If you want to take WordPress from “blog content management system” to “full-featured content management system,” you need custom post types. However, custom post types are understandably intimidating for those of us who aren’t WordPress developers. Toolset offers a code-free path to creating advanced WordPress sites with custom post types. Whether you’re a regular user or a developer looking to speed up the development cycle, Toolset offers plenty of functionality. In this Toolset review, we are going to dig into as much of this functionality as possible. But, spoiler alert, there’s a lot going on. So bear with us as we try to hit the highlights!
From the WPML developers, they have created a suite of modules in a single plugin, which is also known as Toolset. It consists of six extension packs that allow you to be specific in your own creation if you are building your website. If you are a website owner and a hands-on builder, you can take over all the functionality and aesthetics by using Toolset. Without opening a code editor or doing some programming, it is indeed the ideal companion for users who are starting their own WordPress site creation.
If you want to see the plugin for yourself, you can try out the free version which allows you to create custom post types, custom fields, and custom taxonomies. On the other hand, if you want to experience all of its core components. The price starts at $69 for 1 site, good for 1 year. They also offer 3 site plans for $149 per year, and if you are building several sites, you can have the $299 plan good for unlimited sites for 1 year. However, if you’re not satisfied with its services, Toolset offers a money-back guarantee within 30 days which is great.
Toolset Key Features
Toolset is a collection of various “components” that all add different functionality surrounding custom post types. Basically, Toolset lets you do everything from:
- Creating custom post types, custom fields, and custom taxonomies.
- Displaying them on the front-end in a variety of ways
- Allowing visitors to search your custom post types with advanced queries
- Users can submit content via front-end editing/creation forms.
There are six different core components that are included on Toolset:
- Types– the core (and free) plugin that allows you create custom post types, custom fields, and custom taxonomies.
- WooCommerce Views – perfect for business owners as it allows custom design for WooCommerce products and creates your own custom shop pages.
- Blocks – allows you to display the front-end by using blocks.
- Forms – allows to create forms for user registration and also integrated by WooCommerce by having payment forms.
- Access – allows you to add custom user roles and control their privileges.
- Maps – allows you to display anything you want on Google Maps.
- Toolset provides a good amount of documentation which will help you throughout the installation process up to creating custom fields.
- They provide Toolset consultants if you need help for custom development.
- The plugins are not user-friendly
- The free version is using limited options to start with
Toolset Installation & Setup
For the installation process, if you are using the free version then, you can do it manually by adding Toolset to the WordPress plugins directory and activate it. Here is the following setup guide on the basic things that you can do with the free version of Toolset Types.
Creating Post Type
Creating a post type is as simple as giving it a name and then choosing taxonomies and post fields to associate with the post type. By doing that, proceed to the Post Fields menu which can be seen on the left side of your WordPress dashboard under Toolset
Here’s what you can add to fields. Simply choose the following fields you desire.
The custom fields interface has three options that we love and these are:
- The ability to easily create repeater fields (that is, fields where users can “repeat” the field to enter multiple values”)
- A checkbox to let you decide whether or not to include that field’s information in text searches throughout the site
- Conditional display settings for when to display the field
Once you’ve set up custom fields, a custom post type, and (if desired) some custom taxonomies, you can start creating new custom posts from the backend.
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Creating Layouts With Toolset Layouts
Layouts allow you to display your custom post type data on the front-end without needing to know any code.
Toolset Types template and the layout system are awesome. It works on a basic grid system – that is, you select a specific number of “grid blocks” for each element in your layout. These allow you to easily create responsive rows and columns.
Once you select your grids, you can choose the content you want to insert. You can put in the Visual Editor if you’d like to insert your custom fields, as well as tons of other options, including site elements like a comments section or CRED Forms.
The functionality is deep. You can basically build out a completely custom site with this tool. It definitely takes some time to play around and get a feel for what you can do – but it offers up various ways to use and manipulate your custom data.
Creating Front-End Submission Forms With Toolset CRED
Another neat thing you can do with Toolset creates a front-end submission form that allows your users to enter data into a custom post type. You can then save that data as any status you’d like (e.g. Published or Draft).
These make it easy for you to accept user-generated content. You can add front-end forms in the Post Forms tab.
Then, on the front-end, users can submit a new entry through the form
Building Custom Search Forms With Toolset Views
Another feature that is great about Toolset is the ability to easily create custom search forms for your users to search your custom post types. The feature is built into the Views component. Without any coding knowledge, you can quickly create a search form that allows readers to specifically search your very own custom fields.
You can also make your forms more complex with drop-down ranges, weighting, and lots more. There’s some seriously powerful functionality here.
The Views Module
Beyond search forms, the Views module also gives you a ton of control for internally querying your own post types.
With it, you can do everything from:
- Creating a post grid on your homepage with the latest additions to your custom post type.
- Displaying custom post types that fit “category X” or have “author Y”
However, if you purchased the Toolset plugin, here’s how you install
Upon activating the plugin from the WordPress plugin directory, you can automatically add the remaining Toolset plugin modules and updates. Here’s how you can do it.
Toolset Types Plugin Installation
First, proceed to the Toolset Downloads page and click the button to download the latest version of Types.
On your WordPress dashboard, proceed to Plugins, then Add New page and click Upload Plugin.
After clicking on the Upload Plugin, it will flash a box that displays the Choose File button. Click on that and select the ZIP file of the Types plugin you have downloaded and click Install Now. After installing, you can now activate the plugin.
However, if you have any trouble uploading plugins directly to the WordPress directory, you can simply follow these alternatives.
First, unpack the Toolset Types ZIP file you have downloaded. Next, located at the /wp-content/plugins/ folder, upload the entire unpacked directory. Lastly, go to WordPress by logging in then, proceed to the Plugins page and you can now activate Toolset Types.
The Automatic Installation
After successfully installing the Toolset Types, proceed to Plugins then Add New, and select the Commercial tab.
You can now register your Toolset by clicking on the Register Toolset which can be found on the upper right
Upon clicking, select the Get a key for this site link to automatically register your website.
Now, copy the site key then go back to WordPress and paste the site key and click the Register button. After that, click OK and wait a few seconds until the page is completely updated.
Now that the Toolset plugins are updated, they will flash the different modules on your screen. To activate them, choose the Toolset plugins you need and check Activate after download which can be seen below for the automatic installation.
Congratulations! You can start using the following modules on your site.
Custom post types make WordPress so much more flexible than its out-of-the-box configuration. But if you’re a non-developer, custom post types are intimidating (and rightfully so).
Toolset makes custom post types about as easy as they’re going to be. While you’ll still need some basic technical knowledge to not feel lost, I only have the most basic of basic PHP/HTML skills, and I was able to confidently navigate my way around the interface.
So, if you’re an intermediate WordPress user looking to unlock the power of WordPress custom post types, or a developer looking to build complex sites more quickly, you should definitely check out Toolset.