WordPress Plugins for Writers.

If you happen to be a writer of any kind, and run your own blog you want to check out these plugins. Even if you're a casual blogger --that makes you a writer of some kind right? You should find these useful. All of these are very simple to install, there are other alternatives and some of them are fine.

I list a few more I haven't tried at the end of the listing, and if I've missed any others feel free to leave a comment. Keep in mind that these are to help with writing and not with blog maintenance, comment management, SEO, and other blog related tasks. I found a number of other posts out there with titles like: A gazillion WordPress plugins for writers, and they list many plugins that are irrelevant to the craft of writing.

I hope to keep adding and maintaining this list as time goes by but I will also aim to keep the focus of the title. There are many other fine plugins out there but they don't necessarily help a writer's task, I hope the ones listed here do.

Footnotes. I use footnotes a lot, perhaps more than I should. Think you need footnotes? I found the perfect plugin to help with this, WP Footnotes is the plugin you need to compliment your articles with fancy, well organized and auto-generated footnotes. All you have to do is place double parentheses around the text.

The plugin will automatically parse the footnotes and display them at the end of your article in order and with a small link back up to the location that originated the footnote. Thats it, wrap it ( ( and ) ) with no spaces and you'll see it in action. ((See, this is a footnote, I just had to wrap it in double parentheses.)) ((YMMV. Some people report having some problems in WordPress 2.8 and maybe report some conflicts with other plugins.))

WP-Footnotes Configuration Screen
WP-Footnotes Configuration Screen

Article Listing. Another way of listing your articles, this plugin allows you to selectively display articles on a page. Its called Articles and its by Alex King. You can find it here, about 7 plugins down --yeah most of them are worth checking out while you're there.

My own blog's admin view for Hackadelic Series.
My own blog's admin view for Hackadelic Series.

Including Posts. If you have pages in which you want to include posts, you can use Inline Post Plugin for WordPress. This is useful if you often write pages or formal posts which you want to compliment with more dynamic and informal blog posts inline with the main content.

Thesaurus. The official Plugin repository for WordPress has a Thesaurus plugin listed, but it shows that it hasn't been updated in a while. Furthermore, I'm not sure if it will add itself to the writing panel. The page instructs you to install it on your sidebar but why would ou want it there and not in the edit post/page pages? Anyone else know of a good thesaurus that is available while you edit? Maybe even a FF plugin?

Columns. If you want to split your text into columns and you don't want to mess with tables (because you shouldn't), you can use this plugin to get you out of prose boredom. WP Post Columns helps you split your text into as many columns as you want easily. You simply use a short tag notation of [ column ] [ / column ]. To wrap the text, at the end you close with [ end_columns ]. You can specify width and padding for each column independently. Its neat and it seems like a great plugin so far. Here's a nice example page. I wish it would support this though: [ column automake="2" ] content [ / column ] so where that would automatically split the text evenly into two columns, right now you have to split it manually.

Acronyms. Acronyms are used a lot in technical writing and so you should help your readers understand what each acronym stands for. The plugin for this is titled Acronyms and it has tons of built-in definitions. You can easily add or remove any terms as you see fit. To show you how a visitor benefits from this plugin, look at this: "YMMV" is an acronym, if you mouse over it it will show you what it stands for.

Auto linking. If you're a journalist or a very active blogger you may find this useful. SEO Smart Links is the plugin I like to recommend for auto linking. The admin panel offers a lot of options and lets you automatically define certain words to link to any URL you want. You can also let it automatically link to categories, tags, and posts which can dramatically increase the amount of information you convey to your visitors.

Templates. If you often need to post articles with the same outline, or skeleton you could probably save some time with a template. Check out Post Templates, this plugin allows you to save a template for future use. You can use it for both posts and pages and if needed you can use a page or a post to create a template.

Series. If you want to tie your posts under a general taxonomy, you put them in categories. If you want to file them away you can list them in pages and you could use tags to assign them to topics. But what if you want to tie an arbitrary group of posts that have different categories and tags? You could use what is known as a series.

I have a couple of them around my site. ((Example here, and here, look on the beginning it shows a link that expands to show you the rest of the articles in the series)) Justin Tadlock describes how to do it here if you're familiar with your theme or want to learn, that's a great way to do it, but I found Hackadelic Series. Hackadelic Series works great and it does the job just like I want it. It is similar to plugins that do related posts but you have a little more control over the articles that get listed.

To use it, put the name of the series into a custom field with the name of series ((This is customizable from the admin panel.)) and the plugin does the rest. Don't look for many configurations under the hood, "it just works" I say. I've yet to have a problem with it and I'm using it in 4 different websites.

Software Code. If you're a technical writer and often need to present code snippets, you can use WP Syntax. It will help you highlight code so it is easy for your visitors to read and follow.

Also see:
FD-Footnotes. I've never used it, but it has a high rating.
Annotation Plugin. I've never used it, and activity on it seems low. nyone tried it?
Magazine Columns. Also haven't had a chance to test it yet, the download history doesn't build much confidence either.
Organize Series. Haven't tried it yet.
WP Print. By WordPress Guru Lester "GaMerZ" Chan, if you want to offer a nice print view for your visitors, check this one out.

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