Plugins are features that are added to WordPress to expand its functionality. Below is a listing of available plugins based on function.
Plugins for Site Layout/Display
This plugin allows users to display their posts in alphabetical order. This is useful for sites with a large number of posts that need to be navigated more easily.
After activating the plugin, go to Settings/Alphabetical List and select the categories you want in order.
This plugin allows users to manually create order within posts. Posts are traditionally displayed in chronological order with the most recent posts displaying first. However this plugin allows users to set different order rules using post tags and categories.
After activating the plugin go to Tools > AStickyPostOrderER to manually choose how you’d like all of your posts to be displayed. More detailed help is available on this page.
Categories to Tags Converter
This plugin allows users to selectively convert categories to tags. To learn more about the difference between categories and tags please visit this site.
Activate the plugin and then go to Tools > Import and select Categories and Tags converter. Make the appropriate selections to convert your categories to tags.
Widgets are a powerful feature of WordPress that allow you to easily add dynamic features to your site sidebars like tag clouds, a list of authors on your site, links to other resources, search forms, and social media features. Sometimes, though, you only want a widget to appear on a specific page of your site and by default adding a widget to a sidebar will make it show up everywhere.
Activating the Display Widgets plugin on your site will allow you to control where widgets appear. Once activated, your widget settings screen will contain a list of pages with checkboxes. You can choose to either show or hide each of your widgets on the selected pages. With this, you can do things like tailor a list of resource links to a particular topic page, or only show your Facebook like button on the homepage.
The Duplicate Post plugin is used to clone entire posts or pages on your site. In the admin panel (such as when you click on ‘Edit page’), you have the option to clone a post or page, or save it as a ‘New draft’. The ‘Clone’ option creates an exact copy of the post/page you chose and publishes it automatically. The ‘New Draft’ option takes you to a draft of the cloned post so that you can edit it further before publishing.
To enable this plugin, find 'Duplicate Post' on the plugins list and activate it. Click on Settings to find configuration options. These include copying the exact date of the original post, including or excluding attachments, taking excerpts, etc. Once you’re done updating the settings, just click save and everything should be working. You should see 'Clone' and 'New Draft' options under the 'Edit Pages' section of your site.
Midd Post Thumbnails
Set a featured image for your posts and this plugin will allow you to see thumbnails of those featured images in a new "Thumbs" colmun on your All posts page in the dashboard.
Note: If you haven’t set any featured images or added any media to your posts, this plugin won’t change anything. If you have added images but not set a featured image, the first image of the post is considered the featured image by default and displayed in the Thumbnails column when this plugin is active.
This plug-in allows users to add more fields to the Write/Edit page. This could be useful to categorize/describe posts. The documentation provides an example of its utility: if you were blogging about books, it might be useful to add fields to each post that include author / title / publisher information.
First, activate the plugin from the Plugins page. Then enter “Settings”. The settings page allows you to define “boxes” that act as containers for fields. Boxes have a name and some amount of input fields. Click “Add new field” to add a field to the box. There are many types of field you can add: text, radio buttons, etc. Once you’re made your boxes and fields, they should appear on Write/Edit pages.
Issues to be aware of
The plugin hasn’t been updated in a long time. It seems to work fine at the moment (11/4/2014), but its future functionality is not guaranteed.
NextGen Gallery by Photocrati
This plugin provides a number of different photo gallery types. Once you upload the photos you want in your gallery, you can display them in 6 ways: thumbnails, slideshow, image browser, tag cloud, compact album, and extended album. This plugin is good for those who upload batches of images often and want a variety of ways to display them at once, as well as the capability of saving them for future use.
Once the NextGen Gallery is activated, a new icon (a green square) appears in the website’s dashboard sidebar. This is where you can add and manage galleries and albums. This new icon also appears in the post/page editor, and all of these functions can be performed from there as well by clicking on the different tabs. In the “add gallery/images” page, you can click the “add files” button to add images, or drag them into the box. Once your images are added, you have to “start upload” and name your gallery in order to create it. You can also choose an existing gallery in the drop-down menu to add more images to it. In the “manage galleries” tab, you can add descriptions and tags to the gallery as a whole and to the individual images, as well as choose a preview image and link the gallery to an existing page of your site. If you have existing galleries, you can group them into albums in “manage albums”. To do this, enter a name for your new album and click “add”. Once it appears in the album column (on the right), you can drag any of your existing galleries into the left column to place them inside the new album. Albums serve the function of organizing your galleries so that you can navigate them easily if there are many, but galleries are what will actually display your images. To add a gallery to a post, simply click the NextGen icon in the top bar and select how you want it displayed (thumbnails, slideshow, etc).
This plugin provides a beautiful app-like experience for your readers when they visit your blog from their tablet's web browser. Onswipe is fully customizable by offering thousands of layout combinations and the ability to add your blog’s branding. Features: automatically adjust the content layout according to how the reader holds their device, give the reader an easy way to save the blog to their device’s home screen, show a customized loading screen, create a beautiful magazine-like cover from the latest article, easily share the content via Facebook, Twitter and email.
First activate the plugin. Then, you may go to Onswipe menu to adjust some elements of the plugin to your liking. More info: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/selfhosted-wordpress-blog-ipad-friendly-onswipe/
Adds search functionality without modifying any template pages. Options Include: search highlight, search pages, excerpts, attachments, drafts, comments, tags and custom fields (metadata). Also offers the ability to exclude specific pages and posts. Does not search password-protected content.
Activate under the Plugins list. Click on 'Widgets' under the 'Appearance' menu of your Dashboard. Here you can configure the plugin and determine which pages or posts will be excluded from search.
This plugin activates a widget that users can add to their site. The widget allows users to create images that link to other webpages.
Activate the plugin from the “Plugins” section. Then go to “Widgets” and incorporate the “Visual Links” widget into a sidebar. The widget has fields for defining an image (image URL) and its destination (another URL).
WP Google Fonts
This plugin allows you to change the font family of an active theme. Users can mix and match font families (although not recommended), target specific text such as headings or paragraph text. Additional details can be found here.
Note that previews of fonts are not generated (search for font here).
Once this plugin is activated, hover over the “Settings” navigation element located under the dashboard panel and click on Google Fonts. You can enter up to 6 different font families.
Plugins for Embedding Content
Embedding Google Components
Google Docs Shortcode
Embeds a Google doc in your site. This plugin supports embedding documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and forms.
Enable the Google Docs shortcode plugin in your site's administration interface. You can use some shortcode like this to add your documents:
[gdoc link="LINK_TO_GOOGLE_DOC" height="600"]
Google Maps Shortcode
Embeds a Google map in your site.
Enable the Google Docs shortcode plugin in your site's administration interface. You can use the following shortcode to add your maps:
[googlemaps insert link to Google Map here width="123" height="456"]
To locate the insert link select to share the map through the embedding feature and copy the link starting with https:// and ending with the exclamation point. Paste this into the shortcode in the location indicated above. Please note that using the full iframe link will not work.
Another way to embed maps is through the GeoMashup plugin. This plugin is good for people wishing to add maps and geotags to their posts and pages on WordPress. You can easily embed maps from Google Maps (and other sources) into your pages.
Activate the plugin and you will find a “Geo Mashup” option under the Settings menu. This will let you configure the plugin starting with the Map Provider. I recommend using the Google v3 option since this does not require a key. You can then save your settings and begin adding locations when editing your existing posts/pages and when creating new ones. These locations will not automatically show up on the published versions of pages, you have to add the short code [geo_mashup_map] to your post’s text editor in order to embed the map. You can adjust Zoom and other appearance options for your map using the “Single Maps” tab on the Geo Mashup settings page. More information here.
Jetpack Shortcode Embeds
Stout Google Calendar
Allows you to customize and embed Google Calendars into your WordPress site. Users can make customizations to several different calendars and display the calendars in widgets, pages, or posts.
- Activate the plugin
- Configure the calendar by going to settings > Stout Google Calendar.
- Embed as a widget by adding the Stout Google Calendar widget and
- Embed on a post/page - use the shortcode --> [stout_gc id=CALENDAR ID]
Middlebury Timeline JS
Provides a shortcode for a Timeline JS embed.
This plugin requires activation by a WordPress system admin. To request activation submit a ticket to the helpdesk. It also assumes that you have already created a timeline using Timeline JS.
A sample shortcode looks like this: [timelinejs source="VALUE"]
To get the value needed for the shortcode, go to http://timeline.knightlab.com/, and paste your Google spreadsheet URL into the generator box. Copy the string of characters after “source=” up until the next “&”. This is your source value. Height is also an optional configurable attribute. Ex: “height=650″
WP JQuery Timelinr
This widget allows Flickr users to seamlessly integrate and display their Flickr photos on their WordPress site. This option is great for users who have a very image-heavy WordPress site, or for users who simply have many photos from Flickr that they would like to show.
First, make sure that you have your own account on Flickr because this Flickr page has your specific Flickr RSS link which is used to connect your photos to your WordPress account. Next, search for Flickr under the Plugins tab. Select and activate the option called "Flickr Widget." Now that that’s done, click on the “Appearance” tab on your Dashboard menu. This leads you to a list of Plugins you can choose to add to your site! Search for the “Flickr” widget, and once you find it press on ADD. You can add your personal Flickr URL and adjust which sidebar you wish to display the media on your page. You can also specify how many photos you want visible, then click save!
Embedding Sign-Up Sheets
Sign-Up Sheets Pro
This plugin allows users to add sign-up sheets to pages and posts. The plugin is useful for organizing events: it allows event organizers to define time, location, and capacity for their events (meetings, music lessons, etc), and allows participants to register for a specific registration slot using a web browser. Organizers can monitor the sign-ups for their events.
First, activate the plugin from the Plugin list. A “Sign-up Sheets” item will appear on the left sidebar of the dashboard. Clicking it will take users to a central page where users can create, view, and modify their sign-up sheets. Clicking “Add New” creates a new sheet, which is given a name, date, category, and any number of time slots. A sheet’s date should be given the date of the event (or the deadline for signing up); the sheet will become inaccessible to viewers after this date. Categories can be defined in the “Categories” page accessed by hovering over the “Sign-up Sheets” icon on the dashboard sidebar and selecting “Categories”. They can be used to display a certain subclass of sign-up sheets on a page or post. Sheets can be associated with any number of categories. Once a sign-up sheet is created, insert it into a page by using the shortcode “sign_up_sheet” (surround the text between quotes with [ ]). To display sheets from a certain category only, users can add the additional argument “category_id = categoryidnumber“, where the category’s id number is the number associated with the category (these numbers can be viewed from the “Categories” page).
This plugin is designed to allow users to integrate Spotify links into their posts. Playlists will be displayed in your posts in the form of a Spotify player.
First, you must have a Spotify account. Under your dashboard menu tabs, find the “Plugins” and activate the Spotify Embed plugin. Now you can copy any link for a Spotify playlist into your posts and the player and playlist will appear in the published version.
VoiceThread Auto Embed
Adds auto-embed support to WordPress for VoiceThread content.
After activating this plugin, you will be able to embed content from VoiceThread just by pasting the link into your post or page. More info.
JetPack Plugin Features
WordPress is an open-source, community-built platform, but it also has a company behind it that coordinates activity and runs WordPress.com. This company Automattic, has released some of the most popular features of WordPress.com as a plugin they support named Jetpack. By connecting your site with a WordPress.com account, you get access to many additional features.
Activating the Plugin
You can activate Jetpack as you would any other plugin in the WordPress administration interface for your site. After you activate the plugin, you need to connect it with a WordPress.com account. These are free to register on their site, but if you do not wish to create an account, let us know and we can connect it using one of ours. It is important to note at this point that all features of Jetpack are currently free to use, but some may require an additional payment in the future.
Additional Shortcode Embeds
Jetpack provides additional shortcode embeds for a variety of web services. Visit this site to view the full list and additional instructions.
Once Jetpack is activated, make sure Beautiful Math is activated under Jetpack settings. If you are unfamiliar with LaTex, click here to learn more about LaTex for WordPress and here for the general Latex sytax.
The Jetpack plugin adds a feature for collecting simple feedback and information from visitors to your site through a custom form. Before we start, here are some things that these forms are not good at:
- Collecting sensitive or personally identifiable information. This should never be done in our WordPress or Drupal sites. If you need to collect this type of information, please contact LIS so we can work on finding an appropriate solution.
- Reporting. There’s no export feature for the data these forms collect. If you need to download the form data to Excel, consider using the Webform module in our Drupal site instead.
- Complex form logic, branching, and advanced survey fields like scales and grids. These forms have only a few basic field types available and everything needs to be on the same page. Advanced survey features are available through our KeySurvey application and you can contact LIS for access.
But if you just want to add a basic feedback form or a poll to your blog or site in WordPress, this can be a handy tool.
- To add a new form to a post, click the form button to the right of the Add Media button while editing the post. This will bring up an interface with some example fields.
- Modify that sample form to suit your needs and click the “Add this form to my post” button. This will put a bunch of shortcode text into the body of your post, but when you Publish the post visitors to your post will see the form.
- When people submit the form, the results will be stored in the “Feedbacks” section available in the left sidebar of your site’s Dashboard.
Extra Sidebar Widgets
Jetpack adds three extra widgets that you can add to site sidebars:
- Twitter: show the latest tweets from your account to encourage people to follow you on Twitter.
- RSS Links: add a link to the RSS feeds for the posts and/or comments on your site.
- Image: add an image to your sidebar for extra visual appeal.
This plugin allows you to "optimize your site with a mobile-friendly theme for tablets and phones". To activate access the Jetpack option on your Dashboard and search for Mobile Theme.
More Image Galleries
Changes the favicon of the website. A favicon is an icon rendered next to the title of a website in the browser.
- From your Dashboard, enable the Site Icon module under Jetpack > Settings.
- Navigate to Settings > General, and scroll down to Site Icon.
- Click the Add a Site Icon button. Click the Choose File button to select the desired icon.
- Click the Upload Image button.
- Crop your image. You can use the Preview section on the right to see what your image will look like in its final form. Click the Crop Image button and your site icon is complete.
Please note that the desired icon must be an image that is larger than 512px by 512px. It is also strongly recommend that the image have a 1:1 pixel aspect ratio (square shape).
Jetpack can be used to collect information about the people visiting your site and display that data in an interface that is significantly easier to use than Google Analytics. This allows you to see which of your posts were the most popular, how people are finding your site, and the geographic distribution of visitors to your site. To view these stats click on the menu item titled Jetpack > Site Stats on your dashboard.
Plugins for Content Delivery
The Co-Authors Plus plugin lets you assign multiple authors to a single post or page. Each of these authors will have access to edit the post. This makes it a helpful tool for collaborative writing or reports from group projects.
If you’re using a theme that supports it (which all of the Middlebury-produced “Translucence” family of themes do), each author will also appear in the byline of the post. If you’re using a theme that doesn’t support this, submit a helpdesk ticket to request its addition to your theme.
The newest version of Co-Authors Plus also lets you add Guest Authors to your site. This is helpful if you want to have a post appear from a guest blogger who doesn’t have an account in the Middlebury system, or to post primary source material in the original author’s name. This can also be used on department or office sites to have posts appear under the name of the group, rather than a single person. Guest authors don’t have any privileges on the site, the post simply appears as if authored by them.
The Co-Authors Plus plugin can be enabled if you are an Administrator of a WordPress site in the Plugins section of the dashboard. Guest Authors can be added in the Users section.
ListManager Subscribe Form
Provides a sidebar widget for subscribing to Lyris ListManager mailing lists which embeds a subscribe form onto your WordPress site. A sample of this widget can be viewed in the right hand column of the Curricular Technology blog here.
Activate the plugin and then add the widget onto your theme in the appropriate location and configure with the list name and text that you want to appear before and after the form. This plugin is designed for users who manage a listserv using Lyris at Middlebury. More information about List Manager can be found here.
Liveblogging is the practice of covering an event as it happens on your blog. Rather than a composed post that covers your thoughts on a subject and is published once, a live blog post is updated with snippets of your thoughts on the event as it occurs. Common uses of liveblogging are covering a speech, television show, or sporting event. The practice allows the author to interact with their readers in real time via comments on the live blog post.
Activate the Liveblog plugin in the Dashboard and you’ll be able to mark certain posts as live blog posts. This will add an interface for the author to make short posts to the live blog without having to use the normal back-end WordPress editing interface. Readers will see updates appear on the post page without needing to refresh their browsers. This video covers how to use the plugin in practice.
This plugin allows you to connect your personal Facebook profile or another Facebook page you own with your WordPress site. This plugin would be useful for those in search of a way to branch out in the social media world. It's a great way to promote pages and posts to friends on your public profile.
Go Into “Plugins” in your Dashboard side menu. After clicking on “Plugins,” type in “Facebook” in the search bar. When Facebook shows up, click on the empty box next to it, and then below the list will be a toggle bar with the options to “Activate” make this your preference and then click Apply. Once Facebook has been activated, a new tab for “Facebook” will appear in the Dashboard side menu. Click on the “Facebook” tab under the Dashboard and you will be able to manage all of your customizable options, such as adding 'like,' 'follow' and 'share' buttons.
Provides a widget with icons for IM clients (Skype, ICQ, AIM) you use, displaying your availability on each. Good for users who want readers to be able to reach them through multiple services.
After activating the IM Online plugin, go into “IM Online Options” under Settings in your Dashboard. Here, you can add instant messaging accounts (by choosing the service from the drop-down menu and entering your username) as well as choose how often your online/offline status is checked and updated on the website. You may also need to add the “IM Online” widget to your page by going to Appearance > Widgets in the dashboard.
The ShareThis plugin is a great tool for increasing the presence of social media outlets on your site. During the configuration process, the user has access to 120 social channels to link to his site (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest). The ShareThis plugin is an attractive alternative to using JetPack. One downside is that you need to have a ShareThis account to activate the plug-in.
The process of configuring the ShareThis Plugin is fairly simple. First you must go to the list of available plugins and activate it. Then go to Settings > ShareThis. Afterwards, the plugin walks you through a 6 steps in activating the plugin and choosing the size of the buttons, which services you want, their location on the page. Finally you have an option to create a free account to get your publisher’s key. This is not too difficult.
This plugin allows you to connect your Instagram profile with your WordPress site. This plugin would be great for users who wish to have an interactive/picture experience. For social media purposes this plugin would be very beneficial for Instagram users.
First, go into your Dashboard on your WordPress site. Find the “Plugins” tab and click on that. Once that is open, search for “Instagram” on the search bar. Once you find Simple Instagram, click on the empty square to the left of the title and then on the toggle bar below the list, switch it to “Activate” and press APPLY! Once you press “apply,” a little “settings” link will appear under the title. Go ahead and click on that. Once you’ve clicked on the settings, a series of instructions will appear so that you can set up the plugin with your Instagram account.
Activating Storify and connecting it to Facebook and/or Twitter makes it easy to embed stories from social media into WordPress. This way, if multiple people have tweeted or posted about an event, you can unify them into one story. The story doesn’t show up as a wordpress post but instead shows up in the storify account. From there you have to go onto storify and click on “Embed” in order to get a link into a wordpress post. More info: https://wordpress.org/plugins/storify/
You need to create a Storify account or be willing to let wordpress access your facebook/twitter accounts to be able to embed stories. Also, the embed code doesn’t directly embed the story into a post – it puts a link in that says “view this story on Storify.” Activate Plugin. On the left sidebar of the dashboard, a “Storify” button appears. Click on the button and log into storify from here to start creating stories. It’s pretty simple to search a keyword and then choose a social media platform in order to create a story. The interface is the same as that on the actual Storify website.