly inform your users that your site uses cookies and this complies with the EU cookie law regulations. So if you live in the United States you have zero need for this plugin but if you live over in Europe, this is a perfect plugin for you. So there’s a link to it in the show notes for episode number 242, and you can go just on over to the WordPress repository and search for Cookie-Notice or Cookie Notice and that should pull things up for you right away.

All right, let’s move on to the main part of the show today. So today I want to talk about how do we curate custom columns in our WordPress dashboard, in the W admin section of our website? And like I said at the top of the show, this is the area where if you go to a brand new WordPress installation or even possibly your WordPress site, and you go to look at the columns that are put inside your website, so when you go and you look at posts. So, if you go to the all posts section, you’ll see things like title, categories, comments, dates, and that’s about all the information that you see. Perhaps if you have the Yost SEO plugin installed, you can see a couple of columns there and you could always trigger and turn on and turn off different columns that are available under the screen options tap. If you go to the screen options tab you have the ability to turn things on and off so you can turn off author or turn on author, you could turn off tags, or, you know, just depending on what you’d like to see in this list view, and these are the things that are built into WordPress, so this type of stuff is built in, but what happens if you want more information? You may be thinking, “Dustin, what kind of information could you feature in these columns?”

Well there’s all kinds of things, and we’re going to talk about a plugin to do this, and just for example, in my list view that I see, I actually have my featured image. I want to be able to see what my featured image is for the post. I do this because of the fact way back when when my site was brand new, I didn’t have featured images, so I want to make sure that I see it very quickly and very visually. It also helps me when I’m scanning real quick to find a specific post to maybe do some edits with and I can scroll up and down, I can look in the column that has all of the images much much quicker than I can read the text title for that actual episode. So you can see this if you actually look at the cover art or the featured image for this podcast episode, you’ll be able to see the images that that’s what my dashboard actually looks like when I’m looking at the all posts view. Another thing that I just implemented this weekend, and this is kind of a new thing, is I want to be able to track which podcast episodes have transcripts attached to them, because some of them have transcripts and others of them don’t. And I’m very bad at actually uploading the information to the transcription service, so sometimes I do two or three at a time, and I always have to open the post and I have to look and I have to try to figure out, “Okay, which one has the transcripts and which ones don’t?” So I ended up creating a post meta box where I can actually put in all the information underneath my post, and then I created a little bit of logic to say, “If there’s text in one of these boxes, then display a green checkmark to say yes, there’s actually a transcription connected to this account.”

There’s other things that you can do. You could also do post count, like there’s one of the cool things you can say how many words are displayed or things like that, and we’ll get to the details of this plugin in just a second. But that’s the main reason that I wanted to do this. I wanted to get rid of the stuff that I don’t need, like I don’t need to see the author at all because the author is me 100 percent of the time. I don’t need to see the tags necessarily because I don’t ever look for things for tags in this list view, and things along those lines. So that got me to thinking, “Okay, how do I figure this out?” And I actually figured out how to do it in code, and I can link to a few of the articles that I used, and it’s just not very practical for me to try to explain this entire podcast episode on some kind of complex code because you actually have to go in, you have to create a new column, and then you can’t really – it’s really hard to talk about on an audio podcast, and it took me about four days to try to figure it out and get it exactly right. So I was trying to figure out, “How can I do this on a podcast? How can I explain what I was doing?” And I came across a plugin by Code Press, and it’s called Admin Columns, and you can just search for that in the WordPress repository. They have an Admin Columns Pro, but we won’t talk about that one as much because there’s really no need.

You can do everything that I’m talking about right in the free plugin on the WordPress repository. It’s got more than 40,000 active installs and it’s got 307 five star ratings and reviews right there in the Word Press repository, so, it is really cool. I installed it and started playing with it and I was just blown away by how awesome it was and how cool it really was. So let me give you some details and then I’ll talk you through how you can actually use it. So again, you just find it in the WordPress repository and you install it on your WordPress site and activate it, and then it brings up a new section underneath settings called admin columns, and then you can have the ability to set the different columns for your different post types, whether that be posts or pages or a custom post type that you’ve set. You can also do users, media library, and comments, and so those are kind of all of the pages that you have that list to view, and so right now we’re just going to talk through the post section. So what I’ve done is I’ve actually created my own custom layout on this development blog that I’ve got set up and I’ve got the title, I’ve got the author, I’ve got the categories, I’ve got tags, comments, dates, and those are all things that came with WordPress. Those are all things that are displayed by default, and then I said I wanted to see the word count, I wanted to see estimated time reading, and I wanted to show a custom field.

And so the word count was really cool. It just goes in and it counts and it tells you how many words it has. The estimated reading time, if you go into the settings for that, it basically, you have to say how many words per minute you think people can read and so then that will, if you say 100 then it will calculate how long the reading is based on that. And so I don’t know if that would ever be useful or you could ever use that for something but I think that’s kind of neat. It’s kind of neat to have the word count right there in case you wanted to make a post longer or you wanted to rearrange them to see which post is the longest or whatever, so you can do all of that. It’s super simple to rearrange them. They have the little bars on the left hand side of the menu. It works a lot like the menus panel does. You know, you pick up the menu and you drag it to where you want it, so if you want the column, if you want the word count to be all the way on the left hand side, you just drag it all the way to the top and then it’s going to display that in the very left hand column, which is super nice. The settings here seem to be infinite. It seems like you can put almost anything in that you like, and so you just add a new column and then you can say what the type is, whether it’s for title, tags, date, categories, author, comments, those are kind of the defaults. If you want to do something custom, you can do whether it is a custom field, you can say display author, date published, the comment status, comment count, we can see the excerpt, we can put the featured image, we can put a permalink right there in that list view, we can do the ping status, the permalink, the short codes, the slug, whether it’s a sticky post or not, a taxonomy, used by menu so if that page is used by a menu or it’s not.

You can put all of this information right inside of the menu item that you created. I created one with a custom field a little bit earlier and I said that if there’s something in the custom field I want it to display a checkbox, or you can do a color or a counter or a date or an excerpt. You can do all kinds of things. It sounds really complex and it sounds like it’s this uber complex plugin to use, but trust me, all you have to do is turn it on, and I think you’re going to understand how to use it. The hardest part for me was to figure out where the blue save button was. It’s kind of listed on the right hand side, it’s towards the top, and it’s above an ad for their pro version, and so that was a little bit difficult for me to see right away, but you have to hit that update post button for it actually to go live and publish live. So that’s what I wanted to share with you today. Like I said, I’m going to link to you the different ways to do it with code, but I think this is such an elegant way to do it, it just does a very neat job. You can go in and just really customize those, make them exactly what you want it to be. I think the pro version, the one thing that the pro version does have that you can’t get with the free version is you’re able to sort the columns, so if you want to be able to say that, “Oh, I want to sort all of the columns by the word count to show the one with the least amount of word count first,” you know, by clicking on the word count title at the top, the pro version unlocks that feature and you can rearrange along those ways.

Otherwise you can just rearrange them just like this and it’s really really cool. Really slick, and I’m really digging this plugin and I’m wishing that I wouldn’t have spent all kinds of hours during Word Camp and then all kinds of hours yesterday to get things just the way I wanted to, the perfect absolute solution. One other thing that I want to mention here as we start to wrap up this show is that I’m getting ready to change the feed settings once again within my podcast. Remember I did this back in March or April, or it was actually February I think, towards the end of February, because when I launched my new website it broke the feed and doing a few things. Well I’m going to relaunch my feed, or I’ve got it all fixed, I’ve done some customizations to the feed template and whatnot. So when it’s all launched you should be able to tap on the information icon within your podcast player and it pulls up the entire show notes for the most recent 10 episodes. I made it that way because you can’t have all of the show notes for everything on your feed burner feed or I’d only be able to put like 20 or 30 actual posts being able to download our podcast episodes to be able to be downloaded from iTunes. So I went with the way, if it’s the 10 most recent shows you get all the show notes, if it’s after that, if it’s an older episode, then you get a link directly to the show notes that you can go and you can navigate within your podcast app. So I think that’s going to be the ultimate solution that’s going to work really really well and you shouldn’t really see any issues and I wouldn’t think that your podcast player would download hundreds of podcasts extra ones, but if that does happen then that’s the reason why, because I’ve done some modifications with my feed.

And hopefully, fingers crossed, once this is done I’ll never have to change feeds again, which is what I thought the last time, but right now as the show gets published it doesn’t actually link you to the show notes page so then it’s a couple of extra steps and so I wanted to make it easy for you to just click on a link and it takes you right to the show notes so you don’t have to think, you don’t have to type, and you don’t have to do anything else to get to the information. And then lastly I want to share about Dream Press 2. They are a sponsor. Thank you so much for sponsoring this episode, and basically they are a managed hosting solution for WordPress. You don’t have to install WordPress, it just works. You get two virtual private servers for your Dream Press account. One runs your website itself and has all your media and your content and the other one runs your database, and so that is really nice. Both of them are separate, they’re on separate servers, or they’re separate virtual private servers, and so there’s very little probability of them both going down at the same time or even over exerting one or the other. They also have some really nice 24/7 WordPress support. The best thing about using a company that has dedicated WordPress hosting is they have dedicated WordPress support staff, which is super nice because sometimes you get a tech and they’re like, “Oh, well it’s WordPress’s problem. I can’t help.” Well, in all reality, if it is a hosting provider that provides WordPress hosting and WordPress support, they’re going to be able to troubleshoot and help you out with any type of WordPress issue that you may have.

So I really like Dream Press. I believe I said last week that Dream Host was my very first hosting account, so they are very near and dear to my heart, as a good company. I had them for many many years running my dustinandmelody.com, and until I moved that over to WordPress.com because I didn’t need any of the extra bonus features of using anything but WordPress.com for that site. So thank you so much to Dream Press 2 for sponsoring, and if you’re getting ready to switch hosting accounts you want to do something that’s on the managed server route, head on over to yourwebsiteengineer.com/242 and there’ll be a link in the show notes for how to get Dream Press 2 over there. All right, we’ve got three things before we get out of here. One, sign up for the webinar at yourwebsiteengineer.com/webinar on August 7th, two head on over to midwestmastermind.com, take a look there, and see if that’s something that you’re interested in. If you want to meet me, that is going to be a great place to do so, and three, install the plugin we talked about today, Admin Column, and start rearranging and adding columns to your admin list. That’s all I’ve got for you this week, take care. Bye bye.

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