A lot of people see our Portfolios plugin, install it, and then become a little confused — “Ok, so now what?” It’s almost too simple.

The truth is that if you’ve figured out how to use your Theme Blvd theme, you’ve played with the Layout Builder, and you have a basic understanding of how posts are displayed, you pretty much already know how to use the plugin. But if not, that’s okay; let’s clear up some of the confusion in this article.

So, what exactly is the Portfolios plugin, anyway? — Our Portfolios plugin takes advantage of our theme framework’s flexibility in displaying posts, to allow you to create a portfolio that’s separate from your blog. In reality, the plugin doesn’t really do all that much. It essentially creates a “Portfolio Item” custom post type, and adds some options to various items within working with your theme to take advantage of that post type.

Portfolio Items

It all starts with actually creating your individual portfolio items. In the same way you’d create individual posts for a blog, you need to create the individual portfolio items for your portfolio.

Similarly to your blog posts, these portfolio items can categorized and tagged.

When creating a portfolio item, don’t forget to set a featured image, and then configure how you want that featured image to be linked under the “Post Options” meta box.

Furthermore, with the “Post Options” meta box, you can configure the single view of a portfolio item to look a little less blog’ish by hiding items like the meta information and author box.

Displaying a Portfolio

Now, I think this is the part where some people get confused because they’re expecting something more difficult. Using your Theme Blvd theme, you’re going to display your portfolio items of a portfolio, in the same ways you could display posts of a blog. You’ve got quite a few options here.

Make a Game Plan

In displaying your portfolios there are two main factors you want to take into account. You need to decide on the style you want the portfolio items to appear in, as well as the method for how you’ll display them.

Style of Display

First, you want to decide the style you want the portfolio items to display in. In your theme, there are four methods by default. Most likely, you’ll want to use a “Post Grid” or “Post Showcase” display, which would be more typical for your grid-style portfolio.

  1. Blog
  2. Post List
  3. Post Grid
  4. Post Showcase

Method of Display

After you’ve figured out the style you want to display the portfolio items with, then you need to figure out the actual method you want to use in displaying them. There’s tons of flexibility here.

  1. Layout Builder: Using our Layout Builder plugin, each post display style has an element you can insert into your custom layout. Through the user options of the element, you can select to pull from a portfolio.
  2. Shortcode: For each post display style, there is a shortcode to go with it. You can configure these shortcodes to pull from posts belonging to a portfolio (i.e. portfolio items), from the shortcode parameters.
  3. Page Template: Also for each post display style there is a standard page template you can select from over in the “Page Attributes” meta box.
  4. Traditional Archive: WordPress will archive your portfolio items in the same way it does with standard blog posts. So, you can view and link directly to Portfolio and Portfolio Tag archives, if you want.

Execute the Game Plan

Now that we’ve got more of a game plan, let’s learn how to execute it. In this section, we’ll go through the four different methods of displaying your portfolios, and discuss them in a bit more detail.

Method 1: Layout Builder

I would say if you’re utilizing our Layout Builder in your WordPress site, this is the probably the most flexible method of displaying a portfolio through end-user options. Additionally, it allows you to incorporate your portfolio within an array of other awesome elements that make up the layout you’re building for the given page.

Or, your layout could be as simple as a single element for your portfolio. In fact, in all my Jump Start 2 demos, I display the example portfolios using the Layout Builder.

So, let’s have a go at it. Add the element to your layout, that corresponds to the post display style you want to use. You’ll most likely want to use the “Post Grid” or Post Showcase” elements.

Then, from the options of the element, you can select to pull posts from a portfolio. This will tell the element to pull from the portfolio items you’ve setup.

Method 2: Shortcodes

If you’re more of a traditional page editor kind of person, and you’d like to incorporate a portfolio somewhere within the content of your page, then you can use a shortcode.

For those that would prefer to not use something as extravagant as the Layout Builder, using shortcodes to display your portfolio provides a more familiar experience, that you’re already acquainted with as a WordPress editor.

Here are some usage examples —

Display a single portfolio of items:

[post_showcase portfolio="my-portfolio"]
[post_grid portfolio="my-portfolio"]

Display all portfolio items, from all portfolios:

[post_showcase query="post_type=portfolio_item"]
[post_grid query="post_type=portfolio_item"]

Display all portfolio items, from all portfolios, with portfolio sorting:

[post_showcase query="post_type=portfolio_item" filter="portfolio"]
[post_grid query="post_type=portfolio_item" filter="portfolio"]

Method 3: Page Template

If you’re looking to create a quick portfolio page that’s really simple, using a page template might just be the way you want to go.

Simply apply the “Post Grid” or “Post Showcase” page template to a page you’ve created.

Where some people get confused with this method is that, by default, this will display all of your standard posts. The trick here is to designate a custom query to pull from in the “Post Template Options” meta box.

Here are some examples you’d use for custom queries —

Last 9 portfolio items, from any portfolio:

post_type=portfolio&posts_per_page=9

All portfolio items from portfolio:

post_type=portfolio&portfolio=my-portfolio&posts_per_page=-1

All portfolio items from portfolio tag:

post_type=portfolio&portfolio_tag=my-tag&posts_per_page=-1

When you’re setting up your portfolio through a page template, you’re not going to be able to select individual options for the display style of the portfolio items. However, it will still inherit the default options you’ve set on your Theme Options page.

Another downside to this method, is that you won’t be able to achieve sorting in your portfolio, like you could with a builder element or a shortcode.

But aside from that, you can quickly achieve a clean, simple portfolio through this method. The idea is that you’re not configuring a bunch of options for each individual portfolio, which is the opposite of using the Layout Builder or a shortcode. So, what you pick is up to you!

Method 4: Traditional Archive

And lastly, you’ve got your traditional archives that WordPress has already created for you based on the Portfolio and Portfolio tags you’ve setup. If you want to do nothing and simply link to these, well… you’ve already created your portfolio, and you don’t have to do anything.

http://yoursite.com/items/{your-portfolio}
http://yoursite.com/item-tag/{your-tag}

In displaying your portfolio item archives, you’ll notice that our Portfolios plugin has added a few options to your theme options page for the display of these archives.

Note: Remember that even if you’re not using the default archives as your primary method of displaying your portfolios, these archives still exist on your site, and possibly can be accessed through various links in your portfolio. So, it’s probably a good idea to configure the options, anyway.

Conclusion

This article may seem a bit overwhelming at first glance, but I hope this won’t scare you away. I’ve only tried to be thorough in explaining to you all of your different options.

Inevitably, you’ll decide what works for you and stick with that method, which will end up being a piece of cake. And know that later, if you find yourself in a pinch, you’ve got more than one way to skin a cat, as they say.