I was quite excited last year to find the Inline Google Spreadsheet Viewer plugin for WordPress.
I have always used Excel spreadsheets to produce sorted tables for my websites. In fact, I was planning a short tutorial showing you how to get an Excel grid published as an HTML table. However, in my move to get everything off my computer and onto the Internet, I have moved almost all my spreadsheets to Google Docs.
I often use my spreadsheet data in articles I write, but it can be tedious to get the formatting right. I decided to import my Excel worksheet to a Google Docs spreadsheet, and test the water with their embedding tools. This was an instant improvement to my previous method of converting Excel spreadsheets into HTML tables. Unfortunately, the embedded spreadsheet was not sortable.
I could have worked round the lack of sorting by producing different versions of the embedded spreadsheet and linking to different pages. My main concern was that, if I settled for simple embedding of the spreadsheets I would lose valuable content from my site. That is because embedded spreadsheets are loaded in iframes. Therefore, search engines do not index them on your domain – they index them on Google. With this inline viewer plugin, external content is imported to an HTML table, and so credit for my content remains with my website.
My simple example below shows data extracted into a sortable table. The first column is automatically sorted into ascending order. You can sort other columns by clicking the headings, and repeat clicking reverses the sequence. The drop down list lets you easily change the number of items shown. The best feature is the Search box. It is actually a filter, and when you type letters or numbers, the table shrinks as you type, showing only matching results.
[gdoc key=”0Aor5K-pSc3TcdEN6czdZekVqSkhCRVd4RXZpUHRoQ3c”]My Simple Inline Sortable Table[/gdoc]
[Please note that I have disabled this plugin, as it blocks the orange Internet Help button. If you need me to fix this, please tell me in the support forum, or by clicking the orange button.]
Tables Plugin In Action
Inline Google Spreadsheet Viewer: 2015 update
Though I was thrilled with the results, I wanted my tables to contain hyperlinked text. This appeared to work if a recognizable URL was typed into the spreadsheet cell, as in my example above. Unfortunately, this did not work with nicely labeled =HYPERLINK() links.
Since writing this early review of Inline Google Spreadsheet Viewer, the author has added many more features. This includes using data from HTML tables, and other sources, in addition to Google Sheets. Early versions of the plugin handled the basics well. Recent development seems to add everything I need to present tabular data in the best way.
If you need any help with embedded spreadsheets or sortable tables, please ask in the Web Hosting Forum. If you need help accessing the forum, click the orange Internet Support button, or raise a new ticket in my Internet Support Helpdesk.